My plan this week was to get multiple truckloads of mulch. Said plan was thwarted by the city dump running out of mulch. I wonder if they ran out deliberately, or they just didn't plan well enough to make more in time? It's not like it could have been much of a surprise. When I was there on Monday I could see that they were almost out.
Anyway, they said they may have more by Wednesday. In the meantime we spread the first truckload on the bank by the road. Georg and I did about a third of it on Monday, and then I did the rest on Wednesday. I thought this task would go faster than it did. First I had to weed again. On the bright side, the weeds weren't nearly as thick since I had already gone at them a couple of weeks ago. On the down side, the weeds which remained were all of the tenacious variety.
Once the weeding was done we got to work on the mulching. The bank is outside the fence, and it's impossible to get a wheelbarrow up there. So we had to wheel up the mulch inside the yard, and throw it over the fence handful by handful. Then go all the way around, climb up the bank and even out the mulch by hand. I tried to uncover as much daffodil foliage as I could, but I'm sure there are still some buried under the mulch. That's not good for them, but I don't think it will kill them.
After the mulch was all spread, today I sowed mini sunflower seeds to fill in all the gaps among the daylilies. I had about 250 seeds and I think I used about half of them. Maybe I should have sown two seeds in each spot. I'll check back in a week and resow anything that hasn't sprouted yet. My plan is to mix annuals and daylilies up there, using fewer and fewer annuals each year as the daylilies spread, until eventually the whole bank is covered with daylilies. Here's hoping it works out!
Sowing the sunflowers wasn't hard work -- at least, not compared to digging up clay -- but it was tedious. Scoop a handful of mulch out of the way, press a seed into the soil, scoot back about a foot, repeat. Lots of crouching and stooping. Although I must say, if you're going to spend an hour and a half crawling around on the ground, let it be freshly mulched. Much more comfortable than when I was up there weeding earlier in the week. Still, I was pooped by the time I finished.
Speaking of seeds, the vegetable garden is looking great. Everything we planted from seed is up: zucchini, chard, beets, onions and carrots. The tomato seedlings look great. The only disappointment so far is the pepper seedlings: they don't appear to have grown at all since I put them in the bed. Well, it's only been a week. I can't remember how long it took them to get going last year. The watermelon (on the far side of the yard where they'll have room to sprawl) are sprouting too, as are the tall sunflowers.
The only bummer about the vegetable garden is the weed seedlings. We chose a really sunny spot for the beds : they're in shade for about an hour in late morning, but otherwise it's full sun all day, from early morning until sunset. The only problem is, it's right near an oak tree. The kind that drop those little helicopters. Which fell into the beds by the thousand, and are now sprouting like crazy. Every day I pull out dozens of those guys. Fortunately they're easy to distinguish from the seedlings we want.
In other weird gardening news, the gerbera daisies from last year came back! I had no idea they could survive the winter. I thought any frost would kill them. But no, apparently they die at 20°, which was a bit colder than it ever got last year. All but two came back, and three of them are in bloom already. Sheesh, if I'd known I would have protected them with straw and they might all have survived. Oh well, I'll know better next time.
It's kind of fun to walk around the garden and see which perennials are poking their heads out. The mulleins look great, have multiplied over the winter and are in full bloom. The chinese orchids look like they're going to bloom soon, and the giant alliums (I guess that would be giant allii) are about to open. The irises didn't do so hot, which was my fault because I transplanted them at the wrong time of year and left them out of the ground too long. But at least they look mostly alive, and I hope will recover enough to bloom next year. The black-eyed susans are going nuts. I planted them in the least hospitable part of the garden, hoping they'd hold their own. We do have a few casualties from last year: a coreopsis with unusual colors and a veronica, both of which I'm a bit sad about. And it looks like the Mexican petunia is a goner too. I'm not upset about that because I've heard it can be invasive.
The blue mist shrub is starting to get big. I'm a little concerned about that one because we had planned to move it to a location soon to be vacated by an evil yucca. But I've let other garden tasks take precedence, and the yucca is still there, and soon it will be too hot to transplant the blue mist shrub. Which will soon crowd out several smaller perennials in its current, way too crowded location. Well, if it doesn't rain too much this weekend maybe I'll get the yucca out. I hope it rains some though. I didn't water the sunflower seeds, assuming they'd get rained on overnight.