By the calendar it's not yet late winter, but the weather is pure spring. Today we evicted the weeds from the Heritage Center beds and cut back the remainder of last year's perennial stems. The columbines are emerging In the Rain Garden some of the invading grasses and winter weeds are pushing up through the leaf mulch, so those were also evicted. The bee balm is showing signs of life. At the Native Plant Garden, we began cutting back the broomsedge and again evicted the invading winter weeds. Our one elderberry shrub is beginning to leaf out.
I forgot to get a photo of our progress in the gardens, but I will share one of a woodland scene from a few days ago. This moss-covered boulder speaks of many seasons of undisturbed tranquility off the beaten path, pleasant to contemplate after several hours of garden chores.
Weed control: dig out? spray? smother? Sometimes smothering with mulch makes the most sense. Some of the winter weeds in the Park Office landscaping can't be dug out without damaging the perennial crowns Here again, as in the Rain Garden, shredded leaf mulch seems to be the best choice. It settles down densely enough on top of dormant perennial forbs (wildflowers) to smother the weeds, but doesn't lift and fly away when the wind blows. Here at the Park Office, it may even be feasible to use shredded leaf mulch all year instead of the more expensive shredded wood mulch. The shredded leaf mulch is free while it lasts, so I'll be spreading more of it here in the near future.
I dug out a few weeds and did general tidying up at the Native Plant Garden this week, and for a change there's nothing more to be done there for the time being. Likewise at the CCC Museum. On the other hand, the CCC Field and Aquatic Center beds need attention in the form of weeding and/or mulching. A life coach, on hearing that my only hobby was gardening, advised me to find an additional interest because gardening was a seasonal activity. Not!
The photograph below of a site in the park shows how nature uses mulch to manage "weeds" in a forest after abandonment of a large man-made pit.
Sharing a few photos from a morning walk in the park: Yesterday we had heavy rains, so Swift Creek is running high. The lake is lapping at the canoe house. Third Branch below the Beaver Lake dam is overflowing the tubed crosswalk. A small rocky stream above Beaver Lake is showing off its waterfalls. And above that there is a patch of Ailanthus stems that needs to be removed.
Thoughts on the park, its residents and how to preserve its natural beauty.