"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day of digging.

Another day of mild weather meant I could do some work in the yard.  I finally decided that there were a few plants that were definitely dead.  No use waiting any longer to get rid of them.  It was a little bit exciting digging them out, because with each pry of the shovel I thought of what I could put in their place.
My star jasmine that had once had such shiny green leaves and fragrant flowers just couldn't survive the winter we had.  It had struggled through a couple of other cold winters, but just wasn't going to pull through this time.  The jasmine had grown in a wood planter near our garage.  I dreamed of a small clematis to climb up the trellis as I dug it out.
Then I sadly pulled up my Abelia 'Confetti'.  I never got to enjoy it's white flowers.  I don't know what will go in it's place.  It was supposed to be my winter interest because according to the tag is was semi-evergreen.  It wasn't very interesting as a dried stick.
The littlest gardener and I made our way into the backyard where I started digging up the Cape Fuchsias.  They grew alongside the deck.  This was a fairly big job, since the plant sends up shoots from the roots.  It had started to send shoots up through the deck last summer.
They had been there for years.  The hummingbirds loved the flowers.  I on the other hand never really liked the orangey red flowers.  So, in a way it was an excuse to start over with something I like better.
We found lots of earthworms while we dug.  I also found a hosta I had forgotten about.  I transplanted a heucherella, a pulmonaria seedling and a white Bleeding Heart that was a volunteer from a couple of years ago.  I'm always surprised at how many volunteers I can find.  
Then I planted my new pulmonaria.  I had stopped by the nursery with my Mom earlier in the day and found this on clearance.  It was a little dry, but definitely not dead.  It has the prettiest light pink flowers.  Now I wish I would've picked up the other pulmonaria they had.  70 percent off because they forgot to water it, not bad!
I think I will add 2 hardy fuchsias here as well.  I know the hummingbirds will love them like they love the others in my yard.  
My littlest gardener assisted me in watering in our new transplants.  She had an interesting method of scooping up water with the orange bucket,
 then pouring it into the watering can.  I know she had a great time because she was absolutely soaked by the time we were done.  We had so much fun we decided to skip nap time!
Nothing like doing a little digging to make it feel like spring is almost here!  
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  1. Your little gardener is adorable and I'm sure the best waterer around! Your yard is going to be beautiful and I'm glad you had a nice to day to work.

  2. No nap time for the littlest gardener. I hope she slept well that night. Looks like a fun day. Sorry you lost your abelia. I have 'Little Richard' and it is semi evergreen, never ever has it bloomed for me (in two years). This year it better do something! I have a Cape fushia too. Did great in a pot last year (orangey flowers too), brought it inside and it all dried up. I don't think they are hardy here. I am surprised you are digging yours as I really like them. They found another home? What a deal on the pulmonaria. I just love these too!

  3. It's always good to "rescue" a plant and you get a bargain too.
    I have Cape Fuchsias in the garden but I agree they are pretty boring when not in flower. I'm all for getting rid of plants you don't really like. It's a good excuse for buying something new!

  4. If only I looked half that cute when I'm gardening, the only thing I have in common with her is, I too get soaked! Sounds like a very good day.

  5. Catherine I'm so sorry to hear you lost so much - it was a cruddy winter wasn't/isn't? it?
    I have a Cape Fuchsia - maybe I'd best get out there and check it to see if there is any sign.
    I also have an Abelia that is semi evergreen called Little Princess with pink blooms. It did good - I know cause it's right out the window.
    Your little gardener is adorable in all her pink.

  6. Sounds like a fun day! I really like the stepping stone pathway to your gate. I hope your little daughter does better with no nap than ours does! She's great when rested but gets very moody without the nap.

  7. Ha ha, nice post - the little gardener is a real cutie! Can I borrow her to water my garden please? (First-Born and Last-Born are far too teenage to think that helping in the garden is'fun'!)

    Good deal on the pulmonaria. I got a dwarf bamboo for a quid the other day (oops, that's about $1.50) because it needed a good watering and a bit of tlc. It only grows to about 3 feet high and will look great in the Japanese Garden - and it's perked up already.

  8. Precious! I too have a few plants that are questionable...are they dead or alive. I am holding out a bit longer before I trash them

  9. I'm sure your daughter does a wonderful job watering! I, on the other hand, have to keep the valve off the spigot or my boys will water not only the plants but the patio, the house, the sandbox, each other.....

  10. Sorry about the losses, but hope you find fun replacements! This was a pretty rough winter for the poor old plants. Love the little helper and her Hello Kitty boots!

  11. Looks like you got quite a bit done today! I wish I was there in town! You and your littlest gardener make a good team! I used to tell my kids (when they were little and liked being outside, that is!) that if they didn't get dirty or muddy, they didn't have enough fun! They loved that!

  12. What a cute little helper you have there. It feels so good to be able to get outdoors now and enjoy the beautiful spring days and to dig in the dirt.

  13. What charming pics! I'll bet you can't grow anything as pretty and colorful as your own little gardener!

    While it's sad in spring to find old friends that didn't make it, it's always exciting to have opportunities to try new things. Keeps our gardens evolving. Enjoy the nice weather. :-D

  14. Great to have such cute helpers around, isn't it! I can relate with your excitement when digging. I too feel the same. :)

  15. Mildred - She is the best waterer! She had so much fun getting wet :)

    Tina - She sure did sleep well and didn't want to get up this morning! The cape fuchsias were dead, or I would've left them, even if just for the reason they attracted hummingbirds. I've had another variety that didn't make it here either.

    easygardener - Well, I went back to rescue the other pulmonaria today :) The up side of dead plants is that you get to buy new ones.

    Darla - Gardening is kind of like being a kid again. I always come in covered in dirt, leaves, etc.

    Rain Gardener - I hope your cape fuchsias made it. I really like Abelias and the rest did okay. I may look into the variety you have. It sounds like it stays small which is what I need.

    Dave- Thanks, I like how the path turned out too. It was one of our first back yard projects when we moved in. Yes, the no nap can make for a long afternoon, but she was in such a good mood yesterday she didn't get crabby luckily.

    Nutty Gnome - You did get a good deal! I hope as the girls get older they don't lose the interest in helping me, but teenage friends are usually more fun than Moms...

    Dirt Princess - Hope yours all come back. I have a couple more I'm giving a bit more time. These guys were definitely dead :(

    Laura- It sounds like your boys have a lot of fun though. Funny how entertaining water can be to kids.

    Karen - Even her boots had water in them!

    Tessa - I agree a sign of a muddy kid is a sign of a happy kid!! Are you back yet?

    Becca - I love getting out there. Once it's above 50 I'll be out there all the time. Kind of rainy today so I'm glad I took advantage of yesterday :)

    Kris - Yes it's hard for the flowers to compete with her! I have a small yard and am running out of space, so now I get to fill them back in and I love plant shopping!

    Chandramouli - It is great to have help in the garden that's for sure!

  16. Always nice to have company and great help in the garden. I'm not quite ready for tearing anything out yet. Holding out hope that it will spring back.

  17. What a cute helper. My kiddos like to help water - with lots of spillage - as well. It's still too early here to tell what I might have lost due to the cold snaps in December and at the beginning of March. I covered plants in old sheets, plastic sheeting and towels, so hopefully they pulled through!

  18. You have a cute little gardener in training there.


  19. I love digging too! It is energizing, and as you say it is nice to think of new plants to replace old ones, even though sad to have to dig them out.

    Your path looks great, with the wide grassy spaces between the stones.

  20. Melanthia - It is nice to have someone to visit with. I still have more I'm holding out hope for, I hope yours all survived.

    VW - It sounds like you protected a lot. I know you get a lot colder and more snowy weather on your side of the mountains. Hope you can get out there soon!

    Donna - Thanks! :)

    Phoenix C - Thanks! Digging is energizing. I like the tired but refreshed feeling I have after working in the yard.

  21. I know what you mean about mixed feelings digging up dead plants. I have a Jessamine that needs to come out (I knew it wasn't hardy here when I planted it) so now I get to find a replacement for that too. It sounds like many of us have Cape Fuschias ~ I had one in a container (like Tina) last summer and was almost ready to pitch it because it just grew and grew into a huge shrub with no flowers. About the time I was ready to give up on it, it burst into bloom with those bright orange flowers. Unfortunately, too late for the hummingbirds to enjoy (they'd already flown south). It's in my basement (I took it down there to overwinter) so I need to check & see if it made it thru the winter or not.... It will be fun to watch what you replace with ~ did you ever go back and get the clematis armandii that you saw with your in-laws?? That was beautiful. and 70% off plants is a fantastic deal ~ wish I could find some of those. I'd snatch them all up!

  22. You know I'm always in favor of digging. It's usually a sure cure for whatever ails you.

    Your little assistant is a cutie.

  23. Hi Catherine, I need a little helper with an orange bucket and watering can too! She is the cutest ever. :-) I am also in favor of digging up what is not pulling its share in the garden and replacing it with something more productive. That is just plain smart.

  24. Kathleen - I hope your cape fuchsia made it. It was a hummingbird magnet. I think the hardy fuchsias will be just as attractive though and should be able to handle that area. I didn't go back for the clematis yet. I'm just not sure where it would go yet. I did go back for the other pulmonaria though, that was worth the trip!

    Susie - I know you like to dig! It's hard to beat a helper that's cute and likes to water plants for you!

    Frances - Thanks, she's quite the character. A lot like my older daughter, they both like to get wet! Having a smaller yard, garden space is valuable, and so plants are usually given a 3 year time to contribute or move on to a friends garden where they might do better. These guys were beyond that :)

    patientgardener - It sure was a day well spent :)

  25. I'd like to suggest the plants to help you attract hummingbirds: petunia, annual red salvia, autumn sage and shrimp plants, or the firebush. They certainly seem to work well, as they were some of my mom's favorites and she always had lots of hummingbirds in the yard.

    It is also important for your flower garden to have a source of water available for the hummingbirds. One way to do this is by having a birdbath available. The birdbath should have a very shallow water depth to allow the birds to stand in the water if they choose to do so. Adding some small flat rocks to the birdbath will create different water depths within the birdbath.

    If you would like further information on the subject of hummingbirds, please visit the link below.

    Hummingbirds For Mom

  26. Zoe Ann - Thank you for the great suggestions! I love hummingbirds, they are always welcome in your garden. Your blog is very nice and great pictures!

  27. Oh, your little gardener is the sweatest! It's a bit dangerous to start digging. Sometimes it's just as if the spade lives its on life and plants I haven't planed, will be moved or even removed before I realize what's going on.


  28. gittan - Oh, that's so true! Spring gets me in the digging mood, I think because it feels so good after so many months of not being able too :)
    She's a great helper!


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