With warmer temperatures finally in the forecast I really thought I would have a vase to post this morning. But a cold and rainy weekend put paid to that possibility. The view from the living room when we got up Sunday morning.
Last Friday was a lovely day however and a lot happened in the garden that day. First up, we had some tree work done by a new team of arborists. We've had a giant branch stuck in the crotch of one of our honey locust trees since last summer. It came down in a storm and has been trapped up there ever since.
We planned on having this work done during February when the ground would still be snow-covered and frozen. But our thaw in the weather put an end to that idea. The area under this locust is entirely planted, including with lots of spring ephemerals. So we needed to get this work done now since many plants are starting to make their appearance.
This was a tough job as this tree is surrounded by understory trees and shrubs that needed to be protected. We went out early Friday morning and wrapped pink tape around the almost invisible cages of some of the plants as well as actually circling it around small shrubs.
These two guys — Colin Bugg of Bugg Tree Care and his assistant — did a great job, so we are compiling a list of more work for them later this year. They were very complimentary about the garden which pleased us because it meant they knew they were working in a special area and not a typical back yard.
When they finally got the branches on the ground it was easy to see what a big section of the tree broke off in the storm. We saved a few branches to use in the garden. At the recent Olbrich spring flower show they used big curving braces as edging and added rocks under the curves. I pointed them out to Mark and so he made sure to keep a few branches that might work the same way.
In the 20+ years we've lived here, this is the first year that Mark decided to have someone else prune the remaining apple tree. He decided that perhaps he should think twice about how much he climbs on ladders. He is still in good shape but I was happy to see someone else tackle this job. There are plenty of other understory trees that will need his attention later this spring.
While Mark and the guys were working in the garden our ducks — Fred and Ethel — arrived for the first time this garden season. They typically show up as soon as the pond is open and not re-freezing overnight. Friday was that date that I recorded for that event this year, and sure enough, there they were right on schedule. Initially they just flew overhead squawking loudly that people were making noise in their special spot. Once the work was done and the garden tranquil again, they came back. At this time of year Ethel blends into the brown landscape. You have to look closely to see her sitting next to him.
Only one Hellebore has flowers open; all the rest are still only a couple of inches above the ground. The first Iris reticulata opened and I saw a clump of Hepaticas that were trying to open. The Hepatica is in shade and was up and partly open through at least a couple of nights below freezing, in the teens and low 20s to be exact. Amazing how much these early plants can withstand. A little sun and warmth should jump start things but I don't think it's going to happen today after looking out the windows this morning.