January Sunshine

Good thing we have a tractor!

Good thing we have a tractor!

Some unexpected sunny afternoons find me outside gardening already!  I always give myself the psychological boost of tidying the entry garden first since that’s what I and my guests are most likely to see.

I pulled shot weed, cut back perennials and grasses, combed out the dead foliage from some evergreen grasses, cut back last year’s foliage from hellebores and epimediums.  I also pruned the lonicera hedge.  I hemmed and hawed over what to do about  the gold hardy fuchsia.  Considered a somewhat tender sub-shrub, the naked branches protect it, so pruning it now is a risk (especially with cold weather coming this week), but it is so much harder to prune later in the season since I have a clump of narcissus coming up right underneath it.  So I chopped it to the base and hopefully it will rise back up to its 3’ height come summer time.

I noticed the deer are getting desperate, so I sprayed the usual victims plus the hedge and euphorbias – wow they really are hungry! It is obviously not yet time to take the rebar stakes away from conifers and shrubs.   I noticed my soil is much less soggy this year, but even so I try to avoid unnecessary stepping in the beds this time of year since it can compact the soil.

The temptation is to try to do everything while the sun shines, I’m suited up and armed with all my tools, but I know better.  I left the roses for later in February and hydrangeas for March.  I remembered to vary activities, stretch and quit before I was too tired – good for me.  Because next on the list is pruning fruit trees.   And maybe I’ll have enough energy to cut some branches for forcing indoors.

Poppy -  keeping an eye out for deer.

Poppy – keeping an eye out for deer.

 

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