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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Warm Days

Six o'clock in the morning.  Seventy-five degrees. April. Something isn't quite right. Remember, "April showers bring May flowers?"  I am already watering some of my blooming shrubs because the ground is drying out quickly. It is too hot to work in the yard in the afternoon.  Oh, why didn't we build a pool instead of buying a camper?
Actually, the warm weather has been nice though I do worry about its effects on the plants. And we know the heat won't last.  There will probably be several more frosts before the heat moves in for the summer. It is just such a surprise for April. Tomorrow things will cool down acording to the television weather report.  We'll see.
The heat has already affected some plants.  The banana trees are up two weeks early.  They won't make it through a frost which must surely come.  I'll have to be sure and cover them up warmly on those cold nights. 

My epimedium is up and going strong. The epimedium's heart-shaped leaves are green, tinged with red and sit atop thin, delicate stems which also support its exotic flowers.   This japanese garden staple with roots in China is known by a few other names, more common in Europe. One particular name, horny goat weed comes from shepherds noticing that their goats became even more sexually active than usual after feasting on a patch of the plant.  (At least that is the legend.)  There have been some more modern experiments on its aphrodisiac possibilities.

I have little fear of goats eating mine.  It rests under the outer edges of a spruce tree, just barely in the sun.   Every time I see it I think of my mom's friend Trish who insisted that Mom bring the plant to me.  From Mom's description of my garden, Trish was sure that it was the perfect specimen.  I do like it.  Some descriptions call it troublesome for spreading too quickly but that doesn't seem to be a problem in my dry clay soil.  I also use the plant to mark a diminutive verigated hosta which grows beside it. 

The hosta is five years old and never reaches more than a few six inches in diameter.  I took it from a full-size specimen that was becoming overgrown in a business landscape planting.  It grows near other hostas that reach full size so it is either a mutation or needs more sun.  I'll try transplanting it this year if it shows up again.

I'm excited to find the fiddleheads of two ostrich ferns I transplanted from the woods last spring.  I don't have much water for my garden and in August the ferns dried away to almost nothing causing me to believe they had died.  Last spring we found three groups with three ferns each, growing along the gas right-of-way.  I took one waist-high fern from each group.  Whenever taking a plant from the wild, I always make sure to leave a stable colony behind.  While I probably should have taken less ferns, I'm was afraid that they would soon be mowed down by the gas company.  The ferns were right on the border of what they mow and sure enough, they mowed last fall but probably late enough to ensure that the ferns will return as did the ones now residing in my garden.

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