Sunday, March 20, 2016

Magnolia Week

It's Magnolia Week here in our garden, one of the highlights of the gardening calendar.  This little Loebner Magnolia is just gorgeous right now, and not so little anymore, I guess.  A teenager maybe?  If it is a teenager, I appreciate its polite vertical habit.

The warm temps and strong sun are waking up the trough plants.  The bumpy plant in the middle is androsace sarmentosa.

I have high hopes for eriogunum umbellatum this year.  It came through the winter with flying colors and I'd love to see it bloom.  

Saxifraga 'Petrushka' looks like it's going to do its thing.

Primula marginata 'Marven'  also looks awake and ready to go, unlike some of my oversleeping (half-dead?) alpines.  

Saxifraga 'Kyrilli' looks like it's waving hello.  All four of these plants are new to me as of last year and should (fingers crossed) bloom this year.  

My favorite hellebore is blooming its head off.  Its progeny are all over the garden now.  I still can't believe that this beauty was blooming, unnoticed(!) on a nursery rack when I found it 6-7 years ago.  I felt like letting out a maniacal cackle when it was in my hands.

Although it was below freezing last night, I still cast a couple medium-sized troughs in the garage yesterday afternoon.  I was worried about the overnight low temperature so I put them in the basement for the night.  I de-molded them today and scrubbed them with a wire brush.  Barrow Works is back in business.

The weather forecast calls for 1-3" of snow tonight.  Can that really be true?

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Upgrade #1: I got a new Sneebor garden trowel for Christmas (yes, I picked it out and ordered it myself).  These tools are amazing: strong, sharp and a pleasure to use.  I got a Sneebor rock garden trowel last summer and it quickly became indispensable to me.  I'm going to give away all of the other cheap trowels that I've amassed over the years.

Upgrade #2: I rebuilt one of the molds that I use to cast the large rectangular hypertufa troughs with feet.  The old mold was at least 6 years old and well past the end of its life.  I kept using it last summer but ran ratchet straps around it in case it failed.  This one is stronger and better designed than its predecessors.  I'd like to try it out next weekend.  Never mind the arrows, by the way. I reused lumber from an old crate.  The inside mold is kind of like a magic box; it folds in on itself for easy removal.

Upgrade #3: More crocuses.  I've been relentlessly dividing and transplanting my Tommy crocuses over the last couple years.  I've got a few big patches going now; a detail of one is above.

The bees were all over them today.  Their buzzing was so loud that I couldn't place the sound at first.  I forget every year that the bees are out as early as the first flowers.