A windy early March

In the best case, clean up of this garden requires every available weekend day in March. The little that is accomplished in small spurts of effort through the winter months hardly matters, though it was nice to get outdoors for any reason. Every spring, gatherings with family and friends are discouraged until order is restored, though my idea of tidiness is likely to be a bit messier than the standard. There’s too much garden, too little me, and I hope that the density of foliage hides most of what I don’t get around to. Usually, I get around to everything just in time for spring’s growth.

Piles of leaves have been removed from hellebores, but in few other areas.

Today I’ve surveyed damage from a day of howling winds, and though the breeze continues, the worst has passed. With a forest of swamp maples and tulip poplars bordering the garden, it is always advised to scan the tree canopy to avoid the next branch that falls. Probably, most of these fell yesterday, though I see several that remain suspended far above. Regardless of my personal safety, the immediate issue is that this debris will add to the spring clean up.

Fortunately, no trees fell onto the house, which is a bit of a concern since several have fallen just short in recent years. Others are too close for comfort, though the shade is greatly appreciated. I am always surprised when falling limbs fall to just miss treasured shrubs, and again there were many near misses.

There are advantages, I think, to living in a bit of a valley between foothills of the Blue Ridge. I suppose that the strongest breezes blow over the top of the garden, but this only partially protected a treasured Japanese Umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata, above and below) that was broken nearly in half as winds bent its flexible trunk. Two of three trunks broke, and while I expect that I should have pruned this to a single trunk long ago, now I’m happy that some part of this slow growing evergreen remains.

Japanese Umbrella pine is a unique, slow growing evergreen.

This morning, fifteen feet of the Umbrella pine (twenty years of growth) was dragged to be tossed onto the growing pile of debris. Another pine of similar age (planted twenty five years ago, I think), and in a more open area, suffered no harm, and with the trunk that remains on the broken pine I feel somewhat fortunate that damage was not far worse.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Carole Cambria Gertel says:

    Dave..when do you cut perrenials back and do you mulch yearly?

    1. Dave says:

      Hopefully, I’m able to cut back perennials and grasses by mid March. In recent years warm early season temperatures pushed growth earlier, so many perennials began growing weeks early. This year I’m seeing growth on daylilies, but little else.

      I do not mulch except for the shaded half of the garden where leaves are shredded and left in place. There’s far too much garden, with too limited a budget to spend it on mulch. In many areas trees, shrubs, and low growing perennials cover almost all the ground so mulch is not necessary.

  2. bittster says:

    Sorry to hear about your umbrella pine. Hopefully the remaining trunk can carry n and fill in over the next twenty years.

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