Dead or alive

The gardener’s inclination (at least mine) is to suspect that any plant is dead that has not woken from its winter slumber by the start of April. Surely, blight has vanquished the hostas, all hundred of them, he thinks, but then some sense creeps in to argue that these must only be late in waking.

A yellow leafed hosta emerging along the front walk.
In May hostas will fill the shaded parts of the garden, but today they have just poked above ground.

There is good reason to keep a log to remind the gardener of the arrival time of various plants in the case of his failing memory, but the garden should repeatedly teach that the worst rarely comes to pass. If I kept a written log I would surely forget where it was stashed, so I must rely on a memory that most often runs short on detail. My counter to making wildly incorrect assumptions is a truer assumption that I must be mistaken, so I most often think and think again before blurting the nonsense that first came to me.

The large hosta in the foreground is growing on a mossy rock in the middle of this small pond. There is no soil, but constant moisture from the pond. While a third of this hosta has been removed it will still fill this space.

This morning, birds are chirping noisily as I dig to reduce the spread of a huge, seedling hosta that has grown across a waterfall stone, blocking half of the water flow in the pond below our deck (above). The blockage backs the water up, raising the level in the upper pond, which then trickles over the pond’s edge and onto the patio. The removed clump of hosta is split into two and planted in the lower, rear garden beneath a pendulous hornbeam where branches were recently elevated so that ducking under should no longer be necessary.

A second pond is gasping for water, even after it was filled by a recent storm. I discover a loose fitting on the pump, which is quickly repaired, and this is likely to be the last labor for months to be expended on any of the five ponds.

A circular patio sits below the two ponds and a third, with a narrow stream that roughly parallels a stone path that continues around to the side garden. Just above the circle patio the view is of a stream bordered by green, mossy stones, with branches of a serviceberry hanging overhead and a border of strawberry begonias (Saxifraga), sedums, and other perennials. And, finally the hostas show signs of life.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Can one turn on waterfalls and fountains before the last frost date?

    1. Dave says:

      There is a danger for fish in mixing warmer water from the bottom of a pond with cold water in the top layer in very cold areas. Not around here. I typically leave the waterfall in my koi pond running year around, but sometimes turn off one or two of the other ponds’ pumps.

  2. James says:

    Dave…”Deer dessert” as I think you once called hostas. Have they started nibbling the new hosta growth yet? Have Bobbex and Liquid Fence been effective for you in keeping the deer away?

    1. Dave says:

      Many of the hostas have not opened yet, but I was thinking yesterday that I’ll need to spray very soon. I once had many more hostas when deer were not so much of a problem. They started nibbling and I said, okay there’s enough for both of us, figuring that the hostas would come back the next year. But, after a few years the hostas declined, and finally my wife said take care of it or I’m buying a gun. This, of course, would be a bad idea, so I started spraying, at first alternating two different sprays, but now using only Bobbex, and every other month I mix in a small amount of pepper sauce sold to deter squirrels. The only time I have a problem is when I stray too long without spraying, but I’m alerted in a hurry.

    2. Valerie says:

      I love the moss on the rocks.

      1. Dave says:

        I would love all exposed ground to be covered by moss, but of course much of the shaded area is too dry with shallow tree roots.

  3. Anne Kelly says:

    Thank you Dave! I read every post so this is many, many dozens of “Thank you”s saved up!

    1. Dave says:

      I appreciate that anyone bothers to drop by to see what’s going on in my garden. I don’t keep a garden journal, but this is my reference when I need to look back to see what happened and when.

  4. Lucy says:

    I’d like to see some current photos of the streams & pond, with the hostas, etc emerging.

  5. Bonnie C. says:

    I think our rather bizarre weather here this year has stymied a lot of plants. I’m seeing some performing earlier & some that I would have seen by now just starting to awaken. Climate change & its vagarities at its best.

    1. Dave says:

      While I’m anxious for warmer weather, I don’t care to push ahead growth of Japanese maples and others that are susceptible to damage in late freezes.

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