"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Help from Mother Nature

Last year we had a really early Spring, but a very dry summer.  I was able to get lots of new plants in the ground nice and early, but my water bill doubled over the summer as I struggled to make sure they had enough water to survive.

This year, winter doesn't seem to want to leave.  It's the middle of April and, not only do we still have patches of snow and ice on the ground, it was snowing yesterday!  Mixed with all of the snow we've been getting have been days and days of rain so my lawn and gardens are underwater in places in back.  I just hope some of this water is able to absorb down where it's needed and not run off due to frost still being in the ground.

Today it's in the 50s and a bit breezy with very scarce sunshine, but at least I was able to
get outdoors and start cleaning away debris from my gardens.  We also have twigs and branches all over from the ice storm last week [see photo of ice on my birch tree].  Sandy Dog Carter is visiting this week so she and I were able to get quite a lot done out in the dry parts of the back gardens this afternoon.  It wasn't a lot, but the parts that were cleaned out look ready for sunshine and warm weather!

Because of the drought last summer, I had a lot of damage and lost a lot of plants that need replacing this year.  And I want to fill in with a ton of annuals and herbs, so I'm getting a little impatient!

Not having good luck with the seed starting this year.  I don't know if the potting mix is poor or the seeds are poor or what the problem is.  I've had to reseed two and three times for some of the plants.

However, should we ever get good weather, I will have the following to plant:
  • Blue hydrangea that I bought at Easter (still blooming -- it's gorgeous.  See photo at right)
  • Maroon calla lily that I also bought at Easter
  • 10 Astilbe bare roots that I got at Sam's Club
  • 2 Elephant Ear bulbs
  • 2 Agapanthus that were bulbs that I put in soil and they're doing beautifully
  • 3 Siberian Iris that were also bulbs that I put in soil and are also really doing well
  • 2 Arum bulbs that are in soil but doing absolutely nothing
  • 1 Amaryllis bulb that was beautiful at Christmas and I intend to plant it outside so see what happens this year
  • 70 plants that have been ordered from Springhill
  • 42 plants that have been pre-ordered from the Master Gardener plant sale
My own seeds that are sitting under gro-lights right now include:
  • 2 Bells of Ireland
  • 1 Cleome & 1 Butterfly Weed (both are pretty small & weak, though)
  • 10 pots of multiple sprouts of Coleus.  I should be able to get at least 30 or 40 Coleus from these sprouts.
  • 5 Hollyhock & 5 Flowering Tobacco (not looking real strong at this point)
  • 4 Morning Glory
  • 4 tomatoes (and I intend to buy a bush tomato as well)
  • 6 assorted zinnias
  • 10 assorted sunflowers
  • 10 assorted marigolds
  • large container of multiple sprouts of Snapdragons.  Probably 30-40 plants.
  • large amount of basil and cilantro.  Parsley isn't showing up so I might have to buy that.
With two plant sales coming up where I'll be working, I'm guessing that I'll be carting home quite a few more.  The Gardens of the Fox Cities sale is all heirlooms and I'll get veggies and herbs there.  Since I already pre-ordered quite a lot from the MG sale, don't know if I'll be buying more there or not.

Once again, though, Mother Nature seems to be in charge!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ice Storm

This has been the weirdest winter/spring that I can recall.  Winter was fairly average but we'd get snow, then it would mostly melt before we'd get snow again.  As we head into spring, though, things are just bizarre.  The weather is warm for a few days, then it gets bitterly cold, then it rains, then it snows, and last night we had a huge ice storm.  Now this is coming in on the heels of several days of rain so we have huge areas of standing water in our back yard that are now freezing over.  When you now add the massive amount of branches and sticks that have fallen off the trees as a result of the ice, everything is just a mess.  Plus, there are still piles of snow scattered about.

The power went out just before 5 this morning but our gas fireplace still worked so I turned it on to keep the living room fairly warm and sat near it reading a book until the power came back on around noon.  The internet was out for a few more hours after that.

I was positive that we were going to lose our birch trees.  The one in front was so heavily laden with ice that it was almost in my office window and did, in fact, scrape the roof when the wind started blowing.  The one next to the driveway lost a ton of branches and, when the city came out to clear things on the power lines, they cut off a few more of the branches.  Not sure what the tree will look like this summer!