It’s been only three months when I last saw flowers in our garden but it seems a very long time ago. The longing get worse when I see flowers in other bloggers gardens that are still blooming or spring flowers that have already come up. Wishing that we lived in a warmer climate usually grips us at this time of year. But gardening and beekeeping in extreme weather is a fun challenge and keeps me on my toes. Good planning and timing is pretty crucial. I have never been obsessed with checking weather this much in my life. So many people I know wake up in the morning and check Facebook, Twitter, Email, even Snapchat, …I check the weather.
Finally, winter has released her grip in my neighborhood. It has been warmer most days now: above 30°F and some days above 50°F. Early spring plants are responding accordingly.
And, my longing turns to itchiness. Itching to get my hands in the dirt, get my arms scratched by the rose bushes, get bitten by insects, get natural vitamin D and end my day with aches and pain BUT happy and fulfilled.
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.
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.