Tag Archives: galanthus

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

Snowdrops – January Gems

The first year at Richmond House I was ecstatic to see snowdrops blooming on January 11.  Months earlier I’d planted some & the early pay off was thrilling.  Happily more were proving that they’d previously been naturalizing around the yard.

The following year, having a better idea of where to seek out the delightful little blossoms:  January 1 – discovery!

Another winter it was December 27.

But this year, even searching vigilantly through the Christmas & New Year holidays, it took until January 11 for my first snowdrop encounter.

January snowdrops
photo by SVSeekins

With West Coast’s winter being dull and drizzly, a promise of the spring to come is like a ray of sunshine.  So even though white flowers are not usually near the top of my list, I celebrate January snowdrops.

These plants are treasures.  When hit with snow for a few days in the middle of the month they barely twitched.  If anything, by the time I went back outside, more were blooming!  In the cool days of our winter snowdrop blooms last for weeks & weeks – well through February.

I like to get down close to the earth & take a close look at them.   It’s fun to discover the little green tatoo on each petal.  And who knew there were so many varieties?

Clusters in my garden haven’t yet become abundant enough to divide, but now is the time to do it.  Usually the recommendation is to wait until a plant is in dormancy before moving it.  With snowdrops that rule doesn’t hold true apparently.  That’s pretty handy, because once they die back I can never really remember where they are.

I’ve used this time of year to shift snowdrops into different locations, as it was a mistake for me to attempt growing them in a spring-flowering meadow.  Although they bloom before the grasses start to grow, their leaves are still busy storing up for next year’s flowers when C has the uncontrollable urge to dust off lawn mower in late February.  Zip, there goes the meadow.

Shorter bulbs, like crocus, might stand half a chance in our lawn, but not snowdrops – – nor daffodils. Those are best left to naturalize in our beds & borders.

© copyright 2012 SVSeekins