Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Spring busyness, and potatoes

The last week or two has had us in very busy "spring-mode", so there hasn't been much blogging going on.
Each year in April sometime we dig out the potatoes we had stored in a pit overwinter. Bill starts by lifting off the Tarp that has kept the insulating layer of leaves nice and dry. Layer by layer the leaves, a bit of soil, the metal cover, and the final boards get removed to reveal the stored potatoes... We were really surprised to find a pot of fingerlings(Pink Fir Apple) that we had forgotten were there.....we had kind of rationed the ones we had, but now we can have a little potato feast! We also filled a basket with red potatoes, and left part in the pit until a bit later. It was only partly recovered. If you want to see the sequence of events...check the link and click slideshow
This week has started off quite nicely with the carpet of Chionodoxa finally doing their thing....I never seem to be able to get a really good pic! These little bulbs naturalize beautifully, and we find them anywhere & everywhere.The February Daphne are in bloom in many places, so the aroma is great today(warm & calm)...most of this patch is destined to be potted up for our plant sale. There are patches of dark purple crocus popping up, seemingly at will! They seem to get scattered about as the years go by. I found a little patch of white Scilla siberica a couple of days ago. Even the garlic has grown a lot in a few days.... These seedling peonies are a species type, and unfurl their leaves before any of the others. Spring has to be the most inspiring, as well as the most tiring, time. The frogs are in full song, so soon the pond will be well populated with tadpoles.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Week's Work

This last week has enabled us to get a fair number of early spring chores undertaken. Winter came very early last November, so there were some things that might have been done then that weren't.
Bill has judiciously finished cleaning up all of the back garden areas, and trucked many loads of debris to the refuse pile behind the deer fence.
My introduction to work in the spring is usually an undertaking of pruning. The various Hydrangeas, always need a cut back, and this year the roses were in dire need of a renewal prune.
There was not a lot of winter damage per se.
The biggest job was cutting back the "thicket" of shrub roses along the driveway. They had pretty much gone their own way for a few years. We now have a series of "sticks", which I hope will regrow reasonably well.
The roses there are tough guys like 'Jens Munk'
'Dart's Dash', 'Blanc Double de Coubert'
a couple of Grootendorsts, the prickliest of all the roses, it seems.
the hybrid perpetual 'Jacques Cartier'
This is 'Agnes'.....
There were a couple of Magnolias that came under severe prunings, as well. I don't have a pic of the "before". This is our yellow Magnolia 'Butterflies', a huge piece was taken off the base.
Our pitiful excuse for grapes also had a trim, but they also need some extensive "training". All this clean-up serves as a good reacquainting procedure. One get to see the emergence of new growth, such as the "noses" of the Foxtail lilies. The rhubarb is barely out of the ground.
There are a few spring blooming heathers on the go.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Semblance of spring

We have been enjoying several nice days this week, and the crocus took full advantage....popping up in many places...this early Crocus ancyrensis is among the most vivid. Without them things would be very dull. Various other patches were also doing their thing. It was the first day that I saw bees among the crocus. These paler yellow ones are called 'Romance' I wish the Snowdrops wouldn't always have such droopy heads.....Our pond is approaching an "ice-free" state. The many Glory of the Snow are just poking their little noses above ground.....can't wait for them to appear enmasse.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April may be past the "FOOL" stage

We have been blessed by two days of rather pleasant, if not overly warm, April weather.
The wander about the garden has given some cause for optimism.
Crocuses are in bloom here and there. This nice patch is usually ahead of the others.
There are signs of noses in the Hellebore patch. It is still quite cold where these particular ones are.
There would also appear to be a lot of work to do, but that is not exactly unusual for any spring. Lots of places are still quite wet, but our sandy soil dries up very quickly.
My usual first pursuit each spring is to do a bit of pruning....the PeeGee hydrangeas, the Annabelles, Buddleias, and miscellaneous roses all fall "under the ax".
Each year I wonder if I am doing the correct thing, but it doesn't seem to matter too much. It is likely I err on the "too little" direction, rather than "too much".