Previous month:
January 2016
Next month:
March 2016

February 2016

Vernal Pools and Spring Things

Back fieldI have been worried about the vernal pool in the back field. It often fills with water in the fall and stays full until mid-summer. Vernal pools provide habitat for frogs and salamanders and a few other creatures. Without the vernal pool some species would have to look elsewhere for breeding areas. This winter it was just a depression in the field after a very dry fall. Vernal PoolIt finally filled with water about a week ago after a hard, late winter rain. Crisis averted. I look forward to the sound of the spring peepers and finding a spotted salamander or two. The sounds of silence from this dry pool would have been quite sad. I know, you might call this depression in the back field a puddle when it fills with water but it really is an important part of this field ecosystem. You can read more about vernal pools here. Gibbs and I have been walking to the back field each morning. He can run off a bit of energy and I can take stock of the slow changes which happen as winter saunters into spring. Defying gravityI have noticed the lichens and moss on the fieldstone walls and some of those stones seem to defy gravity. The walls have been here for more than 100 years and the freeze/thaw action of winter and spring cause them to move and sometimes tumble. They served as boundaries and fencing for livestock as the fields were cleared many years ago. The EM mows the front field fairly often but the back field is mowed just in the fall to keep them clear. A bit closer to the house the gardens are showing green bits and pieces. Sedum emergingThe sedum is starting to emerge and the winter aconite's clear yellow blossoms seem to be providing food for someone. Winter aconite antThere are a few bite marks on these flower petals. Gibbs has not yet learned his place among the flowers as he promptly ate all the flowers off the few crocus blooming by the foundation.

First crocus
Eaten crocus
After Gibbs

He also likes to find a discarded pot and chew it thoroughly. But that face is so sweet that it is difficult to be mad at him for any length of time. Gibbs with potI will have some extra picking up to do this spring. Picking up and training. Puppies are so entertaining and demanding. I was going to end this post here but Gibbs needed to go outside where it is a warm 57F.

Patch of crocus
Crocus tommasinianus 'Roseus'

News flash-the tommies are blooming in the lawn. That is cause for much celebration. 


Signs of Spring

Eranthis16The are sure signs of spring in the garden after a heavy, warm rain washed away over six inches of snow last week and a warm weekend took hold. Usually, it is the snowdrops which bloom earliest but this year I spotted a dot of yellow under the Chinese Dogwood. Eranthis hymealis or winter aconite has unfurled. Yes, it is tiny but it is bright. I am hoping to see a carpet of these someday but right now there are just a dozen or so and they are coloring up a bit erratically. Still, I am happy to see this yellow. The crows are cawing and the wind has been busy drying up the mud and those are both more sure signs that spring is close at hand. Hellebore16The Helleborus foetidus, Stinking Hellebore, has been in flower for months although it has been snow covered. It doesn't mind at all. The flowers are a plus as this plant is deer proof (I don't say that lightly) and the foliage adds great texture to the borders. This is often the first green of spring. Late winter is the time of glowing emerald moss. It thrives on cool moisture here in my garden. It grows easily on the granite ledge outcroppings.GreenmossThe moss doesn't always grow exactly where I want it but here by the fish pond bench, it provides a soft carpet around the stones in the small patio. The days are noticeably longer and the bright sunsets have been accurate predictors of the delight of the next springlike day. I am not sure how many more we will have before winter asserts its cold presence once again.Late winter sunsetThat presence will not last long once those first flower blooms have been spotted.  Now, there is no stopping spring.


Bloom Day-February 15, 2016

Feb perfectsnowFebruary is a tough month for blooms here in New England. Outside it is finally winter with a good snow cover which is appreciated since this weeks temperatures are in the negatives. Warmth is coming though and warm it is inside where there is plenty of foliage but not too many blooms. Meager is the word. I have two houseplants with very small blooms. They would be overlooked in the middle of June but in February they are welcome and noticed. Both are on rex begonia hybrids. Begonia 1This first is on a small plant, Begonia 'Stained Glass'. Really, the foliage is lovely and this one is from Logee's Greenhouses.  You too can purchase one since Logee's is well know for their wonderful mail order plants. The next flower, forgive me, it is really just a bud, belongs to Begonia 'Palomar Prince'. Begonia 2You can see that full plant here. The foliage is cause enough to grow both of these plants. I find begonias easy to grow and they really help those of us who suffer from winter's  'Nature Deficit Disorder'. I find February the longest month. I know I am not alone but, thankfully, it is more than half over. The final bloom is really little Gibbs. He won't be little much longer as he is growing fast and is three and a half months old already. He has made himself at home and as I write this he is getting into mischief since my attention is not totally on him. Feb GibbsWith the temperatures in the single digits during the day neither of us venture too far outside. Later in the week a heat wave is promised. We both need a long walk. Happy Bloom Day to fellow bloggers and thank you to Carol of May Dreams for hosting. I look forward to seeing the outdoor blooms of warm climate bloggers as I visit those who have posted for this Bloom Day. Your blooms will sustain me. Thanks.