Four Days in Maine
This past week, I took advantage of my three-day-a-week teaching schedule to go home to Maine for a long weekend. Four cool, sunny days provided great conditions for spring clean-up in my Maine garden.
Because of unseasonably warm weather in March, spring was considerably further advanced than it was when I was here a year ago at this time. The trees were already beginning to leaf out, there were buds on the lilacs, and the forsythia in the front yard was in its full glory. Many spring flowers were already blooming, including wild blueberries (Vaccinium augustifolium) and strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), moss phlox (Phlox subulata), bluets (Houstonia caerulea), and white violets (Viola blanda).
Top – wild blueberries; Center (left to right) – bluets, moss phlox, white violets; Bottom – wild strawberries
The herbaceous perennials in my flower beds were also much further up out of the ground than they were last year at this time. You can see the difference by comparing this image of my back garden after spring clean-up in late April of 2011:
Being at home also gave me an opportunity to check on the new Serenity Garden. Although I missed their flowers, I could see that crocus and Iris reticulata bulbs had come up and bloomed. I could also see new growth showing on most plants, including (happily!) the Actaea ramosa ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ that had looked dead in the fall.
It wasn’t surprising to see that deer had been browsing on a number of plants in this garden at the edge of the woods, including viburnum, heuchera, and that deer favorite, hosta. Hosta nigrescens, at the back of this flower bed, had been eaten down to the ground. I plan to install a kinetic sculpture in this part of the garden that I am hoping will spook deer who try to browse here, but I haven’t had a chance to do so yet. As temporary protection, I snapped together a couple of versatile “garden grids” (from Gardener’s Supply company in Vermont), arched them over the hostas, and covered them with some mesh fencing.
After four enjoyable and satisfying days working in my Maine garden, it feels good to have spring clean-up done; I expect that these plants will have grown by leaps and bounds by the time I get back there for the summer in a few weeks.