Signs of Spring

Rhododendron in bloom

Late in the Winter, we get crocus and daffodils, which bring us some hope for the season change. But it is not until a little further in, when things really begin to green and early flowers bloom that I can say that Spring has settled in well.

 First the Rhododendron out front will bloom. It happens suddenly and almost always catches me by surprise, the buds turning overnight into full blown flowers. Unfortunately, even though it is in a sheltered area, this one is usually short lived, as it blooms right at the start of the spring storms and the delicate flowers are beaten and shredded by the winds and rain.

 Not long after that, the Phlox pop open.  Low to the ground, their color spreads up the hill garden where they grow.

When the Violets kick in, growing not only in the large garden masses where they were planted, but also popping up in random spots in the yard, I can be confident that we have turned the seasonal corner. Rarely will we get snow on top of violets. When we finally get a break in the rain again, I will be busily out gathering violets to be dried- for tea, for bath salts and a precious few to be sugared as cake decorations. 
Ostrich Ferns

 The unfurling of fern fiddleheads parallels the the unfolding of the season. We have always had a few ferns scattered about ( mostly at Cthulhu’s feet), but planting a mass of Ostrich Ferns two falls ago has given us a new show to watch in the spring.

 And then there is the most classic sign of spring of all- the Dandelion, with a sleepy slow bee perched a top, slowly gathering up the first nectar of the season.

 Although I will be luxuriating in the lushness of the gardens in another 2 months, there is so much growth and activity that it is hard to take it all in. One of the joys of spring is that it is like a quiet morning, allowing you to focus on a few stories and follow them completely.

Garden Starts

Finally… it dried out enough to till and start working the garden. I am exceptionally lucky to have a man in my life who likes to till. There is nothing other than a newborn that has as much lurking potential as a freshly tilled garden.

Today I cut and ashed the sprouting potatoes I managed to save back. The only time that did not get sprouted are red, so I will need to grab some red seed potatoes tomorrow. For the rest ( purple, yellow and Kennebec) I have over 100 potential plant starts. I am a little low on the Kennebecs, and we fell in love with those last year, so I may grab a few more of those when I get the reds. I only have a dozen of the purples, but they produced badly and were very insect prone, so we are mostly keeping those as novelties and to eat as they grow in the summer. they need to sit in brown bags on the gardening work bench for about 48 hours before planting.

I was planning on planting first round of peas, snow peas and spinach early this am, but late last night realized that they were calling for a couple of days of rain… which meant not only missing the raining days, but also the following days it took the garden to dry out again… so I bolted outside last night at 9:30pm and planted a row of each ahead of the rain. That will allow me to put a second round in the garden in about 10 days to stagger harvests, rather than just getting the first round in then.

Knock wood, the tomato seedlings are still growing, but the peppers have not sprouted much at all. I rearranged them under the grow lights and put some under a plastic “greenhouse” lid on the porch to see if additional light helps.

I love the feeling of dirt between my toes and soil on my hands. This is the time of year that awakens my hibernating soul and makes me smile for no apparent reason.