Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cosmic Creations and the Cal in Recalcitrant

A cool, sunny Saturday in early spring, and my mission is clear:  transplant the corydalis before they go dormant for the rest of the season.  When they're dormant, I won't be able to see them to transplant.  If this new garden we created last fall is going to get started, now's the time to get the corydalis into it, before it disappears.

Joe and I created this garden by expanding one we already had,  extending it farther into our weed-infested lawn, which Joe was tired of mowing.  The plan involved taking the lowest-growing plants from the front of the original bed and transplanting them to the front of the new, expanded bed.

At the back, the former bed.  At the front, the new extension.  The lowest plants now have to come to the front of the new bed.
The corydalis, one of my best-loved spring bloomers, had to go now, before it disappeared.

The corydalis has stopped blooming, but at least I can still see the foliage.  That means I can still see it to transplant it.

In a shadier part of the garden, the corydalis is still blooming.  See those little pink flowers?

Until today, I'd been giving most of my attention to getting together a body of art quilts to hang in my upcoming solo show at UConn Health Center.  Many of my other spring gardening chores just didn't get done this year, like pruning the roses and blueberries.  But my quilting work, after an initial bloop, has been going along well.  Right now, I have about 18 or 19 pieces ready or almost ready to hang.  So with the corydalis about to vanish, I thought I could afford to take a day away from art quilts and give it to gardening. 

But first, before lifting the shovel, I decided to take advantage of the abundant sunlight by doing a sunprint, my first of the season.  This one's going to be cosmic, with shapes of stars leaving ghostly images on the brooding black of outer space.  The sun will be working on the sunprint while I work in the garden.

First I put Pebeo Setacolor paint (black and shimmer jet black) down on a piece of cotton. Then I placed three sizes of stars on the paint, mooshing them in with a painty sponge.

Back in the garden.  First, I have to get compost to use in the planting holes for the corydalis.  Here's my compost bin.

Right now, I'm working from the right hand bin, shoveling up the last of last year's batch of compost.

There's lots of nice rich compost in there.

I dig a wheelbarrow full, noting that there's still a lot of compost left in that bin, so that I won't have to start turning over the other bin quite yet.

The big question:  how hard is it going to be to excavate planting holes in that former weedy lawn, which since last fall has lain under a coating of newspaper topped with mulch?

The answer:  Very.  This substance,  an unexcavated stretch of dense, heavy clay soil, puts the cal in recalcitrant.  Did I mention that it was heavy?

Here's my foot, trying to force the working end of a shovel into this dense, heavy, sh*t.  This is one of the few times when I think I don't weigh enough!
Still, I manage to transplant not only the corydalis, but the lamium and the lamiastrum.  I'm glad to see that the corydalis, even though their foliage is starting to fade, have abundant bulbs at their bases.

Can you see the tiny bulbs at the base of each corydalis plant?  Thus the name:  corydalis bulbosa.  Or is it corydalis solida?  I've never been sure with this one.

Not so easy to tell from this photo, but the row of small plants along the right are the corydalis, lamiums, and lamiastrums I just transplanted to the front of the new bed.

Next will be the Japanese painted ferns and the heucheras.

After that will be the brunnera, which I can't bear to transplant while it's blooming.  And the bleeding hearts, which will bloom all summer.  I'll transplant them when I do the brunnera.

See the delicate blue flowers on this Brunnera Jack Frost?  I don't want to bring this plant to the front until it stops blooming.
See the blue of the brunnera in the back and the pink of the bleeding heart in the front?  Both those plants will take their place in the new bed, but not until the brunnera have stopped blooming.  The empty gaps at the bases of these plants show where the now-transplanted corydalis, lamium, and lamiastrums originally grew.

 Meanwhile, how about that cosmic sunprint?  It's been cooking along as I've been out here gardening.

Once I removed the stars, these ghostly images were beneath.  So cool!

No comments:

Post a Comment