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Been a month since the last post, so this one will probably ramble on a bit.

Not that there’s all that much to say, but I do ramble…a bit.

Anyway, the most immediate major project is done. My pond is basically just a big rectangular tub, and for various reasons I have it as a raised pond rather than in the ground. Last year I noticed the weight of the water was causing the sides of the tub to bulge, so I decided to make a case (essentially a huge bottomless crate) for it. This would support the sides, provide some insulation from temperature fluctuations in summer and cold in winter, and hopefully extend the lifespan of it in general. I guess the wooden box looks a little nicer than black plastic, but that sort of thing doesn’t bother me much. However, I was really pleased with how it went last year, so it’s worth putting the effort into making it better.

This meant reworking the stone and pebble base (don’t want a wooden box sitting directly on the soil), levelling, and fiddling about a bit lot, but it’s done now. As an added experiment, I used bricks to line and partition one side of the tub (about halfway high), which I filled with mud. The sides of the partition will serve as a shelf for smaller plants, and into the mud I will plant sweetflag (Acorus americanus). The stuff grows like a weed, and I am interested to see if it will survive once the pond is drained and covered for winter. Theoretically it should; containerised plants need to be rated at least two zones hardier to survive winter, and sweetflag meets that criterion. I think I’ll try it with northern blue flag (Iris versicolor) as well.

The next big construction project will be a cage to cover the strawberry patch. I’m being more ambitious with this one, because making it as a single construct would make it rather difficult to lift and manoeuvre about. The plan is to make it in two sections with hinges across the middle, so I can lift one section and let it rest over the other. I’ll make it out of 2×4’s so it’s really sturdy, and use half-inch hardware cloth to screen it – I don’t know for sure if chipmunks eat strawberries, but I do know they can pass through chickenwire. Hopefully I can get at least a decade of use out of it without the hassle of bird netting (which the squirrels chew right through).

Other than that, the usual tasks of this time of year are underway. The tomato and cauliflower seedlings are mostly pricked out, and it will be time to sow peas, radishes, lettuce and arugula soon, and fork over the vegetable plots. Most of the plants that were overwintering in the garage have been moved outside by now. The dahlias and calla lilies in the basement are showing their noses, and it will be time to start the re-acclimatisation process for other tender plants soon.

I also got most of the spring garden cleanup done today. I left a few things untouched, because I will dig them up over the next few days, pot them up, and donate them. Having the old growth still on them will let me know what they are (and where to find them).

Only other thing that comes to mind right now, is the little ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) plant I got a few weeks ago on a visit to a herbal nursery. A few friends and I make a trip of it each year, but by this point I don’t need a lot. Anyway, they had ginkgo plants that were still only a few inches tall, so I got one to try turning it into a bonsai.

…I foresee yet another construction project to house my growing collection of home-grown bonsai…

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