Monday, February 25, 2013

Befores and Afters, Mostly Befores

IF YOU LIVE IN THE Pacific Northwest, you know what kind of day Sunday, February 24th was. If you don't, then let me tell you. Picture blue skies and sunshine with a hint of a breeze, temperatures hovering around 60 degrees. Yes, it was a dang near perfect day--highly irregular for late February in rainy, cold western Oregon. Not quite spring by the calendar and not feeling like winter... a teaser day.

Look at the Crokies... all gorgeous in their, royal purple unfurling petals.    
A bunch of Crockies 
Unable to focus on the laundry or the pile of dishes in the kitchen, I high-tailed it outdoors to tackle the masses of last season's growth, such as what was on this Stipa gigantea. Icky, icky. This is the "Before." If you look closely, just to the left of the grassy mound, you can see something grayish and pointy. Scroll down and see what it is. 

My Stipa gigantea "before" 
Yep. It's a wood rendition of Sharon the Heron. Actually she's a snowy egret but I'm a gardener, not a wildlife expert. Doesn't the Stipa look infinitely better? Now I need to tackle the raspberry canes behind it. Always something... 
Stipa gigantea "after" 
Below is a "Before" of a mass of English Ivy that grows in my neighbor's yard but really enjoys our fence. I'm losing patience with trying to keep this stuff from swallowing the fence and the house and the neighborhood. 

Rampant English Ivy! 
Even in their unruliest, the tired mop heads from last year's hydrangea are kind of pretty.
Last season's detritus 
Look below. This is the evidence of my work on Sunday. Lots and lots of plant stuff waiting to be hauled to the yard debris can.  
More detritus 
While I slaved, er worked in the garden, Zip lounged in the sunshine.
Zip the cat soaking up the (rare February) sun. 
On my immediate to do list, tackle the rather scary looking remains of last year's 'Polish Spirit' Clemmy. It's already starting to leaf out so I'd better hop to it. 
Last year's 'Polish Spirit' Clematis needs a serious hair cut. 
Below are the remains of the pear tree trimmings. What a chore this was especially since it was neglected last year and this is two year's worth. Note to self. Don't neglect this chore again.
Proof that things are getting done...
And finally, I wanted to show you the little Paperwhite Narcissus abloom on my kitchen table. My sister Laura bought this for my birthday last November. It wasn't until mid January that I got it and the Amaryllis bulbs planted. Although the Amaryllis are rather slow growing, it sure didn't take it long for the Paperwhites to bloom.  
Paperwhite Narcissus 
So this is what's happening in my world. How is yours looking? 


  1. How nice to see that my gardens weren't the only ones overgrown. :-) Now that you've shown us the before, I can hardly wait to see everything start blooming their in your gardens.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

  2. It is so good to get out there and start tidying up. I love that blown-out, partly skeletonized Hydrangea flower. Decay has a strange beauty.

  3. Wow! You got a lot done! I always wished they'd pick up the yard waste two or three times a week this time of year. I've always got piles of it all over.
    Today was beautiful here, I got some time to work on a project. Meanwhile there are 3 overflowing laundry baskets waiting to get folded. :)

  4. I got out a little but the wind was strong and cold. (My excuse and I'm sticking to it.) It does feel good to clean up a bit to get ready for a whole new cycle of growth. Zip's idea is the best!

  5. Its good to get started again. Zip is very cute, looks like a longer haired version of our own cat!

    Gaz Alternative Eden

  6. Grace, you're so hard working last sunday!
    You did a lots, I'm sure your garden is in order now.
    The narcissus is very pretty, seem to me I feel its smell.

  7. I still need to do my grasses in the garden, haven't cut them back yet. Wish my purple crocuses would bloom!! Only the yellow one has bloomed so far.

  8. I've never seen such a big mound of clematis! Doesn't it feel fabulous to get out in the garden and get it cleaned up? Especially when the weather is beautiful! Your crocus are so sweet. Love the purple!

  9. You got a lot of cleanup done. I love the early blooming bulbs, your crocus and Paperwhite are beautiful. I did get our yellow bells and lantana cut back this weekend also. I love the anticipation of spring bringing all the plants and tress back to life.

  10. It is still winter with at least 6 inches n the ground, cold, windy and ice falling now...raw weather so no gardening...maybe in a couple of weeks as March appears to be getting colder at least to start.

    Can't wait to get started in the garden myself...for now I am seed starting.

  11. I am trying to do a little bit each weekend so as not to have a big project come spring. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that we don't get any major frosts between now and then.

    I'm jealous you're able to grow clematis vines! I had one do "just barely OK" for a couple of years, but then died. I tried a couple since then and just recently ordered one online - due any day now. I'm really not zoned for these here in Florida I guess, but I so love them!

    Looking forward to the "afters".


  12. OH we have had some beautiful days mingled in with the gray. You sure did get a lot done, I'm trying to get the vegetable garden ready, yikes!
    Loving the paperwhite, such a pretty bloom to have inside.

  13. I am so glad to see your garden coming to life. I know spring is coming but here we seem to be in a standstill waiting for the snow to go away.


  14. Yes, weren't those warm dry days lovely! I increased my piles of cut branches as well, but am just getting started . Hopefully we will have some more good weather to get more done soon. I generally have to use a saw to cut back my Miscanthus clumps. Here's to an early spring!

  15. I love those paperwhites. I didn't buy any this year, I'm the only one in my family who likes their aroma. Hubbie did a bunch of garden work today, bless his butt.

  16. That's one huge clematis...would it give lots more blooms if yoou didn't cut it back? Once mine start leafing out I'm always afraid to chop them back! You've worked hard out comes the fun part, watching stuff green up and bloom! Today I'm watching the snow come down, covering all the hellebores and crocus blooms (most of the hellebore blooms are lying all over the garden, having been chomped by some critter) the snow helps me take my mind off the devastation out there ;)

  17. It's good things are shaping up for spring your way. Yes, it is time to cut back last year's growth here, too. I hope the snow melts enough tomorrow to get out there and continue what I've started.


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