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First Monday Report for Spring 2011

Temperatures soared above 60 degrees and this was the first weekend we could actually work outside, so let me give you a brief tour to set the scene.

Boule de Neige rhodie

The snow is still melting and revealing that the winter has been kind to the rhodies. No breakage. Lots of buds.

"Limelight" hydrangea

The “Limelight” hydrangea was not so lucky.  The snow plow dumped a lot of our enormous snowfall at the edge of the lawn and broke more than half this hydrangea. The two tiny plants, an oakleaf and “PinkyWinky” were undamaged.  These three shrubs are about 10 feet in from the road and I thought they were safe, but the amount of snow we got this year was most unusual.

Van Sion daffs

The heirloom Van Sion daffs are the earliest in my garden and these aren’t daunted by growing between a rose bush and a stone wall where I have not yet been able to dig them up.

Last spring I dug a few snowdrops ‘in the green’ and planted them near the house where I could really admire them. Still, there are plenty of snowdrops left in what we laughingly call The Orchard.

Snow in the Sunken Garden

The snow drops are pretty and we will be sorry to see them go. No so the snow. The snow drifts so deeply in the Sunken Garden that it takes extra weeks before it is totally gone. Note the stream that begins at this end of the Sunken Garden and then runs across the lawn and into the south field. It will stay wet for at least another month. There is a theory that there is a spring not far below the surface in the corner of the foundation.

But as I say, we worked this weekend.  Henry spent a good part of Saturday burning brush. This pile was at the end of our road, just west of the house, so it was really the first thing people saw when they arrived.  We will not replace this brush pile.

I made a first run through the Herb Bed, cutting stems back, raking, weeding and topdressing part of the garden with compost. The Herb Bed dries out first and I am always amazed at how early growth starts here. These early signs don’t make for very good photographs but already bee balm, mint, lemon balm, garlic chives, autumn crocus, regular chives, oregano, golden marjoram are sending up shoots. The sage plants have through better than usual thanks to all that snow cover.

On Friday I wanted to plant some seeds in flats and thought it was time to take a partial vermicompost harvest.  I dumped a few handfuls of worms and bedding onto a plastic sheet in front of a sunny window.  Naturally the worms dive deep to get away from the light. I separated out the top layer of bedding which I hope is rich with worm castings. I mixed this with some regular potting soil for my seeds.

I got a good look at my worms – and there are many at all stages of development – all looking pretty good. It has not been a problem to have the worm bin in our heated living space, but I will be glad when I can put it outside for the summer.

Seedlings planted inside include Tango Lettuce from High Mowing seeds; Italian Gigante Parsley, Green Envy, and Bling Bling zinnias from Renee’s Gardens; China Asters and Amadeus broccoli from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Outdoors I planted High Mowing Corvair hybrid spinach.  I really feel spring has sprung now.

6 comments to First Monday Report for Spring 2011

  • It’s good to see that you can finally work in your garden, Pat, and to see the first signs of life there. So sorry about your ‘Limelight’; I have to keep all plants far away from the driveway, because my husband isn’t thinking about flowers when he’s clearing snow.

  • Pat

    Rose – I was crushed when saw the crushed Limelight. It wasn’t totally destroyed so I have hopes for a good recovery.

  • Nan

    I can’t look at the worms, ;<) but I loved the rest of this post. I just saw that my daffs are up, too. And the chives have grown enough to pick a few tonight. Oh, heaven! And the fall planted garlic is also up. We had some trouble from the snow pushed over by the plow, too. The Rosa Rugosas are pretty smushed, but we'll just cut them back, and they'll likely bloom again this year. Nothing stops them! Love the picture of sitting in the chair watching the fire.

  • It’s nice to see open areas without snow. We still are about 50% covered due to the north facing slope, and some of our snow piles are still 5 feet high, but spring is coming today is almost seventy!

    Wonderful to see so many early flowers poking through the ground! Can’t wait to see them here.

  • Lisa at Greenbow

    Whoo hooo, let the fun begin.

  • Pat

    Nan – I have a lot of rugosas and you are right. Nothing stops them.
    Wild Bill – We have a southern slope! Lots of melt today with temperatures up to 70 and warm breezes. Lots of snow still in the woods.
    Lisa – the fun has begun! Yes!

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