Friday, February 23, 2018
Once again the garden is covered with snow. So far there aren't even many deer tracks with one exception. Here you see red creeping thyme peeking out of the snow on the stone patio at the west end of the house. The white stripe up the left side of the photo is the house so you can see it is right next to the house. In the upper right corner of the picture you can see dirt. What's up with that?
Clearly the deer had a meeting and decided to have thyme for breakfast. The only deer tracks I can see lead directly from the Norway spruce to my thyme covered patio.
The thyme changes color in the cold, but it remains fragrant and tasty all winter. Since it has been warm and wet, the saturated dirt made it possible for the deer to rip up the plants and munch on them roots and all.
Only this tiny piece was left behind on top of the snow. From clues left behind I think I recognize the morning munchers. I caught them the act a couple of winters ago. I hope they have lunch and dinner plans elsewhere!
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
This has been an unusual period of unseasonably warm weather. Last night's overnight low temperature remained above 50 F. We may see more than 70 F during the day today. The White Pine tree sheltering these Arbutus plants kept the ice from forming here. Snow cover was also thin so these plants are fully exposed to indirect sunlight despite their placement on a north facing slope. The flower buds formed last fall will soon open releasing the wonderfully scented white flowers. Yes, we are excited by the promise of what will soon be here.
A less pleasant reality presents itself just down the hill. A ditch has been established to carry away running water but it fills with plowed snow and ice. That sends melt water into the lane and substantial ruts result. The five foot long pry bar with a blade tip was used to attack the ice. An open section of the ditch and sore shoulders resulted. Water worked its way under the remaining ice and the driveway surface is not in horrible shape.
Believe it or not this is a picture of great success. A water bar was formed across the driveway to direct the water that runs down the hill in the direction of the Cardinal Flower. That first patch of brown snow resulted from the water that was directed and held there. Cardinal Flower transplants are close by that water. This spring the water bar will be repaired and expanded. A depression will be dug to increase the water holding capacity of the area. Cardinal Flower prefers moist soil and we will try and make that happen somewhat naturally.
Standing water is seldom seen here because of the deep gravel deposit that lies just beneath the soil surface. When frost fills the soil, water retention is the result. We do not recall ever seeing this much water here before. The town road is the high ground here and the water that ran down our hill is trapped.
Reflections on the water's surface create an unusual and attractive scene. We were fortunate to get these pictures yesterday as the frost has left the ground and all of the water seeped away. We did walk here this morning to check on the status of our plants. The water was gone!
Close by we found this New England Aster already underway with this year's growth. Its purple flowers with yellow centers are months away but we can certainly see another new beginning here today.