Monday, March 9, 2009

ANd then the frost and more snow and now frigid air..

It's not the refrigerator; it's colder. I spoke last time of spring and of course it's around the corner. By this time next week, we'll have spring-like temps for good, (I think). But this is a badly timed bit of winter re-dux. The new growth on cutback roses (among other things we've already been working on in the post-president's day rush to prune), is prime for the bite of cold this week. Micro-climates are important factors in the nature's cruel decision as to whether the tender new growth lives or dies. South-facing walls and areas that are somewhat sheltered will, perhaps, fare better.

Just to clarify one thing. The freakishly cold temps this winter, the record breaking cold events are not an indication that "Global Warming" is not happening but rather more likely part of the bank of evidence that Climate Change, caused by the warming temps on the Earth's surface and water, really is happening. The term Global Warming seems to trip people when they see weird cold trends and shifting climate in places that are just not usually this chilly. The Earth's climate is changing and there are things that we could do about it to slow the porcess or adapt to the process.

For sure, we can do the usual drive less, bike or walk or ride public transport, we can heat less, and all that. We can als be less heavy on the food production system. Eat more locally, more sustainably, grow your own food, perhaps.

I've started plans for my own garden of food. (Notice that I've started the plans and not the actual work). I'm going to grow lettuce (easy crop), chives, spinach, tomatoes (in a container in the hottest part of my yard), basil and maybe some blueberry shrubs. The 3 year old loves blueberries. Bringing it all back to our own spot of ground (if we have one) or our own porch of containers, maybe we can help a small bit. Maybe that small bit we each do will add up to a big force for change..

Stay warm, here comes the Frost!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Timing... Spring's gotta be here soon!

I've done nothing in my own garden yet. Nothing at all. And yet the crocus and iris near that red-twig are making a show of early spring. Indeed this is the year I'll want to hard prune the red-twig Cornus, but maybe I'll wait a bit.

Out in the gardens around town we're focusing on that early spring shrub pruning. Cotinus and Cornus, Salix and Roses are all getting some good attention as the season pushes onward.

The designers are busy replacing or re-working winter trashed areas of the garden. As we remove the whipped Phormiums (notice the partly flat one behind these irises) and Hebes, sometimes a good amount of space opens. The obvious sustainable solution is drought tolerant, native oriented plants, but maybe now we also have to think more about cold hardy plants too. If the air temps are low enough long enough (which they were this winter) the soil levels drop too chilling rootballs that may not be able to take it. So now Phormium which doesn't mind a bit of snow and ice is resembling a very bad hair-day. The big ones can be pretty hard buggers to dig out, for sure. It can be somewhat refreshing to rip out things that didn't make it and start over.

I'l end this post with a bit by the great mad man poet e.e. cummings... (read it a few times out loud...)

"Spring is like a perhaps hand..
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything."