Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Vigil Begins

The vigil for spring has begun here at the Garden Spot. Let's head out to the garden.

There's the Head Gardener now, cleaning up last year's weeds.

He had quite a mess to manage.

Would you believe that this the asparagus patch along the fence? Just you wait. I can already taste the tender, sweet sprigs.

Even dried out, sunflowers have appeal.

The blackberry bush got a radical prune

so that it can be dug up and transferred to the Back 40, a part of the place that gets little attention.

A clean slate. Now the HG will rototill, shape the growing beds, and add compost. He had planned on doing that today, but snow is on the way.

March 15: Plant potatoes and garlic

The corral got a clean sweep, too. He removed the metal fence panels that made two stalls for the boys and brought in the tractor to grade away the mess.

In the center garden out front, while the Eastern Red Bud still sleeps, the grape hyacinths are greening and if you look really carefully just breaking through the soil by the sprinkler head you will see early daffodils poking through.

Newly planted last year, the mallow shows signs of life. A big thumbs up to you sweet mallow and your two other sisters. (Do you talk to your plants?)

And what do we have here in the courtyard? Aquila peeking through last year's growth and it is only Mid February. 

One can hard tour the garden this time of the year and not take note of the work to be done in a few short weeks. This clematis will get a deep pruning this time around; since I didn't prune it last year, went rather wild.

The roses still sound asleep will be awakened once I cut them back. I always cut them back in March before they start to show signs of life just to the point on the stem where green begins to show. 

And who do we have here just peeking through? Oh, sweet crocus. 

The garden chores are beginning. One day the weather is warm and suitable for working outside, but then the next day snow is on the way. No, we are not getting slammed as the East coast is, thankfully, but my old bones do feel every bit of the cold. Today the HG rests in his chair with heat on his neck and pain in his arm. 

And now to finish up Valentine's. The warm glow of love lingers. Our little town held its first Sweetheart Lantern Festival Friday night. Oh my. It was so much fun.

For $25.00 a couple, participants received a lantern, a lighter, two sugar cookies and hot chocolate. Two bonfires kept the crowd warm until it was time launch the lanterns. The gate opened at 6 PM, when we left home, just a couple of blocks away. We had no idea of the traffic jam that would be created. We would have been smart to have walked.

We received our lantern, read the instructions. They are heart shaped, pink, and very, very delicate tissue paper. Ours, sadly, did not inflate because it had a rip in the fold when we removed it from the package. Once unfolded and the burner was lit, we held onto the lantern waiting for the heat from the flame to fill the lantern for the release.

Instead, my sweetheart had to stomp out the flame.

The first hearts have been released. Silently they drift into the night sky, sailing toward the starts.

All aglow, bright pink hearts carry away love in the night.

For those lucky enough to get their heart launched, the feeling was exhilarating.

Hundreds of glowing hearts fill the dark night sky.

Some drifted quite high and quite a ways. The cold night air, clear and crisp, was perfect for the launch. Generally we have a bit of breeze, but the air was calm with just enough stir in it to lift the lanterns away.

The town purchased 200 lanterns, and according to the newspaper, a crowd of 600 gathered at the fire department to enjoy some love at night.

Coming up this week: My friend and I are hosting our first afternoon tea for our friends and colleagues at the university. I will be baking this week, washing table clothes and napkins, ironing and starching them too. We are excited. We have talked a long time about having a tea, but now that we are both retired, we are finally going go to do it.

This is the prototype of the invitation that I made, cutting the tea pot out on my Cricut machine. We met at Sharron's where we assembled the invitations. She addressed the envelopes and delivered them to the mailboxes in the faculty workroom.

The invitation is on the back. (I didn't want to show it because our phone numbers are on it -:)). Pictures next week. 

The HG reminded me, too, that the baby chicks will arrive in 10 days. So soon? Now that will be something to blog about.

I see that it is nearly time for lunch. I plan to start applying the shingles to the Ballet Studio this afternoon. 

I wish you a fine afternoon and a fabulous week. Thanks for taking time to visit. Love your comments and I read every single one. 

Make sure to swing by Lavender Cottage to see today's Monday Mosaics. 


  1. Wow, you are already working hard on the garden. I think our ground is frozen or covered with snow.. The lantern lit are pretty, what a neat sight.. I am looking forward to seeing the chicks.. Have a happy day and week ahead!

  2. Wow! The lanterns are wonderful!
    Bummer that it's cold again.

  3. What an interesting post, Ann. Lots of work going on around there! It will pay off when Spring peeps out soon. The lanterns were beautiful! I love your invitation design. What fun to have a tea...hope you will post photos.

  4. I love this time of spring emergence when every day brings something new. We have a rule of thumb in our gardening zone that when the forsythia bloom, it's time to prune the roses back. Folklore that seems to work!
    Too bad your lantern was defective but what a sight to see the glowing hearts floating to the heavens - and better in person I'm sure.
    I like the teapot invitation and can't wait to see photos of the tea - you gals will make it an experience to remember.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday Ann.

  5. A tour around the garden here revealed lots of work to be done, too. It will have to wait. It's so exciting to see all the new growth and the swelling buds of spring.
    What a fun celebration with heart lanterns. Enjoy planning and preparing for your tea. Beautiful invitations.

  6. Hello Ann, looks very much like around here. But no Valentine celebration in the way you have. Those lanterns are stunning but in several countries here are forbidden now due to fire hazard and their metal bits inside which were found eaten by cows who are grazing outside. Love your tea invitation - I am sure you will make pictures, I love tea parties! Am sure, you will love the wee Marans - I got some last year and they started laying now (very slow to start though) but the eggs are amazing! Have a great week, best wishes from Belgium.

  7. What a busy time it is in our gardens now, so much to cut back, so much weeding and mulching to do. But it will be worth it!
    Lovely tea party invitations.

  8. What a wonderful Valentine celebration Ann, a Sweetherart Lantern Festival in town, must have been fun to see all those hearts drifting in the sky. I am almost desperate to start in the garden too, we had some lovely sunny days and I started to rake the leaves from the garden, I better had not done it, because we had frost last night. Your Headgardener has lots to do outside I see. Your invitation for tea is so nice, it will be exciting to see your colleagues and friends again.
    Wish you fun with decorating and baking!

  9. Great celebration.......and Spring is on it's way!
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Lovely post, Ann!
    As to talking to plants; when I was young it was said that plants respond to the carbon dioxide produced by human speech. Now it's said that they respond to sounds. Surely, saying kind things can't do any harm... :)
    Have a great week ahead!

  11. Hard to believe the birds have not eaten your sunflower seeds? The lantern glow is gorgeous, what a great idea..have never heard of that. Have a great time with your tea!

  12. You sound very optimistic with your spring garden plans and the HG has done a good job in clearing the site. Don't gardens look awful at this time of year - I long for a bit of colour don't you. Shame your lantern was ripped but I bet it was quite a sight seeing them all floating away in the dark night sky. Have a lovely week my friend and I hope you don't get too much snow.

  13. I was hoping to start the vigil but we have 5 ft of snow and drifts even bigger and very cold temps so no thaw, no garden for now.

  14. Wow, we still have snow on the ground, it will be awhile before we can plant anything. What a fun night, sorry your lantern didn't launch. I bet it was a great night anyway, and what a cute invitation.

  15. Ah, the head gardener, aka my daddy. Always such a hard worker. Not to mention he was exhausted the day after. And to my momma, such a way with words and such a vision for her home. And what a story would it be without a Chinese lantern faux paux.

  16. I am always so amazed at the gardeners around the country who are able to actually do cleanup work during the winter. Our ground is frozen solid, and covered in snow! There will be no outside work here for some weeks yet. *heavy sigh*

  17. My garden is frozen solid and I'm hoping the mulch is thick enough to keep any more plants from heaving when it thaws. I've already had to stuff a few back in and cover them back up with fresh soil. But how exciting to be doing something/anything outside right now! Your invite is very cute. Have fun! :o)