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Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Gardener's Diary: "Yo- which one of you is Christopher?"

Thursday morning at 7.30 I went around the house to open the blinds.

The back yard was full of robins.





I counted 42.

It seems they like to hang together, especially when doing winter foraging. The back yard here has been a popular bird buffet this winter, as I left most of the leaf-fall on the ground. We also have a lot of holly in the copse, and nandina, all bearing plenty of berries.

It may not be aesthetically pleasing to my adjoining neighbors with their half-acre, flat, blank, expanses of grass, but it's good for the rest of life. And my neighbors never come outside except to get out the lawn tractors on Old Man Mowing Fridays anyway.

But the worms and bugs like leaves- they're like Lay's Potato Chips, you can't eat just one- and birds like worms and bugs. This winter in particular there's been a lot of "leaf-kickers" rooting about. They aerate the soil, they eat the bugs, and they are entertaining to watch.

According to the Cornell Bird Lab, robin congresses are a common thing, but here I am at 61 seeing it for the first time. I am honored they graced the plot I look after.

The temp finally reached Warm today, after a week of hard freeze nights. I went out to survey the damage this afternoon. My neighbor's early azaleas lost their blossoms, but mine is just beginning to open up in the new spot I moved it to last fall.

The "Sweet Bush" cuttings I got from Mildred across the street are just opening up their leaves. So is a tulip poplar I got from man several neighborhoods over who discovered he'd planted it too close to his house and kindly dug it up, bagged it, and delivered it to the first person to claim it on the Next Door site: me!

Mildred called me over to mark some naturalized daffs in her copse she wants me to take, along with a fine yucca. I had planned to transplant my potted one this week- it's nearly as tall as I am and is threating to split its plastic container- into a much bigger one, but with a bum wrist that is not a project to be essayed one-handed.

Still, I flew the flag today and pulled up some weeds in the front beds. The peonies are coming up, as are the first cautious hostas. A tulip is about to open among the hyacinths, which finished their show before our cold snap.

A japonica and forsythia I rooted in water are both doing well. Scattered liriope drifts are putting up new growth. I think it's also about time to plant my peter pepper seeds for germinating atop the fridge. My two-year-olds were decimated by an October cold patch; the four that survived were so weakened that after putting up some new growth indoors in February, it died back.

Today I lugged all the potted plants back outside. If no more freak cold spells come, it'll be time to get some of them into the ground and the rest in the window boxes.

Life is good, even as I limp around. When I don't yearn to get out in the yard after daylight savings returns, you might as well start measuring me for the box.

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