Wednesday, February 26, 2020

This Month in the Garden: February 2020

The Woodland Walk at Astolat Farm

As I stroll through our Woodland Walk this morning, I am reminded of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme:  

One misty, moisty morning when cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man clothed all in leather.
He began to compliment, and I began to grin,
How do you do, and how do you do?
And how do you do again? 

I always loved this rhyme as a child and today it reminds me of England. While it is cloudy and damp here, this milder weather is more to my taste than the bitter cold of last month, and even of last fortnight when I was counting birds. If you compare this posting with January's view HERE you will see what I mean. The Great Backyard Bird Count ended with a resounding success as a pileated woodpecker made an appearance. Frequently, I hear this large bird tapping away at a tree, but usually he's not in view. He was in one of the ash trees searching for the grubs of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has decimated our ash trees. In the picture at the top of this posting, it is the tree with the bark peeled off. We may have to remove it before it falls on the bridge.

Top picture, strips of bark fall to the base of the ash tree as, bottom left, a pileated woodpecker taps for grubs.

Although the count is over, I continue to enjoy the birds:

Top: Black-capped chickadee. Bottom: Tufted titmouse

With the milder weather Duane, Jonathan, and I made a small start on the winter garden cleanup. Grandson Jon picked up branches and twigs that covered the lawns, Duane helped me cut down some unruly grasses, and I tidied the rain garden to reveal water iris shoots.

I tidied the rain garden -- to the right of the kitchen garden fence.
Iris shoots in the rain garden.

There are daffodils pushing up all over the garden. I am so glad to see them in the daffodil walk that lines the path to our front door.

Daffodil shoots in the Abundance Garden
The Daffodil Walk at the front of the house
I still see clumps of snowdrops in the Serenity Garden
The hellebore buds are getting fatter

Now that we removed the tall grass next to the pond, we can see the weeping spruce again. It has lots of new growth. Of course, we barely started the cleanup; it's early days yet.

We removed messy Miscanthus sinensis 'Zebrinus' as the wind broke pieces off and sent them into the pond.

The weeping spruce has lots of new growth and looks rather scruffy, but I love this miniature tree and don't plan to prune much off.

I usually prune shrubs and trees in March while they are still dormant. I plan to begin that task next week. Duane has been busy with his personal project: He commissioned his brother-in-law to build an extra shelter for the animals in the big paddock. The miniature horse, Charm, and the goats, Doodles and Billy, really like it, spending a lot of time in the unfinished structure.

The new animal shelter is nearly finished; it just needs some trim on the front

Sadly, early February saw the passing of three friends. One of them, George, built the replica outhouse that Duane gifted me two years ago. I love that outhouse. George will not be forgotten.

I'm linking with Sarah's Through the Garden Gate in Dorset, England. She inspires me to get outside with the camera each month even in inclement weather. February is ending with rain, possibly turning to snow. I hope it isn't going to be bad for traveling as  I am preparing for our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show -- thus this post is a few days early.  The theme of the show this year is a Mediterranean one; I can't wait to smell the lavender. I'll have much to tell you in my next posting.

I adore flower show season; a true harbinger of spring. Are you going to any shows this year?

Pamela x

Lichen on the redbud tree branches

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited! 
I look forward to visiting your blog in return.


  1. It's a busy time of year with the cleanup operation going on before the onslaught of the new growing season. Let's hope the weather plays kindly and allows us to get outside to get it all done. How lovely that the woodpecker put in an appearance for your bird count, a shame about the tree though. I'm sorry to hear about the recent bereavements, I'm sure you'll have many happy memories of time spent with all three friends.

    1. Many happy memories. And the outhouse is there as a reminder.

  2. Obviously spring is peeping over the windowsill in your garden. Congratulations on your successful GBBC. Pileateds are pretty common in my neck of the woods, but even here we more often hear them than see them. It's always a treat when they show themselves. That nursery rhyme with which you opened your post has always been a favorite of mine as well, and one that comes to mind on any morning that I get up to fog and mist, not at all an uncommon occurrence here.

    1. Altough we are in two very different zones, Dorothy, we have much in common in our gardens.

  3. I love visiting your garden and reading your stories Pam and signs of spring are evident. I have been outside on the milder days pulling weeds from the garden and accessing what needs to be done in the spring, which really gets one into contemplating "full speed ahead!" Speaking of spring, high winds arrived overnight and the temperatures plummeted, preventing me from a stroll outdoors for today, so I'll just enjoy your post for now. Happy gardening!

    1. Most days I'm able to take my 'morning walk' through my gardens. Wonderful seeing how many plants are coming up.

  4. Lovely to see all the birds in your garden and get an appearance from the Woodpecker too! Pam and that you have managed to get out this month and get some work done in the garden getting ready for Spring. I hope you had a wonderful time at the Flower Show. Sarah x

    1. The flower show was wonderful, Sarah. Look for my posting soon.

  5. So sorry to hear of the loss of your friends - three at once is difficult.
    My vegetable garden is almost finished for the year and buying fresh vegetables that taste like cardboard from the grocery store is not something I enjoy. At least I can start buying seeds! Perusing seed catalogs always cheers me up.
    You have inspired me to get up off of the couch and continue cleaning my garden - so much to do.

    1. I haven't ordered seeds yet. I'm late this year. Better get moving.

  6. Your garden is pretty and the picture of a bird is very nice. I like to read your stories.

  7. I love the bird photos, how lovely to see a woodpecker. Hope your weather improves soon

    1. It's really mild for the time of the year right now -- motivating me to get outside.

  8. Good that you were able to count your woodpecker this year!

    I also appreciate the Garden Gate meme prompting me, from this mediterranean climate garden, to see what is new in summer resting months.

    1. Being able to see gardens all around the world is a big benefit from blogging.