Tag Archives: mint

Gardening at the End of February

It was a busy gar­den week­end here at Black Dog Farm. We start­ed with a trip to Mol­baks to take advan­tage of their 30% off bare-root and b&b trees and shrubs.

We start­ed with some­thing to go in front of the three cedars. The ear­ly white blooms of this mag­no­lia shrub will light­en up the dark cor­ner.

Magnolia stellata Royal Star

balled and burlapped mag­no­lia ready to go in

Dig­ging the hole for the mag­no­lia was lit­tle nerve wrack­ing. There are irri­ga­tion pipes every­where. This one isn’t actu­al­ly split — though all that water run­ning into the hole made us ner­vous for a cou­ple of min­utes.

oh dear

it’s not what it looks like

We added two oth­er shrubs to the front bed. Spireas have nice lit­tle white flow­ers ear­ly in the spring and the bright green foliage will make a nice back­drop for more col­or­ful flow­ers in the sum­mer.

Spirea thunbergii

bare root spirea

Spirea thunbergii

spireas in front of the oak-leaved ash­es

It was hard stick­ing to the bare-root sec­tion at the nurs­ery. I did pret­ty well, but I just had to have these lenten rose for the library win­dow.

Hellebore "Ivory Prince'

nice lenten rose

hellebore, grass, irises

lenten ros­es bloom­ing and iris start­ing grown

The last plant we bought (and we had to go back for it with the trail­er) was replace­ment for the Kore­an Dog­wood that froze out 2 years ago. Red­buds are a lot hardier. Jim liked the shape of this con­tort­ed weep­er.

Cercis canadensis "Covy" - Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud

weep­ing red­bud for the end of the rock wall

Cedrcis canadensis "Covey" Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud

fat red buds!

We’re still play­ing catch up with reha­bil­i­tat­ing the trees that were improp­er­ly plant­ed 6 years ago. So far we’ve had two die. This cedar is doing okay but look at those roots, aren’t roots sup­posed to grown down?

badly planted weeping alaska cedar

roots are sup­posed to grown down not out

The Black Dog Ivan. What can I say…


ivan was super­vis­ing

Things are start­ing to get going. This fat old peony is send­ing up it’s shoots. They’re so red! They’re also brit­tle.


fat roots, lit­tle shoots

Last Octo­ber I fell for one of those mixed bags of spring bulbs. In this case retic­u­lat­ed iris and some unnamed species tulip. There were 25 or 30 bulbs (I think) I’ve seen three iris­es and 2 tulips. Bloody deer. Chewed them all off. I’ve nev­er had much faith in deer repel­lents but I’m des­per­ate enough to start throw­ing away mon­ey 😉

reticulated iris

a bit fad­ed now

tiny tulips


I also did some ear­ly trim­ming in the herb gar­den. The rose­mary may have sur­vived the win­ter. I can’t tell yet. One of the things I cleaned out was the wash­tub that holds the clothes line post and the mint. Hun­dreds of tiny mint plants.


tiny mint plants

Also com­ing up are the lilies. Time to put out slug bait.

Asiatic Lilties

start­ing to appear — lilies

asiatic lily

amaz­ing that this will be 4 feet tall by august.

I’m hop­ing for anoth­er dry week­end, there’s a lot of plant­i­ng to do!

Garden Report — The Aftermath

Now that most of the snow is melt­ed it’s time to have a good look at the gar­den and assess the dam­ages.

There aren’t real­ly any sur­pris­es. Most of the dam­age was done by the very cold tem­per­a­tures on Dec 19th (10.4F) and Dec 20th (4.1F)

Among the casu­al­ties:

what was a lovely varigated euphorbia

what was a love­ly vari­gat­ed euphor­bia

once again the jeruslem sage is taken back to it's base by a col

once again the jerusalem sage is tak­en back to it’s base

I don’t know if the euphor­bia will recov­er. The jerusalem sage prob­a­bly will. When I first got it I plant­ed it in one of the exposed beds by the dri­ve­way. It die back that win­ter with a low of about 20F. I moved it up into a bed close to the house and it has been fine for the last two years. But even the shel­ter of the house won’t save some­thing from the kind of lows we had.

Sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle dam­age was done to the gar­den by the snow load. One of the but­ter­fly bush­es got bro­ken. Most­ly my fault because I didn’t cut them back in the fall. Still they are tough as nails and even the snow couldn’t do the sort of dam­age a cou­ple of pan­icked sheep can do. (Long sto­ry — no pics sor­ry)

broken butterfly bush after the snow

bro­ken but­ter­fly bush after the snow

On the oth­er hand this weep­ing cypress was utter­ly and repeat­ed buried by snow plumet­ting off of the roof. Amaz­ing.

not broken not even a little

not bro­ken, not even a lit­tle

Some­things sur­vived both the snow load and the freez­ing temps amaz­ing­ly well.

mint  after the big freeze

mint after the big freeze

varigated sage still holding it's leaves

vari­gat­ed sage still hold­ing it’s leaves

I’m not sur­prised by the mint — it’s stuck in the wash­tub for a rea­son — con­tain­ment! The sage on the oth­er hand, I expect­ed to turn to mush long before the temps got any­where near as cold as it was.

And then there’s the dam­age that the snow and ice did to the gut­ters. We tacked them back up as best we could but it wasn’t always a enough to keep the rain and snow melt mov­ing along the drainage sys­tem and not plash­ing down into the gar­dens. (Also note that the frost heave brought all of the land­scape light­ing wires back to the sur­face. )

when gutters fail...

when gut­ters fail…

All-in-all not near­ly as bad as I expect­ed. It will be inter­est­ing to see how many of the pere­nials come back this spring and which ones go mys­te­ri­ous­ly miss­ing.