Garden Recap 2013

IMG_2561 copyWell the yard and garden season of 2013 is officially over here in Michigan. Nothing left but leaf-raking, catalogue perusing, and —if I can work up the courage—a few minor experiments in indoor bulb forcing.

It’s hard to believe we’ve had two summers at the house already, but the first one was a haze of Iris’s infancy and the second was months 6-9 of Oliver’s pregnancy. And yet… I have to say I enjoyed a good glow of satisfaction as I taped the year’s pictures into my garden journal the other day.

We bought a new mower. We fought off most of the dandelions (and lost decisively to the crab grass). Scraped a few years’ worth of moss of the brickwork on the second terrace, planted geraniums and petunias in the empty planters (geraniums were a major success while every last petunia dried up and died). Cut out dozens of shrubs and scrubs around the property. And lured my brother Joel into building us a raised veggie bed during his visit in May.

I feel that I’m still just at the one-foot-in, dabbling stage, but I’m having a huge amount of fun. This is, of course, quite handy since Carl does NOT particularly enjoy the green and moldy. I think he would probably like the challenge of grass-related greenery—on walks around our neighborhood he will point out particularly smooth, vibrant, cross-hatched, edged, luxuriously thick, and leaf-less turfs, but at this point he’s more interested in the indoor reno. Which is fine by me.

As a final hurrah for the year I ordered a bunch of spring bulbs, cleverly timing them for the two or three week window when I would be recovering from childbirth. Whatever. I feel good now that they’re in. I’ve never ordered/planted bulbs before, and now there are 38 yellow daffodils, 12 pinks, and 8 hyacinths snugged in for the winter. Or would be, anyway, if the gophers would stop eating them.

My other experiment for the winter is in preserving the pink geraniums we enjoyed all summer. I LOVE geraniums, not only because they’re nearly impossible to kill, but when I was a tween I had this magical children’s book whose heroine’s backstory involved a love-match being thwarted by a woman’s obsession with salmon pink geraniums. I don’t remember all the plot details of that book, but I have always remembered the geraniums. And I still love them.

I potted 6 of them and put them by a sunny doorwall in the basement, and my mom helped me dig up the rest of them and hang the most developed 8 root-side up in cold storage. The Internet insists this is a perfectly valid method for storing geraniums through our Midwest winters, although I still have yet to meet someone in real life who’s actually done this. Or heard of it being successful.

But it’s been a year of experimentation, and I’m enjoying the journey. It’s been fun to discover a new hobby and have a ready-made space for exploring it.

Now if I can just get those leaves raked before the snow…

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