To my left are a 4x1 combination cherry, male and female golden sweet seaberries (Hippophae rhamnoides), and two honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var. edulis 'Blue Velvet' and 'Kamatcha'), all newly planted (excepting the cherry) and loosely tied to thin bamboo stakes, creating a pseudo-fence as I wait for them to grow.
Close-up, these new additions look amazing, not dead as I’d feared earlier, looking out the kitchen window twenty feet away. They’re all swelling with buds and I see a little green growth at the bottom of one of the bushes. Last week, I raked a light layer of leaves over the bare soil around them.
Now, my spade scrapes the rock-filled dirt as I hack out space between the honeyberries and sea berries for green snowdrops (Galanthus Woronowii). In-between the stones the soil is moist and sandy with a bit of compost mixed in. Tamping each bulb in place, I'm pleased. It feels like they’ll have a good start.
That done, I run to the backyard and dig out a seascape strawberry (Fragarla x ananassa) plant from its home in front of the 'Apple Blossom' clematis (Clematis armandii), the strawberry too near the coop for comfort, either the chickens will eat them or the children will squash it while running around in the grassy dust.
The amount of root growth it has put on in a few months is astonishing. For such a delicate looking plant, it has quite sturdy, long-reaching roots and tendrils. The strawberry goes between the cherry and the golden sea berry, ready to cover the bare earth with mounded clones of itself, an edible green rug.
A few, maybe ten, feet ahead is the awkwardly kidney-shaped bed containing a 'Debutante' camellia (Camellia japonica) and 'Violette de Bordeaux' fig (Ficus carica). Violette is refusing to drop her leaves and Debutante One is settling nicely into her second year. I push clumps of snowdrops in an S-shape around each tree and the ground between them, doing the same for Debutante Two, who's plopped in the yard a little too far away to join the others, in limbo until perennials fill the space between.
Another fifteen feet and I'm looking down at the sturdy 'Green Giant' arborvitae (Thuja Plicata x standishii) marking our SE corner. A few days ago I peeled sod twelve inches out from the trunk all around to let it stretch and breathe, then planted a division of my sage and a gifted pink mum in the circle. They look surprisingly healthy. Snowdrops go in there in bare patches of soil near a telephone between the green giant and the Violette-Debutante trio.
The Southwest Corner
In the SW corner are pink muhly grasses (Muhlenbergia capillaris), Lenya's thundercloud flowering plum (Prunus cerasifera), and the stones marking her grave. With a little help from an edger and a shovel, the sod around each of the ornamental grasses comes up fairly easily. It is is bright green and heavy from recent rains.
I stagger to the berm and place it around the 'Peggy Clark' Japanese flowering apricot (Prunus mume). The now cleared soil is sandy and surprisingly full of worms; a result of last year's spreading of manure over the area before reseeding with a native grass mix. I drop alliums in a zigzag pattern of holes around each clump of grass.
Continued...Ch-Ch-Changes: Looking Up, Looking Right