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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring comes Softly to the Midwest


Spring has been long in coming to southwest Ohio.
Spring comes softly...not with huge flowers...Here's a Vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis). Tiny flowers really, no bigger than the end of my pinkie finger. It does, however, have great scent, although on this baby (only planted two years ago and now about 4 feet tall)the ever-present wind wafts the scent away. I do get a little hit of it.
One of these days I'm going to get one of the hybrid witch hazels, either Diane or Jalena...they have bigger flowers and more of the reddish color than the species. The problem is, I can't get it in the local nurseries.


Like most winters, it has been cold, and without much snow cover. Winter is hard on my garden plants, and since we've had extended periods where it only warmed up into the 20s since November, with a couple of teasing 50 - 70 degree days in between, spring is a little slow in coming.


For instance, this week the snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis ), usually early harbingers of spring, popped their heads up....two days later, the snow crocus (the smaller crocus to the left of this picture) came...along with the larger Dutch crocus on the right.


Here's my lovely snowdrop... The first flowers in the garden are tiny....but lovingly awaited...as much as the later flowering big bang spring bloomers such as daffodils and tulips.


In the fall, I go nuts planting the small spring bulbs as I know that at the end of the winter, my desire for something blooming will make me overlook the smallness of their blooms.


My planting activities in the fall is at a fevered pitch. I think the squirrels look at me as a compatriot...both because I'm burying bulbs and corms as quickly as they are burying nuts and acorns, and because they know that my crocus bulbs are tasty...I plant enough so that they can share in my bounty, but I don't know as if I'll feel that way now that my trusty Luna, who drove away rabbits and squirrels, isn't there to stand guard over the garden. Luna never laid down on my plants and rarely went in and bumbled through them.
If you look closely at the crocus, you'll see a corm that I either didn't get into the ground, or that the squirrels or chipmunks dug up.




Spring is also promise. Here you can see the buds on my little red leaved patio peach that I planted last spring. It is a lovely plant, dwarf in habit, deep mahogany colored leaves and it actually bears fruit. (Prunus persica "Bonfire")



Spring also brings a lot of work. I have to get out there (when it isn't windy) and quickly put dormant oil on the peach so that I won't have the fungus of leaf curl attacking it. I'll also take some hints from my neighbor who grows a few peach trees to make sure that I don't lose all the peaches on it like I did last year.


I buy plants so that I have interest as long through the year as possible. Because of that, I plant Lenten roses (Hellebores) as much for their spring flowers as for their great leaf structure long after the flowers have faded.


I purchased these dark flowered ones because I love dark colored flowers and leaves....but I realize now that I need to get the traditional white ones as well as the red color just doesn't show up as well against the darkness of the ground or of the mulch.



(Helleborus orientalis), red flowered unnamed hybrid.
I have to make notes now so that I remember what to get when the garden centers are in full swing.
I also have to cut down all the grasses, and fertilize my acid loving plants. If I don't, I'll lose them. I never thought too much about that, and the soil here is quite alkaline as there is tons of limestone deposits in this area. In Connecticut, I had acid soil....I'm learning a different way of gardening.

3 comments:

LaughingLG said...

Lisa, I love these photographs. Thanks for your comment on my Kells quilt. I'm glad you liked it. Your ravens was my favorite quilt so we can form a mutual admiration society. I can't wait to see the herons.

Sunita said...

Lisa, this is a fantastic post! You're really getting into your stride now, arent you? Way to go! Keep posting often, okay? I enjoy coming here o see what's new :)

Michigoose said...

Thank's Sunita and Lori. This means a lot coming from two artistic souls! I'm still looking for something as cool as your Coppersmith barbet Sunita!