An Afternoon in the Garden, Late January

The last Saturday in January. Close to 50°, gray but not dreary. There’s that little bite that lets you know that even though this is some strangely warm weather we’re having, it is still winter. I arrive at the garden, birdseed in hand. After filling the bird feeder, I’ll check on the compost and loop around to see how the fledgeling grass is doing.

But first a hello to Jenny, warmly done up in a drapey winter coat, knit cap, and mittens. She looks up from the third volume of a series of six books she’s been compulsively reading, she tells me, and then begins to tell me about it, how it is about nothing and everything. I’ve just come from the library and we joke that if I hadn’t just picked up a book I’d be competing with her to read hers. I fill our milk-carton bird feeder (a project of my preschool gardening class) and move on to the back where I see Dave knee deep in compost.

Dave and I embark on an intense conversation about the pros and cons of frequent turning of the compost. He is one of the few people I know with whom I can have such a discussion. We go from there to talking about the book he is writing, which happens to have—in a very roundabout way—a connection to composting.

On the way to my garden plot (which I know will look exactly the same as it has since late November but I have to see it anyway), I talk to Jane who is working in her garden. We’ve been sharing ideas about propagation and exchange a few thoughts on a propagation book we both admire.

From there, a tour of the lawn, which I started working on this past fall with another gardener. The young grass is holding steady. I can’t help smiling at the cheerful green sprigs.

Here’s a brief history of the lawn’s progress from fall into the dark of winter:

De-thatching the grass, above, and aerating, below. The screens are ready to be stretched over the re-seeded areas. In the future, I hope to replace the screening step with a covering of hay.

Above, de-thatched, aerated, and ready for planting.

New grass sprouting (above and below) in some tricky areas. Both get a fair amount of foot traffic and are shaded by large trees and shrubs.

First snow.

 

 

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