The New Look

I couldn’t sleep last night,  so I stayed up until 4pm playing on this blog.

Because it was a few years since inception, I reasoned that now was the time for an updated look.  Perhaps it’s a good idea to lose the green eyeshadow….

Please check out the site. New layout – New colors
– AND apparently it’s now friendly for all mobile devices as well as the good old desktop!

What do you think of the new look?
Does it work?
How’s it feel?

I value your critique!

Mulching for Exercise

After the year-end feasts & holidays, I need exercise.  So how can I avoid that stinky gym?

Consider this:

before mulch
photo by SVSeekins
  • The garden has died back for the winter,  and there’s a little more elbow room in those beds & borders.
  • The soil is soft enough to make dandelion digging fun & effective.
  • The last few scattered leaves give the garden a kind of messy look.

What to do?

Mulching is for:

  • protecting tender roots & shoots from the cold
  • fertilizing the beds
  • giving the garden that ready-for-spring look

Fish compost is my choice of mulch.  And yes, there’s usually a little fishy smell that lingers for a week or so… So now’s a good time, considering most of the neighborhood is staying indoors.  🙂

Plus, I’d rather not have that ocean odour in the spring garden when we’re wanting to smell the flowers.

march growth
photo by SVSeekins

It might be a bit early for spreading  compost because seasonal rains may leach some nutrients away, but the garden is most open now.  It’s faster to lay mulch without having to spread it carefully around spring growth.

As this garden features many winter bulbs, it’s nice to have the tidiest beds showing the early flowers to their best.

Before I know it, weeds will be popping up too.  Covering their seeds NOW will slow them down & save me hours of weeding in spring.

snowdrops hidden in leaves
photo by SVSeekins

Inspecting the beds gives me a chance to easily spot & remove the few weeds that are still around.  I take a close look at what’s really happening in the garden:

  • Bulbs are already poking out of the ground &
    Cyclamen Coum, February 2013 garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
    photo by SVSeekins

    snowdrops are starting to bloom.

  • Sedum Autumn Joy is just showing signs of returning for the year.
  • The delicate looking flower of the Cyclamen Coum is making its appearance.
mulch pile on the driveway
photo by SVSeekins

Preparing for the delivery of a BIG pile of black gold, I spread a big tarp on the driveway, keeping enough tarp aside for protecting it all from rain.  (This mulch is otherwise pretty light!)

This year we had 5 yards of mulch delivered.  It was an intimidating pile indeed.  No question it was all needed in the gardens, but it would take some effort getting it there.   🙂

I paced myself, by moving about 1 yard each afternoon.

protecting the perennials with buckets
photo by SVSeekins

The many ice cream buckets & yogurt containers I’d tucked away particularly for this chore, came out of the depths of the shed.  They make great covers for the few plants that don’t like mulch on their crowns.

5-gallon buckets
photo by SVSeekins

The wheel barrel, grain shovel, & a couple of 5-gallon buckets are also my friends.  They’re tools that require using  different muscle groups so I got a little more work done before I petered out.

When it was completed, and all the tools cleaned & put away, I was happy knowing I had:

after mulch
photo by SVSeekins

Isn’t the look of a tidy bed just so satisfying?

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2014

Conquering Daphne

It’s a fabulous season for finding my inner guerilla.  On my morning walk I noticed a bunch of healthy daphne / spurge-laurel beside a wooded trail.

I have a paradoxical relationship with daphne.
I like it because its evergreen, drought tolerant, and deer resistant…
BUT the Coastal Invasive Species Committee call it invasive.
AND daphne has poisonous berries & wicked toxic sap that irritates eyes & skin.
BESIDES that – – there are less offensive options to replace daphne.

daphne beside trail
photo by SVSeekins

The rainy season & my mood convinced me that today I didn’t like it.  So I decided to pull some daphne closest to the trail edge & my gloved hands.

I braced my feet,
bent my knees,
gripped the main stalk,

Lo & behold the daphne slipped out of the ground easily!  Roots and all!  Woo hoo!

I felt like pounding my chest & letting out a guerilla roar!

I moved to another… and another.   🙂

tap root of a young daphne ws
photo by SVSeekins
developed root of an older daphne
photo by SVSeekins

A young daphne has one primary root, so in winter’s wet soil it pulls out readily.  If it’s a couple of years older, it has more developed roots securing it in the ground .  Even so, it comes out without much trouble at all!

In about 10 minutes I pulled 86 daphne!
(Seriously!!  I counted.)

daphne pulled in about 10 minutes
photo by SVSeekins

There were more still standing beside the trail but I had places to go…
so I left those behind for another day.

This is certainly the best time of year to conquer daphne.

I reckon I’ll add a little daphne pulling to my morning walk.

How’s this for an exercise regimen:

  • get fit
  • roar like a guerilla
  • AND conquer an invasive!

Why not?

© SVSeekins and Garden Variety Life, 2014