Green Structure

greenstructure1greenstructure2The numbers of articles addressing the need for, and the satisfaction of structure in a landscape must number in the thousands. My take is that the number one  function of evergreens in Michigan landscapes is to bridge, and celebrate the seasons.
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Only a Gardener

only-a-gardenerOnly a gardener, obsessed for the first sign of spring, would in their next breath complain about inordinately warm temperatures!  71 degrees in Michigan, March 17, is too very warm.  Daffodils and crocus shoot up as though shocked by a bolt of electricity.  An unknown dwarf magnolia in my yard has every fuzzy hair on every bud, standing at attention. This makes me cringe-I am well aware that Michigan has snow and very cold temperatures well into April.  Devastating-the sight of frost-browned spring flowers.

only-a-gardener2March, and into April, is the worst part of our gardening year.  Meaning, this time of year features the best of the worst that can be.  You can spend a weekend raking, and in four days there is no trace you were ever there. Brown is still the dominant feature.  Unless you have designed your landscape to bridge the seasons, all that brown can beat you down.


Still Sleeping

stillsleeping1stillsleeping2stillsleeping3Nothing in a northern landscape wants to come out of hibernation, and find itself face to face with a gardener, mucking about. Tromping on saturated soil drives the air out of it, and makes for footprint- shaped slabs difficult to break up later. Plant roots need air, and drainage, among other things-so keep off. Likewise, keep your fingers off, and your pruners and rake in the shed. Better yet, build a shed for your rake-it will keep you busy long enough for a proper day for gardening to finally arrive. Should someone else maintain your property for you, be sure they don’t come too early.  Nothing looks more forlorn than a garden bereft of all its natural winter coverage in an April snowstorm, windstorm, ice storm, or any of a thousand other kinds of storms common to transitional weather.  Wait; you will know when the light turns green.


spring_05_9spring2Today spring seems like a highly overrated season.  As much as I relish the chance to write about the idea of renewal, second chances, opportunity, and new beginnings, spring in the Midwest generally stinks, and regularly fails to deliver.  Sane science would point to persistent and predictable years of late freezes, regularly cold temperatures in March and April, ice storms, a winter’s worth of trash in the yard that the winter snow mercifully hid. One could black out from it.  The worst day of winter arrives here in March, and that worst day continues relentlessly way into April.

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