Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Winter's Lingering Impacts

Few of us that experienced it have forgotten the severity of last winter.  A not so gentle reminder came in the mail in the form of the gas supplier's terms for budget and price protection plans covering the coming heating season.  A much more pleasant result of the past cold was this freshly opened tulip tree flower.  Its seasonally correct blossoms were few in number this year.  We do not know if this plant is likely to re-bloom but that is exactly what is happening here now.  It would seem somehow right if these new flowers are a positive response to the past bitter cold.

Dwarf phlox more commonly set a second flush of flowers.  Still, the coincidence of these flowers appearing the same day as the tulip tree flowers must be a day brightening experience.  Many more buds are about to open so a picture taken in a couple of days would be more impressive but why wait?

Our Summer Sweet really took a beating last winter.  We know that it is two zones out of its comfort area but try to include it here anyhow.  Our original plant was placed directly in the path of frost rolling downhill.  All of its top stems were winter killed but now it is covered with new growth.  No flower buds can be found on that bush but at least it is still alive.  This plant is sited just over a gentle knoll.  Our frost river does not flow here.  Further protection from the stone loading ramp made possible this generous set of buds.  We are just days away from what may be the sweetest scent of summer.  We will have to kneel on the ground to really enjoy the fragrance but the effort will be worth it.

Fortunately for everyone there is no picture of the next event.  Scented daylilies are planted near the stone wall next to the road.  If one wants to inhale their scent, a walk across the planting bed is necessary.  We try to limit foot traffic across our beds so another solution was found.  It is possible to bring one's nose close to the flowers if a kneeling position is assumed atop the wall.  Finding hand holds among the lower wall stones has so far prevented a tumble into the plants as the flowers are lower than the top of the wall.  With knees and hands firmly anchored one's head can be lowered toward the plant.  That movement sends the backside skyward.  That was my position when a neighbor rode by from the rear on his bicycle.  His greeting consisted of a friendly wave accompanied by a huge smile or more likely an actual laugh.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sometimes Rain Spoils The Kiddie's Fun

I enjoyed my morning coffee this morning watching this mother turkey and her three babies.  It's easy to see these birds since Mom thinks she lives here. In fact she spends nearly all her time within our sight out one window or another.  She is very wary however and notices even small movements inside the house.  She issues a couple of clucks at the slightest provocation and the three babies scatter pronto.

Sometimes they run, sometimes they fly, sometimes they fall all over each other.  Generally it is a bad idea to name wild animals but never the less these three have been tagged with Larry, Moe and Curly in no particular order since I can't tell them apart.  The names just fit since since the youngsters frequently run into each other!

I love an overcast day for working in the garden and Ed and I decided to go down and work on the flowerbed by the road.  To people who speed by at 50 plus miles an hour, I'm sure this bed looks perfect. The masses of color are great.  However the gardener knows that weeds are always moving in by land, creeping rhizomes, by wind, especially dandelions, and by aerial bombardment.  Birds eat berries and drop already well fertilized seed.  It was a delightful morning rescuing all that beauty from the intruders.  That nasty grass that you see in the foreground of this picture is no longer there.

Garden beds and pasture grass are not good neighbors.  Coarse grass quickly reclaims garden soil as its own.  The deep mulch moat that surrounds the bed is intended to make the invaders easy to remove.  That is proving to be the case.  The grass rhizomes can be removed intact before they reach the planted area.  Weeds from seed also can be pulled complete with all roots still attached.  Hand weeding is required but the job is easily completed working the deep loose mulch.

I was happily working on the west side of the bed and Ed worked on the other side.   I was having a wonderful time.  We had just enough rain overnight so that the weeding was going great.

Ed was working on the other side of the bed.  I was oblivious, but he saw the rain coming.  At first I didn't think much about the few raindrops, but by the time I realized what was coming, it was too late.  Ed and I are accustomed to wearing white to work in the garden and today was no different.  By the time we had gathered our tools together, we were both soaked to the skin with our clothes clinging and relatively transparent.  Both of us are long past the age where participation in a wet T shirt contest is a great idea.  Fortunately there was no sign of the neighbors and a lull in passing traffic!  We headed up the hill to the house and a change into dry clothes.  We are getting more rain now so the kiddie's fun is likely over for today.  It was great while it lasted!