Tulips strut their stuff

scarlet baby tulips

scarlet baby tulips

I got 100 “scarlet Baby” tulip bulbs last fall from Colorblends, and planted them all along the pathway in the square garden. They are very early, blooming with the earliest daffodils. red tulips w daffodilsI remember very well the cold autumn day I planted these. I had redone the bed extensively, putting in the log path edges and adding many wheelbarrow-loads of old manure to build up the soil. As the next picture shows, I missed some of the daffodils when I cleared the path–you can see them on the wrong side of the log and I don’t want them to be stepped on all summer–I’ll move them out of harm’s way after they’ve finished blooming.square gardenElsewhere in the garden the daffodils are the main show.daffodils first waveThis is in the back yard this morning, and you can see that the first daffodils to bloom are mostly the big yellow ones. There are also a few hyacinths and other spring bulbs here and there. pink hyacinthglory of the snowI don’t have nearly enough hyacinths. I think I’ll order a few hundred this coming season and do a major planting. I think they look best planted in groups of a dozen or so.

On the garden tours I also noticed with pleasure that the columbine plants I originally got from my friend Eleanor are finally self-seeding in a serious way. Here is one of them snuggled up against a rock wall. This is a good spot although technically it’s growing in the path–it’s so close in to the edge that it’s safe from heavy human feet.columbine self seededI am also very happy whenever I see a self-seeded bleeding heart. I can never have enough of those. I am not sure but I think that bleeding heart, or dicentra, are not native. I’ve been learning more about how various insects need certain plants to propagate, such as moths and butterflies. I learned that violets are great for many insects. There are lots of violets growing in my garden (predated my arrival) and I’ve often ripped them out to make way for other plants. But now I plan to pay attention and leave as many as possible. may 22 042Violets self-seed riotously, so I don’t have to worry about that! I also have some beautiful yellow wood violets that I brought in from across the street. These pictures of blue and yellow violets were taken a few years ago in late May. Right now violets are getting green but are still tiny, and not blooming.

may 22 040One plant that never self-seeds for me is delphinium. Every year I start some from seed. Last year’s seedlings are now in a “nursery bed” in the vegetable garden. A dozen of them are growing strong there and will be moved in a month or so. Around the garden the previous generation is coming up. Here’s one of those: delphinium sproutingI’ve been out there doing the usual “spring cleaning” this past week. I snap off all the last-year’s phlox stalks, same for daylilies, peonies and turtlehead (chelone) and others. Soon I’ll get the leaf rake out and sweep away some of the leaves and other duff that has accumulated. Here’s the result of the cleaning–big piles of stalks:after spring cleaningWe’ve just picked up our order of shrubs from the county sale. We got ten baby highbush cranberry, ten Arrow-wood viburnum, and ten bayberry bushes. Our goal is to have a lot more shrubs in the gardens, for birds to shelter in, for winter bird food, and for insect life as well. Also they are good for wind breaks. I’ll have a slightly shadier garden, but over all it’s the direction we want the garden to go in.

This weekend is cool and sunny. Tonight it’s supposed to be 25 degrees (F) so I hope the daffodils that are out are going to survive. The scarlet tulips I know will close up tight and should be fine. They open up wide for the warmth and sunshine, but in rain and dark they close up. scarlet baby

Spring is here at last

Yay! We’ve had beautiful sunshine and warm days. The bugs and birds are out in force. I have three bug bites and lots of splinters/scratches on my hands and dirt under my nails from gardening.

Casey and Fly nibbling on new grass

Casey and Fly nibbling on new grass

These photos are from five days ago and plants are already even higher than then. The current bushes and lilacs have fat buds:

black current bushes budded

black current bushes budded

lilac buds

lilac buds

This lilac sapling is thriving on the sunny slope of the south side yard. It is a shoot I dug up from the dwarf Korean lilac in the back yard. This lilac is determined to make itself into a grove. I keep cutting the long roots and transplanting them where there’s more room.

phlox shoots

phlox shoots

All over the garden the phlox are sending up fresh light green shoots. I’ve gone around the whole yard snapping off last year’s dead, brittle stalks. The bulbs of course are all popping now. I have glory-of-the-snow, blue squills, daffodils, a few tulips–scarlet baby, and hyacinth. Here are some of the white hyacinth just emerging:goose and hyacinth

In the white garden I’ve used a lot of branches and small logs as path liners and bed edges. Here is one:wooden edgeIn the vegetable garden, the hay mulch has been pulled back to let the soil gather the sun’s heat, to get ready for planting peas and other cold-hardy plants.garden dirt uncovered

two year old delphiniumAbove is a two-year-old delphinium just poking up from the winter’s sleep. I counted six so far of the dozen I planted in this spot (the vegetable garden). These are last year’s seedlings. I’ll let them get their feet under them and then transplant them in the flower garden.

Spring is on hold

April 11 and we’ve had a long cold spell. The daffodils and tulips are up but are too “smart” to open up yet.

square garden bulbs

square garden bulbs

I really packed the square garden with tulip and daffodil bulbs last fall. They are up and even budded but that’s as far as they go for now.010011The crocuses are also up and showing color, but this morning they were wrapped up tight against the cold and snow.014In the southside bed near the sunporch I planted groups of ornamental onions, lots of new cultivars of daffodils, and some lilies. They are up, but also being cautious. Inside, David has lots of onions, peppers, spinach, parsley, and celeriac started. There are also trays of broccoli and cabbage just germinated. 002005Warmer weather is on the way!