The spring days grow longer and warmer. Of course, it’s wel­comed. Still, the pre­cious bit of time at the end of the work day that I can spend water­ing, weed­ing, mov­ing plants, start­ing new plants, pot­ting up con­tain­ers, is never enough. I have big plans for the sum­mer of 2010. Where will I find the time? And the energy?

The side gar­den near the chicken coop—where we sit on the bright green Swedish bench to watch Chicken TV—is a major project. It was a long-neglected area that we once referred to as Winifred’s Poop Gar­den because of its lib­eral use by our now-deceased Bel­gian Malinois.

Last year I divided var­ie­gated hostas and sup­ple­mented them with ‘Sun and Sub­stance’ and a cou­ple of ‘Blue Angel’ hostas. The slugs love the var­ie­gated hostas, so they’ll slowly be replaced with other plants. Sev­eral tiarella, or foam flow­ers, have gone in. Twenty more are on the way. I’m keep­ing my eyes open for more dra­matic, thick-leafed hostas that Mr. McGregor’s Daugh­ter tells me will be more slug-resistant so I can toss the var­ie­gated slug bait to the chickens.

Try­ing to estab­lish a lit­tle green bit of lawn in front of the bench where the two lit­tle Papil­lons can lounge has been a strug­gle. It was look­ing pretty good last sum­mer, but the snow plows did severe dam­age as they piled 5-foot tall walls of snow in the area this win­ter. The chick­ens are attracted to the fresh soil when they’re on walk­a­bout and have man­aged to dig up the tiny grass seedlings I’ve been nurs­ing. Now I’m think­ing I’ll trans­plant more of the creep­ing Jenny from other parts of the yard to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent kind of ground cover.

In the front of the house—a shady, north-facing expo­sure, the ‘Encore’ aza­leas are bloom­ing despite severe dam­age from the heavy snow. The helle­bores have been cast­ing off seedlings for a cou­ple of years now and I will be mov­ing them over to the wood­land gar­den some­time this summer.

In the potager,  the angel­ica anemones are bloom­ing.  I must fig­ure out a plan for them, as they re-seed pro­lif­i­cally and clog up my gar­den paths. I feel guilty pulling them up like weeds, but what is a gar­dener to do? One must have paths!

I con­tinue to be amazed by the sim­ple lit­tle yel­low pan­sies that I had planted in win­dow boxes last fall. They hiber­nated under a cou­ple of feet of snow and snuck out small blos­soms despite the cold. Now they’ve roared back to life. I need to re-plant the win­dow boxes, but the pan­sies look so vibrant and healthy, I’m tem­porar­ily relo­cat­ing some of them into other containers.

I con­tinue to tell myself to put one foot in front of the other and to stop to enjoy the sound of the birds and the beauty of spring. After all, the work is for a rea­son. Right?

Be Socia­ble, Share!
Robin

23 Responses to “Spring Means Putting One Foot in Front of the Other”

  1. Mr. McGregor's Daughter Says:

    Thanks for the link love! I’ve ripped out all of the Anemone like yours as it was chok­ing out other plants and started seed­ing into the lawn. Pretty, but it needed to be stopped. I wish I could remem­ber who had a dou­ble form that was ster­ile. That might be the answer.
    .-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..The Squir­rel­haven Spring­time Blues =-.

  2. Carol, May Dreams Gardens Says:

    Excel­lent advice… one foot in front of the other and soon it’s a beau­ti­ful gar­den you can be proud of. I have the same prob­lem w/ flower seedlings. I hate to treat them as weeds, but you can’t let them take over a gar­den (or the paths) either.
    .-= Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog ..Gar­den Design Update: A Guest Post From the Gar­den Fairies =-.

  3. Dee/reddirtramblings Says:

    I feel the same way like can’t keep up. Your gar­den looks lovely. Don’t worry about pulling up anemones. They are prolific.~~Dee
    .-= Dee/reddirtramblings´s last blog ..New to me =-.

  4. Gardener on Sherlock Street Says:

    So much to tend to. It is true. Your gar­den already looks lovely. All those new plants will be spectacular.

  5. A Garden of Threads Says:

    Lovely pic­tures of what’s bloom­ing in your gar­den. Would like to know how the small foun­tain in the bird­bath works, is it a pump inside the bath or one that sits on the side.

  6. Leslie Says:

    Watch­ing chicken TV would be such fun on that bench in those sur­round­ings!
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Gar­den Blog­ger Bloom Day April 2010 =-.

  7. Robin Ripley Says:

    The foun­tain has an inter­nal pump as well as a water line to auto­mat­i­cally re-fill the 5-gallon reser­voir, as needed. I find the cut-off of the reser­voir mech­a­nism a bit finicky though, so it’s not cur­rently con­nected. I’m out­side water­ing the con­tainer plants all the time any­way, so I just make sure it’s filled when I’m watering.

    Thanks for vis­it­ing and for the comment!

    Robin

  8. keewee Says:

    I know exactly what you mean by putting one foot in front of the other. Your gar­den is com­ing along very nicely.
    .-= keewee´s last blog ..Walls O Water =-.

  9. Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening Says:

    I love your bench and the foam­flow­ers. Chick­ens can do a lot of dam­age with their scratch­ing.
    .-= Kathy from Cold Cli­mate Gardening´s last blog ..Branches Bench in the Secret Gar­den =-.

  10. Layanee Says:

    It is great to see the foam flow­ers. I just picked some up for the wood­land area. I am putting one foot in front of the other also. The gar­den looks glorious.

  11. apoppyseed Says:

    Just found your blog…new fan!

  12. Gail Says:

    Robin, Your gar­den looks lovely~and adding more tiarella sounds lovely…If you’re tak­ing recommendations~Look at Heuchera vil­losa “Autumn Bride’ a won­der­ful apple green big leaf alum that blooms in the late sum­mer. Ever­green in my gar­den. Every time you said 5 feet of snow, or snow piled up on plants …I thought, Whew, we were sure lucky to not get the weather you all got!
    Gail
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Word­less Wednesday~Purple Sen­sa­tion =-.

  13. Carrie Says:

    I love those pan­sies, wimpy name, amaz­ing flower!
    .-= Carrie´s last blog ..Let’s take a stroll around the gar­den… =-.

  14. tangledgardens.blogspot.com Says:

    A tip on slugs, if you are up for more poul­try (they would need sep­a­rate quar­ters) try ducks. They devour them. I had them for two years until we acquired a lab puppy (the two don’t mix as you can imag­ine), and I had to re-home them. It was a cou­ple of years before I started hav­ing slug issues again, and I live in the north­west on moist forested prop­erty. I would love to have ducks again they are very effi­cient and eco-friendly.

  15. Annelie Says:

    Another tip on slugs. Put egg shells around the hostas.
    It’s so nice to acknowl­edge an area that has been neglected. So lit­tle is needed to spruce it up. The hostas look great.
    .-= Annelie´s last blog ..A spring quote =-.

  16. Window On The Prairie Says:

    Every win­ter I dream about all the things I want to do in the veg­etable and flower beds. But when spring arrives, I can’t seem to get it all done. I have to force myself just to stand still some­times and take in the view.
    Suzanne
    .-= Win­dow On The Prairie´s last blog ..Six Hours In Omaha =-.

  17. Dirty Girl Gardening Says:

    I love your wood­land gar­den… all your plants look per­fectly happy. And those pan­sys in the pot are adorable! Fra­grant too I bet…

  18. Shannon Says:

    Robin, every­thing looks beau­ti­ful!
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..A Gar­den Tour =-.

  19. Leslie Says:

    Eww slugs. I have not had many yet this year but I am sure they are com­ing. Have you ever thought of get­ting some ducks? They actu­ally EAT slugs, it is totally gross but they do keep the slug pop­u­la­tion down. We had ducks when I was a kid.

  20. MAYBELLINE Says:

    Excep­tional!
    The gar­den looks lovely.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Sum­mer Crops – Part III =-.

  21. Amy Says:

    Will the pan­sies make it all sum­mer? I’ve had some of my super­hero pan­sies make it through the win­ter as well. It is such a nice sur­prise.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..Com­post Hap­pens =-.

  22. commonweeder Says:

    The gar­den is beau­ti­ful. The rea­son, one rea­son, my gar­den is so lack­ing in good design is because I have so much trou­ble remov­ing thugs, proper prun­ing, and remov­ing plants that no longer enchant. A hard les­son, but it must be learned.
    .-= commonweeder´s last blog ..Local Lunch at The Acad­emy =-.

  23. Dana Says:

    Lovely! We’re try­ing to res­ur­rect some old flower gar­dens that existed here at some time in the past. I was sur­prised to find so many tulips, irises and daf­fodils fight­ing their way through at least two years of neglect (the period of time this prop­erty sat vacant before we pur­chased). Hop­ing it will one day be as peace­ful a retreat as yours appears to be!
    .-= Dana´s last blog ..The Car­ni­val of Home­school­ing is up! =-.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.

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