Saturday, February 13, 2016

Coldish, Crimes and Creatures

Fetching the paper on the front stoop this a.m. was a real little slap in the face - 20.5C (-4F) (a.k.a. Canadian Sweater Weather).  My old windows are joyfully frosted and the sun is shining brightly.  Fingers crossed that my old car will oblige me and spring to life when I turn the key.  

It has been a warm winter.  I don't miss the snow, but miss the reflected light.  Sometimes there just hasn't been enough chocolate to compensate.  My blogging buddy Kathy Purdy in New York State - it's been colder there - said it's has been like living through the longest November.

I haven't been ordering as many seeds this year.  I remember one of our old Hort Club members who used to grow peonies from seed at age 84 - truly not of the "I will no longer buy green bananas" club. But I'm thinking I want to speed up the process and purchase plants this year.

That being are a few things I'll be trying that I won't see "doing anything" until at least 2018:

They are living on the back porch in the lovely cold.

My indoor gardening has been limited to Amaryllis - truly one of the most rewarding bulbs.  I had lost some gorgeous bulbs a few years ago - they stayed in the garage on a very cold night - and although the garage is attached to the house - it's not heated.  Alas, bulb-mush.  So I'm starting again with these and hope to increase the bulb size and flower numbers over the next few years.

As the flowers start to fade, I cut the stocks and put the flowers on the kitchen table - so very pretty.

The white blossoms are now done.  The red and white are blooming right on cue for Valentine's Day.

Alas, it's Crime Time folks.   While there are those in the 'hood with spectacular arrangements - there are those who are guilty of the most heinous winter-crime.....

Yes folks, it's time to reveal this year's Burlap Crimes!

Just to refresh your memory.  Burlap has no known abilities to keep anyone or anything warm. For example:  You would not put a child in a burlap coat and throw it out in the cold.  It can be used as a shield to keep road salt away from expensive plant, but the burlap must never touch the plants.   Yet every year, more and more landscape firms have found a source of income, enrobing shrubbery in burlap. 

I am certain when the landscape architect presented their drawings, they pointed to these dark green items in the drawing called evergreens.  I am almost certain he or she gazed into the eyes of the homeowner saying something like, "Even in winter your garden will have colour, and provide a home for songbirds."  Then the maintenance crew comes in and says, "You must have spent a lot of money on those (and yes they did!), they better be protected for the winter."  And this is how, the petty crime of Burlapping has been elevated to a felony.  

Sometimes the evergreens are wrapped individually as if waiting for the kidnappers to arrive to throw them into the trunk of a car.    Lean into the screen and hear their little screams.

And, I'm afraid the larger the evergreen, the bigger the crime.  At 18 feet high - this is probably the biggest Burlap Crime I have ever seen.  Let's hope none of these trees has gas.

Double Burlap Crime.  Burkas for Boxwood.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking I should go back there tomorrow and set these little guys free.    I'm going to take a picture this summer to show you what a cool design this is.  They have planted little round evergreens of various sizes in a bed of ground cover.  However, all the cool factor has been taken away and all that is left are little trolls in need of some serious Vitamin D.

Moving along past the crime segment of this post, have a look at how pretty the Carex is looking in my winter garden.

Carex 'Ice Dance'

Carex 'Donald Trump'...only kidding C. humilis

Carex muskingumensis

Bart in the sunshine a week or so ago - it was +16C (60F) this day.

Last week we took a walk on the Cherry Hill Trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens.  It was just around the freezing mark on Sunday.  We started on a frozen trail and found ourselves slip sliding away in the mud as we reached the far side where the sun had been working away on the soil.  You can imagine our boots and the car.  What a mess.  However, what's a little mud, when you get to see this:

The girls were being watched over by a large male, who was spending his morning disrupting the quiet by honking at all the boys who were coming too close.

The ice is very thin.  You could hear it crack and spalunk when the girls feet fell through the ice.

We saw a fox, but I wasn't quick enough to get a shot.  But I did spy this little guy in the centre of the shot.

Here's a better look at Mr. Muskrat and his unusual tail.

That's it for now.  I do hope that you have something lovely planned for the coming week, that there's at least a little chocolate involved and that you make sure to get outside and enjoy this bright sunny winter weather.   Until next time.


tkmatt said...

I always thought the purpose of burlap wrapping was to protect the plant from breaking apart under the weight of heavy snow or ice.

Barbarapc said...

In some cases, it might just work. Unfortunately a lot of the burlap wrapping negates the natural properties of evergreen that shed snow and some ice. For folks who live in climates with really heavy snow, a simple rope wrap (perhaps in a nice green colour) will keep the branches from being pulled away and changing the shape of the woody plant.

PlantPostings said...

Stunning images, Barbara, especially that first one. Wow! We're just pulling out of that polar vortex now, with milder weather on the way this week. That burlap wrap does seem silly if it's meant to keep out the cold. Does it work for protecting the trees from rabbit damage (I've never used it, but seems to me I read somewhere that it can help repel rabbits)? It does look silly. But then, so does the caging I've had to put around my plants to keep the rabbits out. Grrrr ...

Kathy said...

I thought the burlap was supposed to function as a wind break. Anyone who thinks it keeps out cold is deluded. In general I try not to grow anything that requires that much work. And thanks for the mention!