Preparing the garden for an early spring event. part one of a series

March 1, 2012: The phone rang right after lunch. “John,” Patsy said, “Don’t forget about the Junior Service League tour of gardens in April.” I replied that I had not forgotten and that we were on the same page.  I have been working on the yard on the mountain for probably thirty years and it is one of my favorite places to visit and work. I pictured the grand weeping cherry tree silhouetted against the late winter sky.

weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky
weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky

The tour of gardens is scheduled here in Rome, Georgia for April 28, which is early enough in the North Georgia season to warrant some creative thinking. I realized that I had two months to put on a show. It was time to start. A wise old gardener had once told me, “Son, in your business, timing is everything.” I listened.

March 2: We loaded cutters, blowers, rakes, tarps, and other useful implements into the truck and headed out. The driveway is a bit over a half a mile long and as I reached the final curve heading for the house, I grinned at the daffodils that I remembered planting in my much younger days.

daffodils on the hillside
daffodils on the hillside

After parking the work truck, I grabbed my notebook and trusty camera and went for a walk. I found a couple of delightful surprises as I passed a rock garden:

a surprise in the rock garden
a surprise in the rock garden
I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination
I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination

I figured that the first thing was to clean out all of the winter debris from the flower and shrub beds.

Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers
Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers

I had pruned the knockout roses in December, but I wasn’t happy with the way the ivy had crept in. Late winter is a wonderful time to take care of such as this.

Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy
Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy

On down the walkway I found some beautiful Lenten roses showing off under a tree. The grouping is backed up with perennial ferns which had browned out through the winter. We would trim the dead fronds and hope that the ferns reappear before the event.

Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia
Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia

I decided that it was time for me to deadhead the Annabelle hydrangeas and shape them a bit so that they will bloom in a tiered pattern. I doubt that they will be in bloom for the event, but the foliage will be lovely and, one never knows.

Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads
Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads

We started to work. The ivy is removed from the knockout roses and I am pondering as to whether or not they need a bit more work. I’ll bet we can count on some blooms here.I’ll feed them next week. The bed looks much better.

Ivy gone from under the roses. I'll have to remember to stay on top of it.
Ivy gone from under the roses. I’ll have to remember to stay on top of it.

I have pruned the hydrangeas so that they will make a mound leaning back toward the house. They don’t look like much now, but they will be beautiful in just a few weeks.

Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.
Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.

We continued deep cleaning the beds. I like this job because it gives such an immediate feeling of satisfaction when viewing the finished project.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds
deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

Almost to the end of the upper front walk, we stop for a late lunch break. The cleaning and pruning is going well and we finish by the end of the day.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds
deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

My notebook is full of ideas on how I will have flowers in bloom and accent plantings ready for the tour. Remember, timing is everything.

This series will include a number of articles in sequence. If you would like to receive them by email, subscribe in the box which is located in the upper right sidebar or click “follow.”

To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Published by John P.Schulz

I lost my vocal cords a while back due to throat cancer. The laryngectomy sent me on a quest to find and learn to use my new, altered voice. I am able to talk now with a really small and neat new prosthesis. My writing reflects what I have learned in my search for a voice. My site johnschulzauthor.com publishes a daily motivational quote and a personal comment. I write an article a week for my blog, johntheplantman.com which deals with a lot of the things that I do in the garden. I am also the author of Requiem for a Redneck and the new Redemption for a Redneck--novels portraying the lives and doings of folks around the north Georgia hills. I have an English Education degree from the University of Georgia and very happily married to the lovely Dekie Hicks. You may enjoy my daily Quotes and Notes at http://johnschulzauthor.com/

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5 Comments

  1. I hope to see a picture of the Annabelle hydrangeas in full bloom and no doubt those Knockout Rises will pack a mean punch too.

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