Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flashing upon that inward eye

Okay, I admit it.  This year I am a glutton for daffodils. Why is that?   Feeding that yellow flower sweet tooth? Hyperglycemia from a jolt of William Wordworth's sugary poetry? Jonesing for a taste of spring?

The daffodil varieties currently in bloom are "Mount Hood," "Ice King," "Hawera," Marieke," "White Medal," "Tete a Tete," and "Pheasant's Eye." Eye candy follows. 

"White Medal"


"Pheasant's eye narcisssus" (Narcissus poeticus)

"Ice King"

Whatever the reason, these guys give me a rush!

Spring, sprung

At the end of March, midway between the traditional planting times of St. Patrick's Day and Good Friday, I dropped a row of sweet pea seeds in front of the trellis. My sweet pea planting protocol is pretty standard: it involves digging in a couple of shovelfuls of garden compost or composted cow manure in the fall and spring and soaking the pea seeds overnight before spacing them about 1/2 inch deep. Then I water, watch, and wait. About two weeks later, the first seedlings cut through the soil. Now, there is a row of sweet little sweet pea plants. Real leaves, with hints of twining and clambering to come, have appeared.

While these seedlings are carefully and deliberately working towards maturity, the rest of this garden bed is celebrating a riotous spring. It looks like everyone just piled in, mixed themselves up, and let loose. That's what makes a good party!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunshine, from all angles and in all shades

After a glacially long and cold New England winter, spring deserves some sunny celebrations! Yellow is the theme of the season from a pot of pansies and tulips on the front steps . . .

. . . to a little patch of marsh marigolds blooming in the rain garden . . .

Who knew there are so many shades of yellow? I thought that these open Tulipa tarda blossoms epitomize happy, sunny yellow.

But yellow comes in milky, orangey, even greenish shades. There is the slightly sulfurous hue of these freckled Iris danfordiae!

This neon bright, knock your socks off yellow of narcissus "Marieke" seizes center stage.

(But how much nicer when that daffodil diva is consigned to a supporting role for narcissus "Ice King"!)

And which yellow flower tells you that it's time to get pruning, edging, and cleaning? My garden goal-roll says it's the forthysia. Too bad mine is such a poor bloomer. My next chore is to replace it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Snowdrop squalls

Now that we can almost reach out and touch our average last frost date up in this part of Zone 6, the snow season should be over. A happy exception: this little flurry of snowdrops that blankets a portion of my back hill. Each of these clumps started out as a single bulb about a decade ago.

The white flowers catch the light and practically sparkle on a sunny day.

In order for the foliage to ripen after blooming, I allow the grass around them (and later appearing bluebells) to grow undisturbed until the fourth of July. Then the world's smallest meadow is mowed.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Bad karma continues

What is my bad karma with amaryllises this year? Bulbs have been lost to rot while chilling in the refrigerator, before throwing out blooms, and even while in bloom. I just don't understand. The bulbs weren't over-watered. What is the well-intended action from my ignorant mind that creates these unpleasant results?

The latest case in point: here's the second scape of my "Minerva" plant. Rotten. Red. And, unfortunately, stretching out from the center of the bulb.

My response was to cut off the scape and then dust the bulb with a copper fungicide (Bordeaux replacement). An act of pure desperation and panic.

After that, all I can do is to seek right action, or at least lots of sunlight and a little fertilizer.