Field of Science

Gardening spring fever, exercise spring ferver

As per usual our weather goes from rather cold to warm-hot more or less directly. Our gardens look quite lovely, very colorful with a combination of bulbs, perennials, trees, and shrubs all in flower. Even the spring beauty/violet infested lawn is beautiful, in fact, spring beauty and violets are the lawn. It's the peak for bluebells, our most prominent and numerous wild flower. In one place yellow celandine poppies contrast nicely with the blue, and usually accented by the pink of bleeding hearts, but the freeze of a week ago (what a difference a week makes!) did them damage. For Mrs. Phactor the transition from tax season (very taxing) transitions immediately to garden season. Anyone who wants to experience our whole body garden-your-butt-off exercise program need only stop by and we'll see that you get a workout. Why is it that exercise zealots are never gardeners? Gardening is exercise that accomplishes something, or does that make it work and therefore ineligible as exercise? 
Last week's freeze demonstrated some plants' susceptibility to freezes: flower buds on a Butterflies Magnolia got totally toasted, so did the emerging leaf buds on a Oyama magnolia (and hopefully the damage is not too severe). Yet our tulip and saucer magnolias were unscathed because they were purposely sited to delay their flowering, and this year it worked. The freeze caught most of the saucer magnolias in full bloom and they suddenly went from magnificent flowering displays to toast.  Sudden heat causes plant to flower quickly and fade just as quickly. TPP has also begun replanting the boundary garden where a huge limb from their tulip tree broke during an ice storm and squashed three conifers like bugs; they did not survive. The 'Techny' arbor vitaes will be replaced, but not the limber pine. A new 'black tulp' magnolia has been planted too. TPP also got to replace his Japanese umbrella pine (Scaidopitys), but you cannot replace 6 years of growth.  
New trees and shrubs means digging holes; you have no idea how many muscle groups get a workout digging holes, so again stop by, a stake marks the spot for the next hole twice the diameter of the root ball please. Get your back into it! This is for your own good! In another exercise challenge, yesterday TPP rebuilt a pedestal for a objet d'art out of large 
pavers, a non-leaning pedestal, and this AM his right hand is feeling the effects of that exercise as he types this blog. Stop on by, he'll show you which keys to hit.

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