Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, March 12, 2010

Have You Ever Noticed

That rain stimulates the brain to think of/remember
projects that you can't do because it's raining?
Like clean out the dry stream that's clogged with debris from the winter rains

If it weren't raining I could start the mosaic project
that can only be constructed outside. There is no way it will fit on this table in the mosaic shed.
Yep, the table is an excellent example
of my organization style!

Or, I could stain the fence
No way can it be stained in the rain...
But, won't it look good the color of the birdhouse poles!
...and that pole needs to be straightened a little!

Or, there's the plant domino game I need to start...
This small bed is right out front for all to see.
It looks especially good each spring
dressed in wildflowers and pinestraw. Right now~it's bare naked and
the leaves I had to leave until I could rake again are
covering the Christmas Ferns, heuchera and Phlox divaricata.
It's time for them to come out into the sunlight. The domino game begins like this...
Remove all the hydranges so there is room for the new inkberries...
Plant the inkberries. They're Ilex glabra 'Nordic'
and according to Monrovia which I'm quoting here:
"A hardy male inkberry that produces no fruit with excellent foliage. Makes a fine background for showier short stature plants in winter or summer. Evergreen cover-up for year around beauty along foundations or fence lines. Well suited to low hedges either natural or sheared into a rigid formal character for dividing front yards. Single specimens can also be sheared for topiary-like precision form. Wind resistance makes an excellent choice that helps with snow drift."
They exactly meet the wildflower bed's needs and
are a beautiful native holly.
Then,...relocate the hydrangea to the bare spots in the front bed,
after removing the unhappy redbuds...
Stain the redbud branches a delicious purple for fun and whimsy.
I did say that~more on that project later!
Top dress the beds with compost,
then mulch with soil conditioner.
Gently water~after all there's been plenty of rain.

What have you been noticing?



  1. Hi Gail, I wonder if that is some psychological procrastination devise we use to postpone chores:)
    It would be in my case. I put off starting a hypertufa project until it got too cold. Then I sat around and wished I could start the project:)

    Great photos.

  2. I'm trying to not think of the gazillions of chores that are waiting for me. Too many to count! I hope the rain will hold off for the weekend so I can start pruning the roses.

  3. I have the same organizational skills as you Gail. It is funny how we notice the things we need/want to do when we cannot possibly get to them.....

  4. I have the luxury of it being the first rain since the snow melted. This means I'm so excited about the spring smell of the soil and the tiny green tips of foliage popping up, my eyes and brain do not yet drift to what projects I could be doing. Have a great weekend!

  5. "Stain the redbud branches a delicious purple for fun and whimsy." I'm intrigued! The rain is about to arrive and I'm running out to sow dutch clover in my lawn's bare spots. I think the bunnies will like it :)

  6. Oh, I think the human mind just naturally dwells on what cannot be. Your post illustrates this beautifully :^)

  7. I am the same way - I could be outside weeding, prunig shrubs, moving leaves, or a dozen other things, but it is raining. All summer I said when it gets cold, I am going to do all these crafts I have stuck in a cabinet. Then when it got cold, I sat and sulked and red garden blogs and books - lol

  8. Oh, I know the domino effect all too well! Yesterday, it caused me to take out the scraps to the compost bin, then stop to see if the daffodils were poking up, then decide I should cut back just one of the grasses... and then, hours later, I ended up with a clean garden bed. lol.

  9. Piggy looks so very festive, love the glasses! It makes me want to sing, "Oh, me mither and fither are Irish...."

    Like Cyndy, whaddup with the redbud going purple????

    The Inkberrys sound perfect for the spot. I am going to look into them, as we discussed. :-)

    This has been quite a rain, with lots of lightning, sort of scary, so glad to be safe inside the house looking out. Poor birdies, still at the feeders. Do they ever get struck by lightning? Most of our projects are waiting for things to grow more, so I can see where they are before moving yet more. Love your domino school of thought, that is exactly the way it always is, well said. :-)
    ps, I think you cleaned up the table before snapping it. HA (That was Don, naughty, naughty Don.)

  10. What a nice post! The rain serves its purpose. I miss it in the desert.

  11. Have you seen any shots of the painted trees at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show? My camera couldn't capture them, but they were used as art, hanging from above, not quite horizontal. One of them had strands of crystals hanging from it. I can see you doing that with the redbuds.

  12. I have a long list of things that need to be done before Spring. I have spent the weeks of winter not worrying as there was lots of time before I had to do anything.
    Suddenly it is very, very nearly here and I still have a hugely long list to get through.
    In fact it gets longer.
    All I am fit for is to sit here staring at the list like a rabbit in the headlights of a rapidly approaching juggernaut.
    It is a sort of springy shellshock and I need to get on and do rather than think.
    Instead of reading lovely blogs.
    Stop it.
    Get going, James.
    Before Malvern when the place will be jumping with people from Tennessee

  13. Hi Gail! I just cut back my hellebores (according to MMD's instructions). I need to prune my Butterfly bush... otherwise, a little walk-around today showed the start of (excitement) Spring! ;-)

    Great post. You have much to look forward to!

  14. I am the best procrastinator. I can sit and make lists a mile long when it rains then forget the list when the sun comes out. Ha... Your inkberry sounds like the perfect bush.

  15. Too true! It's raining here now...and I have a list of things I could be doing...but would I if the sun were shining. Staining redbud branches? Now I'm intrigued.

  16. At the rate I'm going with my winter sowing project, it'll be too late and I can leave it until this time next year! Usually the domino effect starts happening as soon as I close my eyes to sleep ~ suddenly, there are visions of all the projects I've planned for the garden(& house) which then makes me think of a few more to add. Full of promises and thoughts of amazingly energetic spurts, I fall asleep content.

  17. Gail,

    I get accused if this all the time. Today I took a long nap and not much got done. WILL be in trouble later....... Enjoyed your musings today it picked up my spirits a great deal on a rainy day.

  18. So true, so true. Lazy, rainy weather is our chance to plan. Beautiful sunshine days are our chance to soak up the warmth & take a nap outside. Not exactly sure when the work days occur...hmmm, perhaps I'll ponder that on the next rainy day. Or sunny one.

  19. Gail - a nice, long list! :-)

    I played several rounds of dominos last fall, so I have fewer for spring. Still, the list is long and I just got a big order of seeds.

  20. I always see things that I need to do NOW when I'm busy doing something else that I cannot stop doing.

    I think it's human nature to want to do something we can't do.

  21. I tend to put things off quite a bit. But once I get started I'm ok.
    Another rainy day here. Things sure are wet. All my surviving plants are getting their fill. lol

  22. We're expecting several inches of rain this weekend. Such a bummer because the ground is finally thawing and I was all ready to start cleaning up and prepping the beds. Oh well. I just discovered the Richters herb catalog - that'll keep me busy for awhile. Still I'd rather play dominoes all day.

    Hey, that stained fence is gonna look so good!

  23. Oh Gail, I recognize your table style for it is my own! I am noticing the snow is melting and even a few snowdrops are up. I love your crocus photo! The light is beautiful! Your Hellebore shot is equally stunning. Hopefully you will have a sunny weekend! Ours will be wet... but at least it is rain and not snow! ;>) Carol

  24. Ours are staining the bridges over the dry creekbed and whacking down the winter-dead aster stalks. And spring pruning. Plus composting ALL the perennials bushes and trees.

    Look forward to seeing pictures as you do the mosaic project.

  25. Gail, I know exactly where you are coming from. :) With me it's the wet ground-if only it were dry, I could rake, plant, etc. Can't wait to see those flowers in bloom again, or at least photos of them.

  26. Whoa, that is some domino effect! I'm having trouble finding enough dry ground time, like beckie above, to put in transplants and finish weeding and leveling the paths, and so forth. Oh, well, we do what we can and get on with life; right?

    I do think the fence will look lovely stained to match the birdhouse poles. :)

  27. ha Too funny Gail. After all winter, we're all itching to get going again aren't we? Then after we've been working in the garden for several months, we'll be happy to see the rain so we can take a break!
    Have a great weekend. I need to join you in removing some mulch.

  28. Gail,
    While I rejoice in the melting snow, it has revealed much work that needs to be done. But, I feel eager and ready to feel those achy muscles induced by those first few days back in the garden. Your stained glass is beautiful in the window. I am collecting things for a mosaic project as well, though this will be my first attempt at such artistry. I hope you enjoy a dry, sun-filled weekend, Gail. :)

  29. Oh, too funny, Gail. It finally got warm enough without chances for freezes to get out and do some pruning and it rained this week for 2 days straight. I can't complain about the rain but now I don't have a day to get to the pruning for another week. Ack. It will surely still be there waiting for me... along with so many other projects. It is spring and sometimes we have so much to do its hard to know which domino to start with... Happy day,

  30. Gail girl !
    I have been on my knees a lot this week .. clearing leaf litter off so this rain can now penetrate and warm the soil up .. it amazes me to see so much LIFE underneath the litter .. I have noticed it other years but this year it is extraordinay and so wonderful to see : ) .. I also have to relocate two hydrangea .. I swear every Autumn to make the "to do list" for the Spring but somehow I think I will remember on my own .. DUH ? LOL .. a gardener's mind is a mysterious thing ?
    Joy : )

  31. I know exactly what you mean, Gail. Now that the snow has melted, I see everything that needs to be done--but, it's too wet and I'm too busy at the moment to get to it. My bulbs are going to just have to fight through the leaves on their own:) Sounds like you have so many exciting projects in mind!

    The seeds arrived yesterday--perfect timing, as I'm heading for AZ tomorrow. Beckie and I had a great time going through them all; I snared some baptisia seeds from you--thank you!

  32. I started my spring garden cleanup in earnest yesterday, and now that I've started I can't help but think of all the things I want to do. Of course now it's raining and, as you've pointed out, heightening my sense of all the tasks to be completed!

  33. I'm very diligent about making lists. I never accomplish anything on those lists but if I get a wild hair and decide to be productive, there are plenty of lists kicking around the office begging for attention! Love your photos. So nice to see the change of seasons... :)

  34. But rains are good - they give us time to recover...to rest and to get our strength back. I, for one, need that sometimes.. ; )

  35. Raining like a son of a gun here too. Fingers crossed it doesn't turn to ice. Question for you - folks are being encouraged here not to take the leaves out of their gardens - there's a period of outright hideousness, then if you wait the worms drag the little leaf corpses back into the soil and it will all be fabulous. I'm going to give it a try in a couple of the beds that aren't so obvious - what are people doing in your neck of the woods. Would someone be drummed out of the 'hood if the leaves weren't all "cleaned up"? Love the idea of the permanent tattoo on the redbud.

  36. Barbara, There are two leaf removal camps in my neighborhood...The mulchers and the clean sweepers~I employ both techniques. My bff removes all the leaves and mulches with soil conditioner. Her soil is rich, humus soil that supports everything she grows! She does garden on deeper soil then c&l. My poor shallow soil has improved mightily by letting the leaf litter remain in place. I have several areas of vinca that I attempt to control its plan to dominate the world.It looks 100% better cleared of brown leaves. I rake the leaves from the perennial garden beds and mulch them with the mower, then put the mulched leaf back in the beds to turn into wonderful leaf litter. I just didn't get around to doing anything last year~I didn't realize until after my hand began to heal how very much pain affected my energy level.

    That was wordy!


  37. Wonderful stroll through your garden.

    Here in California we SHOULD treasure every drop of rain. I sure do. Things are popping now. Fruit trees in bloom and so many wildflowers.

    Who wouldn't feel renewed by this magical time of the year???

    All joys,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  38. great list Gail. So much can't be done here because of how soggy everything is. We have had standing water for longer than I can remember. Truly swamp season.
    I will look into Inkberry, looks like a winner.

  39. Indeed yes, Gail. I spent a restless night, worrying about the many tasks ahead:)

  40. Gail,
    I'm trying not to worry about gardening to be done, but there's plenty of spring-in-progress to be noticed, from expanded buds, new shoots, early flowers, and the beginnings of a green haze around the edges (that's hopeful, actually).


  41. Thanks everyone for stopping by~Have a splendid week! gail


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson