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Spring Enters With Excitement and Mysteries

Daffodils

Daffodils on the North Bed

This spring I am finding daffodils growing everywhere. My approach to ‘Garden Design’ is fairly catch as catch can. When autumn arrives I think I must add some spring bulbs! Last year I  bought several little bags at the Greenfield Farmers Coop of different varieties. I did not pay attention to bloom times, but this spring proves I got lucky. I went around the garden, which was still full of autumnal plants, if not blooms, and when I found an empty spot the considered it an ideal place for a few daffodils.  Lucky me – now I have daffodils blooming early and later in the seasons. Some are tiny, some are elegant, some have complicated pastel faces.

Grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinths

These grape hyacinths were planted two autumns ago. The first year after blooming I did not notice that the dormant plants sent up new shoots in the fall. They came up beautifully that first year. In the fall of 2019 I saw shoots coming up around the day lilies. At first I thought they were weeds, but then thought they must be a ‘real plant.’  They remained green all winter, and this second bloom years shows fabulous growth. And now I have just learned that this fabulous growth could be called invasiveness. I had no idea. I had already decided to dig up most  of them after bloom and plant them somewhere else. But with this new information, what shall I do? Thought needed.

Primroses


The primroses are in beautiful bloom

Waldsteinia

Barren strawberry, Walsteinia

This is a wonderful groundcover. Dense and very flat with strawberry-ish flowers.

Wood poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum

Wood poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum

Beware! The wood poppy is even more invasive that the grape hyacinths. It sends its seeds everywhere.

Landscape roses

Landscape roses

These landscape roses are leafing out beautifully as are the other larger roses  on  the newly named Rose Walk.

peonies

Transplanted peonies have settled in

Tree peony

We planted this tree peony in Heath. We left the other peonies for the new owners of our house, but this was such a sickly thing we took it to Greenfield. For the first time it looks like it is perking up. Even so, I am not expecting blooms this year.

‘Goldheart’, a bleeding heart with golden foliage and white flowers

Podophyllum

May apples, Podophyllum, surprised me last year when I looked under the foliage and first saw lovely flowers, and later the may apples. Not to be eaten!

Mystery No. 1 – Some kind of bulb plant? I should dig one up. Any ideas?

A very small mystery. I wish I knew its name.

Look very closely and you will see two different mystery plants growing together. Any ideas?

Worms

Worms from my compost bin

I decided it was time to actually use the compost in my black compost bin. I do have another bin now in service.  I pulled some of the dark, wet compost out of the bin, and as I went along I realized that the compost was full of worms. How do worms get into the bin? Could they possibly be just the plain worms in my soil, or are they different. I definitely have to read up on worms.

The tree bed

For a larger view of the arrival of spring, this is the Tree Bed which is named for the two river birches. Other plants in  this section are: daylilies, black eyed susans, grape hyacinths, and less visible is the pink Japanese anemone, garden phlox, filipendula, a patch of European ginger with its shiny green leaves, “Goldheart, and some mystery bulb plants.

That is a report of what is happening in the garden as we step into May.

PS FOR MAYDAY

We awoke this morning to find another flood after about 36 hours – 1-2/3 inches. More rain promised

This rain did a lot of good for the newly planted. I will be glad if there isn’t too much more rain todayl

 

Fifty Years of Earth Day Celebrations

Kenya water tank

In Kenya, 1989, we visited our Peace Corps daughter Betsy and celebrated the completion of the town water tank

Fifty years ago I was cheering and celebrating the First Earth Day with hundreds of other people in the center of West Hartford, Connecticut. My five children, ages 11 to 4, were with me. I don’t know what they took in and what they made of all the excitement, but it was exciting. And I can report that Betsy, age 6 was already beginning her career as an activist.

Betsy was in kindergarten at the time and she was distressed because she wanted to play in the school playground with its swings and monkey bars. She strongly objected to the rule that girls had to wear dresses because the boys were always flipping up their skirts, chanting and laughing, “I see London, I see France. I see Betsy’s underpants.” She took me to the school principal, made her case, and girls were soon allowed to wear pants. I cannot say that Betsy changed the rules in the high school, but girls there were agitating to wear jeans to school as well. They also got a rule change.

Shorts and jeans instead of skirts had nothing to do with Earth Day, but they do hint at all the changes that were happening. Scientists, and some others, were already seeing the dangers and damage being done to our environment. In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring which was a best seller here and in 24 other countries. Silent Spring raised public awareness of the dangers to living creatures and public health as the environment became more polluted.

In fairness, the government was making its own observations. In 1955 President Eisenhower authorized the Air Pollution Control Act to research air pollution. President Johnson authorized the Clean Air Act in 1963, the first federal legislation regarding air pollution control. In 1967 Johnson enacted the Air Quality Act to expand government activities. In 1970 President Nixon extended the Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) went to work. Further amendments were made in 1990 by President George Bush.

The results of these acts were listed in a United Nations report. The EPA estimates that these amendments to the act prevented 230,00 early deaths caused by respiratory diseases like chronic bronchitis and asthma. “Between 1990 and 2018 carbon monoxide fell 74 per cent, ground level ozone declining by 21 per cent, and lead decreasing by 82 per cent from 2010. Along with improving visibility, reducing the risk of acid rain and helping protect the ozone layer, a range of other health, environmental and financial benefits can be traced to the Clean Air Act. The environmental benefits that stem from these reductions include decreased warming as well as healthier soil, freshwater bodies and vegetation.

The financial legacy of the Act has also stimulated the nation’s economy. The US$65 billion worth of costs associated with implementing the Act’s measures has been more than paid for through reduced medical bills and increased worker productivity. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates almost US$2 trillion in benefits.”

Of course, Clean Water Acts followed along with the Clean Air Acts. In 1974, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Safe Drinking Water Act, the first piece of legislation of its kind to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for overseeing the nation’s drinking water supply. There have certainly been improvements, but we all know the stories about drinking water in Flint Michigan.

I am happy to say that daughter Betsy took up the yoke for clean water after she graduated from Clark University. She worked for a professor for a time, but soon signed up for the Peace Corps and left for Kenya. Her goal there was to bring drinking water to the village where she was assigned. She organized the villagers to repair one big tank, and build another one in the village. She also oversaw the digging to bring drinking water to the village to fill those tanks. This was a big improvement over having the women and girls carry water from more than a mile away.

When she returned to Massachusetts she earned her PhD at Clark and began working for the MWRA, MassachusettsWater Resource Authority.  Briefly, she now oversees the drinking water and wastewater quality programs to make sure MWRA is meeting regulatory requirements. They monitor water quality from water source to homeowner taps and maintain analyzers. She and her staff are also responsible for monitoring results for wastewater into Massachusetts Bay and Boston.

There are many ways and projects that people have worked on to improve our air and water and climate. Progress has been made and work continues. I recently learned that on Earth Day 2010 a goal was set for planting a billion trees. That goal was reached in 2012. The Plant For The Planet organization has watched many organizations and youth groups around the world plant 13.6 billion trees.

I don’t know whether Greening Greenfield is aware of Plant For the Planet, but that organization has planted many hundreds of trees in town over recent years. We might not think too much about the important benefits to our climate when we see trees planted along the tree strips or in our parks, but we do appreciate their beauty and their shade. Planting trees, planting pollinator plants tsupport the creatures, bees, flies,  butterflies and as well as birds which are threatened when the foods they need disappear.

When we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this year, we can be proud of the changes we have wrought, but we know there are many more changes to be made.###

Between the Rows    April 18, 2020

Snowdrops and Grape Hyacinths for Encouragement

Grape Hyacinths

Snow drops  and Grape Hyacinths are doubling

The bed of grape hyacinths doubled, and now  they are growing right before my eyes. The growth was a great and lovely surprise.

Snow drops

Snow drops and grape hyacinths are both so happy to be increasing

These snow drops lived up to their name and shone through a snowfall.  Just a small snowfall, but still.

daffodils

Daffodils

Don’t ask me to discuss nomenclature of daffodils and jonquils. I am just enjoying groups of these sunny flowers that I rather carelessly planted here and there. Lucky for me they are coming into bloom at different times. The snowdrops and grape hyacinths give their all at once.

Pieris

Pieris japonica in front of the house

Pieris Japonica is a seven foot shrub in front of our house. It loves the shade and starts to bloom early in April.  It would be blooming even more if I had managed to prune of spent flowers in  late summer. It  is a tedious job, and my arms get so sore reaching up to clip the spent blossoms. I should mention it is wonderfully fragrant.  I promise to do better this year.

Snowdrops and grape hyacinths, daffodils and pieris – all are encouraging me to believe that soon I will be surrounded by flowers.  How is your garden doing?

April – National Garden Month With a National Gardening Day

Snowdrops

April is National Garden Month – the month when Snowdrops start blooming

April is National Garden Month, and National Gardening Day is April 14. There is also a National Garden Week founded by National Garden Clubs but we will have to wait for June 7-13 to celebrate. We have lots of time and many occasions to celebrate our gardens, and get busy!

There have not been too many glorious spring days, but the weather has been sufficiently cooperative that we have gotten out to do some spring cleaning. We do not do much in the way of fall clean-up because we want to protect creatures that live through the winter under our leaves, or snack on the sunflower, aster, and coreopsis seeds that fall on the ground. We are protecting the wild creatures of our area as best we can. The joy of spring clean-up is the delight in finding greenery already showing. I recognize the clumps of asters, boltonia, cardinal flowers, daylilies, black-eyed susans, Jacobs ladder, and rhubarb.

Scillas

Scillas

There are happy surprises. I forgot I had planted a handful of scilla bulbs last year. They showed themselves a few days ago, and I almost didn’t recognize them for what they were. Once I identified them I realized they would have to be moved. The scillas showed their sky blue flowers right in what will be the new (short) Rose Walk. I remembered that I had planted snow drops somewhere, but was surprised to find them growing by the peonies. Actually the two peonies may need to be moved too. They are in much too shady a spot.

I am so happy to be able to out in the garden. One of the benefits of gardening is the exercise we get. Of course, we all have our ways of working in the garden. I do a lot of my gardening, cutting back, clearing, planting and weeding, on my knees. On a spongy mat I say a little prayer for the plants and our world while I am giving my back a rest.

Some of my friends volunteered to care for the garden in the Energy Park. I have joined them, but I confess that when the different areas were being parceled out I requested the smallest garden at the south entrance. All of us choose as many native plants as possible. Our rationale is that native plants will attract pollinators from all types of bees, flies, lacewings, and butterflies.  Supporting pollinators is important to local farms as well because many food crops require pollination.

Wisty Rorabacher has many talents including photography and making identification signs for different plants. She is especially fond of spring ephemerals. These native plants are so eager that they sometimes raise their heads right into the snow. She has brought many of these spring ephemerals to the Energy Park.Spring ephemerals

Wisty Rorabacher – Gardener and Photographer of Spring Ephemerals. She explained her method. “Once I clear an appropriate-sized patch of ground, and place a specific plant, and another and another, my gardening job is simply to get rid of unwanted plants, like grass, that might crowd out what I desire.  Otherwise, my tasks are to be patient, observant, and enjoy.  I start looking for tiny signs of new life as soon as the snow is almost gone.  I love the whole process, from the gradual unfurling of stems and leaves, to the emergence of blossoms, the creation of seed pods, on and on until the plant goes dormant once again.”

Primroses

Primroses

Ardy Keim is another Energy Park Gardener, but he has a garden at home as well. He happily told me about preparing his garden. “The first time this season I put seeds in the ground. That process, seed to soil, makes me realize I’m part of a larger system of life on the planet. The surface, soil and vegetation is so much more than my being here. Yet we live in harmony when the connection is recognized and promoted. It’s called gardening.

“While in my garden yesterday, I saw an overwintered radish plant that had gone to seed. I picked the pods to coax out the seeds. Then, looking at the soil and weeds and decaying organic matter in my raised bed, I looked for where to poke the seeds in the earth. They’ve waited since September. With the days getting warmer I look forward to seeing the first two leaves emerge.

“New life of spring uplifts the soul, with brown turning green and buds about to bloom. The fruit trees and shrubs I pruned in March are ready and happy. I am looking forward to a sunny day tomorrow and fruitful summer ahead,” Ardy said.

Nancy Hazard is another passionate gardener and is known for working with Greening Greenfield and the town’s tree planting project. Trees are so important. They are not only beautiful, they clean our air and give us shade.  She told me simply, “I love gardening – listening to the birds – watching old friends emerge after the winter. It is so peaceful. I feel part of a whole – and the amazingness of all living things.”

My husband spends a lot of time with me out in the garden. He does heavy tasks, tasks that need his skills at putting up fence posts and wiring, and things I never thought of. While he is moving soil or compost around he is likely to stop and listen. He loves the music of the garden. He listens to the wind in our trees, and birdsong.  And he taps me on my shoulder with a whisper, “Listen. Listen to the cardinal.”  And I stop. And I listen.

Between the Rows   April 11, 2020

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – April 15, 2020

daffodills

Daffodils on Bloom Day

Never have I seen the garden begin to show itself in so many bits and starts. Over the past two weeks we have had warm days and cold days, and rainy days that transform the garden into a swamp. But I am so excited at what I have. I put daffodils here and there, in front of  the house and in the main garden. Through no planning of my own they have different bloom times so there are surprises every few days.

Primroses

Primroses on Bloom Day

Somehow only the white primroses have come through this past winter. I will have to add colors.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops on Bloom Day

The snowdrops have been slow in waking up and blooming, but here they are.

Grape hyacinths

Grape hyacinths on Bloom Day

The grape hyacinths were showing tiny tiny nubs of color on Sunday, Monday it poured all day, and yesterday I could see more  color, and this is what I see today. I can almost watch them grow.

Fringed bleeding heart

Fringed bleeding heart on Bloom Day.

The fringed bleeding heart grows up against the southern house foundation. It blooms for quite a long time. I’ll have to make a note of just how long this year.

Pieris

Pieris

This isn’t a great photo of the Pieris shrub growing in front of the house. It has been blooming for almost two weeks. This shrub was here at the house when we bought it, and it is still not in great shape. I learned how important it is to deadhead all these flower clusters, a tedious job, because if you don’t deadhead, there are fewer flowers the following year and the dead and brown clusters are left, chastising me for poor care. I’ll do better this year.

Peony shoots

Peony shoots

In addition to the Bloom Day blooms there are flower shoots everywhere. Some plants are substantial, like boltonia and Jacob’s ladder and  the daylilies, some are just barely poking up their heads, but they are telling me they are racing each other to see who will bloom next.

I thank Carol over at maydreamsgardens.com for giving us the ability to visit other gardens around the country – and the world and giving us the chance to share our own garden.

Double bloodroot

Double Bloodroot on Bloom Day

This is a PS for Bloom Day. This Double Bloodroot opened its blossoms later in the day. And see – another bud is push up through soil and  wood chips. This has been a wonderful Bloom Day for us.

Seed Starting Indoors For An Early Start Outdoors

Seedling

Seedlings 8 days old  – Mesclun and sunflowers on the left

This is the time of year when we can’t wait to start planting seeds. Unfortunately it is not the time of year when we can put vegetable or flower seeds in the ground. Fortunately for those of us who want a jump on the season we can start seeds indoors without too much trouble or expense. It is helpful to know the date of the last frost in your area. It is also important to know the temperature of your garden soil. The soil temperature is even more important to your seedlings that the air temperature.

Seed Starting Equipment

A soil thermometer is a good investment. It will cost about $15. Different seeds need different soil temperatures to germinate energetically. Your seedlings will also need warm soil. One way to insure that your soil is warm is by covering your planting space with a clear plastic sheet or a tarp for a few sunny days.

Another way to protect seedlings when they go in the ground is to use row covers supported by wire hoops. These low tunnels will provide some heat, and they will also protect plants from hungry insects. I used row covers in my small vegetable garden in Heath and really appreciated the protection it gave early in the season. Greenfield Farmers Coop has all the items you will need for seed starting from trays and seed cells, soil thermometer, hoops and row covers. And seeds.

Having assembled your equipment and seeds it is time to plant. Fill the seed cells with moist seedling soil mix, but leave room for the seed and covering soil mix.

I started my seeds in my basement under a grow light. A grow light is the best way to germinate seeds, but people have been putting their seed trays on a sunny windowsill for years. If that is what you need to do, you will have to keep turning the seed trays. Seedlings are always bending towards the light and you want to keep them as upright as possible. Expect the seedlings to be a little leggier than they would be under grow lights.

Progression of Seedling Growth

Mesclun

April 11 – Mesclun has been hardening off, almost ready to plant in my new vegetable garden

Some seeds like mesclun lettuces germinate very quickly, others will take longer. I planted my seeds on March 18. Mesclun was the first to sprout.  As I write the seeds that have germinated are sunflower, zinnia, cosmos, calendula, and fennel. Other seeds have not yet germinated. I have to wonder whether they need more time, or if the seed is no longer viable. Some of these seeds have been in my stash for more than a couple of years. I will wait a little longer before I give up on them.

Some of my seedlings have begun to develop ‘true’ leaves. I expect them to be ready tor transplanting in four to six weeks. I checked my weather records for 2019. I won’t say I take perfect temperature records, but last April 7 was the last day I recorded frost. As April progressed temperatures did not go below 40 degrees. I expect to put my seedlings in the ground by the first full week of May.

Of course I will not take my seed flats outside and immediately plant them in the soil, no matter how warm the soil is. Seedlings raised indoors are delicate little things. I will harden off my seedlings first. That means gently getting them accustomed to the sun and breezes. The first day seedlings can go outside they need light shade for two hours and then bring them back indoors. For the next six days add more sunny hours gradually to their outdoor stay. Don’t forget to keep the seedlings watered. The soil will dry out faster outside than indoors.

4-11 Look at those sunflowers! Fennel also doing well.

Transplanting

The day before the seedlings are ready for transplanting I will water them with a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer. This will give them a little extra strength when they come out of their cell. Now comes the trickiest part. Do not try to pull the seedling out of the seed cell by its fragile stem. The seedlings are very delicate and tender. I tear my little plastic cells to remove the moist soil and seedling carefully and pop it into the prepared bed. Some gardeners prefer using peat pots for growing seedlings. The planted peat pot can go right in the ground with no tearing or fussing. No worry about damaging the plant or its roots at all.

I have been told that starting seeds indoors can be done in the summer as well as in the spring. Some crops like broccoli and cauliflower can be started indoors the first August and be harvested in late October. My temperature record last year said all of October was very mild with no frost until November 1. It will be fun to see if I can get a fall harvest of broccoli and cauliflower.

At my age, an important aspect of gardening is having fun. It is fun to try out new flowers and vegetables. If they fail, finding out why can be quite intriguing.

Since moving to Greenfield I have not grown any vegetables. My wet garden is not suitable for vegetables. I do have a small spot where I can grow herbs, near the kitchen door, but that is not the same as being able to harvest my own carrots, zucchini, lettuce and tomatoes. This year I will have my own small plot in the Community Garden. The size of the plot will control extravagances. My sister/fellow gardeners will make working there especially pleasant. Expect more reports.

Between the Rows   April 4, 2020

Alphabet for Pollinators – D is for Dandelions

Dandelions

Dandelions – Cheer and nectar in early spring. Pollen too.

Dandelions are the first D pollinator plant I think of.  They bloom in the very early spring and my Heath lawn had lots of dandelions every spring. I  thought they very pretty and I also thought they were important for bees who needed nectar and pollen when the hives became active.

It seems there are differences of opinion,  although they are not totally worthless. The Guardian International thinks dandelions are very useful to pollinators in the early spring. The Daily Journal of Kankakee, Illinois takes a different view, although they do not say  the dandelions are completely worthless to pollinators.

The Pesticide Action Network UK says bees definitely need dandelions. Maybe Kankakee is just more particular about their lawns.

Double bird’s foot trefoil, Lotus plenus, is another lawn substitute. it has two inch dense dark green foliage with ruffled yellow flowers in  the summer.

There are other low growing plants that sometimes substitute for grass in a lawn. Many of us might be familiar with Dianthus gratianopolitanus under the title cheddar pinks. They are only about one or two inches tall and have sweet clove scented pink flowers in mid-spring. It does tolerate mild foot traffic.

Double bird’s foot trefoil, Lotus plenus, is another lawn substitute. it has two inch dense dark green foliage with ruffled yellow flowers in  the summer. It is often used as a ground cover, but it can be used on a lawn, or on a bank.

Queen Anne's Lace

Daucus carota Queen Anne’s Lace

Daucus carota, Queen Anne’s Lace, is one of my favorite flowers. This grows along the roadsides. I don’t know why I never see it in a garden.  Maybe I just haven’t seen enough gardens. I will have to work on that.

Daucus carota Queen Anne’s Lace

Gardening in the Time of Pandemic

 Crocus have no fear of the pandemic

Crocus have no fear of the Pandemic

The spring equinox, the first day of spring, arrived on March 19 this year, the earliest it has been since 1896! Clearly Madame Spring was not happy about being called to duty so early. She arrived with snow and rain and gloom. A pandemic also arrived.

Spring arrived just as people were beginning to really understand what the presence of Corvid-19 means. It means “sheltering in place,” and observing ‘social distancing,” which means staying home and keeping six feet away- from everyone.  None of this is easy in a time of pandemic.

So what can I do every day?

I can look for pleasure. I smile at my crocuses, purple and gold. I admire the daffodil shoots. I get my rake and feed the compost bins with wet leaves. I am amazed at all the other green shoots hiding under the leaves.

When I take my rake out of our shed I blush to see the disarray. This is the time of year to get really organized! Now I have no excuses. I have time to organize. I have time to give the tools a good cleaning, and sharpening when necessary. I have time to categorize the organic fertilizers. I have time to clean the flower pots and set them outside. I have time to consider which of those-too-many pots can be given away.

I have time to work with my husband setting up grow-lights in the basement. I have an array of seeds chosen at the Cabin Fever Seed Swap and they can be started now.

My husband and I both have time to move the delicious delivery of compo-soil from Martin’s Compost Farm that has just been delivered. Our wet garden always needs a topping off.

raspberry patch set up

Raspberry patch set-up. The leaves have been left as mulch

Over the past three years the raspberry patch became more and more difficult to harvest. How could I have forgotten the need for posts and wires to keep the canes in place. I knew how to do that in Heath! Oh, well. Onward!

My husband had put up stakes last year, and a couple of weeks ago he put wires around the stakes. This will keep my three raspberry rows in line. So to speak. This week I cut out the dead canes, and cut back the canes that will bear berries this year.

I’d like to tell you which raspberry varieties I grow, but the list is lost. I tend to like heirloom varieties like Latham and Heritage, so I might have at least one of those. Latham bears in mid-season, and Heritage in late summer into fall. I was picking well into fall last year so Heritage might be what I planted. Prelude is a variety that bears early which is always happy. And Boyne raspberries gets Excellent grades for flavor, freezing quality and winter hardiness! I might very well have chosen Boyne, but I don’t know for sure. I keep promising to keep better records, but . . .

I only grow red raspberries but Nourse Farms also offers black raspberries, yellow raspberries, and Double Gold with “a deep blush, golden champagne color” and very sweet.

The raspberries are just showing swelling buds, but what I call the herb garden, is getting down to business. I have a large sage plant right outside the kitchen door. It does not shed all its foliage during the winter. Unless it is covered with snow, I can harvest a few leaves if my fall harvest has been used up. I love that sage plant.

The wind had deposited lots of leaves on the herb garden. When I raked them off I revealed clumps of chives, ready to be put to use. I also have a clump of alliums.

Chives

Chives and allium. The wind keep blowing the wind around and it loves this spot against the house. We are working on collecting the leaves!

Chives, of course, are also an allium. The chives are for using in the kitchen, but this other allium is mostly decorative. The foliage is heavier, and the white blooms wait until mid-summer to appear. I do not use them in the kitchen.

Thyme grows near the chives. Both are ready for use in the kitchen right now.

Oregano

Oregano – and leaves

The surprise was the oregano. I forgot how large the oregano plot was last fall. That patch had been covered with leaves all winter. After clearing the leaves the cheerful sunny green foliage was revealed. It too is ready for use.

Removing leaves revealed another green surprise – mountain mint. I actually have two varieties of mountain mint which attract many pollinators including flies, beetles, wasps and bees. They are such good pollinators that the Garden Club of America chose it as the Plant of the Year in 2018. The particular mountain mint that I uncovered is Pycnanthemum muticum which has ‘short toothed’ foliage. It is green and growing.

Mountain mint

Mountain mint – Bees love mountain mint

I do also have narrow leaf mountain mint, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, but it is still sleeping.

The excitement in the garden did not end with the delightful uncovering of green, but with a quiet, beautiful snowfall. Always a surprise in the garden.

This is how we are gardening in the time of pandemic.

*************************************

This past week I learned about the 1001 Pollinator Gardens project. Amy of the Wing and a Prayer nursery in Cummington told me how to join the crowd.  I sent in my application that included a plant list.  Amy wrote back and told me that she was happy  that I had trees and shrubs in our garden. She was especially happy that we had planted two river birch trees. She said that river birches can host nearly 400! Species of caterpillars. I had no idea.

Check out https://1001pollinatorgardens.org/ and think about joining this great project.###

Between the Rows  March 28, 2020

April Fool’s Day and the Flowers Are Joining the Fun

purple crocus

Purple crocus

It’s April Fool’s Day and the bulbs and flowers think it is time to join the fun. These purple crocuses have been blooming for a couple of weeks. Even the six inch snowfall didn’t daunt them. They came to bloom in the sun, and were still blooming when the snow melted. They needed a god drink.

Snow drop

Snow drop

This single snowdrop got tired of waiting like the rest of her indolent family. I could almost hear her shout “I am ready to bloom, slowpokes!”  They other snowdrop will soon join her.

Tiny daffodils

Tiny daffodils

I’ve never been able to decide whether these are diminutive daffodils or if they are just stunted because the soil is bad. Behind them you see foliage of the fringed bleeding hearts. They do bloom early in the spring, but not yet. Then they will bloom for months. They like this spot in front of the house foundation and southern sun.

Japanese primroses

Japanese primroses

These Japanese primroses are not blooming quite yet, but they are enjoying the good swim. Unfortunately the photo does not make it clear that they are growing in standing water, and it will be swampy all spring. The beautiful tall flowers are a gift from a friend who had them growing in her swampy garden.

At first I thought there were the violets that often come up in a lawn. But then I remembered. I planted these scillas.  I might have to move them. As this part of the garden takes a new shape, they might not stand our footsteps. I think  they are April Fools – teasing me.

Daylily shoots

Daylily shoots

I have quite a few daylilies, and some of them are  shooting up bigger than this. Plant foliage on the right is the beginnings of the black eyed susan. And a couple of weeds.

Yes spring is here and slowly beginning of show off. Garden raking continues and new shoots are showing up everywhere.  Happy April Fools Day.  Only a fool would stay indoors today – so I am off and back to the garden.