Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A brazen woodchuck

If the squirrels eating the kale weren't enough, a woodchuck appeared in the back garden yesterday chewing on buckeye leaves. 

They're full of nasty compounds.  Amazing.

At least the squirrels don't seem to like spinach, Japanese red mustard, or parsley (at least not yet).

This is quite a sub-par photo, taken through the window, and blurry, but you get the idea.  Hmrph.

Eating buckeye leaves?  Really?  No wonder that they'll chew their way through cilantro, etc.   This one has just come out from its burrow, so probably hasn't discovered the small amounts of spinach, etc. that I have in flats.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moving forward

As we get ready to pass on an old house (built in 1929) and relatively new garden (we've been here 22 years) to the next owners, I'm happy and wistful.  We accepted an offer last weekend, so it's now "contract pending."

My dad, not a sentimental sort, reminded me this morning via email of Robert McCloskey's words in The Time of Wonder, "a little bit sad about the place you are leaving, a little bit glad about the place you are going"  (he remembered:  happy about the place you’re going to, sad about the place you’re leaving.)
My mother often read that book to my sister and me, along with his other books. 

I've thought about that phrase a lot over the last couple of months.  

She's been gone for a long time, now, sadly, and wasn't married to my dad for quite a long time before that, but I still have the book.

I'm glad about the place I'm going to, but still a little bit sad about the place I'm leaving.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sassafras and dogwood

The flower buds of sassafras and dogwood are visibly swelling.  Sassafras flowers, both male and female, should be open any day, with the return of warm weather.

Today brought chilly and rainy weather as a cold front pushed against warmer air.

Flowers on our rabbit-eye blueberries are ready to open, and quince flowers are already visible.

This was March 6, 2012 -- with a sassafras in full flower.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bloodroot in flower

Coming back to the Piedmont today, I was delighted to see bloodroot in full flower.  I've made so many posts about bloodroot -- it's a favorite early spring flower.  Here's a post from last year.

We planted it in various places around the garden, starting with one plant. Ants have spread the seeds and patches have popped up all over the front woodland border along the front path.  Totally rewarding.

There are a number of large clumps now in the front, along with smaller plants.  Lovely.

It's in flower in the South Carolina Botanical Garden, too. I took this photo late this afternoon.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A chickadee's view of the garden, indeed

Doug Tallamy has been a passionate advocate for expanding our landscapes to support native insects, and therefore birds, etc.

In this piece in the NYT, he made the case, again. Links to the article appear below.

This is good stuff.  We need to be good stewards of our gardens, adding back more native plants, and embracing even the less than lovely natives (hmm, black cherries and pin oak are species I have a hard time convincing people to add, as well as sweetgums and sycamores, for non-mulched areas.)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ready for a new gardener

I cleaned up the main vegetable garden in the Piedmont today.  I meant to get a photo this afternoon, but time got away, with pulls of other things.

This is what it looked like getting ready a year or so ago.

prepped for planting (main vegetable garden)
It didn't need much prep, as I'd prepared and planted last fall, just to have early frost, deer, squirrels, and woodchucks pretty much clear what had been planted -  out.

I planted some kale, weeded around the perennial leeks, cleaned up around a flourishing patch of creasy greens, and "fluffed up" the soil around emerging sorrel and chives, and all of the bare areas.

It's ready for a new gardener.  The satellite garden has gone back to mulch, but it's ready, too, as is the sunny patch of lawn below the house (perfect for converting to a number of large raised beds for vegetables and herbs!)

My containers near the potting bench have parsley and spinach in them; the porch plantings have been equally spiffed up.

I'm about to prepare some sugar water for the hummingbird feeder. The males are heading north, now.  The feeder will be waiting to provide sustenance along the way to farther north.

I was wistful as I prepared the beds this afternoon, but I have lovely raised beds in full sun to look forward to.  I'm grateful for that.

full of greens and kale
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