Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The BIG Clean Up

One of the things I love about spring clean up is uncovering all the plants that are beginning to grow anew. I can get a good close look and take inventory. The stalks and seed heads of plants that I leave standing over the winter (to provide shelter and food for wild life), are now definitely looking tired.

These grasses were actually swept up into a spiral shape by old man winter.

Ah, there, now spring can take over.

I can't believe these sun flowers are still standing!
This section receives the brunt of the winter winds.

I have mail order plants arriving for this bed and now she's ready!

Although my compost is ah, well, a little full.

Something I was not anticipating cleaning up this spring
is the removal of this tree.

As you can see here it is leaning precariously over our house. It is a boxelder (not known for their strength), and an accident waiting to happen. It is very well loved by the birds but it drops all sorts of debris on our back deck. As much as I hate to lose one of the few mature trees surrounding our house, it is best to just get it out of the way and move on. I couldn't watch as limbs and stumps rained down from the sky, and men with chain saws tramped through my garden ...

We compromised and left a stump. It will grow suckers and become a large bush. I will have to keep it in check but I am determined to make the most of this stump ... topped by a big bird house and maybe adorned by a climbing rose, she can still add beauty to the garden and provide for the birds and insects. I plan to plant a pagoda dogwood in this area now - well maybe not right now.

Oh, the BIG clean up! Just when I have so much else to do in the garden! Well, I am determined to make the most of this mulch pile, too. I'll tell you how in future posts. Right now, I better get to work.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloom Day, April 2010

Bloom day is celebrated on the 15th of each month and was originally hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

I started this forsythia from a cutting brought with me when I moved from Maine to the river. The variety is 'Meadowlark' and this is its third year. It is finally showing off.

It makes for a nice backdrop for this bed of daffodils. In another couple years I hope this fills in even more so.

This one reminds me of butter or eggs - maybe because I'm hungry and ready for breakfast.

These little daffodils have spread themselves around and surprised me alongside the potager this year.

This was also a nice surprise this morning ... the first forget-me-nots have started to bloom. When all of them are blooming it is a sea of blue waves.


These wild violets are blooming like mad. They are everywhere and are a host plant for the fritillary butterfly caterpillar. I'll have to be on the look out for the caterpillars and butterflies!

These muscari are just beginning to peek through. I planted these last fall. It's exciting to have new, and more, blooms this spring!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


What's poppin'?

The garlic I planted last fall is poppin' up! Both the soft and hard neck varieties and it looks like every single clove has sprouted. This is the first time I have planted garlic. I will keep you posted.

This lettuce has popped up from last year! It survived the winter without any protection other than it's old leaves. This makes me very excited about what I can accomplish with a hoop house or row cover come this fall.

My first daffodils have popped open. I plan to keep planting more each year. These are supposed to naturalize.

This is a Northeastern wildflower I have identified as Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, that decided to pop up in my flower bed along the north side of our garage / workshop wall. It was a nice surprise to see her bright yellow blooms.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April's Featured Bee

The month of April in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Digger Bee, genus Anthophora. They may also be referred to as Longhorned Bees because males sport exceptionally long antennae. They emerge in early Spring to Summer depending on the species and mostly nest in the ground.

Most digger bees range from small to medium size. They are fuzzy - very furry, and some species display prominent black and white banding on the abdomen. They fly very fast and are able to hover before landing on a flower. Swarms of males can be seen cruising around nesting sites seeking emerging females. Digger bees typically have very long tongues.

You might find digger bees in your garden if you grow the following: salvia, lavender, nepeta/catnip, phacelia.

I hope to search for them in my front garden that I expanded just last fall.

This photo was taken of the front garden last week before the "big clean up." Here I have growing lavender and nepeta walker's low, as well as snow in summer, russian sage, lambs ears, iris and aster. Blooming are reticulated iris.

I noticed that I have quite a bit of action in my mason bee house right now. I cannot positively identify the bees flying in and out of here - they are fast and go in the holes before I can get a good look! Then they pop back out like little rockets. I believe they are collecting nectar and pollen. On the day I observed them it was sunny and warm - today, not so much.


Above is a close up. These holes are made from bamboo and go quite deep so I've yet to see a mud plug but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I will let you know of any progress. This house should last for several seasons and faces southwest.

In the meantime I'll be in the garden among the bees.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First Spring Blooms 2010

Last year I marked on my calendar that my first crocus bloomed March 25. This year my first crocus bloomed March 17!

I love the brilliance of these white petals against 
the velvety leaves of the lamb's ears.

 Like drops of sunshine they pushed through the mulch and leaves.

Peek-a-boo through the thyme.

The bees found these first blooms among sedum angelina irresistible.

I love reticulated iris and so does this bee.

Each fall I will plant more and more bulbs. It sure makes for a wonderful surprise come a long awaited spring. This year I plan to add snowdrops, scilla, more crocus and reticulated iris.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...