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May 2011

April 2011

Perennial Borders and Spring Warmth

A misty, late April morning

It had to happen and this weekend the temperatures soared into the 70's on Sunday after a very chilly Saturday.  Overnight changes, daily changes and hourly changes are not uncommon in the midst of a New England spring.  Flowers popped.  DSC_0014
The glow of the Perfectly Pink rhododendron, this one is R. mucronulatum 'Cornell Pink', brings the back border into color reminiscent of Bazooka bubble gum. There is no comic included but who needs it?  The bees are loving these unscented flowers perhaps even more than the gardener.  Gail of Clay and Limestone will forgive me for borrowing her phlox title.  She has 'perfectly pink phlox' blooming in her garden right now.  I know why she loves it, the color, the dependability, the easy disposition.  DSC_0022The river of daffodils is blooming out of sync this year.  The two colors, yellow daffs and cream colored with salmon trumpets, always have bloomed together.  This year the yellow bloomed well ahead of the lighter color.  Years ago I planted the cream/salmon daffodils first.  DSC_0024
I am overwhelmed by bright yellow in the spring.  The forsythia plus the daffodils are just a bit harsh to my eyes in the spring light.  Alas, yellow does show up best from a distance so this lesson was learned and the river extended to include bright yellow along with the multiple flowering and sweetly fragrant, tazettas.  DSC_0028
The interruption in the flow of this river includes some species tulips and some camassia which bloom a bit later.  I call it 'the rapids' in the river but it really slows down the flow.  I am going to fill in the gaps this fall.  Now I just have to mark the spots.  Will it get done?  Who knows as there are other spring chores awaiting attention. Are you catching up on chores?  What is left to be done in your garden?   


Composed suspense

IMG_3890-1It will happen and probably quickly,  top growth on perennials and warm temperatures.  The gardener can almost feel the roots pushing through the soil but the top growth is short and the grass just greening up. This spring in New England, temperatures are still cool in late April. There have been very few warm days and it is almost the end of the month.  Impatience for blooms is at a high but there are advantages to cool weather.  IMG_3901-1It is easier to push the wheelbarrow, divide plants which are just emerging and finish the raking without pesky bugs.  Really, these jobs are easier when it is cool. Today the wind chill factor was in effect. Temperatures were in the fifties but the strong wind had a biting chill to it. The day was sunny but not really pleasant outside with 35mph winds whipping everything to and fro.  IMG_3892-1It was sunny though and the light of spring is unique and to be enjoyed. The camassia are stretching and the little, pink blooming, corydalis is quite a spreader.  It is an ephemeral though and not much of a problem.  
IMG_3899-1The bed along the driveway needs some fine tuned edging but the daffodils are blooming and soon the little Iris cristata will send up their blue flags.  IMG_3894-1Inside the stone wall, the hellebores are still stretching and blooming. The coolness keeps the blooms from fading.  That is one other gift for which Mother Nature should be thanked. The gardener may be ready for a bit more warmth and more blooms but nature has its own schedule and the hope is that this year there are no extremes.  No extreme warmth, rain, drought or bugs.  I hope she is listening. This feels like a 'true' spring. What does your spring feel like?  Normal, cool or too warm?   


Bloom Day - April 15, 2011

DSC_0001April can be stingy with blooms in New England.  The earliest bloomers, the snowdrops and winter aconites are on the wane DSC_0055but the blue chionodoxa are coming into full bloom along with hellebores.  DSC_0049The green are Helleborus foetidus and this double is a 'Kingston Cardinal'.  DSC_0060The quality of light in the morning is beautiful and the birds sing their agreement with spring trills.  A heavy rain yesterday pushed the grass to greener depths and fattened the buds on many of the trees.  DSC_0012One of my favorite spring blooms are the blooms on the red maple trees in the back field.  From a distance it is just a red haze.  Up close the flowers are complete and lovely.  Red maple flowersI am trying to remember how old I was when I first really looked at these flowers.  I know I was well into adulthood.  I wonder what I am missing or have missed by just not paying attention and looking closely?  The tulips are coming up and the fall planted Greigii tulip, 'Fire of Love', has foliage every bit as lovely as any flower. DSC_0040I am waiting for the flower but really, who cares? The fat buds on the magnolia are swelling and showing a bit of pink DSC_0046and the buttercup winterhazel is about to ring with pale yellow bells.  DSC_0037There are other bits and pieces blooming here, some late crocus and the pulmonaria are beginning to show color but the above are favorites this year.  Many thanks to Carol, of May Dreams, for hosting yet another Bloom Day.  Now, show me what is blooming in your garden please.    


Going for the burn

Before the burnThe term 'going for the burn' has many different connotations.  For athletes it means reaching that point of muscle fatigue, for the rich and decadent, it is having enough money to burn, for students studying for exams it can be 'burning the midnight oil' .   Here at Ledge and Gardens, 'going for the burn' means walking outside in the dark after a big meal with a glass of wine or beverage of choice in hand and standing around the ornamental grasses which are tattered and torn, brown and crisp, from the rigors of winter desiccation and waiting for the show to begin.  This year the grasses are lying prone on the ground instead of standing at stately attention.  Heavy snow this winter flattened them quite thoroughly.  Measures were taken ahead of time to fluff them up a bit and add some dry leaves to the pile.  It was thought that the pile would produce less than the spectacular results of past years.  DSC_0040The group of enophiles, epicureans and canines gathered around the  mass of grass as the EM started the conflagration.  DSC_0051Excitement enveloped the crowd as flames leaped higher and higher into the night sky.  Rather than a dismal show,  DSC_0049
this year's annual burning of the grasses was one of the best although there were some past participants sorely missed from the group.  DSC_0062Burning of grasslands and pastures has been used for thousands of years as a way to control vegetative growth.  It has also been shown to improve wildlife habitat and improve native plant habitats.  Burning sweetens the soil and stimulates growth which are the simple benefits here in addition to saving this gardener from the arduous task of cutting these grasses back and removing the debris.  Is there better entertainment available?  I think my guests would argue  'No'. I wish all of you could be here for the grass burning. DSC_0080It is a great way to work up an appetite for dessert on a cool, spring night.  

For a look at previous year's burnings click here, here and here.


Nature's April Fool

DSC_0008 April came in like a lion.  A slight roar and just a couple of inches of snow but still, it is April and Mother Nature is just not paying attention. Or, she is and this is the joke. The brick edging is warm from the sun and leaves a nice outline as the snow melts quickly from the surface. DSC_0004I think we are about a month behind schedule with temperatures but they always have a way of moderating quite quickly so 'out like a lamb' will probably happen mid month.  DSC_0009 On a positive note, the Christmas lights are down and the crocus don't really care if there is snow on their heads. DSC_0007I hope this is the only April Fool's joke which is played today here at L & G.  Who has played a trick on you today?