In the very merry month of May…

This week it’s raining, raining, raining. It’s the last day of April today, and this kind of warm-ish rain will make the garden pop. I have short red tulips that bloomed on Monday, which was sunny, and since then they’ve closed up to wait out the rain. I don’t have pictures of them yet, but I will soon. The bright yellow large trumpet daffodils are opening, and Ice Follies. The others are still only budded. Here are some pictures of the garden from about a week ago–

chiondoxa or glory-of-the-snow

chiondoxa or glory-of-the-snow

clump of budded narcissus

clump of budded narcissus

emerging!

emerging!

These pictures are from last Thursday, and now everything is greener and higher. Also, the beef cows in our pastures are busy having calves–there are six now and eight still to come.

This year I am going to remove dead stalks of last year’s plants but I’m not going to rake leaves–I’ll leave them for mulch. I do have to go around and uncover some clumps of daffodils that haven’t been able to shed the layer of maple leaves in the front yard. All the other plants seem able to shoulder the leaves aside.

Mother’s Day garden party coming up!

???????????????????????????????OK, I cheated–this is from April 2013–things are later this year. But we will have our annual Mother’s Day garden party and potluck no matter what flowers are up. Should be plenty of daffodils to admire by then. The date is May 11. We’re working on the invitation now. Here are some pictures from last year around Mother’s day:double daffodils???????????????????????????????tulips in sunpink bleeding hearthome may 1 022Although we don’t have daffodils yet, except for a few early yellow trumpets in a “hot spot”, I don’t mind–I am enjoying the soft, warm, moist air, the Spring peepers in the evenings, and songbirds filling the air with their music during the day. Last night around midnight an owl was hooting close by the house. Soon the trees will be flowering. Pussy willows are blooming. Spring might be delayed this year, but it reminds me of Gandalf’s rejoinder when he was accused of being late: “I arrive precisely when I mean to.” Whenever the Spring blooms arrive, I will be happy to see them.

undaunted spring flowers

We’ve had a dip in the temperatures and even some snow, but the spring bulbs are ignoring all that. Robins, bluebirds, brown thrashers and phoebes are energetically digging up worms and bugs in the garden, quarreling over nesting sites. A whole flock of red-wing blackbirds spent a few hours in glorious cacophony in the tall poplar tree near the driveway. This morning in the 25 degrees chill the horses snoozed in the barnyard, soaking up warmth from the sun. april 17 008We took a garden tour and I snapped a few pictures.

oriental poppy

oriental poppy

I was glad to see that the oriental perennial poppy made it through the winter.

tulip in early morning sunshine

tulip in early morning sunshine

The “found objects” also emerged from the snow–the little lego guy and his oversized, handle-bar-less motorcycle are ready for another summer:april 17 010Narcissus are greening up the gardens everywhere:???????????????????????????????april 17 004A young groundhog has moved into the neighborhood–the favorite spot of groundhogs, prime real estate: under the honeysuckle bush right next to the vegetable garden! I took a picture of her or his front door:???????????????????????????????In early summer 2012 in the back yard I built a stone-walled raised bed, and filled it with composted horse manure from the barnyard. I planted mostly red dahlias there–they grew like mad, as you would expect.

dahlias in the raised bed just after planting

dahlias in the raised bed just after planting late June 2012

Last summer I planted strawberries and cilantro in it. This year we ought to have a good strawberry crop. Here’s the “strawberry tub” last summer:

August 26 2013 strawberry tub with cilantro

August 26 2013 strawberry tub with cilantro

I also threw in some poppy seeds and cleome seeds. By October the strawberries were drowned in a sea of green:

Strawberry tub in mid-October 2013

Strawberry tub in mid-October 2013

Here’s the tub this morning:???????????????????????????????

a few early flowers!

As we would expect, the first blooms on the scene are snowdrops and winter aconite and crocuses. I failed to get photos of the snowdrops, but I did take a few of the others:april rain 003april rain 038And of course the narcissus are pushing up everywhere. I even have one group against a sunny rock wall that are close to opening. I picked a few to bring inside to bloom. april rain 032april rain 033The temperatures were oddly hot yesterday and then today a cold front came through and dropped us back to usual April weather. The cats were happy to wander around the garden with us this morning:

Mr Fluff on a rock wall

Mr Fluff on a rock wall

Tater saying "wait for me"

Tater saying “wait for me”

The garden is unkempt and scraggly because I have not yet done the raking up, but green shoots are poking up anyway.

daylilies under the apple tree

daylilies under the apple tree

These are the patch of wild orange daylilies that have been growing under the apple tree as long as anyone can remember. They don’t bloom because there’s not much sunlight. I plan to dig these up and replace them with hostas. Tulips and delphinium are also up:

tulips, and narcissus

tulips, and narcissus

delphinium

delphinium

I was glad to see this healthy-looking delphinium pushing up–this is a plant I grew from seed last Spring, and it made it through the winter in fine form. There are these spots of green, but mostly th4e gardens are still in winter drab.

front yard

front yard

back yard

back yard

There is one spot of bright red–the “nosegay” peony I got from Klehm’s Songsparrow nursery and planted last fall is sending up spears:

 

"Nosegay" peonie shoots

“Nosegay” peony shoots

Here is the picture (from the internet) of this peony–this is a new color for our garden peonies, and one of our first singles.nosegay peonyThere aren’t too many weeds yet and I’m glad to see not much grass, either, but this next photo shows a nice collection of grass, and some of the fertilizer that the deer left on the garden over the winter! There’s also some of the lamium that spreads incredibly effectively in this bed–this is the northside sandy garden. I’ll have to get that grass out while the ground is soft!

grass, deer droppings, narcissus

grass, deer droppings, narcissus

We are waiting for the beef cows to have their calves–they are all late this Spring. Here they are relaxing on the hillside:???????????????????????????????

Sodden and Squashed

That just about sums it up. Ice and snow are still covering a good part of the garden, and as this retreats it leaves a squashed landscape behind. Here are some pictures of the mess:

Northside "sand" garden and a dirty snow pile

Northside “sand” garden and a dirty snow pile

???????????????????????????????It’s that time of year when snow is anything but pretty and white. Most of the snow is gone from the southern and western sides of the house. Here is the southside garden:

Southside

Southside

The green is the indomitable hesperis matronalis or dame’s rocket, and some forget-me-nots that have been recently chewed on by the foraging rabbits and groundhogs. As you can see, I don’t do any Autumn “clean up”, so removing the old stalks and leaves are a Spring chore. Here is a closer picture of the dame’s rocket–invading the path, but who cares? I’ll move them after they’ve bloomed. ???????????????????????????????Near these a patch of narcissus have poked up through the leaves: misc apr 7 031Below is the front yard–browns still prevail here, with no sign of narcissus or any other bulbs yet:misc apr 7 021 In the vegetable garden, David just this morning planted fava beans, shell peas, spinach and radishes. In the picture below you can see the frame of a hoop house that was uncovered by a late winter wind storm, but you can also see how rich the soil looks. He has several other cold frames and small hoop houses started. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I plan to go to the store to buy seed starting soil to start my flower seeds. I have delphinium, marine heliotrope, nasturtium, sunflower, zinnia, and rudbeckia seeds. The weather still does not encourage much outdoor gardening. But, we did go on our first “garden tour” of the year this morning, our daily habit in gardening season, when we stroll around the house looking at what’s new. We also signaled the start of real Spring by putting the two iron ducks near the side door as a welcoming committee!welcoming committee