Back home, I decided to tackle the shade garden, and toted my tools--clippers (for the rampant ivy), edger blade, small hand rake, and all-important foam kneeling pad--to the back yard. Sadie hopped up onto "her" chair and curled up in the sun. A rowdy cadre of goldfinches chipped and fussed in the trees--they're not used to seeing us in the yard and have mostly had it to themselves all winter. It's delightful to see their bright yellow flashing in the trees, and their silly roller-coaster style of flying--tight arc up, then plummet, then arc up again.
Coming up in the shade garden:
- tiny wood ferns (dug from behind my parents' house in Cincinnati), just uncurling, tight & delicate
- clump of green nubbins: an early hosta
- thin maroon strap-like leaves of springbeauties: these I started from seed gathered two years ago in June, painstakingly catching one tiny seed at a time from pods that had already turned yellow and popped open, most of them already empty of seeds. I scattered them immediately in a bare spot in the shade garden--I moved a flat stone--and last spring, less than a year from scattering the seed, I had four blloming plants. Hoping for more this year. Hoping they'll establish a nice little colony under the Japanese maple.
- fuzzy ferny clumps of wild yarrow
- drifts of an odd, floppy-leaved, species tulip. Our first year here, we found one blooming and took extra care after that to not disturb them. Last year there were maybe half a dozen flowers: small, bright yellow. Hoping for more (and more).
- lots of the Barlow columbines I started last spring from seeds. I'm particularly looking forward to these, as they should be mixed colors. We had one dark purple Barlow in the garden when we moved here, and Billy & Jackie, our neighbors, had a lighter-purple one. So we traded seeds. And I bought mixed seeds and gave Jackie several small plants last summer. Very excited to see how it all turns out. (NOTE: I told Randy he is lucky to have a flower that bears his namesake, and agreed, then reminded me there's a Barlow pocketknife too. All I have--all I know about anyway--is a coffee from the Gevalia line, "Cafe Mohring.")
Many of the ferns and hostas aren't up yet, so I had to tread carefully. Filled two large trash cans with leaves and pine needles and ivy. We'll take it all to the park to be composted this week.
Time to shower off the grime.