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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

It’s Ol’ Robbo’s considered opinion that Old Man Winter has blown his last, icy breath in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor for the year.  Therefore, today’s project is to move all the plants we brought inside last fall back onto the porch.  These include four ferns and a potted palm, all of which are currently strewn about the house.

Remarkably, all of them survived this winter, even the one squirreled away on top of the freezer in the laundry room.  We’ve tried this stunt before, with inconsistent results. Why we got complete success this time (*hastily touches wood*), I really couldn’t tell you because I’m unaware of anything we’ve done differently this year.

Anyhoo, I’m going to move them out today and let them sit for a week or so to acclimatize, then I’m going to cut them back in anticipation of their spring growth.  (Some of them are a bit lopsided from being jammed in corners.)

Also, if I can summon the energy to do so, I may toodle over to the local nursery to pick up this year’s double knock-out rose.  A few years back, I brought one of these home for Mrs. Robbo for Mother’s Day.  We put it in a big pot at the top of the stairs to the back porch, where it flourished all summah.  In the fall, I took it out back and planted it in my garden among the peonies and the legacy roses I had brought down from my parents’ house in Maine.  I’ve done this every year since.  It’s a terrific rose, ridiculously easy to maintain and blooms like a maniac all summah long, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested.

One other thing I need to do is find some shade-loving specimens that look good in pots to place on the porch.  (The ferns mentioned above go in hanging baskets.)  I tried hostas last year, which I quite liked, although Mrs. R didn’t think much of them.  The porch (which is covered) faces northeast so its front gets minimal direct sunlight.  It would be nice to find something flowery, but I know that probably won’t work out.

Meanwhile, it’s juuuust a bit too early still to assess what made it through the winter outside.  While the clematis are already shooting out, I don’t yet know if my jasmine survived.  As I mentioned a few weeks back, at least part of my new pachysandra plantation out front is mort, but percentages are as yet unavailable, although I’ve a feeling it’s going to be worse than I thought.   On the other hand, the boxwood and ivy I have in urns on the patio look just fine, even though I never got round to wrapping them in insulation last fall or even pulling them in to a sheltered corner.

We have other spaces to fill, too – the half-whiskey barrels out front, the pots down on the patio, a new round of herbs for the porch, but I’ll let that wait another week or so.  (And it’ll be only a week or so – my brother and his family are coming here for Easter and if I know Mrs. R at all she’ll insist that everything be locked down beforehand.  It was only with a supreme effort that I convinced her that no, it’s still too early for power-washing the outside spaces.)

UPDATE: Garn! Duly toodled, but the nursery doesn’t have roses in yet.  It’s still mostly perennials and groundcover at this point.  (You may say that perhaps Ol’ Robbo should have called first.  To which I say call? CALL?  I’m a guy! That’s not how this works! That’s not how any of this works!  You’ll be telling me I should ask for directions next.)

UPDATE DEUX:  Good news, everyone!  Pottering about, I stopped to have a good look at the jasmine.  The old bark on the main stems is starting to split, which indicates to me that all is well.  Huzzay, huzzah!


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April 2019