Thursday, March 14, 2019

Spring Emerging

Spring is ever so slowly trying to emerge here. Our first purple crocus popped open yesterday. 
A few more of the pale yellow crocus have opened. 
I was able to get out and rake up a wheelbarrow load of small twigs that have blown down. I think most of the larger limbs blew down earlier in the winter during storms. 
I did find some disturbing sights. Like these miniature hostas that were heaved out of the ground. 
These next two are in a pot. I am not sure if the rain just rinsed out some of the potting soil or if the wind just blew it away. 
The crowns of a couple of these mini hostas are exposed. This has never happened before. I sure hope they live to see the summer. 
This has been the worst year ever for my Hellebores. I didn't want to frighten you with a picture of them. They just didn't like all the rain and then severe cold we had. They will live but the show they usually put on is being postponed until next spring for sure. 
I hope your garden hasn't taken a hit from this winter. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Miscellaneous March Thoughts

This time of year I am usually able to get outside and do a few clean up jobs. Messing and gomming in the garden.  Making plans and moving things around. Watching the crocus and daffodils blooming. Even February usually offers a few days of yard work, but not this year. All I have managed is picking up sticks between storms.
Despite the sunshine that has graced our area today the cold and snow is keeping me indoors. I am having some thoughts about rearranging some of the furniture outside. I have already moved everything inside that I could possibly move.
My latest birthday bench sits out by the barn now. I  would like to see more often. I am thinking about moving it to a more prominent place. 
When I look out the patio doors, especially during winter there isn't a whole lot to see. I thought it would be nice to see an inviting bench to draw you out into the garden. 
Of course this situation would mean I would have to increase the width of this planting bed to incorporate the bench.
Which would mean I would have to purchase some more plants to make the bench feel at home here. 
Yes, I think this is a plan. I will let the bench sit here for awhile to see if I feel good about this.
When the snow melts I will go sit here and think about it.
Do you ever try out seating in different parts of your garden before you settle on a placing?
On this warmer but overcast day when I was moving things about the Snowdrops opened despite no sun. I was so happy to see them.
The Pussy Willow is beginning to strut it's fur.
At the feeders there is some finch movement. More House Finches have been turning up and one of them was leucistic. I had never seen one before. It was here only one day. I wonder where it went.
 On a more sunny day we saw the resident chipmunk at the feeders. It was only here one day too.
I wonder if it went into hibernation? Do they hibernate? Sure haven't seen this little guy all winter.
I wonder how many are in our garden. It is hard to tell because they aren't the most gregarious little critters. Maybe the Cooper's Hawk that haunts the garden keeps them in check. 
I hope the weather gods become more generous with the warmer weather soon. Until then everyone stay warm and have plenty of  garden thoughts.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

First Crocus

I was outside today for a very short time as the wind howled and strew small limbs all over the garden. I was surprised to find these two pale yellow crocus by the front walk. The larger one was open when I first saw it but by the time I walked into the house for the camera it had closed up. 
The wind was so cold but the sun felt warm. We had gusts of wind up to 49mph. It wasn't pleasant to be outside. These little crocus were lured out by the sun.
Inside another orchid opened. It also enjoyed the sunshine. 
I hope you were able to enjoy some sunshine and warmth today too. Did you find anything new in the garden today?

Friday, February 15, 2019

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - February 2019

I finally have some blooms to share. This month started out warmer than normal which helped to hurry things along a bit. We have even had a few days of sunshine. The response to the sun and a bit of warmth is that I have the first orchid bloom of the year. There are a bunch more buds but this one is the first to bloom. 
I had been wondering if I was going to get any blooms this year. My poor orchids summer outdoors but this summer wasn't a good one for them. I think they like it a bit more damp. I think this  year I might keep them inside all summer and only put them out when it rains.
Now on the more natural side of booms is this  Diane Witchhazel. She is sporting quite a few blooms among the ugly dried up leaves left on this shrub. I guess I could have cut them off since this shrub never wants to grow. It has stayed the same size since I bought it. Of course when it did a bit of growing the rabbits ate it. So I guess I shouldn't complain. It is fun to look out and see these blooms when it is so cold.
Finally, when the sun was out yesterday I missed the chance to get some good photos of my little batch of Galanthus 'Nivalis'. They looked so cute with their little selves spread wide open. I will have to wait for another sunny day.
You don't have to wait until spring to see more blooms. You can pop over to Carol's May Dreams Garden to see what others have blooming in their garden. 
Have a great weekend. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Rain of Near Biblical Proportions

I know this doesn't look like much to those of you who get these kinds of rains often but here during winter with mostly frozen ground it was a big mess.
All of this water came barreling down the street veered off into the lot across the street and into our driveway.
Some of it backed up into the front yard.
The garage was spared because the water was gushing into the side yard. You can see the water rushing over the path to the right. The path on the left wasn't washed out but...
The right path was cleared of soil and mulch that was around the stepping stones. 
All the soil is at the bottom of the path. I will have my work cut out to fill in, re-mulch etc. 
Looking out the patio doors it didn't look much better. Water was standing on patio and the paths in back were also almost full.
At one point there was so much pressure on our old patio that along one of the cracks there were bubbles oozing out.
You can see how my flower beds have been enriched with compost and mulch so much they are much higher than the paths. 
The paths were nearly fully underwater. A first in my recollection. We have areas that often get some back up but soon runs off. 
The main problem is that the ground was too frozen to accept any water.
The side lot looked like a small pond. I hope we don't get any more rain for awhile. 
After the rain stopped a big blow brought winter back to us. All that didn't drain off is now frozen.
I just hope that the poor plants can tolerate all the freeze, thaws and now near drowning.
We wait for the next big thaw.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February Thaw

Yes, we are going through a nice thawing process after a couple of weeks of below normal temperatures. On our walk at Ouabache Trails Park where we cross a creek during our walks we could see how the receding flood waters and the sun is  melting the ice, a little.
Doesn't that moss shine like a beacon in the sun!
Along the creek you can see how high the water was before the water receded. 
The ice shelf on the shaded side isn't going to let go anytime soon despite the higher temps. 
The creek is opening. Just as well because we are to get a lot of rain in the next few days. There are already flood warnings out. The floods don't directly impact us except sometimes this creek covers the road and we can't walk our favorite trails. 
At home our moss doesn't get as much sunlight but it sure is liking these warmer temperatures. The sporophytes are taking advantage of the warm damp weathers. 
I hope  you all are taking advantage of this warmer weather. Maybe I should say I hope you are having some warmer weather now. What ever kind of weather you are having I hope you get to enjoy the rest of the week.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Interesting Winter Finds

 It warmed up a bit this week so I thought I would go out and do a few chores. Nothing exciting mind you because all has been frozen for so long. I needed to get outside. As I was surveying all the sticks that had been blown out of the surrounding trees I found a tip of limb from the maple tree with a cecropia moth cocoon attached lying on the ground.
 This is how long the tip is with the cocoon on it.
This is the length of the cocoon itself.
You can see how leaves were pulled around the larva to make the cocoon.
The Maple tree was already pushing out some buds. I would never have thought that except that the first part of January was above normal temperatures and the last of January was below. 
I didn't notice at first that there was a tear in the cocoon. I briefly took the cocoon inside to try for a close up to try to show the larva inside. My DB helped with this close up. 
I have no idea if the larva was compromised by hitting the path with such force that the cocoon tore. Or if a squirrel found it and bit a hole in it and decided that it wasn't worth the effort??? So many questions.
So I closed the flap over the hole and placed it in the duff near where I found it. Maybe if it is living it will make it to spring. 
My other find which was not far from the cocoon was an owl pellet. It was too cold to be outside long so I just took a picture of it with the ruler so I could see how long it was. 
As you can see it appears to be a ball of fur with a big tooth or claw. To the right of it was a piece of bone. 
I went outside today since it was so much warmer and was going to take apart the Owl pellet to see if there were more bones in it. It was no where to be found. Makes me wonder what happened to it. Maybe all that fur is down in a a vole hole keeping them warm???
Have you found anything of interest in your garden this winter?

Friday, January 25, 2019

Weather Juncture

As the weather fronts collided the rain came and washed away the snow. Happily as the snow melted some winter buds came into view.

The Galanthus certainly grew since I had last laid eyes on them. 

Daffodils and Narcissus are poking out of the ground. 

A few hellebore buds are peeking out.  I got itchy seeing all of the leaves around these plants. The neat nik in me wanted to remove them but my better gardener self said 'don't you dare it is only January'. 
Sure enough the warm front that brought the rain was pushed out by Arctic winds that brought the cold. The rain didn't have a chance to soak into the ground or drain off. All froze in place. 
Obviously there is a bit of a dip in the garden where the paths lay. 

I probably won't be putting anything in the compost for a while. Maybe the sun will take care of some of this ice but I rather doubt it since it is not to get above freezing anytime soon.
You all take care and stay warm.