Every month Carol from May Dreams Gardens invites gardeners from around the world to celebrate what’s blooming for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Check out her website to watch the progression of spring.
In 2016, my March garden was way ahead on Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, but in 2015, we were way behind. Such is the life of a prairie gardener. You never know what you’ll get especially in spring.
In 2017, I was in Italy on a pilgrimage. I do love to travel.
Here’s what’s happening this March for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at our Little Cedar.
Also, I’ll give you some tips on garden cleanup. Bear with me on all the brown photos. There are blooms at the end. You see, if you clean up the garden, you get to see the flowers. Ha!
Although there isn’t much to look at right now–in most of my gardens, the predominant color is brown–there are a few bright surprises here and there. However, with less foliage in March, you can see the diamond and triangle design in the back garden in the photo, above. You’ve read about garden rooms in magazines I’m sure. My garden is definitely a series of rooms with a mirror image of these beds on the other side and four long beds at the bottom of the back garden.
Then, there are the borders surrounding the house. I’m happy to write that I have those nearly finished. [Click on the photos in the galleries to enlarge them.]
Who helps in my garden?
Well, I do 95% of it myself. I work from home so I have more time than the average weekend gardener. Still, my son, Brennan, comes on Saturdays and helps me with heavy lifting when he isn’t mowing the yard. He likes the extra money, and I thank God for him every day, not just on Saturdays.
Yesterday, he came over to help dig out some very unhappy hollies in the front borders. I’m replacing them with Taxus cuspidata ‘Capitata,’ Japanese yews, which grow vertically in a pyramidal shape, unlike spreading yews, because there is too much shade for hollies now. I’m also adding a ‘‘Green Tower’ boxwood in a sunnier spot.
We also expanded a very narrow border on one side of the sidewalk that we added for the garden tour last summer. Brennan hacked out the Bermuda grass while I planted eight shrubs and trees in other parts of the garden. The 6′ x 25′ space is now ready for soil which Bill is bringing on Monday. It will take about 3.5 cubic yards of soil. Bill is bringing home a dump truck load, and we’ll also add soil to the raised beds we built for the cutting garden last summer. The soil compacted, so we need more. When we buy soil–which isn’t all the time–we buy manure mix from Minick Materials. I’ll plant roses in the center of the border and surround them with more native plants and daylilies. I have new daylilies I bought at the regional conference last year.
Daylily collecting is a sickness I tell you.
My garden is about an acre or so–it just keeps getting larger every year–so I take these individual rooms and work on them one-by-one. I cut back the ornamental grasses and perennials I’ve let stand all winter. Since we didn’t have snow this year, the grasses were mostly standing straight and tall. I leave the perennials in place to help overwintering pollinators, but now it’s time to cut them all back in preparation for new growth. I worked the beds all around this giant maiden grass because I knew it would be a lot of work, but I tackled it Thursday. After you make your first cut into the grass you can see where you’re going. A lot of readers ask me how short to cut grasses. It all depends on the grass, and you’ll know because if you cut too low, you’ll get resistance from the grass itself. Maiden grass has a large crown. Pink muhly grass does not until it gets really large. I did the muhly grasses in the bed that faces the street much earlier this year.
I also prune and feed the roses. Below, ‘Carefree Beauty’ is trimmed up and ready for fertilizer. That large maiden grass is in the bed just behind her. You don’t need to cut back all your roses this severe, but it’s been a few years since I’ve given her a proper pruning. Hybrid Teas like to be pruned pretty heavily, but shrub roses don’t need it every year. The same is true for Rosa rugosa.
Also, don’t cut back your climbing roses until after they’ve bloomed. Just remove any dead canes.
In March, I also plant any new shrubs, trees, and roses. I may also plant a few perennials, but not if they have soft new foliage from being in a greenhouse. I saw a lot of those this week at the box stores.
Speaking of the greenhouse–mine in this case– is awash with color.
I spend a little time in here every day potting up, cutting back and enjoying the scent of the ‘Meyer’ lemon tree blooms. Fingers crossed I get a lemon this year. I may pollinate it myself with a paintbrush. I haven’t seen many honeybees in the greenhouse this year.
Elsewhere, daffodils bloom with abandon. We are in the first wave of daffodil bloom. The white daffodils like my favorite white heirloom, Narcissus ‘Thalia,’ have barely started. Only ‘Ice Follies’ is blooming in the whites. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you know how much I love my bulbs especially the older ones. My favorite source for old heirloom bulbs is Old House Gardens. You might even say I have bulbmania, and I’ve been known to tell a good bulb story.
The hellebores are about halfway through, and the tulips haven’t yet started. I told you we were behind. I planted tulips en masse in one bed under a large oak tree, which now gets water from the grass sprinklers along with more tulips in the front bed–I’m out of room–and in two containers. I also planted a lot of pansies and violas in the tulip bed for color in the meantime. It’s the greenest space in the garden.
I placed a smaller pot on top of the containers to stop the squirrels. Well, they ate everything around the edge of the pots. This aggravates me. Next year I’ll put hardware cloth over the containers to stop the little buggers.
Let’s now move on to the hellebores.
Megan and I strolled the garden night before last, and she remarked on the hellebores.
“They look like roses,” she said.
Thrilled, I did a happy dance inside and then calmly said, “They are called lenten roses for that reason.” We’re in the season of lent now. They always bloom throughout Lent and give me hope that it will soon be Easter and spring again.
As I walk the garden, I take pictures and think about where I need to plant more daffodils for next spring to achieve better balance. This fall I’m adding even more, Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant,’ glory of the snow, and Eranthus hyemalis, winter aconite. I finally found a place they truly love, the border next to the garage, where it’s sandy and dry in spite of drip irrigation. The base of this border is builder’s sand from the construction of our garage. I amended it with compost, but it has the fastest and best drainage in the garden. The glory of the snow are finally starting to multiply. My most unique bulbs grow in this border, and it is just starting to bloom.
I can hardly wait. What’s blooming in your garden this March for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day?