Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Week of Ups and Downs

We could be talking about the weather, or our ability to get outside and do some spring chores.
We were blessed with a few rather pleasant days, followed by the inevitable threat of snow, rain, real snow, and then cold winds.
Last Friday we accessed our potato pit and removed part of the potatoes and the bucket of carrots stored there.
It was a lovely day with lots of wonderful crocus in full bloom.
I had a brief respite to attend The Celtic Thunder concert in Halifax, which was very enjoyable. The audience seemed to be a very mixed crowd......from the "oldies" like me to young people who were very enthused. It was very well done, and wisely included Rita MacNeil's "Working Man". Halifax and Sydney were the beginnings of a Canadian tour.
We had a brief chat with one of the "transport" guys who found Sydney to be a very quiet town but thought Nova Scotia was a beautiful place.
I seem to be having a very "Irish" touch the last few weeks, from the Black Donnellys to some CBC coverage of the Irish heritage of Quebec, and the history of the Titanic's origins in Belfast.
To my knowledge, I do not have any particularly strong Irish roots.
We had a brief wander through some of the Rhododendron Nursery beds yesterday. We are debating whether we will bother with a sale jaunt to the ARHS Member Sale this year.
It would be a lovely thing if we could encourage more Members to pay us a visit here, and perhaps relieve us of some of the many surplus Azaleas and Rhododendrons.
There are a lot of broken branches here and there courtesy of harsh winter storms.
The cold days aren't overly encouraging. It will be a while before we can tell if there is much bud damage. Cautious optimism would seem to be the order of the day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Cat Walk

The Wednesday walk had lots of company. Jodi, Voodie and Slayer accompanied me on the stroll.
Cats have a tendency to always be looking the other way. They are having a little "meeting" in the front perennial bed where today I found some actual flower buds showing on a group of Hellebores
Both have been spending more time outdoors than usual, but still want to come in and out a dozen times a day. It may be too wet, too cold or just too dull.
Slayer was crawling about a group of rhodies.We investigated the broken down nursery bed framework. There are a some nice looking rhododendrons in various places. This one is in the 2001 area. I didn't investigate its pedigree.
There are a few that really need to be "purged".
Every day is showing more springlike conditions. This was the first time we had seen the garlic shoots. Not very photogenic!It is quite amazing how quickly these little bulbs pop up and come into bloom. The Eremurus noses are showing. I hope they don't freeze.Today I actually did some gardening work. Not much, but enough to get a start on the pruning, and the aching body. Each year seems to be very much like the one before. Perhaps we are just too dull!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Small Step

Before the last couple of wet days, we had a chance to look over the yard in the sun.
Bill chose to start on the "pick up" of woody debris that is always a harbinger of spring here.
Winter winds prune the birch trees all too well.
The sun had the various crocus patches absolutely glowing.
These Crocus ancyrensis hold the glow record" as far as I am concerned.
It was lovely to see many other groups popping up with full colours in effect or at least a hint.These dark purple crocus amongst the lamb's ears are one such group.
There are still some snowy areas. The back hillside with the 2004 nursery bed is still very wintry. It would also appear that the wooden framework around the bed has succumbed to heavy snow. That bit of structure was (is)destined to be removed this spring anyway.
Anywhere the snow has disappeared there are emerging shoots of one thing or another. These big noses belong to a species Peony seedling that blooms long before the "regular" peonies.
The cats have been keen on being outdoors this spring. Voodie came along for the walk.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Whoosh of Spring

High winds and rain have magically brought us a glimpse of "real" spring. Part of this day was spent doing a little transplant job of the first seedlings under the lights. Basil, parsley, petunias, thyme and Buddleia were moved to bigger quarters. Jodi and I had our first real walk about in the back garden areas. The lovely little patch of Crocus Tricolor are in full bloom. It is about 15degrees Celsius today.
It is now possible to walk on some of the garden paths without wading through snow. The little Crocus ancyrensis are always ready to leap into bloom the instant the snow has receded. It is amazing how much warmth is felt on the leafy debris here on these beds. Some of the paths are still very snowpacked, but that should change in the next few days.The snow has left the potato pit, so we can access that anytime we feel inclined. There are many Snowdrops anywhere the snow has left their beds.Even the noses of the Crown Imperial Fritillaria are poking up. We were wondering what had become our the planter barrel at the bottom of the driveway.... it was slightly upended by the snowplowing efforts. No harm done, it seems. I always hope to see signs of the Hellebores in the early spring, but they are never very swift. This little hint is all we were able to see for now. The other patch is still snow-covered. There is always a lot of debris lying about, so nothing looks very tidy. Bill will be out with his rake any day now!