I see the spring light at the end of the tunnel, a little dim but still a cheerful light of hope. Snow still covers the majority of the garden but in the bare specks there are colors. Crocuses in the front yard bloomed nicely this year. Last year they became deer food. At least deer left the bulbs alone so they came up with a variety of colors. We planted a lot of crocuses in the previous two autumns to provide early spring food for our honeybees. Many of them became food for squirrels, chipmunks, deer and rabbits but the survivors continue to come up in spring before disappearing underground again.
Our back yard is still covered with snow but it’s melting fast with high daytime temperatures. Some tulips and daffodils braved the cold pushing themselves up above it.
And, look at the busy girls. Yes, we call them girls because the worker bees are all female and they’re like our children. The weather is warm enough for them to go out foraging and most of them came back with baskets full of pollen. They’ve also taken in water from the birdbaths.
Spring is here after all. Thank you Mother Nature for giving us a break from the Nor’easter in the last few weeks.
Today is ‘officially’ the first day of spring. That’s what it says on the calendar but in reality our garden is still snowed in. The temperature is hovering a little bit above 30°F and there will be more snow coming down tonight and continuing until Wednesday night. We expect a foot of wet snow accumulation added to what we already have on the ground. That’s why I say ‘officiallythe first day of spring on the calendar‘ only.
Plants in the little plot right next to the house have started to come up. Daffodils and irises the previous owner planted next to the garage are sprouting leaves. The Siberian garlic are braving themselves in the cold next to melting snow and will be buried again tonight. But they are Siberian, they should be fine. Rocambole garlic that I’ve been growing for many years are still staying comfortable underground.
Inside the house is another story. Amaryllis ‘Red Lion’ that one of my colleagues gave me many years ago welcomed spring with its bright red flowers. Still one more set of flowers from this bulb is just about to bloom. I moved them up from the basement as soon as the flower buds came up.
Hibiscus ‘The Path’ also senses the warmth of spring and welcomes it with a bright yellow flower. I found that the color is paler than when the plant is outside but it’s still beautiful and cheerful as all hibiscus are. I left it in the basement though, since it’s too big to be in the bay window with the other plants.
But, …darn, We’re still waiting for reality spring.
We were so happy a couple of weeks ago when Spring officially arrived and the weather acted accordingly. I even started tomato and chili pepper seedlings in the hope that we may have a longer growing season. But we were fooled.
We woke up to three inches of snow on the ground this morning. If it was just snow, it wouldn’t be that bad. The strong wind, over 30 mph, makes it feel much colder. Many young leaves got wind burn; the lucky one were buried under the snow. My face felt numb after only a few minutes outside. I managed to take some photos before my fingers started to ache and retreated back inside.
I didn’t have a chance to check in the cold frame. Actually, I didn’t want to open it because the wind would make it much harder to close. Snow also helps insulate it so opening it will not do the vegetables inside any good. However the garlic is outside, half covered in snow.
I’ll bring this up later, but I did make a mad dash out to the bee hives to wrap the girls up in warmer covers.
After months of bone chilling cold and several feet of snow, Mother nature finally eased her grip. The temperature has been increasing slowly and the spring rain has arrived. It’s been raining on and off since yesterday, with intermittent drizzle. When it was just drizzling, I took the opportunity to walk around looking for both survivors and a new generation in the garden. The deer and rabbits have done a lot of damage this winter. I guess hunger made them try anything they can get their teeth on. Yew hedge, rhododendron, iris, hydrangea, clematis, and tree peony bore the signs of being munched on.
There are also new flowering plants that have pushed themselves above ground. Tulips, hyacinth and daffodils I rescued from the garbage bin have never failed to express their gratitude year after year. Not many tulips left though. The chipmunks managed to dig a lot of them up last year even after they had started to flower. Snowdrops have already bloomed. Grape Hyacinth and Dwarf iris will follow close behind.
A new cycle begins again. I can hardly wait for a dry sunny day when I can begin pruning roses, feeding the plants, cleaning up the garden in general, and putting new seeds in the ground.
The Alyssum ‘Basket of Gold’ (Aurinia saxatilis) is a perennial that produces bright yellow flowers. Butterflies and bees love them. This particular one was buried under a mound of snow this winter but it’s happy and perky again.
I will have to cage these tulips before the chipmunks find them. I have no idea what this one is but the pattern on the leaf is beautiful and the resulting flower will be so vibrant.
Came back from vacation with hope to see some green and a little more warmth than when we left, but didn’t expect the temperature to be just like the tropics where we vacationed. It has been in the 70s in the last couple of days and the plants love it. There wasn’t much of anything above ground when we left, but now everything is sprouting up all over the garden. Garlic I put in last October has come up pretty nicely. Hellebores perk up in the morning only to wilt a little under the afternoon sun. Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Hyacinth and Hellebores are either blooming or just about to unfurl their petals.
I spent hours on my day off pruning and training the roses and haven’t finished yet. This is a time consuming task as well as a time constraint. If I don’t do it now when the roses are just starting to push out their little buds, it will be a lot harder to do when they have leafed out fully. Deer have done a lot of damage to the tips of plants that came up early, including Irises. Who said deer wont eat Iris? But the worst damage to our garden is caused by squirrels that dig up the tulips bulbs, eat them and leave us the leaves to rub into our wounds.
Aside from the annoying squirrel problems, I’m glad to see color in the garden and the aerial show from our avian friends again.
Every spring the gardener at my office will plant flower bulbs around the base of trees that line up in front of the office. The bulbs vary from year to year, from tulips to daffodils to hyacinths. They look lovely in those little patches on the sidewalk. After a month passes, the flowers fade, the leaves start to turn yellow and the gardener removes them replacing them with something else. I thought they would be stored or kept in containers for planting next spring.
One day I saw him putting the bulbs in a garbage bag so I asked. The answer; they would be dumped in the garbage. That was sad to hear. I see no point in not asking whether I can have them since they will become part of a landfill somewhere anyway, wasted for no good reason. He was happy to give them to me, and from then on, he’s been holding them for me. From one gardener (a pro) to another (an amateur). I shared them with my colleagues and neighbor. My neighbor especially, just couldn’t wrap her head around the idea of wasting perfectly good bulbs. Yes, we know they are commercially grown for garden design purposes to produce exceptionally large, colorful flowers. Their life, however, is short at one spring season. They end up as city garbage after they no longer produce pretty flowers.
I dragged bags of bulbs home for the last few years and planted, what’s left over after sharing, in our garden. I found that planting them this way, flopping leaves and all, the squirrels won’t dig them up. If I don’t have time, I let them dry out, cut the leaves off and store the bulbs for planting next spring.
I have free, healthy plants. The bulbs appreciate being rescued from a city landfill and adopted into an organic garden. They show their joy at being alive year after year, reproducing a new generation every spring for us to enjoy. Their gratitude clearly expressed both in colors and fragrance.
It was normal spring weather today, rainy and chilly as spring should be. After an unreasonably hot March, we finally have spring-like weather back. It’s been raining or drizzling on and off all day. I decided to roll the row cover back over the vegetable seedlings, though I knew they’d be able to deal with 40 degree temperatures. Howevert the cold does slow their growth. I want my salad sooner.
There was a brief period today when I could duck out with the camera without ruining it. Something about the silvery, shimmering drops of water that hang on to leaves and flower petals that is very soothing, very meditating. Nature stages them, I just took the photographs.