Earth Knows No Desolation

“Earth knows no desolation.
She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay.”
–  George Meredith 

*

My neighbours have plumy ornamental grasses whose seven-foot tall stalks and plumes they let overwinter, which provides great cover and perches for birds.

neighboursgrassplumes13Nov2013

Last week, I happened to come home while they were cutting them down, and without even taking my groceries in, I zipped across our yards to ask if I could have the cuttings. “Sure! Saves us a trip to the town compost pile.” I love neighbours.

So I transported all these grasses into the back yard and then wondered how I would use them before someone furry, feathered, or scaled built a nest in or under them.

grasscuttingsfromneighbors8May2015

I thought I could cut them with pruners but they were not very compliant. Breaking them with my hands wasn’t working too well, either. I left them to languish for a few hours and spoke to the spouse about it; he suggested asking a friend of ours who has a chipper/shredder if we could bring them over. She said yes, of course!, so after we cut the stalks in half with a hedge trimmer so they would fit in our car (on a tarp), we drove our dried grass stalks the few miles to her house.

I wish I had taken photos of the cutting process. Her husband fed small stashes of the grass into the feed tube and, with a little pushing and prodding, out came perfectly cut and shredded straw mulch.

shreddedgrasscuttingsfromneighborsclose9May2015

After 20 or 25 minutes, we had two large bags, which filled about 1/5 the car space that the original stalks had. There’s a lot of air in dried grass.

Now the mulch is ready for veggie seedlings, annuals, and fragile perennials.

shreddedgrasscuttingsfromneighbors9May2015

And the same neighbours offered a large pile of mulch made of mostly leaves and grass clippings that’s been sitting in their yard for years, which I can use for sturdier perennials and for sheet mulching projects, along with my own hand-crafted mulch.

*

Speaking of sheet-mulching, I sheet mulched a new small bed along a fence last week, actually a continuation of the back border:

Mary Anne's transplanted sage in small bed to be sheet-mulched
Mary Anne’s transplanted sage in small bed to be sheet-mulched
phase I: cardboard
phase I: cardboard
phase II: newspaper
phase II: newspaper
phase III: (homemade) mulch
phase III: (homemade) mulch

 

… and today I re-sheet-mulched one of my two hazelnut plantings:

resheetmulchinghazelnut12May2015

I plan to also sheet mulch a 12″ border along all my current borders in the next few weeks; the lawn is encroaching on them.

*

Below, some sights this past week in the early spring garden:

tulips
tulips

insidepurpleorangetulip12May2015

insidepurpletulipclose12May2015

white violet
white violet
dandelion close-up
dandelion close-up
brunnera blooms
brunnera blooms
spring bush pea (Lathyrus vernus)
spring bush pea (Lathyrus vernus)
apple bud
apple bud
Trollius europaens 'Superbus' bud
Trollius europaens ‘Superbus’ bud
purple checkered fritillaria close-up
purple checkered fritillaria close-up

*

I’ve had these three lilacs since 2011. Two started blooming in 2013, but the ‘Ludwig Spaeth’ had never budded until this year:

Lilac: Syringa v. Sensation
Lilac: Syringa v. Sensation
Lilac: Syringa vulgaris 'Krasavitsa' (Beauty of Moscow)
Lilac: Syringa vulgaris ‘Krasavitsa’ (Beauty of Moscow)
Lilac: Syringa 'Ludwig Spaeth'
Lilac: Syringa ‘Ludwig Spaeth’

*

male cardinal and male cowbird
male cardinal and male cowbird
bumblebee on heather flowers
bumblebee on heather flowers
deer on motion camera
deer on motion camera in early morning
red squirrel in apple tree
red squirrel in apple tree
maple leaf buds, pines, etc.
maple leaf buds, pines, etc.

 *

Just before the green begins there is the hint of green

a blush of color, and the red buds thicken

the ends of the maple’s branches and everything

is poised before the start of a new world,

which is really the same world

just moving forward from bud

to flower to blossom to fruit

to harvest to sweet sleep, and the roots

await the next signal …”

— from April Prayer by Stuart Kestenbaum

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