Monday, February 18, 2008

Preparing for Spring

I've spent some time this weekend preparing for Spring in Sacramento. Those who live in snowier regions might think that it's a bit early, but for the last several years, Spring has arrived along about the end of January. This year it's been so cold that I'm only now preparing for my flowering season.

In addition to clearing out still more leaves and debris from the beds, I've been brutal with the potted plants, and about a dozen have been put out of their misery. I've purchased several ferns for the shade garden, a couple of cistus for the front yard and more Icelandic poppies for the driveway strip. I also cut back the red feather grass, hoping that it will sprout anew next month. The pelargoniums had a hard winter and I've had to cut some of them back severely.

I also set up a little kitchen garden for J. It's not outside the kitchen, as the kitchen is on the north side of our house and herbs need sunny spots to grow well. Instead the kitchen garden is outside the bedroom slider, in the sunniest spot in the back yard. In addition to the lettuces I planted just before it turned cold in December, we now have parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and mint. I've promised him basil too, but it's not time to plant that yet.

I don't grow most vegies, as my yard doesn't get enough sun for enough of the day for them to do well (which, however, makes it a very tolerable sitting garden for much of the year). The local farmer's market, though, provides very well for us, so we don't really need to grow our own. I've tried growing tomatoes, for instance, in pots, and found that we didn't get many tomatoes and they weren't very good. At the farmer's market, we purchase a selection of the varieties offered, drizzle them in olive oil and herbs, add a side of cheese and bread, and declare that dinner.

But we won't have a lot of tomatoes for several months yet. Back to Spring. I still have mounds of leaves to clear up, as it seems that every windy day brings leaves from the entire neighborhood to my yard. And, of course, there's the eucalyptus in the front yard. I need to clear out enough of the leaves there so that the plants can find the sun. And I have to plan more residents for the section of the yard J and I planted in the fall. It looks a little sparse, and many of the new plants won't grow in for several years. There I have to come up with contenders that will look right with the plants already installed, but that I'm willing to rip out when the plantings mature.

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