Monday, January 24, 2011

A return to self

early sign of spring coming: euphorbia tips
Life was different this weekend. The majority of it was spent outside, in the fresh air, working and breathing deep, being once again in the garden. It was the first garden work day of 2011, and today's sore legs and lower back are proof, beyond the two truckloads of yard debris we hauled away, there was much to do.

Last fall we left the garden for the birds, and after some major editing, didn't refill some major holes in the garden beds. Perennials needed to be cut down, and tough love has begun on some much needed pruning.

Proof of tough love:
tough love in the garden
Copicing one of three black elderberries in the garden: this one will be more of a shrub than a tree, thanks to tough love.

It's so bare in our garden, form and structure are apparent, so tough love was applied to wisteria, dogwood, and a variety of shrubs. More proof of tough love:
Tough love wisteria, tough love
The wisteria responds well to tough love, and without it, will grow into our roof line. No no.

There are no beautiful photos of lush garden to share with you, no flowing waves of pink blooms and black foliage. Now is the time of year I relish the excitement of uncovering a wee bed of tiny violets in bloom, the lichen on the north facing tree trunks, and the bright green moss covering one side of the fence:
The January garden in Portland
Okay yes, I may have over saturated the photo a bit from reality, but still, it's pretty green with moss.

Crowns are forming on the base of sedum, and bulbs are showing themselves a few inches above soil. I haven't taken tough love to the roses yet, but that's a whole other (dangerous) day I'll tackle in the coming month, hopefully if we're gifted with a day like Saturday. This year, the roses are getting a hard prune.

This Saturday was a return to self. A return to seeing the sun, shadow, and colors. I saw Mt Hood in her majestic snow-cloaked glory, and the colors of buildings warm in the rosy sunshine. I could have sworn Mt Hood had shades of pink, too. We visited with neighbor after neighbor, many greeting for the first time of the year. Gardening in your front yard is like that. We caught up on lives, gardens, summer plans and dogs. Yes, there was a lot of laughter in there too, and maybe some neighborly gossip.

Soon my gardening column at Just Out will begin again for the season, and already, I've been visiting my favorite and new favorite garden blogs, dreaming and taking notes for the coming year. I talked with a grower at the Hillsdale Farmers Market this weekend, and new connections are being made. It's starting to feel abuzz a bit, and the little things AdRi and I experienced together this weekend—like finding ladybugs alive and kicking among the composting leaves and getting buzzed by hummers drinking from the feeder—reminded us of life in the garden. As it awakes, so do we.


danger garden said...

You really summed up how I was feeling after a couple of days in the garden! As I turned over in bed Saturday night and realized I was sore, gardening sore, it felt so good! I'm having a hard time not just going crazy and uncovering everything and pruning with wild abandon. A little voice inside is telling me we aren't out of the woods yet...February can be so nasty, although I pray it won't be.

A Lewis said...

We're coming up on one of my most favorite times of year. When it's still cold out, but sort of clear, and the very first buds begin to show up here and there. Plus, it's my birthday so that counts too...right??

Zoe / pearled earth said...

It is good that spring is wiggling its fingers and toes somewhere! We are still in a deep freeze here, but I do enjoy the lengthening days and the comfortable feeling that none of the gorgeous days to come are over yet. That is a lovely green fence :)

e said...

And more sunshine to come this week!

Laura said...

I love finding the little treasures of a plant pushing out of dormancy! Something awesome in that moment!

My blog has moved, stop by for a visit when you get a chance!

scottweberpdx said...

Saturday was definitely a breath of fresh air...I think Portland gardeners all around town were going crazy! I restrained myself from cutting back any of the perennials (I may have pulled back the mulch momentarily to see if there was growth). My chore was finally chopping down the obnoxious Pokeweed forest in our back yard. I have hopes of actually planting the backyard this spring, so the weed had to go...and was monstrous! Hopefully this week will be a little drier and I can attack the roots next weekend.

Laguna Dirt said...

an eloquent description of awakening and connecting. nice!

Best Wishes, Marie said...

sorry i have been gone. had the time of my life, but i am back and will catch up soon with all these great blogs!!