Friday, January 28, 2005

Monday: Well, another weekend is over and another week begins in my garden journey of 2005. Last night made it to 28. I hope that is it for the really cold weather this winter. I am getting tired of going over to New Dawn, shutting off water and draining lines, usually while freezing my b*## off. :-)

Finally finished eating the Oranges from the garden this year. I used the juicer and had fresh squeezed juice from the last six oranges. As for Grapefruit, lets just say I will be sick of them before they are all gone. I estimate we had 200-300 on the tree. There are still about 75 hanging. I am eating them and juicing them. Now that the Ruby Red is mature, temps of 28 degrees doesn't seem to faze it. I remember when it was young, I thought I had lost it to the same temp. Bark splitting everywhere. Let's just say you should see it now. I have been waiting for years to get good healthy Citrus trees. The Grapefruit is the oldest at 5 years old, having spent is first year in Gonzales before we moved here. All of the other Citrus were moved to New Dawn year before last so this will be their third full summer. They should take off. I have a theory about gardening the humid subtropical south with it stifling summer heat. The first year plants just survive, maybe. The second year they establish. The third year they begin to thrive. We will see if that hold true for the Citrus.

Thursday: Back to spring weather again. High in the low 60's today and tomorrow, then up to 68-70 for the weekend and early next week. We do have some touches of color outside as seen at left and inside the greenhouse as seen to the right. All of the tender green foliage is dead back to the stem after that hard freeze. Some of the roses are unbothered and will soon be opening a few roses. Rain is in the forecast for the next few days along with those higher temps. Maybe I'll get to squeeze in a little gardening, I hope. Until then I can read. A website visitor from Canada couldn't believe I am planting while they are enduring -4 degree temps. Here in the deep humid subtropical south, fall is optimum planting time as compared to spring in the rest of the country. Everywhere else the concern is the plant getting well established for next year's cold. Here we are concerned with the plant being established to survive next year's heat. A plant put into the ground here in April, particularly a bare root plant, will have one heck of a struggle to survive the heat of July and August. November would be the optimum time to get it in the ground down here. As a matter of fact while northern gardeners take the winter off, many times southern gardeners take the dog days of summer off. As you can see by the picture of Bayou Teche framing the back of New Dawn, many things go dormant here in the winter, but there is still a good bit of green left as well.

Saturday: On this 29th day of January, spring marches closer by the day. One year out of 10 next week would be our last frost date. 50% chance of last frost date comes at the end of the month. Regardless, all hardy plant transplanting needs to be completed this week to allow the plants to become established before the heat arrives. There are still quite a few transplanted to get done.

I finally picked up some Landscape Marking Paint at Lowes and laid out the carport, driveway, and turnarounds. In addition to the Bay Tree, Ginger, and Queen Palm which were obviously needing to be moved, it was revealed that the Mock Orange and a patch of Rain Lilies must move also. I moved the Bay Tree to its new spot, and will get to the Mock Orange tomorrow. The Gingers and Queen Palm need to wait for warmer soils before moving them as the heat will not be an issue for these tropically oriented plants. I also laid out the locations at the top of the cross bed for the arbor and dug out the locations for the last two driveway roses. Well, one rose will be left to move, the Seven Sisters, but I don't know where it is going yet, so it might go into a pot in the interim just to see the driveway clean again. In the Cross Bed I got a clean mark out on the pond, so tomorrow I will lay out the edging blocks to frame it. While I was busy marking with the paint, I also marked out the arch at the top of the Cross Bed. With the soil being so wet, today was mostly a prep day. Tomorrow we do more plant moves. It is so nice the have the layout done for the house, carport and drive so that I can now visualize the beds. I am truly excited about the final vision and can finally see it in my head. I also did some work on the raised veggie beds getting them ready for spring. Can't wait for fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. I'll start the seeds in the greenhouse this week.

Sunday: It was another cool damp day. Highs in the mid 50s and damp. I could feel the droplets of water in the air hitting my skin, until noon when it finally brightened up a bit, but the sun never shone. Today, I moved the last of the driveway roses and that failed project is now officially no more. I did find the label on both Climbing White Dawn and Climbing Old Blush so those two are now positively identified. It is a wonder the Climbing Old Blush was still alive. The Wiregrass (wild bermuda) was so thick around and through the roots I had to essentially bare root it just to get it moved. I fear for it this summer. The same was true of the Seven Sisters rose which I moved to the front of the old horse trailer. As a surprise a limb of the Seven Sisters had rooted. I now have a baby planted. Another surprise was the Climbing Peace Rose which was mowed over when young. It came back this fall. When I dug it up to pot it, I discovered they were actually two plants so both of them are potted as well. So in the midst of destruction, New Dawn gave birth to three new rose plants. I spread a cubic yard of dirt today, in planting holes around recently planted plants and in the rose beds. By best estimates I will need at least 10 cubic yards of dirt to complete this springs work. I have at least 5 cubic yards of dirt on site, but rains are preventing my turning it from dirt into top soil. That means tilling in compost, manure, and peat moss. Almost forgot, I moved the Wisteria today to St. Joseph's Tower. I also came up essentially bare root. Never realize what a substantial root structure Wisteria develop. This was a real wrestling match. I removed over half of the vine and will say a prayer for it.

I also spread some SuperBloom fertilizer around the Redbud, the Mimosa., the recently moved Hardy Glads, the smaller of the two Acanthus, the roses on the barn arbor, and the Cherry Parfait rose, next to the arbor. I also top dress the soil on the last three roses mentioned. I finished out the day by putting the garden edge block that will outline the pond within the cross bed and marked out locations for 4 new fruit trees. Well, that is a wrap for this weekend and for Week 4 of 2005. February is a day away. There is still a lot to do, I feel the pressure of spring approaching.