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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #023
May 10, 2023


"Blessing of the Birds"

Blessing of the Birds

May the sweet song of the blackbird nest in your hearts. May the winter robin cheer you on days of bare branches and bitter cold. May your days be feathered with love and laughter.

May the strong wings of the eagle carry you high across rough seas. May the tiny wren darting from bush to bush gift you its lightness of spirit. May you always fly in the direction of your dreams.

May the mischief of the magpies keep your senses awake and alert. May the wisdom of owl roost deep inside your soul. May you one day find your flock, and fly with them always.

Beverley Casebow

Photo by Deanna Skelding

When my daughter was little, I called her my Jenny-Wren and named my (long ago) children's clothing line after her.

Spring is here - so are Weeds !

And among the emerging perennials and spring bulbs are.... WEEDS ....

Where do they all come from?

Oh, I remember.

.. those I didn't get to last fall, set seed

and spread their "wealth" everywhere... especially this one.


Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) Grows in Sun/Shade: Sun Native/Non-native: Non-native Scientific Name: hirsuta: with stiff hairs

They are VERY tiny.... and quite pretty but really invasive in my garden

And then


- another pretty-leaved thug....

Ranunculus repens

non-native and invasive in open soil

contact with the sap can cause skin blistering.

Photo by Jm diThomaso

Those tiny green 3-leafed bits are Creeping Buttercup

in my Heuchera and will grow

quite big in a few weeks

... they spread underground with tenacious roots.

"Sacred space and sacred time

and something joyous to do,

is all we need.

Almost anything then,

becomes a continuous

and increasing joy."

Joseph Campbell

Time for long walks in the woods...

and when you do,

look for this lovely...

Dog Tooth Violet


Jobs to Do...

- Rake the lawn: spread compost on bare spots and seed (I like Clover)

- Move mulch back from the crown of plants

- Clear out dead foliage from last season.

- Heuchera, Hellebores and some ferns come to mind

Time to cut the old leaves from last season

to give the new ones a chance.

Heuchera often lift up out of the ground in the freeze thaw cycle.

They need to be dug up and replanted so just the crown is above the soil.

Remove Oak leaves from gardens.

... if you can mulch them, all the better

It takes Oak leaves about 4 years to decompose

and sometimes leaving them on the garden

delays the new growth of some tender plants.

These leaves tend to create a thick,

impenetrable mat that can be smothering.

You can see a small reddish rose sprout in the centre of the photo

I use these leaves to protect the roses on the boulevard

from salt and sand in the winter

.... in spring, I need to remove them

so the roses can breathe, get sunlight and rain.

Oak leaves have a lot of lignin in them

- a sort of waxy surface - that repels water.

Divide Perennials ...

Divide perennials if needed...

look for bare spots in the centres of day lilies,

or grasses

Give away extras or move them elsewhere while

leaving spaces between plants so they can breathe

but… not too much or happy weeds will fill in.

See the dead 'leaves' in the centre? (below)

Good sign this lily needs to be split into 2 or 3 plants

and moved

This is the same lily only a week later

... now it is hard to see the centre.

.. so early garden exploring is necessary

but, if you didn't get to it,

then just check the centre.

Prune Your Roses.... now, last year's withered and dead leaves will have fallen off

- if not, gently remove them so you can see how to prune each rose.

But there is more to pruning roses

and trees and shrubs

than this newsletter has space for

... look for lots more here

Pruning Roses pruning-trees-and-shrubs.html


Save any branches with forks over 2 feet long

to use as supports for floppy plants like peonies

… those branches need to be sturdy

and tall enough to support the weight of the plant....

but not so tall they too fall over

DEADHEAD Tulips and Daffodils

but leave the leaves

so the green can go back to the bulb

and be strong for next year.

"The Chelsea Chop"


- plants are not so tall and leggy - need less staking - sideshoots branch

HOW? - cut back by one third to a half using shears or secateurs. - cut back a few, but leave others as it will prolong l flowering time - or cut half the stems back at the front of the clump - it will flower all the way up

It works best with plants like Sedum (Autumn Joy) and Phlox

Sedum has stronger stems that don't fall over and the Plot will bloom at differing heights.

Photo: Sedum - Penn-Live


Potted plants have often been potted up months before you get them

Some, even last season and overwintered in greenhouses.

These are most likely root-bound.

Although the sketches below are potted roses,

many other potted plants will look much the same

when you pull them from their pots.

Often the roots will encircle the pot

whereas the healthy, lately potted-up plant

will have roots that grow in a downward fashion

Soak all plants that come in pots which you will be putting into the ground.

Untangle roots - gently

and if this is not possible because

the roots are matted and bound

then slice with a downward stroke as below.

PLANT - Don’t amend the soil…. add compost on top of the soil

and water in well for at least the first two weeks

…. the roots need water to establish but not enough to drown

… no overhead watering, just at the root

Always... Add Compost

I often read posts from new gardeners

who ask what fertilizer to use.

There is science to show that plants and gardens

need us to feed the soil... not the plants.

Without a soil test, how can we know what our plants need?

Just add compost... so easy, so good.

Empty your pots from last year

and add compost = saves the soil, and makes new soil

and then add MULCH

- slows weeds down

and keeps moisture in

Until Next Time....

Lucy likes to supervise any work in the garden

... and for rainy days,

make sure you have a friend-boy neighbour

with a nice umbrella


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