Ah, the fateful Ides of March! After a considerable absence from this meme, I rejoin in full rejoicing that signs of spring are everywhere.
Over a week ago, the large body of the male red winged blackbird and grackle flock arrived and sussed out the feeding situation. I expect that now that weather has warmed up a bit we will see the females arriving any time.
Every day when I walk Ruby through the woods, I feel surrounded with a great inhalation, a waiting, the pregnant pause before spring erupts. There have been a few tentative tree frogs calling out by the ponds, and peepers bravely sing in the cold spring evenings all around us.
Yesterday morning it looked like this, the temperature hovered right at freezing all day long.
At the end of the day, we had a very busy snow flurry, none of which really stuck to the ground. During the night, the temperature moderated just a bit, and we awoke to a misty dawn that was cold and damp. Most of the snow was gone, though.
The morning stayed rather cool and wet until about noon, when the clouds burned off and the sun came through. Right this minute we are enjoying temperatures over 50ºF, which represents a total rise of 20 degrees since morning.
The labyrinth got burned off a couple of weekends ago. This is how it looks today, and I’m sorry the resolution is so unfine that you cannot see all the yellow crocuses that are decorating it.
The big news this afternoon happened in the front yard. I’ve had daffodils for several days. Several kinds of daffodils, too. I already showed you some of them yesterday.
There are crocuses out there too, and I have to admit that they are on their crescendo to finish.
There’s a lot of other action in that picture, if you look close. Of course, there is lamb’s ears galore; I use that as a ground cover. On the right edge of the picture in the middle you can see a couple of wood hyacinth sprouts, behind them is the rosette of a giant allium. In the background are the serried ranks of some mid-season daffodils and behind them you can see the irises starting to gear up.
But the best thing was the earliest of the species tulips was out enjoying the sunshine. . .
. . . and being enjoyed, I see.
That made me rush around to the back to check the species tulips there, completely forgetting to take some pictures of the chionodoxa that has started opening today.
Sure enough, there is stuff going on in the minature daffodil and tulip border in the rose garden. It won’t be long before this bright red beauty is open.
The Jack Snipe miniature daffodils I transplanted here from the front last fall are very happy.
I’m sorry, but I think they are just about the cutest thing I’ve seen all week. Maybe all month. Those little daffodil blossoms are only one inch long.
What else is going on in the stroll garden? Not a whole lot. But the big pregnant breath is being drawn all around it. The best example of this is the aster that is getting all set to take over the entire rain garden. I must get in there and beat it back forthwith.
If you stand back and just look at the whole garden, it does seem poised for action.
So does the vegetable garden. Here is the view from the gate — garlic is really happy this year.
See the cold frame back there? This is how the spinach, lettuces and wild arugula made it through the winter.
There are a couple of rows of spinach and lettuce seeds planted in there, but they haven’t come up yet. Neither have the peas in the bed to the right of this one. But the asparagus is up!
Something else is up too. I planted wild flower seeds that I meticulously collected last summer, carefully put into pots with labels, and left out to go through the winter the way the wild plants do it. A passing squirrel thought the pots looked interesting, and did a big number on them, rummaging through the soil in hopes that there was something edible in there. We put wire over the pots after that, and even though I was afraid that I had lost a lot of seeds to the squirrel’s arrangements, I still left the pots out there.
This is very exciting indeed. It means that I will be able to raise some of the wild flowers for the new front meadow garden myself. It would be even more exciting if I actually knew what these babies ARE, but I shall have to identify them at a future date. My carefully constructed and written upon labels turned out to be written with an ink that was not as indelible as I was led to believe from its label. So the winter weather has removed the names from my ken.
There are other things going on about The Havens. A couple of faucets that were advertised as freeze-proof turned out not to be, so we have a couple of new faucets around the place.
And the grape arbor near the vegetable garden has been repurposed. We removed the table grapes. It turns out that they are extremely good at finding water sources with their roots, and the competition in the raised vegetable beds had gotten just a little too keen. So, the decision was made to remove the grapes. Some of them found their way out into the vineyard, where we hope to be able to get some to eat, since they will be protected from the birds and squirrels like the rest of the crop.
Meanwhile, the arbor is being fitted with mechanical shade. We are planning on using that shady area as a spot to raise greens in containers. Hopefully the shade will keep the lettuces from dying in the fierce August heat.
Not quite done yet. The carpenter guy had to change into the vintner and bottle some of the wine we made last year. The arbor will wait. I’ve been sipping on the young wine as I write this post, and it promises to mature into a very good wine indeed. It is the 2010 blend: Marechal foch, Baco noir, and Chambourcin.
That’s the vintner returning the bottle washing equipment to the barn.
And so, I beg of you to enjoy this wonderful spring weather, and to visit the other people who are celebrating the March 2011 GBBD.