Garden Clippings by Nancy Berry | Seaside Museum & Sou'Wester Garden Club
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Garden Clippings

Winter 2004

by Nancy Berry

 

Spring comes slowly to the garden, starting early and then taking its own sweet time tantalizing us with a bloom here, a new leaf there. I think it is done in a conspiracy with Mother Nature who does the same with the weather, teasing us with a couple of days so beautiful and warm we want to put away our winter woolies, then clobbering us with a storm of rain from the south and wind from the east that leaves us shivering in our boots

This unpredictability makes it hard for me to describe what will be going on in the Butterfield Cottage garden when you read this but here’s my best guess.

First, the crocuses will have finished blooming.

Second, the primroses will be in bloom. We have some perfectly marvelous ones brought to us by Mary Alice Cole who says they are the native ones that grow in the woods. Despite my best research efforts, I cannot give you their proper name but I can boast of their merits. They grow in healthy looking mounds,

are covered with pale lavender flowers lasting the entire spring, nothing seems to bother them much except hot sun – for the most part, even the slugs and deer leave them alone. You have to divide them with a sharp shovel or a knife but then the parts will simply form new blooming mounds. What more can you ask of a plant?

Third, the roses and the apple tree will have received their winter pruning and will silently be preparing for their role in the late spring pageant.

Fourth, the garden club will be covering all the flower beds with a thick layer of garden mulch. We get this beautiful light fluffy mulch from Laurelwood Farm and use it to enhance the soil, retain moisture and help subdue weeds (we hope). The garden is built on sand and rocks as is much of Seaside and the initial planting soil was pathetic. It was the perfect example of the old folk-saying, “You couldn’t raise an umbrella on that soil.” Thus, year after year we work at improving it knowing that nothing helps a garden more than good soil.

Amid all these predictions, one thing I can tell you for sure - if, when visiting the garden, you encounter those garden club ladies with the shovels and wheelbarrows, steer clear or they’re sure to put you to work.