Gardener's Grapevine 2014.04.23

This past week has been a whirlwind of crazy weather, but our Easter couldn’t have been any more beautiful. Warm, lightly breezy and sunny. Perfect weather for celebration. It was also perfect weather for pushing the spring flowers into blooming. Some of my early bloomers are putting on a show, but the tulips always take their time.

I have some miniature daffodils out front putting on a knock-out show. Last Sunday I went on a cleaning rampage at the front of our home. It is not done as far as mulch or new plants, but the clean-up effort showed what needs a coat of paint, what needs replaced, and what plants survived this very cold, hard winter.

Most all the roses survived, and I think it’s due to the lavender that did an excellent job of protecting them. I’ve written about the relationship between roses and lavender before, and it became very apparent to me that they really do protect each other. They also feed each other with the others’ cast-offs. Few people realize this also keeps the soil strong.

If you have good soil that is well amended, it is easy to weed. The weeds come right out with a garden claw. I stop grass creep with an edger and garden claw, which is next on my tackle list.

If you drive by our property and look to the east side yard, you may notice décor by Mitzy. Mitzy is our mini labradoodle, who looks like a beautiful miniature Brittany spaniel. What she really is, is a holy terror in miniature tornado version. She hears the mole in the side yard and tries so hard to get to him. Thus, our side yard looks like hand grenades went off frequently. This dog won't know what to do if she ever gets him, but that mole is driving her nuts and the digging is doing the same to us. She is obviously not a digger as she doesn’t dig up the designated dog area. I am positive the mole brings out the worst in her. Living with Mitzy is a daily adventure.

Art has been out in the garden tilling. There is a fence that divides the garden from the dog area and it has raspberries growing over it. Right now they are not doing anything but greening up and of course, the old canes are thorny and in need of removal. In another week or two they will be ready for pruning. When Art was tilling the vegetable garden, Mitzy was in the dog area attacking a raspberry cane like it was her job to remove it. She would jump at the cane growling, bite it and jump back due to the thorns grabbing her. This went on quite a while before she decided that it wasn’t going to stop biting her.

There is a very simple reason for where the raspberries are. Our golden retriever Simon, that we had for 12 years, was a master of escape and at the art of digging. He had a tomato passion and would dig under the fence to steal tomatoes from the vegetable garden. When a friend gave me the starts of the most awesome large red juicy raspberries, it was easy to decide where they were to reside. Simon has been gone three years now and we all miss him, but Mitzy is reaping the benefits a crafty golden learned long ago. Mitzy doesn’t always get lessons as fast as other dogs, so she may give the raspberries another go. She’s extremely beautiful, just not big on smarts. It should be an adventure when I prune the raspberries.