Sunday, March 25, 2012

An Early Spring

I am a week behind in posting. If I am not too busy to write, I am too tired. Spring Break was not restful, nor was it really productive in getting things done in the garden. The Head Gardener, while he is retired, really isn't. He works at his his former place of employed 3 days a week, which will end July 13th. On his off days, he helped his childhood friend who farms 285 acres, doing tractor work. So working six days a week for two weeks, kept him out of our own garden. So last Saturday I went out on my own. I cleaned up the garden around the back patio, fed everybody, took stock of what I needed to move, and pruned and fed the roses. And, reluctantly, started the garden hose. While we have well water here at The Garden Spot, the irrigation pumps won't be turned on until April 2 and neither rain nor snow are in our near future.

In fact the Weather Man on channel 9 said last night that March 2012 has recorded the least amount of moisture since 1887. Can you believe it? March is supposed to be our wettest month. Our first daughter was born March 27th during the worst blizzard in 40 years, as the old timers told it (like the new grandma).

So here we sit anxiously awaiting a spring that really has arrived much too early all over the country, but with little fanfare because it is so dry. The spring bulbs are up, but I noticed that the couple of daffodils that are blooming seemed to have forced their blooms much too soon and they are misshapen. There is little that we can about the weather, but curse it, hope for moisture sometime soon, and get the out the garden hoses.

A Spring Welcome to The Garden Spot

An unfinished project that could be today's project.

Daffodils making their premier appearance, but as dry as it, I am afraid that they won't be very showy.

A new frog by the pond. He is quite heavy, I hoping that Little Miss Mother Nature doesn't decide to make him her friend and drag him off.

Favorite tool: Pinchers of Power: a line from the movie Goonies aptly describes this cool garden tool. My mother in law worked at the Goodwill and bought this bargain for us. It is just the handiest to grab fallen leaves and all of dead stuff that I cleaned out of the garden.

Another garden favorite: my little cement bunny sprinkler. It is essentially a frog-eye that stays put because it is so heavy. Badly cracked, it still works without leaking. 

Finally, a sure sign of spring: A lone lady bug crawling around under the mulch in the rose bed.

Today, we have more projects and chores in the garden, but it is a bit over cast and cool yet. Tomorrow wind, lots of wind. I hate the wind. March came in like a lion and will leave in the same temper, bequeathing her ill mood to April, I am sure. 

Spring semester at the university is winding down. We have 6 weeks left and as Robert Frost wrote: "I have miles to before I can sleep." I say, stacks of essays and research projects grade before I can garden. I wish you all a happy week and happy gardening. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Break

In a week-- March 19 at 11:14 PM (Mountain Standard)--Spring makes her official arrival at the Garden Spot as the Vernal Equinox happens, so in preparation for her arrival the head gardener and I began our own spring ritual:

 A trip to Bath Nursery and Garden Center in Ft. Collins. Their yard is pretty bare right now, but in a few weeks it will be ablaze with color.

Look at these little beauties begging fore a new home, but I resisted the urge to buy on impulse. I need to do some serious prep work in the garden before I start adding plants.

After selecting our seeds, we wandered around for bit. Look at these wonderful flowers fashioned out of glass plates, bowls, votives, and other unusual pieces of glass. They were quite stunning. I didn't look to see how much they were or if they were made by a local artist.

The geraniums in the background were spectacular. I wanted a bunch.

The green house show room is pretty stark yet, but soon it will be crowded with anxious gardeners. Better shop early because the good stuff goes quickly.

We came home with a handful seed packets. I especially like the morning glories in the very first packet. I love the unusual coloring in the center. Oh and the white sunflowers next to the Teddy Bear Sunflower. They are new. Can't wait to see what a white sunflower looks like.

Hubby and I got an assembly line going marking the containers, punching holes in the bottoms, filling with potting soil, planting the seeds. They are now in the basement. We have very large windows with good sunlight, so we are hoping that the basement is a good location to start the seeds. We may end up adding a grow light. I'll report on the seeds' progress.

The Garden Spot is tiled and ready to be planted. This week we will plant peas and sweet peas and maybe lettuce and spinach. March is supposed to be our wettest month, but local farmers are saying that it may be a dry spring. 

I am on Spring Break this week. The week is full. Hubby works 3 days a week at his real job and will run tractor for his farmer friend Tuesday and Thursday, so some of my projects that require his help will have to wait. I have a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment, and an appointment with the tax preparer, so the week will go by quickly, but if the weather holds I will get out and do some garden clean-up. So what plans do you have to welcome Spring in your area?  Well, I hope you have a great week.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Choices and Priorities

We all have choices in life and life requires that we make priorities. Sometimes the choice is a no-brainer; other times there isn't much of a choice if we are to avoid consequences, if we are to meet our obligations, if we are to be true not just to ourselves or to others, as well. 

And sometimes we procrastinate.

So to clear my head, I went on a walk about the Garden Spot today, where I did find a bit of Spring:

 The first tulip bud; the daffodils are not far behind. In fact the ones we planted last year have been peeking through the soil since mid-January. I tend to think that because they were planted in newly tiled soil, they had little trouble pushing through. . .

 . . .I found the Head Gardener tiling the vegetable garden. 
We will plant sweet peas and green peas St. Patrick's Day. I helped him sort and organize gardening supplies and tools on the golf cart. . .

. . .I found a glorious day. Our first day when we could be outside without a coat--mid- 50s, 
but the Garden Spot is brown, brown, brown. . .

. . . I found one of the neighbors hiding in the windbreak: a little black goat. 
I wanted to get a picture of him and his friends, but they got into the wind break 
before I could get a good shot. I did a walk about to pick up trash that had blown into the pasture. . .

. .  . Not a new discovery, the wounded pine that suffered major damage from the snow storm we had last October that devastated the trees, not just at the Garden Spot, but all along the Front Range. It will take years for trees to recover. We spent over $1,000. having our trees pruned a couple of weeks ago. This once full and beautiful pine tree will never recover.

Back to the choices. 

And I am finding that the super market has some bulb good choices: Iris (a variety that I don't have), Anemones (which I have never planted before), and my favs, gladioli. 

So while the choice in deciding which bulbs to buy was practically a no brainer, the priority for the afternoon was grading 75 annotated bibliographies for research papers in my college research class. Oh long deep sigh, followed by a gutteral groan.

I procrastinated. I am procrastinating now. Shame on me. Fortunately, I have the day off tomorrow and while the stack of 75 projects looks awfully intimidating, the assignment is fairly easy to grade and I have all week to get them done. 

It felt so good to get outside today, to sort the gardening stuff, to walk around to see what's coming up, and checking out to see what projects need to be done--everything from clean-up to digging up and transplanting, to pruning and Preening (the weed pre-emergent). I have one more week of school then spring break. I really am ready for a break.

Some of you asked by the vase in my last post: Hull or McCoy? Hull. It is my mother-in-law's. She is now in a nursing home, the lovely vase lives here where I like to use it. It does have a small chip on the inside lip, but it still is pretty.

Well, I have my week planned out for me, and I hope that you all have a great week. Go find Spring then report back.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...