“Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on.”
– Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs
I almost forgot how spring smelled; how the early morning cool gave way to the warmth of the later day sun. And yet this weekend, those glorious signs, smells and feelings of giddiness came flooding back. In the last 2 weekends we have had a flurry of spring blooms and activities hit all at once. So bear with me as I post the goings on in my late April, early May garden. I have been quite busy so this post is a bit late and a bit long.
Due to this crazy spring, my native wildflowers are up all at once. So clockwise from the far left we see creeping phlox; Bloodroot (came and went in a few days); flower of a Twinleaf or Jeffersonia diphylla; next to it a trillium; below that is the Virginia bluebells almost in flower; then the glorious foliage of Twinleaf; above that on the left is the Hepatica (also come and gone in a matter of a few days); and lastly Mayapple just popping up.
The meadow was alive with activity as well. Many native wildflowers were starting to show as the daffodils were still blooming. From left to right are Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigold); native lupine, and native Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum). The top picture shows where we planted three native viburnum bushes, and within a day they were have eaten by rabbits. Couldn’t bear to show the after picture.
In keeping with Sweet Bean Gardening’s, Hope Grows Day Meme for May 5th, I am showing our pond which I had hoped would be flowering and greener by now. It has been slowly coming into spring, and we finally turned the pump on. You can see it is still clogged with algae which we are cleaning; the lily pads are just skimming the surface; and there are a few plants growing-native iris and a grass that loves the waterline (sorry I long ago misplaced the tag). The white shrouded raised bed in the distance beyond the pond is the early veggie garden.
As May begins there is renewed hope…The veggies are growing strong despite the cold. These were planted a month ago. We have baby lettuces, broccoli rabe, spinach, radish, arugula and that is in the first 2 pictures. Garlic is getting very tall and resembles corn. The kale is growing in starter containers outside, and will be transplanted into other containers later in the month. Sweet peas are finally up, and the strawberries and raspberries popped to life this past week. The crops in the food department seem to continue to slowly grow under protective cover. The Cayenne and Hatch Green Chile peppers I started inside are already too big and need to go outside soon. I may have to get them under a row cover earlier than I anticipated.
The bullfrogs are back in the pond and making a ruckus. Our rabbits and deer have been spotted around and in the garden doing their best to get whatever wonderful blooms and foliage they want. And or resident fox, Axl, has been out many days playing and looking for voles…”Over here Axl..I have lots for you!!! Then there are the birds…what a drama we had over the weekend. It all started on Saturday. Birds were back looking to nest all at once. The sparrows had taken the bluebird house ahead of the swallows this year. The bluebirds are always a day late and a dollar short. They never seem to make it in time. Once the wrens and swallows returned Saturday, we had a turf war.
The swallows briefly tried to take the bluebird house, but the sparrows fought them off. Then the swallows tried for another smaller house just behind the gazebo (4th picture). But as soon as the small but mighty wren arrived, it was all over. The wren went into the wren house (second picture), but didn’t stay and then proceeded to try the house behind the gazebo. They didn’t stop there. They somehow got into the bluebird house while the sparrows were away. They ripped apart the nest, threw out the nesting materials and the lone egg that had been laid (5th picture). You can see the smashed egg in the last picture. Then the wrens settled on the house they had chosen behind the gazebo, and began their nest. Wrens are known for their aggression toward other nesting birds in the area and this was the first time we had witnessed this. Despite their behavior, I do so love the song of the wren. The sparrows came back later and were frantic. They fought the wren and the swallows for the house and won. I don’t think they will venture far again. The swallows were left out in the cold. (To see some pictures up close, just click on the pictures)
Other Garden Activity
With all the rain, I have had to devote all my nice days off to garden chores which are many. I have taken over 1000 photos over the last 2 weeks, and I wanted to showcase the blooms and gardens (just a few for now). I do apologize for not being around recently to read blogs and comment.
This is the front of the house. The tree on the right is where the robins’ nest is located. The wall garden is a sweeping garden that has many views as you walk around it to the gate. As you can see we have many bulbs up and trees are just beginning to show a little of green. Lots of perennials and shrubs are also starting to grow, but we will showcase those as they bloom throughout the season.
Of course my spring garden has to have lots of hyacinths. The smell actually makes me swoon a little I think. I have them all ove the front, side and back so wherever I go I get that heavenly scent. Of course I love grape hyacinths too as you can see in the first picture of this post. They are up now with the hyacinths which is most unusual for our spring.
Of course the daffodils are still going strong. I took hundreds of pictures and here are a few of the varieties.
The early tulips are up with the mid-bloomers this year. Many gorgeous blooms. And yes that is not a tulip top right. I snuck in a picture of a
tall snowdrop Leucojum vernum that blooms now (thanks Carolyn @ Carolyn’s Shade Gardens for the correction; I wasn’t sure but I knew you would know). Too pretty not to show you, and it looks like an early tulip in the picture. I have lots more tulips just waiting to bloom soon. I actually do not have many around the garden since they are usually hard to grow here, and the deer love them too much for me to keep up with protecting them.
This last grouping is of many of the flowering perennials just up. Bergenia, rhubarb, primrose, buds of soon to bloom lilacs, lungwort, forget-me-nots and Brunnera. I have many varieties of these flowers and will show others at another time. The strange looking plant bottom right is the dreaded horsetail. It is a weed for me and everywhere in my garden growing into a thick ground cover. Impossible to get rid of. It resembles a small pine tree growing, and is a prized herbal plant. I’ll go into its medicinal qualities at another time, but this is what it looks like when it first come up. Those are spores and they spread. Fascinating, almost prehistoric looking plant.
It is with great sadness that I report about the robin and her eggs. Late this morning, we discovered…well look at the pictures.
We are unsure of what happened. Everything was fine early this morning when I checked on her. As you can see by her expression, I think sometimes she can see us, but we are careful. Midday we spotted the egg shells on the ground, but no yolk. There were three piles so we knew three eggs were destroyed. When we looked in the nest, this was all we saw. One lone egg and no robin. She has abandoned the nest. We don’t know if she destroyed the eggs or if another bird did when she was gone for a brief respite. I know that the eggs can be laid even if not fertilized so did she know they were not viable and destroy them. We also know that if the eggs are destroyed, she may lay more in 10 days. So we are leaving the nest alone. Perhaps she will return or another bird will take the nest. All I know is that we are very sad today.
When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
Special Note: I hope to find my garden teaming with life in May. Never ending flowers, fruits, songs and birth. It is why I garden this hope. Until then, we will mourn the robin and give thanks for her special time with us.
I will be linking in Friday as well with Fertilizer Friday. Come on over and see what is blooming around the globe.