Short version: I think spring is finally here. A rabbit was hanging out in our garden. Blueberries in the back, changes to the front, and a sauna.
Longer version: My last blog post (in January) was definitely not prophetic. I thought it would be an early spring. The last two months were not only snowy and cold, but the snow persisted for much longer than usual, and now everything is late. Some of the other garden bloggers that I follow (hi Pat2!) have also commented on how abnormal Spring 2019 weather is.
The snow revealed a new garden visitor: a rabbit! I didn’t see her, but her tracks were everywhere. Our bird feeders attract lots of birds, many squirrels and the occasional rat. We have a posse of raccoons prowling the neighborhood and every once in awhile we see a skunk. Although our cats stay indoors, other cats occasionally pass through our back yard, as does the rare coyote. But this is the first evidence I’ve seen of a rabbit. Jericho beach has a population of feral rabbits, so I assume that she may have come from there. Hopefully she was just passing through…there are already enough entities consuming my vegetables.
In January, one of the coniferous shrubs suddenly started to drop all of it’s needles. Over a month I cut back and removed the branches until just the stump was left. Today we dug it out – it was a major effort and took three hours of cutting, digging and finally torquing it out. I can see why some people might be tempted to use dynamite. In the space that was formerly taken up by the shrub I planted eight blueberry plants, two of each of the following varieties: Duke and Reka (hardy, early season, firm fruit); Chandler (mid-late season, long ripening season, large fruit); Bluecrop (vigorous, hardy, mid-season). I want to keep track of which plants are which and have made a map (which I can’t seem to see on my iPad….hmmm).
One of my main projects for this year is to reclaim most of my front yard. Until a few years ago, the entire area was taken up by an enormous fir. After the tree was removed, we tried planting the area with daffodils and other bulbs (year one) and then a wildflower seed blend (year 2). Things just went downhill from there and last year we ended up with a wild mix of day lilies, foxgloves, something that looks similar to fireweed, those tall blue blue-bell things, and lots of grass. LOTS OF GRASS. Sure, it sounds fabulous and I admit that I did make a few nice bouquets but mostly it was unmanageable. All winter I’ve laid flattened cardboard boxes over the dirt and covered everything with a layer of compost/dirt, with the intention of suffocating the weeds. I am about 80% done – I still need a few more boxes and few more bags of dirt. The original plan was to wait a year and plant blueberries, but now that I’ve planted blueberries in the back, I need to think of something else for the front.
Finally, the biggest change to the back garden has been the addition of a barrel sauna. Inspired by a fabulous sauna we had last September at a friend’s cabin, I did some research (not enough, it turned out) and our sauna kit arrived just before Christmas. The sauna is now up an working and is truly excellent, but it required much more effort (time, energy, $$$) than anticipated. If anyone is thinking of buying one of these kits, please call me first.
Below is a photo of eight tiny blueberry plants with the sauna in the background. The tall sticks are to hopefully prevent anyone from stepping on the tiny blueberry plants.