Spring is finally here or should I say summer is finally here. The temperature was over 90°F for a couple of days which broke the record. I’m not complaining after months of snow and freezing temperature. The plants in our garden are not complaining either. They’re pushing out shoots and buds all over the garden. Dragging on as winter did, spring is still giving us a very promising new life especially after the recent rain.
After we successfully fended off the deer for the last two years, and relocated the last rabbit last year, we decided to grow tulips in the garden again. I’ve been planting tulip bulbs I rescued for years but only a few of them survive the animal raiding parties. But as I didn’t spend a penny on them, it didn’t feel very wasteful. Last autumn, I picked tulip bulbs from the catalogs for the first time and they’re looking good so far. Hopefully these beautiful flowers will come back up next spring.
We cannot be certified a ‘Wildlife Habitat’ since we’ve fenced off most of the four-legged locals around here: deer, rabbit, woodchuck, raccoon, skunk, fox and coyote. We would’ve welcomed fox and coyote but once the deer net went up, that was it. Access to the garden is limited to birds, insects and small rodents. Any gardeners who have a problem with deer, I would recommend a deer net. It’s the only thing that works. I no longer have to spray a mixture of garlic and rotten eggs in the garden or use other methods only to find that they aren’t effective. The fact is there aren’t any plants that the deer will not eat.
Anyway, we have colors and the scent of perfume in our garden again after a long wait.
It’s nice to see colors again. It’s even nicer to see not just our honeybees but many local bees getting busy looking for pollen and nectar.
When crocuses and daffodils start to fade, primroses take the baton and continue running, coloring our garden. I’ve been planting different colors of primrose in our garden for the last few years and continue to look for new colors every year. There are many types of primrose but not many are hardy enough for our USDA zone so my choice is a little limited.
What I like about primrose is that they are pretty and low maintenance. Once I put one in the garden they tend to thrive being fed only once a year, in spring, and with a little mulching. The only potentially deadly problem for primrose, at least in our garden, are the slugs. Since they are low to the ground and tend to like moist soil, it’s easy to reach for the slugs. They can make a clump of primrose disappear in a few days.
The orange and purple striped ones were devoured by the slugs. The green one is still budding, not yet open and we’re hoping the slugs miss it too. For a couple of weeks or so, we have a very welcome primrose color all over our garden.
The Earth gives us sanctuary and sustains us in all things. Aside from being a provider, she is also a designer, inventor and teacher among many other things. She is kind but can never be tamed. That last is quite likely what saves us all from ourselves in the end.
When spring weather has not stabilized and frost is not yet out of the picture, not many plants are well equipped to deal with left-over extremes. Primrose (Primula) is one of the early spring flowers that can deal with a wider than normal range of temperatures. Recently the temperatures locally have been around 60° to 75°F during the day, dropping to below 40°F overnight. These little plants are thriving even though some of them started as little more than a root. Deer found them tasty this last winter; chewing them right down to a stump. Some were pulled from the ground but still hung on until I found them and poked them back in the ground.
Their blooming also lasts a long time. This spring has been good for the primrose since it’s still too cold for the slugs who come out at night, so the leaves and petals are still intact.
Spring is finally here, though a little too cold for April. There are plenty of things to do in the garden and most of them are time sensitive. Cleaning up dead stalks, feeding, pruning, training, mulching, starting the seedlings…they all need to be done at certain times in order to be done correctly and to be good for the plants. Two days off from work, from dawn to dusk, seems to be too short a period of time to get them all done. Something has to go on the back burner.
I started seedlings like tomato and chili pepper at dusk and working into the night. After pruning, training and feeding the roses, I have other perennials that are waiting in line to be pampered. Then I sow cool weather vegetable seeds like arugula, radish, carrot, chard, kale and sugar snap pea in the garden. After all these chores, a good hot shower and a glass of wine, then I sleep like a baby. As much as I love to blog I have no physical energy left, though I remain mentally clear and calm and want to share what nature is providing me. So I apologize for not updating this blog in a more timely fashion. Call it planting season time requisition, for lack of a better term.
Here is one of my new acquisitions this year: a Blue Zebra Primrose (Primula acaulis ‘Blue Zebra’). It’s a lovely addition to my primroses.
I don’t remember when I fell in love with Primrose (Primula). I just noticed that the variety of colors have increased in our garden and I still look for new colors to add to our collection. These little prim looking flowers are tougher than they look. They stay close to the ground and don’t need much care. Once in a while I have to pick slugs off them.
A few have already bloomed this spring even though on some days the temperature dropped close to the freezing point. A few more colors out there are still too shy or too cold to unfurl their petals. So, the brave ones deserve there fifteen seconds of fame.
The temperature has been going up and down like a yo-yo. We hit 70 degrees last week, then dropped down to 25 degrees this past Tuesday night, one night only! I rushed home from work to cover the vegetable seedlings that had already sprouted. They’re too tender to take the frost and accompanying high winds. Between the low temperature and windchill at 16, I couldn’t feel my fingers after I had finished the chores.
Wednesday morning when I opened the two layers of industrial grade garbage bags (ran out of the row cover) I had used to cover some of the Snap peas, I found the pea seedlings were looking like they had been in a freezer. However, a little sunning during the day and they got the color back in their cheeks. To my surprise the Primrose (Primula) and the daffodils (left uncovered) appeared unperturbed by the frost. Darwin would be proud.