Previous month:
January 2009
Next month:
March 2009

February 2009

Struggling snowdrops

High 58 F
Low  38 F
They are trying.  You can see the flecks of white amidst the foliage but in spite of today's warm temperature, the ground is still frozen and the snowdrops are struggling. I looked back through my pictures to see what it looked like here around this date last year. DSC_0003 Here it is. This is a shot of the GFFSD and here it is this year.  DSC_0007 On February 26, 2007, the garden looked like this.DSC_0001  I guess I should consider myself lucky that the green of the snowdrops is showing here and now.  The previous year the snowdrops bloomed on March 3rd. DSC_0060 They appear to be right on schedule.  It is just the impatient gardener having a problem with this long winter.  Thank goodness for all you bloggers in warmer climates.  You are getting me through these tough times.


Sand, sheds and stone at the flower show

Low 18 F

Who doesn't love making castles in the sand?  Mine usually consist of a couple of towers made from paper cups and a few walls but some people have incredible imagination and talent.  I know Miami beach is famous for sand sculpture but for the last few years there have been sculptures at the RI Flower Show and this year we visited Egypt for this incredible sculpture.Dsc_0086 (2)  He sits smug and stately holding court in the Convention Center.  I'm not sure if I showed last year's sand sculpture but here is one of them. DSC_0026 The same designer created both and is on hand during the show to continually sculpt and speak with the crowds.  Just sand, incredible!
Dsc_0095 (2)
To call these beauties sheds is a bit of a misnomer.  Garden cottage is a more appropriate term for the structures at this year's show.  Who wouldn't want one of these little getaways strategically placed in their garden for a moment of respite. I tend to think it would be much like the garden bench which has a function but is rarely used.  Or, maybe not, a quick nap in one of these havens might be just the inspiration one needs for planning a new garden or garnering a bit of strength for weeding.   Check out the size of the front step on this first shed. This is  New England Granite which probably weighs in at half a ton.  The roof is complete with plantings.DSC_0022 I know that there are great applications for green roofs but I also know that this would need some extra watering.  I think I'll keep my plants closer to the ground.  It is charming though isn't it? Dsc_0090 (2) Here is another fanciful shed.DSC_0114   There was no access to the inside but I can 'feel' the hammock hanging there and there is room for a potting bench and tools also.  This one also has an interesting front step in the form of a cross cut section of a tree.  This last picture was taken the eve before the show at the preview party and it was in the darkened and somewhat inaccessible vendor area.  I had to peek through the curtain to get this shot.Dsc_0045 (2) This is a functional, yet beautiful glass house.  Which one of the above is your favorite?
Moving on to stone, there were huge pieces of granite in this exhibit.  My sister, Sue, is graciously providing scale for the slab above. DSC_0116 Here is another complete with lichens still attached. It looks just like much of the ledge here at Ledge and Gardens.DSC_0019

  There were also raked gravel gardens which incorporated large stones in the garden.  Dsc_0048 (2) They provide such stability and structure. Dsc_0051 (2) Here is a garden with a moon gate.DSC_0054   I would love to see one of these in the process of being built as the keystone in the top center holds it together.  I imagine ten men or women holding it together until the last stone is dropped into place.DSC_0127 This display had some wonderful, fanciful stone features which any one of us should be able to put together. DSC_0128 I am going to give them a go this coming season. I particularly like that fan shaped creation above and it even has a bit of moss tucked in between the stones.  What do you think of these?  Would you try them in your garden?


The show continues....

Low  30 F
Dsc_0073 (2)
The vegetable garden is experiencing a resurgence and it can be a beautiful place in addition to a bountiful one.  I have to say that the veggie garden at the Rhode Island Spring Flower and Garden Show was my favorite garden in the show and there were many beautiful vignettes this year at the show so it was a difficult choice.  I grew up with a vegetable garden typical of the  50's and 60's.  My own vegetable garden bears the imprint of many years of exposure to Dad's garden. I'm working on it!DSC_0031   These gardeners, Dad included, were often veterans and the military element showed up quite often in the regimented rows of orderly vegetables.  I cannot fault the precision and beauty of this type of garden but there are other methods equally productive and perhaps more decorative.  I have added espalier to the veggie garden and the garden at the flower show has added decorative elements making this garden one of beauty and  productivity.DSC_0084   Designed in quadrants, each had a focal point in the middle of the bed.DSC_0080   This one has an urn complete with  bok choy, lettuce and viola.  This next bed has the unique and much talked about, walking stick kale in the center.  Dsc_0072 (2) This kale was over six feet tall and the stalk actually can be dried and used to make a walking stick.  In climates such as mine, zone 5b, this would need protection to get to this size but I think it is a rather common sight in gardens of a more moderate, climactic nature. DSC_0075 Curious isn't it?  Is anyone growing this kale? DSC_0085 These corner urns were not only beautiful but included some of the scented geraniums which added wonderful fragrance to the exhibit.  Dsc_0082 (2) Look at these gorgeous clay pots with the rooster standing sentinal over the exhibit.  He added a regal element to this pottager.  Of course artistic license is used in the show. Hostas are lush and green and relatively easy to force but I am not sure they would actually be used in a sunny vegetable plot.  I just imagined fat, savoy cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in its' place and felt very comfortable with the choice.  How do you feel about the use of incompatible plants in a design show?  


Something to crow about!

High 46 F
Low  36 F
Dsc_0076 (2)
Just when you think there is no end to winter the flower shows start to crop up.  The Rhode Island Spring Flower Show is being held February 19th through the 22nd at the Rhode Island Convention Center and I had the privilege of attending the preview party last evening.  It was snowing as I left the house and this snow almost kept me home as it is a forty minute drive made longer by the weather.   I did promise to pick up my sister which is what kept me from cancelling and staying home for yet another exciting evening in front of the TV.  Usually the earthy smell of the mulch is the first  scent to greet you at a flower show but this preview party was hosted by local restaurants and benefited the Food Bank.  Grilled meat and luscious food smells pervaded the show floor and the first sight through the door was one of this beautiful structure with smoke bellowing out the top.DSC_0016 Peeking inside revealed the 'fire' which to the eye was very realistic.DSC_0017   A bit of light and a fan can really mimic fire.  I guess I should have taken some more pictures of the food but thisDsc_0118 (2) is the only one and it is of beautiful cupcakes so you now all know I have a sweet tooth.  The gardens were the main draw and being able to photograph them without hordes of people was a very real benefit.  Most were artistic and elegant.  DSC_0029 This is one of the favorites and the attention to detail with the sculpture,DSC_0030 walkway,DSC_0028 steps and borders with lush plants made me want to spend the night right here.  Here is the last shot of this garden.  That is  one of my sisters modeling in the walkway.  She is always properly accessorized and here she matches the plantings quite well.DSC_0033 I will post some more pictures in the next day or two of some of the other exhibits.  I hope you will come back to see them.


Fortuitous find

High 37 F
Low  21 F

The snow continues to recede and there are bits and pieces of green heaving up and out of the still mostly frozen ground.  I have once again taken to walking the garden in the hope of finding some daily changes.  The open water section of the fish pond is enlarging and it is almost time to burn these grasses which is much easier than cutting them to the ground and the burn will help to sweeten the soil.  I usually do this around St. Patrick's Day and the burning involves dinner and creme brulee.  This weekend while on the walk about with Tucker, here he is covered in ash,DSC_0001 I happened by the garden cart which now has a flat tire adding to its' forlorn, unused appearance.  The cart needs cleaning out and as I glanced in the bed I happened to see these bulbsDSC_0005 which somehow escaped fall planting.  I don't know if the back or the spirit gave out just short of getting them in the ground but here they are, sprouting green, still firm and loaded with promise.  Since the chilling requirements have certainly been met I pulled out some clay windowboxes and planted them up. DSC_0007 The task was just what was needed on a cold winter's day as nothing is more satisfying than having one's hands in the soil.  In between you can see a few other bulbs I found in the same cart but which have no sprouts.  I think the sprouted bulbs are 'Valerie Finnis' grape hyacinths and the others are species tulips but only time will tell.   I am a bit embarrassed that I was so casual about leaving these bulbs lying about and virtually abandoned.  It is quite wasteful but I am feeling thankful that these were left behind to provide entertainment and interest in the coming weeks.  It will be a nice surprise when they do finally bloom don't you think?   


Solar heat

High 59 F
Low  34 F
The temperature hit 59 F for a brief few moments today no doubt hampered by the snow and ice still very visible in the garden and driveway.DSC_0016 The tide is receding in the south facing areas of the garden.  To say that the bit of green of the snowdrop foliage is a welcome sight is a gross understatement but how does one relay the intensity of emotion at the first true verdant patch of life visible in the garden after months of ice, snow, cold and drear?  Really, I am jumping up and down and Tucker is as thrilled as I am. DSC_0006 This is what a major portion of the garden looks like right now but there are clear patches as the sun warms the rocksDSC_0011 and the snow melts leaving behind a blank bit of soil.  That emptiness is just a temporary illusion as the soil is filled with the roots of sleeping perennials and a couple of million weed seeds I am sure.  The rocks sit like islands and monoliths DSC_0012 wearing their brown petticoats. They lend structure to the flat, white landscape and, later,  interest  to this far border.  I am now hopeful of seeing the emerging tulip foliage in the near future and the deer spray will be a necessary tool to keep the animals away from the tender green leaves.  DSC_0005 These are the tulips I planted last fall and theseDSC_0006 are those planted the previous year.  Right now though, I am settling for a bit of the green.  


Trade show treasures

High 54 F
Low  42F
This past week was spent at the New England Grows Show which is an industry trade show held in Boston at the Convention Center.  I could wax poetic about the timing of the show which is not great as most products for the spring selling season are purchased in the fall but it is a show which attracts a diverse crowd of professionals which include Landscape Designers, Garden Center Buyers, DSC_0050 Arborists, Stone Yard Buyers, and students to name a few.  There are always new items but often not enough time to walk the aisles to see what is being featured.  One of the statuary companies is offering this interesting ornament,DSC_0028 cabbage!  I think I like it.  Another is offering these stone creatures. DSC_0046 Wish I could think of something like this. DSC_0049 Sometimes it is the way well known products are displayed which catch one's eye.DSC_0051 There are new plantsDSC_0017 and innovative ways to use plants.DSC_0057  Here is a Colocasia 'Tahitian Giant'  which I tried unsuccessfully to purchase from Plant Delights last year.  Maybe they will have one or two available for this season. DSC_0027 This is spectacular and the draw is that it reaches a good size in a short amount of time which is a great trait for those of us in areas with short growing seasons.  Sempervivums are interesting and who could resist one of these planters? DSC_0061   There are also many tools.DSC_0053   I couldn't leave this post empty of hoes.DSC_0054  We all love tools but no one more than Carol at May Dreams. DSC_0056 Carol, these hoes are for you!


Amaryllis in the dark of winter

There have been many posts on the amaryllis yet I never tire of seeing them in flower.   I waited to plant this one.  Who needs the flowers when the Christmas tree is glowing in the living room?  I saved this for the latter days of January which is usually when the cabin fever reaches its zenith.  Today, there is promise in the air, both with the increasing light levels and the expected warmth today.

Providence, Rhode Island, United States - Sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk times, table

Date Sunrise Sunset Length Change Dawn Dusk Length Change
Today 06:57 17:03 10:06   06:27 17:32 11:05  
+1 day 06:56 17:04 10:08 00:02 longer 06:26 17:33 11:07 00:02 longer
+1 week 06:49 17:12 10:23 00:17 longer 06:20 17:40 11:20 00:15 longer
+2 weeks 06:40 17:20 10:40 00:34 longer 06:11 17:49 11:38 00:33 longer
+1 month 06:15 17:40 11:25 01:19 longer 05:48 18:08 12:20 01:15 longer
+2 months 06:25 19:14 12:49 02:43 longer 05:57 19:42 13:45 02:40 longer
+3 months 05:39 19:47 14:08 04:02 longer 05:09 20:17 15:08 04:03 longer
+6 months 05:42 20:01 14:19 04:13 longer 05:11 20:32 15:21 04:16 longer
Notes: Daylight saving time, * = Next day. Change preferences.

From the Gaisma website- "Gaisma" is a Latvian word, meaning "light".

The forecast for today is for temperatures in the mid-40's which sound cold to many of you but which is relative especially since most days in January were either in single digits or well below the freezing point.  The January thaw did not even occur this year.  So, we have this one day of mild temps before plunging back into the deep freeze for a while.  I have been tracking the sunrise and sunset on a web site here.  You can plug in your own location to see what the times are and it also gives a wealth of other information some of which I understand and some which I have to learn to understand.  It has terms which have been unfamiliar to me such as 'civil twilight'.  I always thought that civil twilight included a glass of wine but, no, you will find the term here used in context.  I find this web site to be a great tool.  Let me know what you think of it.


Not justs for the birds

High 52 F
Low 27 F
The new bird bath heater is doing just that and the birds are enjoying a drink of water every now and then. I will say that it is NOT attractive.  The cord has to run all the way around the house and the unit itself is a bit unsightly but, it does keep the birds well watered. Dsc_0009 (2) It took them about three week to actually use the bird bath but now, in addition to the birds, I have the red squirrels perching on the edge to devour the bird seed and take a sip or two from the water. Dsc_0006 (2) I think many of us have come to bird feeding and enjoying watching the birds a bit later in life. I think that you may need to be a 'woman of a certain age' in order to feed and enjoy the birds. In my younger years I was too busy with children and house to keep the feeders full and to actually sit and enjoy the birds.  Kudos to you if you are young and a bird lover!  Now, on the weekends, it is enjoyable to sit on the couch with a good book and divide the time between reading and watching the birds fight for food.  They actually don't fight that much although the finches do vie for their favorite spot along the edge of the feeder and the blue jays can get a bit wild but that just adds to the drama of wildlife.  DSC_0004 I know many of you are feeding the critters and birds.  Do you have a favorite?