Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Signs of Spring

I got out into the garden to look for other signs of spring. I must say that the few signs I am seeing are not exactly what I was hoping for. These hellebores are not looking so healthy. We have had such abnormal highs and then lows in temperatures I am afraid they just don't know what to do. These look pale and peaked. I don't know what to do for them. I hope they snap out of what ever is ailing them.There are buds coming on the old lilac. Actually this bush is not old but the bush that I got this start from is old. It is a white lilac that grows in the garden where I work. No one knows how old this lilac is but the neighbors have lived next door to it for 50 years and they said it was there when they moved in. The building that houses the shop I work in is over 150yrs old. I wonder if the lilac is original to the place. I guess we will never know. My little piece of the lilac is just 4 years old. It had its first blossom last year. It was wonderful. I can hardly wait until it get full of the scented white blossoms. Maybe I will have more this year. There are daffodils peeking out of the ground. Even they have a sickly pale green cast to their sprouts. I can sort of understand that because it hasn't been very sunny despite what the picture is indicating.
These are the beginnings of some hyacinths that are showing signs of awakening. Actually they look normal. This is a good sign. I mosied over to check out the forsythia. I wondered after several days of above normal temps if there might be a bloom or two that had been coaxed into the warm winter air. Not a single one. There are buds. The most interesting thing I see are some galls. They are in the uppermost reaches of this bush. I wonder what kind of bug has made them there?? This is where I usually have lots of house sparrow nests. This past summer I kept the House Sparrow nest torn out to try to force themto go nest at some other garden. They kept attacking the House Wrens and sticking their heads into the nest box trying to force out the wrens. I just couldn't tolerate them doing this. So the eviction began. They were persistent but I was more so. They finally gave up on this spot and built high in the apple tree. Not high enough though. I threw them out of there. Then they got the message and went into the side lot and found a tree I couldn't climb and built. They did leave the Wrens alone the rest of the summer. Anyway...does anyone have an idea of what type of insect might make these galls? I was guessing some type of wasp. What do you think?
Tonight the wind is howling so it is possible I will have snow pictures for you tomorrow. I would rather think about spring.


  1. Never seen such a thing on our forsythias.
    Tuck yourselves in well tonight--the wind is howling here, too!

  2. Dear Lisa,
    You have many signs of Spring.
    Way too early at my house!
    I actually am hoping for a late Spring so it is not nipped like last year.
    Glad the terrible storms went around you. I have snow on the ground and cold.
    I also discourage the House Sparrows from nesting. When I see them at the feeders I think, "Hawk food!"

  3. wonderful signs of spring and I only wish I could be saying that here in NY State!

  4. Hi Nina, I am haning on for dear life again tonight. It isn't as scary as last night but it is windy.

    Hi Q. I also think hawk food when the House Sparrows are around. I wish the hawks would only take the House Sparrows.

    Hi Mon@rch, your time will come. You gotta think spring.

  5. The wind has been something hasn't it? So glad we didn't get the tornadoes with that system.

    As soon as it dries up some I'll have to take a look around to see if I see a glimmer of spring here.

  6. It's good to see daffodils and hyacinths poking through the ground. Hopefully, you will not be getting any snow and the storm will pass right on by!

  7. I have a white lilac, too, and it has buds on it now that look just like yours.

    I'm thinking of cutting a few forsythia branches and bringing them in to force. I know I've done it as early as late January, so I'm sure now is fine.

    My hellebores look worse than yours. They looked like that last year, too, and they made it okay. Not an abundance of blooms, but the foliage replenished itself and looked good once it warmed up more.

    Hang in there, Lisa!

  8. Happy to see you have some spring there after the tough winter. I always cut those old ratty hellebore leaves off, but don't know if it is time for you to be able to do that. We are on the southern edge of lilacs, but we do have a vulgaris that was free from the arbor society years ago. It has been moved and divided nearly every year, it always gets too large for the spot I stick it, it is light purple. I would love to have a white one.

  9. Lilacs are my absolute favorite. Probably because of the smell. And no matter how hard they try, I've never found a candle or air spray that has it anywhere near as good as the real thing.....

    All these bloggers with their pictures of's giving me hope!

  10. Yes Robin the winds have been awful. I am glad to hear that you weren't adversely affected by the storms.

    Kate, it looks like the snow went on by us yesterday. ALl clear but cold today.

    Thanks Kylee, I hope that the hellebores all perk up when it gets warmer. I'm a hangin in there.

    Hi Frances, I will be a little more severe with cutting back my hellebores this year after reading your posts about this practice. I will wait awhile before doing so. We still have some winter to deal with here.

    Hang in there Sherry. Spring will be upon us and we will all be complaining of not enough time to accomplish all we want to do. :) At least I am looking forward to that wine, I mean whine. :)

  11. I don't know what causes those galls, but my Forsythia also gets them. I don't think I want to know.

  12. Lisa,we would have to wade water to see any signs of spring here. Flooding everywhere, including our basement! Your lilac should have lots of blooms this year. Mine are about 7 years old and had an abundance last year.

  13. Wonderful that you have some signs of spring! Everything here has been covered in snow, but we are currently having a melt, so I should get out and see what's happening. We are a zone 6b also, but I think you may be ahead of us.

  14. My first hyacinth poked through the dirt the other day too. I would have thought that mine would be ahead of yours, since I have a warmer climate!

  15. Love the daffodils and hyacinths and forsythia. I've never seen those gall things before and I'm with McGregor's daughter - I'm not sure I want to know what makes 'em.

    We had high winds and lots of rain, which was a blessing. However, we're still about 20" below what we need - the drought here has been long and lean. We had tornado warnings, but all went to the south and the east.

  16. Lisa, I am laughing with a mental picture of you climbing trees to wipe out HOSP nests! I'd help you!

    You are way ahead of our spring season; however, I did find forsythias in bloom today.

    Our howling winds subsided overnight and brought much cooler temperatures with them.

  17. Congrats on all the springy growth. Lisa

    It is so exciting to see thing sprouting up with life.

  18. Great to see signs of spring.

    Re: Galls on forsythias. Could it be phomopsis fungal galls?

    about 2/3 of the way down the page.

  19. Thank you everyone for your comments. I have gotten behind on answering directly. I hope to do better in the future.

    I want to thank you Marvin for the diagnosis of the gall. Ilooked at the web site you sent me and it looks to be the culprit.

    You solved another problem with this site too. I discovered the horrible weedy grass that has invaded my garden is Wild Bermuda grass. UGH...

  20. Glad I could "help", Lisa.

    We have an abundance of wild Bermuda too. In our rural setting, we don't really have a "lawn" so that isn't a problem for us. However, out in the veggie garden, I spend a great deal of time and effort each summer manually edging the beds to keep the Bermuda grass out. I think Bermuda grass runners can grow a couple of inches a day.


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