Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who Goes There?

I love the walls in the garden. I never realized that they would be the home of so many animals. It's obvious from the marks you see in the dirt that someone lives right there in the wall. I'm sure it's one of those furry little creatures that makes me go "EEEK" when I see them. I didn't realize that so many creatures would move into a dry stone wall. To them it is the Ritz. They are out of the weather, and they have servants (my husband and myself) who plant their favorite delicacies nearby. I always wondered what the little critters ate all winter. "Seeds," I thought, "and bugs." They do that, but they also eat tulip bulbs, crocus bulbs, and perennial plant roots.

Of course with the snow cover gone, times are harder. They have to watch out for the great horned owls and the long tailed weasel at night, and the hawks during the day. The pair of foxes that lives here might show up anytime. As far as I'm concerned, furry critter is the special every day at this eating establishment.

It's February now and we are getting iced. I would have preferred snow. When I first moved to this part of Upstate New York, I was told, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a little, it will change soon." It usually does!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

March in January

I didn't think I would be posting a picture like this so soon. We had rain over night that melted a lot of the snow cover. The snow you see is in places that are pretty much shaded all day this time of year. The garden is situated so that the bench faces south. The sun is out and the wind is blowing. It feels like March, but I know that February is next, and this is a brief chance to visit the plants that are usually hiding under the snow. I tried to cage the rose campion, but most of the cages are frozen to the ground. I did find one, and put it over the plant, but the ground is hard just an inch under the surface and the cage might not stay put.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh Deer !

This was a lovely rosette of rose campion in the flower bed right in front of the house. I placed it there last summer. It's a biennial, so you get to look at a very promising little rosette for the first year, and see the gray-green foliage and velvety magenta flowers the second. Obviously, it looked delicious to one of those lovely brown creatures with the big eyes and the even bigger appetite. I'll place a cage around it, but I may be locking the barn after the horse is gone. Anyway, it deserves the chance. If I haven't learned anything else about gardening out in the middle of an old field, I have learned that we are not alone here.

I'm so glad I took several pictures yesterday. Today the weather is foul with freezing rain falling, and ice under foot. It's a good day to be inside.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Peeking Through the Snow

It was a beautiful sunny day here today. We are looking at snow and open patches now. The Canada geese are flying above the river. A coral bells peeks out of the snow, green and waiting for spring. I love hummingbirds, so these plants are a welcome sight. Those little Ruby Throats just love them. The potatoes are ordered, and the onion plants too.

Catalog Dreaming

The compost still has to go out, hence the tracks in the snow, but we are inside looking at seed catalogs.  Every year the catalogs start arriving earlier.  They get little attention from me at that point. Next year's garden is too far away.   Of course a few get weeded out immediately.  Ones that have given me past bad results, or catalogs with colors that are so intense as to be surreal, hit the compost (Oops) recycling right away.  They are much like those nasty weeds that you recognize when they are small and pull as soon as you see them.  The others are saved for later.  I love to leaf through them now, when the promise of spring holds so much potential for this year's garden.

The stack is impressive.  My husband chooses the vegetable seeds while I look at the flowers and herbs.  Some companies like Stokes, and Johnny's Selected Seeds get an order every year.   Others like Seeds of Change, Richter's, Select Seeds get orders in rotation to make sure we get their catalog. We don't want to get taken off their mailing list. (It is possible isn't it?) The rest of the stack remaining, contains catalogs we have ordered from before and might this year, and my favorites, totally new ones. I'm staring at a new one called van Bourgondien. It has a "$25.00 worth of products free" offer.  Could they have something wonderful that my garden just can't be without?  Can I resist the temptation?  It's time to get started.  Choices must be made.  When spring finally arrives, we have to be ready!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Garden Waits

There it is, the sleeping garden.  It looks quiet, but the plants are waiting more patiently than I am.  The stone walls stand there covered with snow, but January is almost over.  The days are getting longer.  I will try to be patient.