Flower Power

The only positive thing about this cool rainy spring is that I haven’t had to water anything…not even once.   Mother Nature has done it for me.   In fact it’s rained so much this past month that most of the farmers haven’t even been able to get their crops planted, the latest season ever as many recall.  It’s sad to drive through the countryside and see all those bare soggy fields.  The crop insurance has been extended a few days, but things are looking desperate, and the forecast is more of the same.  Let’s send out a few prayers for our farmers – because if they don’t plant, we don’t eat.   

I’ve been preoccupied with the kitchen reno, but here’s a recap of the best of the spring flowers, even if I’ve been too busy and it’s been too rainy to enjoy them.  

The hyacinths at the corner always make going to the mailbox a treat. hyacinths

These little purple violets scattered in the grass are always so pretty, especially if you ignore the weeds!  violets in the grass

The nicest thing about this picture, also taken near the mailbox, is the shade, which means the trees are finally leafing out.   TulipsI love the play of the shadows on the lawn. tulips

The squirrels dug up most of my tulips, tulips for lunch

so I really appreciate it when someone else makes an effort.   It’s always a treat to drive down this street and see this yard,  tulipsand this one. hyacinths spring garden

Last year I transplanted a few blue forget-me-nots from my neighbour – they were so pretty I hope they are invasive.  forget me nots

My only purchase earlier in the spring was a pink and yellow dahlia and a couple of bright pink begonias, my first for both types of plants.   I didn’t know what to do with them, and read that the dahlia had to be dug up in the fall so I just stuck them in bigger pots.  dahlia The dahlia has flourished, with many buds again, but the begonias got too water-logged.  dahlia

The lilacs finally bloomed, mine pale and anemic, so I enjoyed the neighbors dark purple ones which hang over my fence.   The bloom-again lilac was a few weeks later, but I was disappointed in it’s smell.   We’ll see if it lives up to it’s name.  

The lily of the valley was plentiful too, another invasive gift from a  fellow gardener.  lily of the valley

My 50 cent bargain iris from last years horticultural sale bloomed for the first time, all of them coming up purple, except for one ugly burgundy one I gave away as it didn’t fit the color scheme.    iris The second year for this fuchsia clematis.  My new one, planted last fall, is not out yet but as it is a Jackmanii, it may be later. clematis

Sometimes I’m not sure if things will bloom the first year, but the half-price peonies planted last fall burst forth a pretty pink.    peonies

When I finally got to the nursery again, these were my selections.  I’ve never had a dipladenia plant before (smaller than a Mandevilla), but it looks very tropical. garden flowers on tableAnd one can never have enough lavender.garden flowers on table

 I may pick up some half-price geranium pots if I can find any, but even the nursery plants are struggling this year.   Many look so pathetic no one would want to take them home, which is just as well, as man does not live by flowers alone.   I planted lettuce in early May and all the rain has made me the Lettuce Queen of the neighborhood.   Let us be grateful for homegrown salads!lettuce

Signs of Spring

Spring is late again this year.  Having survived a particularly brutal winter, which started early and never let up, we’re all tired of the snow and the cold, and anxious for the first signs of spring.   So, here’s my take on the Six on Saturday Garden post….   

March 20 – The first official day of spring – saw my first robin, who was uncooperative for a photo-shoot, hopping away every time I got near.  Unfortunately the zoom lens on my camera is broken so this is as close as I got.  Robin

March 22 –  The tulip and daffodil tips are peeking through on the south side of the house and some of the rose bush stems are starting to turn green.

daffodil tips

March 23 – Went out for a walk for the first time in weeks, the wind was cold but the sun was bright, and the neighbor’s snowdrops were out in full force.  

snowdrops

March 25 – The Angry Bird  – I opened the front door to check the temperature this morning and saw the morning doves have returned.   One was sitting on the front step, looking quite perturbed now that it has to find a new place to nest.   They are life long lovers and creatures of habit, but as they didn’t build a nest last year I thought it was safe to install new light fixtures.    I’m feeling guilty but my new lights are so much nicer than the old.  

Morning Doves

Mr. And Mrs. Lovebird

light fixture

March 26 –  So nice to see a blue sky again, especially against a budding maple tree.Blue sky and maple buds

March 27 –  saw my first crocus while returning a book to the library.   Their flower beds are always gorgeous because they have professional gardeners maintain them.  

crocus

March 28 – first spring-like day, 15 C, and first milkshake from the Dairy Queen –  chocolate of course.   Drove home with the windows down.  Dairy Queen Milkshake

March 29 – The ice is gone from the river and the sunlight is sparkling on the water again.    river view

March 30 – our first all day spring rain flooded the back forty, but brought a tinge of green to the grass.  spring rain

March 31 – brought a return to winter and a couple of inches of snow – the robin was not amused.    The snow hung around for a more few days – is this some kind of April Fools joke? Robin

A pot of hyacinths can provide a small dose of beauty, hyacinth

while we wait for this.        

Daffodils and hyacinths

What wonderful sights await us in a few more weeks.   Happy Spring!   

May Flowers

April showers bring May flowers, so the saying goes.    Finally we are having some signs of spring here after what must be the longest winter ever.   Midway through April and nothing but single digit temperatures, flurries and freezing rain.  The flowers were up and trying to be brave but why bloom when you can hide.   But today it rained, a soft spring rain, destined to bring the first new fuzz out on the trees, a shade of green that is impossible to describe.  new spring green birch trees

Here’s some proof that warm weather is on it’s way.

Forsythia and Siberian Squill,Forsythia and Blue Flowers

Siberian Squill

Purple Vinca,Purple flowers and tulips

purple vinca

Purple Vinca and Orange Tulips

I like the mixture of colors in this clump of tulips, so cheerful to see while walking on a rainy spring day.

Tulips

This is the best time of year for lazy gardeners, as mother nature is doing all the work. 

All the fruits of last years fall plantings are bursting forth, and we can just sit back and enjoy the show.

Pink tulip

my favorite pink tulip

 

 

The final sign, the love birds are back and nesting.   They arrived during the last ice storm and had that nest assembled practically overnight, hence the messy job.  It was so cold they must have felt the need for some extra layers.  They need to do some spring cleaning and so do I, but first a cup of tea on the deck to listen to the birds and gaze at nature’s masterpiece.

Postscript:  for more pretty flower pics see last weeks post Among the Daffodils

Daffodils and hyacinths

 

 

Among the Daffodils

Daffodils are one of the earliest messengers of spring and after such a long late brutal winter, the warm weather has finally arrived.   I think we are in need of a little dose of sunshine, and perhaps some poetry.Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsmith may be famous for the poem, I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud, but I think I much prefer his sister Dorothy’s 1802 journal entry about the walk in the English Lake District which inspired the poem.

“When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway – We rested again and again. The Bays were stormy and we heard the waves at different distances and in the middle of the water like the sea.”Daffodils

This acre of wild daffodils in a wooded lot is enough to motivate me to start my daily walks again.   Every spring I thank the lovely soul who originally planted these heirloom gems, as they have reseeded themselves over the years in a way that my modern bulbs never seem to do.   Mine might start out in orderly clumps, Daffodilsbut the squirrels have great fun transplanting them and they eventually end up lonely as a cloud.  Daffodil

They are especially lovely paired with the delicate blue of Siberian Squill, a bulb that can be invasive over time, but who would mind?  Daffodils & Blue Flowers

Daffodils are the most cheerful of flowers, so bright and sunny, waving in the breeze as if they are announcing that spring is here.   No wonder they belong to the Narcissus family, they demand look at me, and we do!  Welcome spring!    

Daffodils indoors

Postscript:  for more pretty pics see May Flowers blog.

 

Easter Chicks

Spring Fling - AMc - 2016

Spring Fling – 2016

After the earthy tones of winter, we are all craving the colors of spring.   Pretty pastels, soft greens, yellows, purples and pinks, all the colors of nature when she’s decides to put on her spring fling.   Even though it’s not yet warm enough to sit out on the deck, we can always dream, and decorate with a few Easter egg touches until mother nature agrees to cooperate.   Never fear, this blog is mostly pretty pictures.   (There may be cake at the end.)

Paperwhites, started in January, can be an early reminder of spring and it is wonderful to come home to such a heavenly smell.   Hyacinths are great too.

 

I forgot to buy Paperwhites this year, so I made do with a new candle in one of my favorite scents, rose water.

Rose and Ivy Candle

Victoria magazine is one of my favorite reads.   I have a collection of old editions in the basement and like to browse through them for seasonal decorating ideas.   For those weary of winter and in search of an early dose of spring the new 2018 March/April edition is a feast of gorgeous color.   Victoria Spring 2018

Victoria Daffodils

I found this garden gate table decor at Winner’s a few years ago and thought it might make a nice centerpiece, with some daffodils in the middle.

 

Also found this cute little guy to put inside one of my indoor bird cages.

Baby Bird

I saw my first robin yesterday, but he was camera shy and got away before I could point and shoot.  They will soon be getting plump and fat, and preparing their nests.   This is a well behaved bird, who chose her birthing bed wisely, a sturdy tree with lots of supporting branches.Robin in nest

This is a badly behaved bird who chose her nesting place just to annoy me.    morning dove Apparently morning doves mate for life, and these two lovebirds have insisted for years upon building their nest on my front light fixture, so I have just resigned myself to never ever getting new light fixtures because what would be the point.

Morning Doves

Mr & Mrs. Lovebird

They are very efficient creatures who can assemble a home in a day, and often the nest is built and the eggs laid before I even realize it, and then I don’t have the heart to do anything.   But last year I was ahead of the game and brushed the twigs off before they could get a head start.    After a few days of this build and toss tussle, they finally gave up and went elsewhere, but then I felt guilty.   I had destroyed their home, when they were just trying to feather their nest, the same as I do.   This year I am hoping we can co-exist somewhat peacefully, except they do tend to coo a lot, which is annoying so early in the morning.

The crocus usually pop up where ever ever they feel like it, sometimes in the middle of a bush, seldom where I planted them.  There must be a secret underground passage for wayward bulbs.  My elderly more sensible crocuses are still hiding under the lavender but these younger braver souls are blooming in front of the library. Crocus

These pretty blue flowers are one of the first signs of spring, but spring has been very late this year so this is a picture from last year.   It’s not my yard but I wish I could get them to populate on my grass.

blue flowers and forsythia

The annual trek to buy the windup Easter chicks…..they break after a few hours but what little one doesn’t love them.

Easter Chicks

My mother always had an Easter lily on the farm, and coming home after church for our family dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes is associated with the smell of the lily on the kitchen counter near the sink.  (Perhaps I remember it so well because of the two hours spent washing dishes by hand pre-dishwasher days!)

Easter Lily

Can you smell it?

Traditionally, we would either have a cherry cheesecake for desert or coconut angel food cake or a pineapple upside down cake.   This year I made a pineapple upside down cake, using the recipe from her old Purity Flour cookbook.   Sprinkle brown sugar (I like lots), in the bottom of a well buttered cake pan, lay out the pineapple slices and pour the cake batter on top – voila, a fast and easy desert.

 

I nixed the cherries though because of the red dye, (we didn’t worry about such things back then), although they do make a festive touch.  You could try strawberries perhaps?    If you haven’t time for that, President’s Choice makes a perfectly acceptable frozen cake in individual portions.  (Note PC is a Canadian brand.)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

PC Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Although we can’t bring our spring clothes out just yet, I have noticed the weather girl on my local tv station has switched from her winter scarfs to her spring ones. Spring scarf If I had such a vast collection of colorful artfully tied scarves I’m sure I could learn to love inclement weather too.   I am sure there must be a stylist on set to drape all those scarves just so……the art of the scarf might be a French technique? She is predicting possible snow flurries for Easter tomorrow, so I hope the bunny bundles up.

Happy Easter!  May the Easter bunny bring lots of chocolat français.

The Easter Bunny