It’s wonderful to see how hard at work the pollinating insects are with so few sources of nectar early in the season. But with an active bee hive near my property I see many honey bees and occasionally, a Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris tapas) within the crocus.
During my first spring workday in the garden this weekend, my perennial garden received a major cleanup and haircut. It looks quite barren but for the snowdrops, crocus and the green tips of daffodils poking up. Cutting back the grasses is the hard part. I’ve enjoyed their taupy forms all winter and now they look a bit like stumps. Over the years I have figured out the easiest way (quickest cleanup) to cut them back is to tie up all the grassy blades with a bungy cord and use my hedge trimmers to cut the bundle in one level sweep. On the Highline garden in NYC the crews have been working since the last snow melted and the first little species tulips (Tulipa turkestanica) are blooming among these grassy “stumps”.
Unusually warm weather gives us a head start on Spring. I celebrated today by potting up some tropical tubers (Alocasia, Dahlia, etc) in the greenhouse, to get their head start on foliage before the danger of frost outside has passed (technically that’s around April 15th here in Northern New Jersey). Planning summer container gardens for clients as their bulbs and perennials are bursting through the soil makes for a wonderfully busy time in the life of a garden designer.
However, no garden is complete without some fabulous container plantings. Many people balk at the work it takes to pot up and maintain those planters but, as with all plant selection, location is key and so is the right container. Reminding me of this big pot of ferns in a damp, shady spot and requiring little maintenance at Greenwood Gardens in Short Hills, NJ, a fabulous public garden on the national register of historic places I visited last Fall.
And their house-made hypertufa planters…
As we are sweltering under (still) leafless trees I’m reminded of this green “lushness” to come.
Looking forward to a long gardening season… and a re-start of this blog.