But I had burnt a dogfood bag in the driveway and took the moment to just burn the broken stems of mums, asters and Blue Egnima stalks I'd piled up that I don't have adequate place to pile them to break down naturally. Sure I have a compost pile and the remnants of another closer to the woods, but that one is in dire need of cleaning around of the honeysuckle vines and the seedling trees that invaded while I was distracted and working.
Burning the roughage seemed wrong, but it cleaned up the immediate area and as I broke off the Frakartii aster stalks and piled them on the flames, I noticed some stands of narcissus that had been coaxed to lengthen some more and was almost four inches high.
I went and checked the mail. Yet another spring catalog. Two of them, one a shred candidate but I haven't gotten the shredder yet so it goes into the trashcan. A Burgess. Interesting prices but I know who I like so far and willing to try later that I haven't yet. I have started to practice the art of throwing away catalogs despite the implorings of my subconcious mind trying to convince me I should keep them ALL. There comes a time.................you HAFTA get rid of them. Do you know how hard it was to throw away those 11 years of saved White Flower Farm's? Those are always awesome. And informative, despite some of their prices and I had convinced myself that by having those older ones, I'd know which plants they had if they weren't in recent catalogs. Insane, ah?
The other catalog worth keeping is the new, 10th year anniversary catalog of Iris City Gardens in Primm Springs, Tennessee I discovered last year. I want irises from them and would rather drive and check them out there. They have acclimated Louisiana irises and I adore those and Zhan has been patient with me and sent me about six or seven and I've killed every one. Not because I'm hard on irises. I'm not. I just have a hard time convincing the REAL Louisiana irises they will like Tennessee's bitter ass cold nights in the winter. Even if they do have enough moisture. So my only hope is Louisiana irises raised in Tennessee that are used to the cold <g>
While I was at the mailbox, I got a hair up my ass to dig up a Pink Honey Locust tree seedling from the many hairy little daughters Miz Mary's has produced along the edge of the driveway. Also known as an Acacia tree I believe, it has HUGE pink pea-like blossoms and hairy red stems, thorns, but nice leaves like a compact mimosa, and is more a shrub tree. The babies have sprouted from runner roots and I really should have severed a baby and allowed it to root, but impatience is something that rears it's head occaisonally with me. Which is another reason why my gardens look the way they do. And went immediately and got my trusty Crafty shovel and a cat litter bucket that Mary Emma had saved for me to carry the rootball and baby tree back down the long driveway.
I decided on my way back up the drive with bucket and shovel in hand that I was also claiming more left behind large eared prickley pad cactus that grows under the second voluntary daughter shrub/tree where my mailbox used to be. I'd planted this large eared variety if cactus with the attitude it was appropriate for the carrier who drove me nuts who delivered my mail. The cactus loved the harsh, totally exposed south and westerly ridge top and thrived. I also had hens and chicks and the cactus shoved them out. A pink locust daughter moved in about four years ago and last year Miz Mary moved my mailbox and hers down the driveway and to the edge of the paved road where our true dead end stops. She even put in one for the bendejo who shares my driveway so there are now three mailboxes. I moved a few pieces of the pads and laid them down next to the new post, but moved only 2/3rds of the whole clump. The last year has encouraged the older pads to thrive and I wanted to lift them while the ground was tender and soft.
I got one baby plant up, I thought unscathed. Then tried to sever a couple more and discovered they literally were babies off the runner roots of the main plants. Success may not come unless the daughter is tiny.
Lifted the huge pads from the rooted part and made sure not to touch a spot, even if they looked bare. Prickley pads are evil with those dots being hundreds of tiny spines that itch like the dickens.
The neighbor's BIL's cows were all watching me as I hooked the shovel thru the handle of the plastic bucket and carried it on the end of the shovel over my shoulder as I carried the two huge clumps of cactus in my right hand. Planted the seedling Acacia with hopes it lives in the rocky soil near the Zebra grasses. If it lives it lives. But I laid the prickley pears at the feet of the seedling and piled the neighboring dirt and gravel from the bucket on top to weigh the pads back down to nestle the roots back against the soil and I knew those at least would survive. Tough things and they would have south and western exposure there too, just be under Zebra grass and crape myrtles is all.
The cows had followed me to the corner of the pasture as I was working. I realized Benton must use plastic buckets to feed them, and am amused. Step around the two huge clumps of tanned grasses with the silly bare umbrella looking Trumpet vine that goes up the telephone pole where a dead mercury light is out of sight of them and place the bucket near another bucket I need to store somewhere and take a quick look at the pots in the alcove I've created with plants. The lilac has great fat buds on the ends of the stems with promises of flowers late spring. The catmint I plugged into the bottomless galvanized tub and then filled up with soil and a volunteer hollyhock sprang up next to is draped over the edges like tired, gray things. Now would be the time to sheer it and share with the felines and get them plastered.
The bark of Pam's Diablo ninebark seems safe and juuuust starting to peel a little bit. I just have to keep an eye on it in case it wants to slip thru the chain link fence. The cows will nibble it for sure. I'm amazed by the cleaning they've done so far! Then the fairies completely and totally distract me by their titterings and giggles. As I start to see if there is signs of life in the Loripedilum, my mind's eye catches something out of the corner. A quick fairy darts out of sight but leaves the image of where I thought she was and a suggestion for me to look to the spot next to the lilac and pot with the daylily and narcissus shoots poking up, and the other pot with the old spend mums branches and flowers pouring over the edge with the green leafy new growth assuring me it's survived for a grand return next fall, careen off that image and lookie lookie.
How did I catch that one? But my real eye darts from one side of the yard to literally the opposite direction to long glance into the corner of the Colorado bed where I've tucked in hens and chickens and another yarrow, when I see white drops.--------Wait................white drops??? I move to where I am looking. I can't get close. I have three pots in close proximity to each other nestled at the feet of the lilac and even the space formed behind these three pots appears to have someone living in it, but I get down and sure enough. The fairies have blessed me with the first flower of the new season. Two perfect snowdrops. One has bloomed already and is slightly tattered, but the one behind it is perfect. And there are three more just a few inches away that are true drops of white. No sign of opening yet but white and ready.
that inspires me to go get the digital camera and take a closer and up in the face of the flower pic. I broke off the dried stems of the mums and gave them to the cows who snarfed them up like they were some kinda candy and knelt down and positioned the camera to within four inches of the flower and pushed the button. Overhead the finches and assorted hordes of winged dinosaurs were cursing me for being too close and they wanted to eat some more, please go away! I took two pictures and gathered up the mail and came inside to load the picture. She's georgeous. And when I went to move the shovel under the side porch, I looked at the Hellebore and found more hairy emerging buds! WOO HOO!!! Spring is closer than I thought. Already the Cornelian Cherry tree is teasing me with glimmers of sulphur yellow fuzz from between the split reddish round pods that are divided four ways. The balls house teeny little stems with ittsy bittsy fairy flowers of deep sulphur yellow. One year the honey babies were able to pollinate them and no frost nipped their efforts and I had three cherries. Frost always ruins my chances of fruit for winter.
But I don't care for that now. I'm just happy that I was able to spot the very first flower up in Fairy Holler. I can't wait for the others. On my way back from the side yard towards the house I stopped and cleaned off huge, dried pawlonia leaves that had settled under the stems of my fig tree and noticed there was green fingers of stems lifting the dried leaf up six inches and cleaned off the leaf to discover there was not only yellowed leaves of a narcissus, but six inches of leaves of narcissus and these are the ones I dug from the vertical slope near the downtown post office that are greenish yellow and triple. The flowers always look like greenish yellow balloons when they form and I've since discovered they were planted over 200 years ago by one of the founding families. Mine have tiny little young baloons forming on some of the stems. They didn't like lifting when I got mine.
But this year I will have at least one of those awesome blossoms!
thanks for letting me share this neat moment with you. Spring is close.
madgardener. up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36