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May 2009

April 2009

Heat wave!

High 88 F but it was 95 F in Boston!
Low 53 F
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The end of April brings record high temperatures here in New England. Currently, at ten a.m. it is 80 degrees.  I know many other parts of the country are experiencing highs also and this gardener does not approve.  The blueberries are in bloom, the tulips and daffodils are marching on to heat destruction and many of the early flowering shrubs are also blooming.  The blooms last such a short time when the temperatures are high.  Today's high is an expected 88 F which feels way too warm to this unacclimatized gardener.  The flowers will come and go much more quickly and it is hard to garden in this heat. The frost is sure to come and tender new foliage and flowers will be at risk. DSC_0047    I can empathize with the Austin and other southern bloggers when I feel as limp as the petals on the tulips.   That ends the complaining and I am still embracing the  'River of Bulbs' in the GFSD garden.  There is a newcomer to the river.  DSC_0046 This orange tulip was in a orange/yellow Color Blends mixture and is one of the first to show up in this border.  I realize that I should have just planted orange as the daffodils are yellow and provide enough contrast.  We are all enjoying the color here and Tucker likes to pose...well, he grudgingly obliges me, and poses to provide scale and a canine element to the garden. DSC_0018 What is a garden without a dog?


The Green of spring

High 67 F
Low  43 F
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The morning's walk revealed the dappled mosaic that only the light of spring can provide.  This is the back field which really does look nicer than the low maintenance lawn.  Last month it looked like this DSC_0003 with brown patches and dormant looking grass. DSC_0049 This morning the sun was out and the grass was green. The rain has warmed the soil and there is now growth.   The lawn bordering the gardens,DSC_0054 while sparse and needing attention, looks its' best in the light of the morning don't you think?  I love that emerald green which means that spring really is threading its' way to summer.  I hear the summer temperatures will be here this weekend. I am going out to clean out a couple of beds before all is too high to manage.  Enjoy!


Vernal pool

High 60 F
Low  46 F
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It is raining again which is fine since the vernal pool is now filling.  This photo above was a couple of days ago and there is just a bit of water in the puddle.  It has rained since this was taken.DSC_0023   This morning upon walking down to the field Tucker got a bit excited as the vernal pool was not only full, but it had visitors.  A pair of mallards were enjoying a morning swim. Mrs. Mallard was a bit shy and was hiding just behind her mate.Dsc_0023 (2)   I did see a hawk fly from the lower branches over the pool into the woods so even if TuckerDSC_0004a and I did scare this pair of mallards off I would like to think we saved their lives.  I don't know if hawks eat ducks.  They are not too much bigger in size but the ducks do look...well, tasty. DSC_0026 They took off in flight before we got too close but click on the pictures to enlarge them and watch them retreat. Dsc_0026 (2) That flash of green and the striped wings Dsc_0027 (2) were beautiful in the morning sun.  They only squawked a bit as they flew off.Dsc_0028 (2)   The pool was left with nary a rippleDSC_0030 in the stillness of the morning. 


Unexpected gifts

High 60 F
Low  20 F
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A beautiful voice can bring tears to one's eyes and so can the beauty of spring as it unfolds, at its' own pace, always a surprise, always unexpected, always appreciated here in New England after a long, cold, snowy winter. DSC_0036 Is physical beauty over- rated?  Maybe not.  Physical beauty is delightful but it is certainly not the whole story and, it is the exception in daily life, not the rule.  The depths of beauty often lie within the bulb, the root or the dormant twigs of the tree.DSC_0073   It is always good to remember not to judge by appearance alone.   Understanding and connection increase the beauty of any living thing.  Keep an open mind.  Let Dsc_0010 (2)beauty  unfold.  Can you just imagine, if you had no standard and no prior experience with the  bulb of a daffodil with its' brown scales and papery exteriorDSC_0077 or the bare, contorted root of a peony, what your expectations would be for their mature appearance?  DSC_0085 Gardeners understand, better than most, the hidden qualities within the seemingly banal and often utilitarian appearance of the bulb, root or potted plant.  Every living thing has its' own beauty.  We must remember that and not become jaded and hardened.  Expect the unexpected.  Expect the best.  What harm can that do?  Beauty often lies deep within.  It is worth a few moments of consideration and contemplation don't you think? 


Bloom Day - April 15, 2009

High 57 F
Low  37 F
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Yes, we have blooms here today and they are even outside in the garden.  The above photo shows purple crocus, winter aconite and hellebores in the same frame.  This is exciting news, to have more than one flower blooming in the garden in the same area.  The snowdrops are done and their grass like foliage adds a bit of fine texture to the newly composted bed.DSC_0003 In this crocus area, there are also some tulips  which have been in the bed for quite a while and should be replaced.  There is no telling whether or not they will bloom this year as they are getting a bit on in years.  DSC_0005

The white crocus have been a source of pure delight this year.  They are multiplying nicely and glow in the early morning and late afternoon as the low sun provides backlighting for the clear,DSC_0008 white petals.  Cool temperatures and adequate moisture have lengthened their bloom period.  DSC_0017 The river of bulbs is starting to bloom and while it seems there are gaps, I call them the smooth rapids,DSC_0006 those are spaces where species tulips and camassia will bloom if the deer stay away.DSC_0007 I have been spraying but the deer are persistent and one miss in the schedule as the foliage expands will mean 'come and get it' to the deer.  You can see the ragged tops of the tulips in the above picture.DSC_0010   The glory of the snow are blooming right through the leaf debris still blanketing this bed.  This light blue shows from quite a distance and these bulbs do naturalize quite well.    Daffodils right by the corner of the house add a trumpet of color to yet another uncleaned bed.DSC_0014   The last blooms in sight are the Lillium plasticum which bloom throughout the year but their color does seem to be fading a bit. DSC_0011 They still make me smile. I hope Bloom Day makes you smile.  Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for hosting yet another Bloom Day.  How many is this Carol?

 


Making the bed

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There have been few gardening accomplishments as of this date. The weather has just not cooperated.  That said, there are two beds (out of many) that have been raked and freshened with a nice layer of compost.  That compost really neatens things up in addition to adding organic matter to the soil.  It  reminds me to pull the covers up and straighten the spread on the 'other' bed.  It makes all the difference.DSC_0020   Here is the after picture as the snow flies and adds a bit of moisture and 'poor man's fertilizer' to the bed.  This is a fairly shady border.  It faces north and the surrounding trees provide a high canopy of shade.  It is the border at the top of this blog page and it holds hosta, astilbe and helleboreDSC_0295 to name a few occupants.  Have I named this one?  I guess the 'left border' will have to do. DSC_0294 You can see the low maintenance lawn which definitely needs a bit of maintenance now.  This area has quite a bit of moss in the lawn and my soil test did indicate a pH of 7.6.  That just proves that moss can grow in sweet soil and it is time to aerate, add compost and seed and hope for the best.  The next bed on the list is the 'Left handed mitten' garden.  Here it is in plan view taken from above on the deck.  DSC_0045 It holds a bit of color right now with crocus in bloom and there is so much promise hidden under the blanket of leaves and plant debris.  If the temperature gets above forty five tomorrow afternoon, and if I get home before it is too late or I am too hungry to tackle it then perhaps I can accomplish this next task.  If not tomorrow, then soon.  One bed at a time is this gardener's mantra....sounds a bit provocative, doesn't it?


Rheum to grow!

Cold and now snowing!

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Is there a plant with a more interesting spring debut?  Convoluted leaves and bright, cherry red stalks heave themselves from the cool, spring earth.Dsc_0041 (2)   I can only imagine the anticipation of the cook of kitchens past when availability of spring vegetables depended on the local gardener.  We all have access to greens, fresh vegetables and fruit twelve months of the year but just think what it must have been like to visit the root cellar and realize that there were only a few potatoes and a couple of edible squash left with spring taking its' time and nothing more in the larder.    Many turn their nose up and their palates away from rhubarb but the tangy tartness would be a welcome relief from root vegetables I think. Dsc_0040 (2) Rich in vitamin C and dietary fiber, rhubarb is welcome on my plate anytime.  The leaves of rhubarb, while beautiful and large, do contain oxalic acid crystals which are poisonous if eaten.  They can cause the tongue and throat to swell and most know to leave them on the compost heap.  The stems are fibrous and tart and make great pies, jams and jellies and some have posted on making rhubarb juice for a delicious rhubarb martini.  That is on the list!  If I want a rhubarb pie for this Easter dinner, I will have to go buy some rhubarb as it is just not quite big enough for picking.  I like it, do you?


Rain shower revelations

High  48 F
Low   34 F

DSC_0010Eranthis hyemalis- winter aconite

We had a good amount of rain over the weekend and the winter aconites, which I had given up ever seeing in the garden, revealed themselves. DSC_0013 They are a bit small but they are there in the only cleaned out garden  here at L & G.  I had expected to see them much earlier in the season and in other blogger's gardens they do seem to appear much earlier.  I have visions of them scattered in with the ScillaDsc_0012 (2) which is as blue as these are yellow.  I think they will look much better than they do with the white snowdrops.DSC_0023   I can envision planting scilla and aconites and having them bloom at different times in the future but that is what gardening is all about.  Planning and re-planning and watching the ever untameable Nature takes its' course.  I have to thank Kathy Purdy from Cold Climate Gardening for inspiring the planting of these little beauties.  I knew that if they grew in her frozen tundra I would have no problem with them.  The blogging community is one that inspires and informs and my garden is the richer for it. Thanks to all of you.