Seems a bit excessive Thursday, May 18 2017 

Ninety degrees for two, looks like possibly three, days in a row…brings spring to a close for sure. Now for summer.

On the other hand, thanks to a team effort we will have a vegetable garden of a sort at least this year. I am hoping to get the winter squash bed created this weekend, and planted. Memorial Day for squash always seems to work fairly well. And starting them ahead of time in pots doesn’t really gain anything as far as I can tell.

We’ve had a good year for lilacs, though. Absolutely stunning, especially the big dark purple one.

From Walt Whitman, ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d’ both one of the better elegies and better descriptions of a lilac.

Stanza 3
“In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.”

May wind Monday, May 15 2017 

Trillium grandiflorum Saturday, May 13 2017 

Our stands of it are blooming quite well this year; though it is shorter in height this year which is probably due to last year’s drought stunting the reserves of the plant.

A slow-growing plant, it is entirely reliant on that set of three leaves on that delicate stem to store energy in the rather small rhizome for next year. One set, one shot for the year. If broken, a mature plant will usually survive, but take years to bloom again. So how does one weed about it if the competing growth threatens to win out? The short answer is carefully. The better answer is with a pair of scissors. I try to clip any competing growth that is within the clump or within an inch or so of the trillium that could overtop it.This gives it the sunlight and more moisture as well as creating a better area for seedling germination.

The seeds may either germinate where they fall (if they get buried deep enough) or may be carried elsewhere, usually by ants (the scent of the seeds is designed to attract them) but sometimes by an animal that has eaten the seed pod.

Our clumps have finally spread beyond one tight group, which is a good thing.

Connecticut water Thursday, May 11 2017 

Actually, a bit more than that, on the left is the end of an old mill tailrace. And quite the mill it was, with a proper penstock and wheelpit and everything. Not much left now. But, having given water a channel, it tends to keep using it even after a century or so. I just liked the geometry of everything, so I snapped a snapshot as I took my work photos.

In other news, do you know how tedious it is to unravel umpteen hydrangea buds to squish the little worm in residence in each one? Oy.

Weed eating Wednesday, May 10 2017 

I’m pretty useless at intensive, focused weeding. I’m always going ‘Squirrel!!’ or running away from the bugs. But I am pretty good at wandering about ten minutes here, ten minutes there, here a weed, there a weed.

We have a couple of particularly aggressive, rhizome/root mat spreading weeds. Bishop’s Weed anyone? It is well and truly entangled in the garden, which has a number of either delicately rooted perennials or perennials that do the self seed/root spreading thing as well. In other words, hard to weed. So, what does one do? Well, the easiest thing is to basically give up on it. The other option is to re-dig the whole thing and remove all suspect roots. I’ve tried that in a vegetable garden, wherein one can remove Everything, even there it doesn’t quite work.  So I’m experimenting with another approach, which I trialed last year on a very small area. And which worked to gain control, though not eradication, of Garlic Mustard on a very large scale.

Step One: stop believing that the weed is some super power. It grows and dies just like any other plant. Step Two: perfect is the enemy of the good: the day isn’t great for weeding, you don’t have that much time or energy, you don’t finish the whole thing…ok, but you did something. Step Three: If you see a leaf of the enemy you pull it or break it off. You don’t try to eradicate the whole plant (root mats here) You simply make it very, very hard for that plant to compete. No leaves, no plant. Yes, it will pop back up again, but guess what? I’ll be walking past again. If the deer can eradicate choice perennials that way, by coming past nightly and eating as they walk, I figure it ought to work. We will see.

This week in bloom Monday, May 8 2017 

In a rather chilly and wet May, which is actually a good thing. A few daffodils are still going, actually at the peak of season for the Poets (Pheasant’s Eye) daffodil, but also a few lingering others; the apple trees, the lilacs, the carlesii viburnums are thinking about it; the early evergreen pink azaleas are almost done, the white small leaf evergreens are starting, and the big deciduous (Exbury types) are about to begin; the shadblows are finished, but the redbuds are in full bloom as are the native flowering dogwoods. A variety of wildflowers: the trout lilies are done, but the white trilliums are hitting their peak, as are the various wood anemone types. Bluets, violets, early rock iris, sweet woodruff, and that sort are all quite happy.

The sweet woodruff is particularly good this year. It takes its time, but once established in a place it likes, off it goes. The unraked, no foot traffic, no tall stuff, shade beneath the Japanese Maple seems particularly promising for it. I ought to have made some May wine!

Property Management Sunday, May 7 2017 

In this state and with these resources…it feels like a weird hybrid of chess, dreams, and cynical practicality. And what of the above will win out? There is a balance between the long term investment and the short term priorities, currently I have the privilege with working with both types, and it really does tend to alter the decisions that one makes if one is looking at rental return (measured in this year or the next) or ‘will I need to do this again this generation’. It is interesting. Both have their strong points.

But I don’t know which is better, I know which I prefer, but that isn’t necessarily the same thing. I do know that the only certainty is death and taxes…and…greater than both of those, the sheer glory of the day. The landscaping here goes from strength to strength, a living painting that year by year has a better foundation upon which to build. The equipment and the knowledge of that equipment, also builds strength upon strength. And the reason? Well, it won’t pay the bills, but the beauty of this land is enough in the moment when the clouds break and the sun shines upon the green fields.

Happy 32nd Birthday Friday, May 5 2017 

It’s been a bit uncertain this last year, but for a now truly ancient Thoroughbred with some health issues, he’s holding his own. And I think, enjoying the spring grass which is the important thing. Week after next we will have had him for 23 of those 32 years.

The old redbud Wednesday, May 3 2017 

Each year we think will be its last. I think it will survive at this point until there is a catastrophic structural failure. Strategic supports and dedicated pruning of all dead or really weak wood have so far staved off the inevitable.

No Tulips Tuesday, May 2 2017 

To speak of, a few survivors here and there, but the magnolia makes a decent substitute for the pink tulips here:

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