Monday, March 21, 2011

Marching On

March is a miracle in the garden.  Wet frozen earth covered with brown, lifeless leaves and twigs, eventually give way to joyous signs of spring.

My forgiving hellebore, now established in her third site in the garden

My wonderful sister's fall pansies perking up

Happy that the cold wet days are gone, neighbors emerge with big smiles and arms full:

My great neighbor Dorcie with one of her "Girls"
And Dorcie's fine husband Todd, who designed and built "The Girls'" sumptous henhouse
And even Tiny Tim is emerging from his newly found hiding place to frolic in the pale sunlight:

In Tiny Tim's Garden, however, March is all about digging, pulling, pruning, wheelbarrowing, dumping, raking and getting back in touch with our bit of Nature.  This happens to be our 18th spring in our house.  For both of us, we treasure the fact that we've both lived here longer than anywhere else in our lives.  We are grateful for the opportunities, friends, and family members that have kept us here, something I know is not always economically or emotionally feasible in the 21st. century.  Living here in Bellingham, WA, we honestly appreciate the beautiful landscape around us, our town's great energy, and yes, even the damp, rainy weather!

In Bellingham, I've learned that a few raindrops mean chickweed, white prairie clover (I know, it's good for fixing nitrate, but . . . ), wild carrot, wild forgetmenot, wild rose campion, wild sorrel and that %!^$# crocosmia are actually easier to pull out when the ground is wet.  What a blessing--and much easier with appropriate gear like my great yellow "Paddington Bear" rain hat, silk long johns (feels great on the skin) under jeans and my always slightly soppy, very dirty celery green gloves, bless their hearts.  

This year, I hurried (for me) to weed the front bed facing the street and our driveway.  For the third year, Bruce and I, our neighbors, Dorcie, and James on the other side, agreed on our annual joint purchase of mushroom compost and "other stuff" to save the cost of delivery.  We are all drifting happily towards sustainable gardening, creating an edible landscape without giving up the flowers we adore.  Dorcie and I don't have lawns at all, and each summer, James digs up more grass:  to create a beautiful rhodie garden, a little creek and pond, and an arc of blueberry bushes. Dorcie laid out a very orderly, well-nourished vegetable garden and also has a gorgous cutting garden and pond.

In any case, this year we ordered 7 yards of the m.c.+:  4 yards for us, 2 for Dorcie and Todd, and 1 yard for James, to be delivered to the spot between Dorcie and me near the mailboxes.  Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now introduce you to:

Mt. Doom!! (and a few weeds)
Yessiree, the gardening aficionados absolutely believe in amending our rocky, somewhat clay-ey soil annually, and look forward to the day we get to dig in, shovel, dump and rake in the amendment.  It keeps the soil light and fluffy, adds nutrients our fast-growing herbs, veggies, berries and flowers will need to be their best.  It's even going to help prevent weeds.

I'm also going to use it to start a new design in the front bed, suggested by my friend, Jaime:  send out rows from the apple tree, like the rays from the sun.  So, on Saturday and Sunday, I won the battle of Mt. Doom:

North view of the new beds

South View
and of course, the kitties just loved coming by and supervising.  That, in turn, sent our lovely staff photographer, Miss R., out of her swing and running for the camera.
Tiny Tim is getting so big!
She also thought that Dorcie's crocuses were just beautiful:

They absolutely are! 

Hope everyone is enjoying daylight savings and the chance to breathe spring air!
Happy First Day of Spring!

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