“Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.” ~Ellis Peters
For the gardening season, I will be trying to keep a garden journal once a month. I thought it might be nice to incorporate it with my poetry and change Gardens Eye Verse posts to Gardens Eye Journal during the gardening season on the first Monday of each month.
I was inspired even more to continue my garden journal by The Sage Butterfly. She has an outstanding garden journal on the first of each month. I apologize for the length of this post as there is lots going on already at the end of March and the beginning of April.
There are loads of memes at this time of the month too, and I will be checking in with a few: Walk in Garden@This Grandmother’s Garden, First View@Town Mouse & Country Mouse; Garden Bloggers Harvest Day (GBHD)@The Gardening Blog and End of Month View with Helen@The Patient Gardener’s Weblog.
Gardens Eye Verse
I am starting this post with a bit of my own poetry. April is National Poetry Month. At Poets.org they get you in the mood with 30 ways to celebrate this month of poetry. I plan to add some original poetry to some of my posts throughout the month as a way to celebrate. Writing poetry for me is such fun and a great way to engage my creative brain. If you have not given it a try you should.
while armfuls of green stems stretch out.
Toward skies of deep blue,
chill winds blow strong.
Yellow faces waving,
bright smiles beam toward the sun.
Rejoice-the daffodils are up!
To say March was a crazy month is putting it mildly. It started with snow, wind, cold and quickly changed to May type temps in the 70s to summer like temps in the 80s. We had several record breaking highs in the 80s. My garden started blooming so fast you couldn’t blink or the early spring bulbs would burst into bloom and be gone. Even these lilacs started putting out flower buds. And just when I was lamenting that spring was too hot, too fast and that I wanted my cooler days back, suddenly last week Mother Nature granted my wish.
Our weather quickly changed to 40s during the day and 30s and 20s at night. We had a hard freeze with 18 degree temps. I was sure I would lose lots of flowers. I even covered the lilacs. But most things came through unscathed for now. We continue to have these cold temps, but we are due for April daytime temps in the 50s and 30s at night. I am savoring this slow crawl through spring. My back garden clean up took 5 hours but it was so enjoyable in the 40 degree cool temps. No weeding yet although I may be overrun soon with some weeds. I hurt my knee a month ago when I fell on a slippery floor at work. It is healing, but I am not allowed to kneel. So no kneeling means no weeding.
I was overjoyed to see bloodroot (pictured here) and hepatica starting to unfurl their flowers. But my goodness this is still 3 if not 4 weeks early. With the freeze I was sure they would not survive, but here they are.
This native honeysuckle is even budding and will probably flower with the warmer temps set for the week ahead. This is actually good news for the hummers who I suspect will also be showing up early.
I thought with the colder weather, the garden would slow down even more than it has. As I was out cleaning up, I found astilbe, echinacea, roses and clematis leafing out. Here is how the front garden looks. Lots leafing, but mostly daffs and hyacinths blooming slowly. It is so chilly you can’t even smell these blooms. Been very dark and gray so these pictures are not the best.
The forsythia here is a dwarf creeping variety. I love this one and it will be the only one I keep. Great performer. The dwarf willows already have some flowers and will leaf out once it warms up a bit more.
Scilla, hyacinths, Glory of the Snow and daffs blooming with lots of columbines putting out foliage. Even tall phlox and delphiniums growing steady here. The variegated weigelia bushes just started to show some leaf buds.
This side of the walk has those amazing hydrangeas that were showing new growth. Half survived the freeze. Irises, creeping phlox (getting flower buds), primrose, grape hyacinths and hardy geranium all growing strong.
Here we are close to the front step. Lavender still beautiful and fragrant, with an exotic violet, hyacinth, Puschkinia, columbine, and Oriental poppy.
There are some lovely flowers blooming in the back gardens.
I love this display of color in the back corner near the stump. As soon as the crocus and iris reitculata are done then the scilla, daffs and hyacinths take over.
This is actually on the sunny side of the house. The hellebore is a transplant from my garden at the old house, and I have no idea of its name. It is getting huge and I will need to divide it. Actually many of my hellebore are flowering and looking lovely. Next year they will be even more stunning. There is a close up of its flower at the beginning of the post.
These tulips will finally bloom this week with some others if the deer stay away. I keep spraying them but they have eaten some already.
I love these small corydalis around the trees. They were unfazed by the recent freeze and continue to bloom in the cold weather.
Pulmonaria are blooming all over and sporting new leaves. They also made it through the freeze, but the brunnera have some foliage that are brown at the edges.
While I was able to clean up around the pond garden, I still have to clean up some of the plants at the edge of the pond. Still too much algae in the pond but we are working on it. I did hear a frog last week, but have not seen or heard him since the cool down. I hope to see frogs soon. The covered beds near the fence are the veg beds planted with cool weather veggies. You can also see piles of garden debris on the grass. The garden helper assures me it will be picked up Monday.
I cannot get over how fast the hardy pink water lily is growing. Ready to welcome frogs and toads.
Veg and Berry Gardens
The veg garden was planted in mid March. It has been slow to grow with the cool weather, but seeds have sprouted. I wasn’t expecting this surprise in the new veg bed below. I thought I had removed everything from this area. These bulbs are growing through paper and a foot and a half of soil. I will be removing them once they bloom and planting them beside the bed.
I planted lots of radishes. They are doing great and if it had not cooled down I would be harvesting them in another week. Still the harvest will be amazing. I will be putting down a natural deterrant to slugs this weekend otherwise they will consume the garden.
These pole beans are my first attempt at growing this vegetable. They are in the new bed, and growing in front of a new trellis. On the other side of the trellis are peas. They have broken through as well. All veg beds will remain under cover for at least another 6 weeks until all danger of frost is gone. We have had snow in mid May and the covers have saved my garden.
The raspberries are adoring the cold snap. The canes I moved throughout the back corners and on the back side of the veg beds are growing strong. I am hoping for a good harvest compared to last year’s dismal yield. The blackberry is leafing out and the 6 or so blueberries seem to continue their budding up although I was worried they would be damaged in the freeze. We shall see how they do this year.
As you can see the meadow is starting to green up. Daffs and Glory of the Snow dot the landscape. I need to do a bit of clean up here being careful to not disrupt any small critters that may be hibernating still. I also have to do some seeding and weeding. That will happen this coming weekend.
As you can see we have many critters posing for pictures albeit some are staying far to the back meadows. The main star was the 3 ft garter snake that came around 1 week ago. I was shocked to see him around the pond. Needless to say he is too big to stay at our pond so he was moved. I did a whole post about him at Beautiful Wildlife Gardens last Tuesday. The deer are beginning to come out more and we are finally seeing turkey vultures. Bumblebees woke up March 31st even though it was only 40, and began to buzz around a bit. There are a pair of robins who frequent the front gardens and I am hoping they are eyeing the nest in the tree we left in hopes that another robin family would move in this year. The black blur in the right hand corner is as close as I could get to a picture of the many red-winged blackbirds in the meadow area.
So here we are with the seed growing station in my basement going strong. Top right are the newest seeds sown; 7 varieties of marigolds. I went shopping the other day for something I needed for Easter, and instead found a portable green house; 4ft by 3ft by 3ft. Four shelves with a plastic cover that zippers open. Just what I need for the next step as I move some trays outside this coming weekend. Violas, pansies, snapdragons, and alyssum are headed out soon to grow a bit more and harden off. I have found the perfect spot for the greenhouse on the patio where it will get morning sun, afternoon shade and can be wheeled into a protective area in the event of high winds.
Lots more flowers and the start of a few veggies to be sown indoors as we approach the weekend. I promise to share, in a future post, my veg garden plans and the spreadsheets I created for companion planting and when to sow the seeds indoors and out.
This seedling was a surprise I stumbled upon as I was cleaning up near the spent sunflowers. Yes it is a sunflower. There are actually 3 in a row. These were planted with the others last year but they never germinated. I was shocked to see them growing in late March this year. It just goes to show you, you never can tell what will happen in the garden. Perhaps this is a good omen of things to come this year.
Next up on the blog: Next Monday I will have a book review for Michelle @The Sage Butterfly’s Earth Day Reading Project and a bit early for Holley@Roses and Other Gardening Joys Garden Book Review on the 20th. On the 16th it will be a GBBD post and I hope to parade lots more blooms. The 23rd will be time for another post in my Simply the Best series that ties in with Diana@Elephant’s Eye, and Gail@Clay and Limestone’s Wildflower Wednesday. I will be featuring my Wild Lupines. And lastly it will be time for another Word 4 Wednesday with Donna@Garden Walk, Garden Talk.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday. So drop by to check out all the blooms this Friday. Also linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I hope you will join me for my weekly posts, every Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.
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