Garden log, 1.4.15

Despite 70F (21C) temperatures today, it’s winter and I must govern myself accordingly in the garden. I went through the seed packets and found a handful of treasures to winter sow:

I’ll keep an eye on the anemones and spinach. For now, I’m growing the spinach in the cold frame, though I may transplant some of it into a larger bed as the month progresses. The anemones will need a second cold, moist period, so in late spring they’ll migrate to the refrigerator for a month or two. I hope to be able to transplant them to the garden this fall.

January here can be terribly unpredictable: This week, we’ll swing from a high of 70 to a high of 29F (-1.6C). I’m sure we had winter temperature swings when I was growing up, but I don’t remember anything like this. And we always had at least a few snows; that’s not a guarantee now. The more time I spend in the garden, the more I worry about climate change.

My snowdrops are blooming and the foliage of daffodils and crocus stands just above the mulch. I’m closer to my goal of having something in bloom all year round.

This year’s bumper crop of acorns has meant that the deer have stayed away up to now, but two days ago I saw seven (seven!) adult deer at once in the neighbor’s backyard. I hope my garden looks more trouble than it might be worth to them. Thinking more and more about the necessity of a fence, especially with Henry‘s addition to the household. Perhaps he’ll frighten off the squirrels and voles, who are making one heck of a mess in the soft, wet ground.

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Garden plans: Sketching

I have been thinking more about what I’m calling my cloister garden, for want of a better name. I don’t possess the time or discipline to maintain a cloister garden properly, but I still think that this space could provide the calming effect I desire without being terribly manicured.

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Here is a little design I came up with, using the SketchBook Express app. (There went an hour when I wasn’t looking.) It started out as an aerial view, but then as I explored the app’s features I forgot to apply an aerial perspective. Please pretend with me. If you need further references, see my mockup.

The two brown blobs on the left represent overhead views of large trunks of post oaks. The long green vertical strip on the right is the aerial edge of the new house extension (not yet finished, but well on its way).

Rehmannia, Chinese foxglove

Rehmannia, Chinese foxglove.

In addition to the plants listed, I think I need to include some Rehmannia, a little plant I fell in love with last year at the Duke Gardens plant sale, and some nicotiana. However, this is prime territory, sunlight wise, for a tomato or two, and tomatoes and nicotiana don’t mix. They are from the same family, Solanaceae, and the nicotiana can promote tobacco mosaic virus in the tomatoes. A little quandary to resolve this winter, I guess.

Species: 'Nicotiana × sanderae' Family: Solana...

Species: ‘Nicotiana × sanderae’ Family: Solanaceae Image No. 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lawn will be Carex, and in the winter, cyclamen will bloom in it. And maybe snowdrops. In the spring, those will give way to crocuses, then grape hyacinths. In fall, more cyclamen and colchicums. I plan to mow once a year. The rest of the time, I will let it grow long and lazy, offering a haven for beneficial insects. That’s the dream, anyway.