Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reconnaisance

One of spring's earliest chores is to do reconnaissance -- take a walk around outside and see how plants fared during the winter, then come in and make a long list of What To Do About It.

I tried to do that yesterday. It was sunny, I needed to get out, and it is nearing the end of March already.

But a stiff breeze and temperatures in the 20s made my tour short. I slipped around on the hard snow, and didn't even realize what was so odd about my trek out to the meadow.

(What was so odd was the complete absence of the curved footbridge. I walked right over it and didn't realize it was even there, under the snow somewhere. It's there, right? The bobcat didn't make off with it last January?)

In my short walk around I found the usual winter damage: where the snow on the front lawn has melted back a bit I see voles have excavated a city of tunnels, with mounds of earth piled up all over.

The heaths that are supposed to bloom in March got winter burned badly again, and the boxwoods have broken bones and misshaped forms from icy snow loads. Some branches snapped off completely.


I have to seriously rethink how to store tools in winter. The potting bench and shed are on the north side of the house, and if I ever get a day when some clean up and pruning can be attempted, I'll need to reach my tools. But this area won't melt yet for weeks, and certainly won't melt while spring temperatures are in the 20s.

Next winter I need to remember to empty the shed in fall, bring everything into the garage and stage my equipment from there.

The witch hazels, those great discouragements of my gardening life, do have the teensiest of bitty brown blooms clinging to the topmost stems, but they are not about to open. The rest of the shrub is covered in dead dry leaves. For a winter flowering shrub, Hamamelis 'Diane' has been a big disappointment.

I couldn't get far enough out in to the yard to see if the Cornus mas flowers were getting ready to open, but I assume they were bundled tight. They are supposed to bloom in late March. In some part of the world.

The retreating glacier at the top of the driveway still makes an obstacle to any foray into the back yard. To get out back I had to slip-slide around the other side of the house over crusted snow that was flatter.

My clipboard list of What To Do About Winter Damage has only one task on it after my initial spring reconnaissance tour:
       WAIT.

At least a few more weeks.


Check.

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