Sunday, February 3, 2013

No Winter Whining: Part 3: Hey Mr. Dudley, Is It Spring Yet?

At the old house on the other side of town where we lived for 18 years, Mr. Dudley lived behind us. An old wooden six-foot privacy fence separated our yards. A retired schoolteacher, he is also an avid gardener who over the years we came to think of as our herald of Spring. We knew that Spring was surely on her way mid-February when the large panels of aluminum insulation were removed from the wide patio doors and we could see the morning sun warming the yogurt containers on the dining room table. Soon we would see the tops of his tomatoes poking out of the recycled yogurt containers; we knew then that Spring was surely on her way.

We’d watch over the long weeks as the tomatoes grew stronger and taller. In time they were strong enough to placed out on the patio to be hardened off. Our hearts lightened for we knew that soon we would be planting our own garden. Mr. Dudley is also a generous man for he graciously shared his tomatoes sets with us. We are on our own now here at the Garden Spot. None of our neighbors garden, nor are they close enough for us to watch how they garden if they did. So we look for other signs. Yes, even in February.

 Beating the Winter Blues: : Plan a garden.

We took a class at the Ft. Collins Nursery yesterday: How to grow killer tomatoes. The speaker, Don Eversall, shared his gardening secrets that he had learned years ago from his grandmother who gardened on a Nebraska farm. The guy was amazing. At 75 he wrote his first book: Secrets From My Grandmother’s Garden after he sold his two seed companies. He has really great ideas on soil amendment, watering, and feeding a garden. We bought his book and will certainly try his ideas, which I will be sharing over the coming months. We also bought another book on companion planting: Tomatoes Love Carrots. Hubby will return to the nursery in a couple of weeks to take a class on drip irrigation.

In addition to the books, I bought a new watering can. Isn’t it awesome? I love the copper handle and pour spout. My old one sprung a leak on the bottom. I love metal watering cans. They are so Sun Bonnet Sue-ish.

Afternoon Tea

I finished my day at daughter Jen’s where she prepared afternoon tea for us (her daughters, her sister and a friend and her son). I took her a handful of red tulips. Now they don’t yell SPRING like nothing else will?  Her friend brought a pretty bouquet of spring flowers, too.

Jen set a lovely table with the help of her daughters. I love the little gazebo. She had her own look in mind, but Elinore decided to add her touch, annoying mother. But I thought the metal fairy garden furniture that El brought in the from her outdoor fairy garden made a nice touch, giving the table scape another dimension. I am not sure that I convinced mom, but she let Eliie’s addition stay.

A lovely table scape including a fairy door.

Always the little helper, Lucy set the spoons and napkins. 

Pretty dishes and pretty food.

A pretty little helper

And really awesome strawberries.

Hubby was out watering again today. I joined him for bit as he watered the berries. Here is the first harbinger of Spring. 

Hubby asked what it meant to see a bee the first part of February? 

I don’t think that a winter bee is a particularly good omen. Not for the bee if we have another cold spell, and certainly not good for the garden if we don’t get any more moisture. We agreed that the little bee must be a sign of an early spring. Good luck little bee.

It’s nice out today. The snow is slowly melting away, and we hope for more soon. Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, and it seems that the First Bee of Spring  agrees.

Talk about winter whining.

 The hens are whiners, begging the head gardener to let them out. They do love to scratch and peck in the dirt.

And look at what Henny Penny scratched up: a spot of green. Baby Iris waiting Spring's warm rays to wake her.

I am linking up with Heather at Life's a Garden where the is no Winter Whining.

Hope you all have a fabulous week.


  1. Now I know we aren't supposed to be whining about winter but your post about tomato seedlings, bees buzzing, chickens scratching and the first bit of green have me longing for Spring! And what a lovely afternoon tea; that is a tradition you surely do not see much of anymore. How delightful that your daughter is carrying it on and teaching it to her own children! So glad I found you through Heather's link party, Deb

  2. Always fun and interesting to take classes on a nursery. It must have been very nice to meet a person who wrote his first book at 75, Secrets from My Grandmother´s Garden, sounds as lovely reading. Afternoon tea with children and grandchildren is what we also like very much. The gazebo is very nice and the metal fairy garden furniture is a nice addition of your granddaughter, she knows how to decorate the table.

  3. What a lovely afternoon tea party! Looks like you're keeping busy and having lots of fun too. The garden classes sound great. Seems the bee is agreeing with Punxsutawney Phil.

  4. Neat story about your neighbor! My dad used to start tomatoes in yogurt containers too!! And what a lovely table!

  5. What interesting books, I must see if I can find one for my husband. He is just beginning to plan the greenhouse.

  6. Yay for garden planning! I like to think about it for months and months. Your party looked pink and lovely! I love the fairy stuff!
    Have a great week, Ann!


  7. Ann, thank you for linking to No Winter Whining. I love the balance in your life ~ your traditional values. Please be sure to pick up your virtual snowball at Heather’s site. Enjoy your week.

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  9. I am a first time visitor . . . love your spring touches. I find it very encouraging for this living in "a world of white" gal. Thank for the scratchin' Henny Penny!

    A tea party where the young ones can also particioate and enjoy is my kind of party.

    And the watering can . . . I want one. Did someone make it, or a store purchase? Perfect . . .

    Enjoy your spring planning . . .

  10. How fun to have a tea party. Is that your beautiful granddaughter taking a sugar cube? I keep sugar cubes in a sugar bowl on our table for the grand kids to take from. They do ask if they can have one, my grand mother did the same thing when we were kids only she used them to put in her tea and coffee, but we were always allowed to take one (as long as we asked).

  11. You daughter went to a lot of work with all the treaties, and the table setting...must have been such fun. And you got great photos, so now you can remember it forever.

    I am so looking forward to those tomato hints...need them for sure.

    Thanks for joining in No Winter Whining.


  12. Your tea party must have been so much fun. The decorations and food looked wonderful!

  13. Sweeeet! What a wonderful variety of shots here... I absolutely love tea, just the perfect winter beverage... and a bee... in winter, oh my! Thanks so much for sharing... and thanks for joining in again on our No Winter Whining, always a pleasure! Cheers~

  14. Well, Mr. Bee didn't see any snow, so he thought it must be spring. I'm sure he'll be fine when the cold returns, he'll hunker down in the ground somewhere warm. I love your tea party! It made me remember I bought a Groupon for high tea at a local shop, doesn't that sound fun? Guess I'd better plan an outing there!

  15. I love those little furry bees - my daughter used to gently pet them in the garden as I worked away planting. Such gentle little creatures :)

  16. A lovely post Ann - I should have liked to have met Mr. Dudley. The afternoon tea looked so pretty.

  17. Mr. Dudley sounds like a good neighbor to have had. Is that not unusual to have bees this early? Your daughter's tea party looks so pretty. That young lady is beautiful.


  18. I am sorry I haven't got round to visiting blogs and leaving comments. Just after I posted on Sunlit Sunday we heard some very sad news. Jackie.

    Love the tablescape!