Gardening in the cold

The sun shines but it’s raw out there.

Snowflake
Snowflake on a convenient, sun-warmed rock

Nevertheless, I spent most of yesterday afternoon out there clearing the southside walkway of encroaching poppies, ajuga, dandilion, some grass, and muscari. The muscari I carefully dug up and moved, since I’m happy to have as many as I can get.

tulip
Tulip quintet on April 28

I started at 1:30 and stopped when a friend showed up. “What time is it?” I asked. “Around 6:00” was the astonishing response. I would have sworn I was weeding for an hour or so. Four and a half hours?? But this morning my hands show the evidence–scratches, splinters, a broken fingernail, and dirt ground into the callouses, skin rough and dry from the scouring soil. In other words, wonderful!!

Casey in the barn
Casey and morning sunshine, in the barn

I also spent some time in the barnyard with the horses, just hanging around, and peeking at the three newborn calves in the adjoining pasture. I’ll try to get some pictures of them this week. There should be about ten more coming in the next few weeks. It’s our equivalent of TV: watching out the kitchen window with binoculars.

Gigi eating hay
Gigi eating hay

Four Canada Geese are out there, too– the same two pairs, we assume, who always nest there. They seem almost as big as the calves. The calves are, of course, adorable.

Dot, the big draft mare I had here for about 6 months, has gone back to the stables and I now am caretaker of Gigi, a small but spunky senior citizen who has settled in well so far.

Snowflake on the rocks
Snowflake on the rocks

I forgot to say that my Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) have been blooming for a few weeks already, and have spread to about three times the size of the original patch I brought over from the sugar bush at the barn. The tulips are out and seem not to mind getting frozen every night. My gardener friend at the bookstore says I can protect tulips from voles by putting hot pepper on the bulbs before planting–now I’m thinking of buying a few hundred tulips (probably from Scheeper’s, my favorite for bulk orders) but I wonder–where will I get that much hot pepper? And, does she wear gloves and a face mask to do it? I’ll ask her when I go there for my daily dose of coffee and dessert.

Casey
Casey again--love the sunshine on his red hair
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Jeanne says:

    Hey–what are all these horsey pictures doing in a blog about gardens??!! 🙂 Also, could you post a picture of muscari? I don’t know what that flower looks like. Sounds African!! And, I would wear gloves to handle the red pepper seeds, even dried. Mask is probably over kill, and would arouse the suspicions of passerbys. But if you use ground hot pepper–go with the mask. Better safe than sorry! (And another thought–how many years do you think red pepper is going to work? I bet those moles and voles will have a yummy lunch of tulip bulbs in two or three years!)

    Can’t wait to come visit this spring!!! Semester is almost over–yee haw!!!!!

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