Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On A Stormless Stormy day

It was supposed to be raining and it wasn't. The sky was completely filled with dark, fast moving clouds. There were random gusts of violent wind and an occasional spritz of rain drops, but no real rain to speak of. I took the chance to lay a few more stepping stones. The ones there kept saying they felt incomplete. This is a little better I suppose.

In my wanderings of late I have found daffodils I forgot about. I keep looking where I thought I planted some and have seen nothing yet.

I remember where others are supposed to be.

Miss Collar has found a new nesting place. Without rain, snow or cold, kitties prefer the outdoor life, preferably on a perch with a view.

Hellebore blooms on a stormless stormy day. These I know came from Fairegarden, Tennessee. So many others have landed here now, where they came from is becoming blurred. They come in many colors, little seedlings that have followed me home.

The storm finally came, a brief wet interlude on a stormless day.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Grass Clippings

It was a lovely afternoon. I needed something to do to avoid doing something else. What I was avoiding I am not quite sure. It's a befuddlement. Surely there is something I am supposed to be doing.

The roadside wildflower bed will need tidying before spring, so I dove in. Spring will be here soon.

I could not bring myself to cut the grasses down to the nub just yet. I didn't see any green at the base and after two nights in the low 20's I am not convinced this snowless winter is over. I can still get a little more winter interest out of these grasses. Most of the grass leaves had been shed around their feet. That was easily cleaned up. What remains are the tougher flowering stalks.

The remaining dried stalks of the wildflowers, like the chicory, mums and asters were cut and dropped. This roadside bed is ready for a fresh layer of woodchips. It has been at least two, maybe three years since it was last mulched. I won't mulch near as thick as when starting a fresh bed to give the existing wildflowers a chance to push through. I may lose some volunteer seedlings, but that is the price you pay in the attempt to organize chaos.

It is a befuddlement, these weeks that swing from 70 to 20 degrees and as work kind work slowly picks up speed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Calm Sunshine Afterwards

It is the few perfect days afterwards you look forward to. The rain and snow, cold and howling wind become bearable because you know they are only passing through.

Crocus waited and bloom in the warm sunshine.

Spring slowly inches upwards to the mountain top.

Life stirs in the aftermath.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Less Treetop

To the right of the tall cherry tree in the center.

The wind howled all night. Best they come down in sections I think. I wonder where it landed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Furious Wind

My wood burning neighbor has been pimping out my dead hemlocks again. I hope they make it to next weekend when they plan to come get a few more. The wind has blown stiff and steady all day. Late this afternoon it picked up force as the temperature plummeted. Smack in the middle of the picture you can see the top of another dead hemlock flew off this afternoon. It was as tall as the cherry tree in front of it this morning.

This furious wind is going to last for a while longer. This will also be the last chance I give to harvest dead hemlocks.

Closer to the ground nobody really cares about the furious wind. Snowdrops are still coming up in the refrigerated bed on the north side of the cozy cabin by the service entrance. A few other bulbs landed in here too.

The macro and micro climates on this mountain top offers a near dizzying array of extremes compared the steady tropical desert of Maui. Who needs TV when you have the weathers.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

As The Snowdrops Fade Away

They are very good at setting seed. If they weren't so prone to dropping down into the foliage and hiding, harvesting them for further dispersal might be more likely to happen.

The still brown ridge top garden keeps stirring. It doesn't look like there is much to see.

But closer inspection reveals the next wave of bulbs.

The crocus are gaining in numbers.

Some are newly planted.

Others are more random and obviously self sown, but a single crocus doesn't have quite the same impact as many planted in one hole.

A patch of iris was found in the annex which has been getting a lot of new plantings in the last couple of years. The turkeys went through this section of the ridge top garden last week and scratched the peck out of it. A flock of thirty turkeys can do some major shifting of the leaf litter and top layer of soil. The lower path was practically obliterated.

The cold damaged daffodils are determined to bloom anyway. This is one of the early bloomers probably 'February Gold'. Of the four or so clumps of daffodils I have seen with color in the buds, they are all this same variety. And they all got cold nipped.

Crocus, crocus and more crocus to come.

You sure wouldn't know anything is happening by looking from a distance.

The daffodils are really only about half up and I have not seen the first sign of the chionodoxa or puschkinia. The lack of snow and cold after the last two winters is confusing, but I don't think we are really that far off schedule.

After a high today in the mid 60's we are headed back to lows in the 20's for the weekend. These weekly bursts of freezing weather may be enough to keep things on track.

This was the Bulbarella Bulb Report for Thursday, February 23rd. February 23rd. What? Maybe the crocus are a touch early. Nah. Even after last year's wicked winter I show the first crocus arriving on February 26th. Not enough difference to worry about.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Wonder What This Is

I have a vague recollection of Narcissus bulbocodium, but that was last fall, a long time ago. Was that here or at Client #1's? What did Bulbarella give me? It is apparent I don't take notes, use plant tags or have a functioning memory. Way too many bulbs for that kind of nonsense. I'll know what it is when it blooms.

I'm going to stop wondering what this interesting little clump grass is at least until I forget. I have decided it is Danthonia compressa, Flattened Oatgrass, unless it is Danthonia spicata, Poverty Oatgrass. Up here it could be both or a hybrid of the two.

It has real potential for being nicely organized in alternate locations.

I wonder what this is. I spotted it a couple weeks ago while doing some tidying. It reminds me a bit of the Cryptanthus bromeliads, but I imagine it is a sedge of some sort. While taking its mug shot I saw lots of little baby Cryptanthus sedges. I'll watch them this year and see if they need organizing. Some of them can go into the growing sedge collection for the pseudo lawn in the cabin side bed right away.

I wonder what this is. I identified it a few years back and forgot what it is. It's like a Fairy Goblet fungus or some such thing.

You can see how editing and organizing the wild things in the garden to be could be quite a task. There's lots of good stuff out there worth keeping and if I don't know what it is I have to wait and see what it does before making a decision on its fate. Then add in the fact that a lot of these plants are only here for half the year or less.

I could be at this organizing business for quite some time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stockpiling Rocks

Rocks are gathered up as the Creation unfolds. The area needs to be tidied if I plan to plant anything down there at some point in time whenever that time should arrive. It could be I spend this year just editing out the tall things. There are some nice short things down there like violets and trilliums.

Secondly I need more rocks to finish the walls. They are carted up and stockpiled by size and flatness. At some point in time whenever that time might present itself these walls need to be finished.

It would be nice to have the basement patio's walls and gravel base done before the gardening hoards arrive. It would make a pleasant place to sit and chat. Time will tell if that gets done.

What will be blooming then in the garden to be?

It is rather bare now, but that will change quickly. Only a couple of weeks after the gardening hoards leave it will be time to contemplate beating back the Lush before it has a chance to swallow the garden to be for another season.

But no need to worry about what might or might not be blooming in the garden to be. The wild cultivated garden next door starts at the top of my driveway. There are another two and a half acres of gardens to explore starting right there, made by gardeners who always wanted more.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winter Dust

It seems the winter storm stayed well to the north. All I got was a little white froth during the night.

There were clear blue skies when I woke up and by the time I got moving half of this winter dust had already melted.

Towards the end of the day Miss Collar and I went on bulb patrol. Crawford was sleeping off another night on the prowl.

The crocus weren't quite sure what to do today.

The participants of Bulbapaloozathon grow in numbers in strength.

Things really aren't so far off schedule as this winter that wasn't makes it seem.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Waiting For Da Snow

It has rained all day. The diagnosis called for snow beginning at three this afternoon. It is now almost six and the snow is three hours late. There was one down pour that had white globs mixed in, but no real snow yet.

This is what the crocus do on cloudy, rainy and not yet snowy days. No blooms for you.

At 5:53 pm snow flakes have begun to show up in the still falling rain. The constant 40 degrees is now down to 34. Maybe this Winter Storm Warning calling for 2 to 4 inches of snow above 3500 feet, that would be me, is not a false alarm after all.

At least I got a good first wash of the dirt mixed in with the gravel around the new stepping stones today.

By the morning my world could all be covered in white once more. At least the suggested low temps are in the upper 20's and not in the single digit range. That's enough to convince things to stay dormant a while longer without putting a hurting on things that may have jumped the gun a bit to soon.

Funny how this winter that isn't and maybe still is has me thinking I should be planting the roadside vegetable garden now when St. Patrick's Day marks the official start time with the planting of peas, potatoes and greens. I borrowed this date from a gardener in a similar climate zone who learned her lesson from the peas. I grow the sugar snap peas though. Gardy don't shell real peas. Maybe I could get someone else to shell peas cause I do like me some peas.

At 7:03 pm it is now 32 degrees and all snow. It will have to snow harder than that to get to two inches much less four. We'll see what the morning light has to show.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I knew to go look while the sun was still shining.

Rain is on the way. Maybe a touch of snow to top it off. The sky was going to turn cloudy.

After two days of warm sunshine more crocus were bound to be out. Dark clouds would cause them to close up shop.

I found many more blooming today, but this is just the beginning. Hundreds more crocus lurk in the leaf litter.

I also found the first signs of trouble from the wacky weathers of this winter that wasn't. Daffodils don't freeze. It appears that daffodil flower stalks can freeze though. After last week's snow and 5 degree low these stems are dessicated and bent. The flower buds look like they are starting to shrivel. I also found a helleborus in the same condition. Unless this is some flower stem boring insect, I think they got froze bent. Fortunately this was an isolated finding.

It is these kinds of things when gardening becomes lessons for life. I am not in control and must accept the things I can not change. It is far better to focus on the beauty that still surrounds me every moment in time.

The anemones were unfazed.

The crocus take advantage of sunny 60 degree days.

They will patiently wait out the dreary and colder days ahead.

There will be better days to bloom again.