Moments In The Garden-Practical Optimism for Spring


“How much hope, expectation, and sheer hard work goes into the smallest success! There is no being sure of anything except that whatever has been created will change in time…”  ~May Sarton



I am a card carrying optimist…well most of the time.  And at the same time I consider myself very practical.  After a bit of study, I like to get down in the dirt, so to speak, and use what I know.  That is how I approached my job, and how I approach gardening.  

Keeping optimism front and center while being practical has served me well over the years, and it is this balanced approach that I am using for planning my garden projects.  It allows me to focus more, instead of being scattered, and allows me to spread my wings and not limit myself so much.  I find I can be more inspired, and see what is possible.

What has been inspiring this spring is the early blooming going on in my garden.  You can see Crocus minimus ‘Spring Beauty’ already blooming in my grass (top picture).  Such a lovely surprise.  And here are a few other surprises we saw in March.


spring growth (1)

Hellebores, Pussy willows, Forsythia blossoms getting ready to burst, and clematis sporting new growth again.  I saw this same picture in December, when it was so warm the clematis thought it was spring.





And this is what happens when bulbs want to start blooming in December, and then get covered in snow or are frozen again and again.  Luckily it seems to be the only one that was damaged.

My practical side says don’t be fooled by the warm weather we have had.  And as I think this, the weather folks seem to be agreeing with me.  They now are predicting cold temps for April here, and snow on and off.  That is fine with me, as it means my garden will be slow to emerge, and I will have time to do spring projects.


So after an early clean up in the March garden, and an inspection of the plants, I was able to see my garden laid bare before me….easily giving me a few clues about what MUST be done this year…and this early spring.



lawn (1)

We are not big lawn people, but we have to maintain a lawn in our area, either by ourselves or by hiring lawn care nearby.  So we work at it as organically as possible.  Over the past few years though we noticed these thick clumps of grass growing and turning an ugly brown all over the front and side lawns (see in the inset picture).  I finally figured out that they are small ornamental grasses seeded from others in the front and side yards.  You can see the one of the grasses cut back in the front garden.

This grass is coming out as it is too close to the boxwood, and needs more room to grow.  I plan to find another spot out back for it, quite possibly in the white garden once I get it redesigned.  But this early spring, we are digging out probably close to 50 clumps in the lawn and filling in the holes with a combo of top soil and compost.  They should fill in over the spring, summer and fall, but we will watch them to keep them weeded.





A first priority though is this bed in the back of the veg garden.  You might recall this overgrown bed, full of blueberry bushes and blackberry brambles, was the nesting site for rabbits last year.  We cleaned it out in fall, but ran out of time and energy to get it ready for spring.

I have since weeded it, but we must dig it out, add landscape fabric and screening to it as the voles love to make a home here.  Once refilled and topped off with compost, I will be planting early lettuces, arugula and other veggies.





This nondescript area can be found next to the new bed pictured above.  It usually fills with daffs, a few flowers and loads of weeds.  It will be cleared for the site of our new raised fruit bed.  I should just fit here.  I will need to move a few bulbs and plants soon.  Once it is in place I am moving blueberries, a raspberry bush and strawberries to a 3-tiered bed we bought from Gardener’s Supply.





I have overwinterd the fruit plants in this bed, along with other plants that we are growing in containers until they can be planted out in the garden…mostly small starter shrubs.  Once this bed is cleared of the buried containers, we are digging this out, and adding the landscape fabric and screening as well.  Then in later May it will become our tomato-pepper-okra-eggplant bed.

If you look from the front to back of this picture, you will see the rest of the veg beds.  They all need to be topped with compost.  We ran out of time this past fall so when the rain stops for a bit, I will get this small project finished.




cutting bed (1)

You may remember we created a small cutting bed in the Side Garden last spring.  We increased the depth in fall, and now see the front stones are pushing out and will fall.  I thought it would take a bit of redoing, but actually it just took a little disassembly in the front, and angling of the bottom stones.  Now it is ready for planting soon. 

I am still planning on a new cutting bed, in the back garden area, that will be completed by fall.  It will need to be measured out, plants moved, area dug out to a depth of 2 feet, and then landscape fabric and screening laid in the hole.  Once done, we will back fill with compost and soil, and surround it with stones.  I plan to plant tulips here that I will cover with screening to keep out squirrels.  Then once they start to grow, I will cover them with netting to keep out deer.  I also plan to add other flowers to this bed next spring including more dahlias.





Another April chore will be getting the pond ready.  This is what it looks like once it melts, and the weather warms.





There are pond weeds and algae through out.  We actually opened the pond on Easter by putting the pump back in.  Now the waterfall is running and the pond is scrubbing itself clean.  We just need to give it a good skimming of the surface for weeds and debris.




pond edge (1)

The main pond project is rebuilding the far bank for birds.  Originally the edge gradually dropped off so birds could wade in easily and bathe.  Now it is very weedy, and the bank drops off sharply due to erosion after almost 8 years.  So we will clear the edge, and add bigger rocks further out from the edge to make the drop off gradual.  The we will add small stones from there to the pond edge.  I am sure the birds will be happy to have a bathing spot again, and I know we will enjoy watching them.


These are just the first projects we need to complete in early spring, but certainly not the last.  We are hoping to also:


  • extend the side gardens back out as the lawn has grown back into them
  • loads of weeding must be done especially in the front gardens….I figure an hour a day will help me to catch up before the hot weather sets in….and even then I will still be weeding a few hours a week into the fall.
  • Veg and cutting gardens as well as annual flower seed all need to be sown or starts planted out.  That will be happening through April and May.
  • Of course we still need to add landscape fabric and screening to the last 2 veg beds, but we should do that in fall.
  • And the bog garden needs to be fixed and the new rain garden dug there and lined with stone.
  • The rain garden near the gazebo needs to be dug out a bit and lined with stones and the area near the fence cleared of Obedient plant that is taking over….or maybe we will just move some plants out of their way.
  • Not to mention the White Garden needs to be top dressed with compost, and redesigned….as a matter of fact, many of the beds need some tweaking.  
  • And let’s not forget the iris, daffs and other plants need dividing, and moving!


Oh well these are projects for the future…some near and some far.  We always need some project to keep us busy in the garden, now don’t we.  I know I can find projects with very little effort.  I bet you can too!




sunset (1)

I thought I would leave you with one of the spectacular sunset moments we had in March.  


What wonderful sights have you been seeing in your garden?






In A Vase On Monday 




I wanted to make a vase that showcased the end of March, and beginning of April in my garden.  It is cold for a few more days so I cut a bunch of willow branches from my front trees.  They are just blooming.  What a sight as they begin to bloom.





And just a few hellebores makes for a perfect early spring arrangement.  It was late in the day when I made this vase so the pictures are a bit dark.

With the snow and cold, I am not sure what flowers will be blooming for next week’s vase.  Well I will be optimistic, and say there will be loads of bulbs flowering who love our colder temps.


I am joining in with a few memes this week as I prepare this vase:  Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful meme, In a Vase on Monday, Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016 and Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.



Next up on the blog:  

Monday brings another look at what has bloomed in the early springtime garden in cold April.

I am linking in with Michelle for her Nature Notes meme at her blog, Rambling Woods.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Monday. 

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