Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spring Brings.....

Color back to the landscape....

Joyful flowers back to the gardens.

Just 6 days ago the fields were pale shades of green.

We've had a few days of unseasonably hot weather since then, and the greens are brightening.

Cows are back in this pasture today for the first time in 9 years! Posted by Picasa

The lawn has turned bright green and is ready to mow for the first time this year.

In the neighbors' barn....

......there's a new baby named Pocahontas. Isn't she sweet? Posted by Picasa

Trays of seedlings line these shelves that my dear hubby made for me.

I hadn't expected such a large and handsome set of shelves.

My plan was to start fewer seeds than last year, but with so much space I ended up starting more! Who could resist?

He also added a second shelf to the plant light I used last year.

He's such an enabler! Posted by Picasa

My 2 African violets haven't bloomed all winter, but since I moved them to the shelves this one has begun blooming....

.....and the other one has buds forming. I've also begun feeding them African violet food whenever I water them. Apparently they're happy with this treatment.

I've had quite a battle with aphids on some of the seedlings, and eventually ended up spraying them with an insect killer (outside) after trying a few other friendlier methods, including a mild soap and water spray and picking the little beasts off with tweezers. The soapy water killed the tiny seedlings and the hand picking was far too tedious and time consuming. The spray seems to be keeping them under control. If anyone has other advise on combating the critters I'd be happy to hear it.

Those top 2 geraniums are blooming nicely now, and I've cut them back and started cuttings with the trimmings. Soon I'll begin hanging them outside to get a little sunshine on the warmer days. This will harden them off before they're moved outdoors for the summer. Posted by Picasa

I began this post over a week ago and just haven't had the time or energy to finish it until now. Days are busy with work and gardening, and my poor tired brain won't function well these nights.

The sweet scented hyacinths are blooming, but the beautiful blues, which opened first, have faded already because of the heat, and yesterday's horrible gusty wind. Posted by Picasa

Unfortunately, the bloom time of a lot of the daffodils was shortened as well,

.......but there are still quite a few putting on a pretty show. Posted by Picasa

The pink hyacinths added their color a few days after the blues began blooming.

Did you notice the robin? I managed to get a little closer for this shot.

He lets me get quite close at times, and often sits in the Silver Maple singing very sweetly. Posted by Picasa

This little clump of daffodils marks the site of an old compost pile where these bulbs were tossed long ago. I thought they were no good at the time, but they survived and have bloomed for many years since, making me smile each time I see them.

Spring is a time of yellow.......

bringing the bright yellow plumage back to the American Goldfinches.

....and misty mornings.....

....golden afternoons....

.....soft evening light as the sun sets....

.....and tulips! Posted by Picasa
I hope you're enjoying spring as much as I am.
(Or autumn if you're on the other side of the equator).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April '09

We've had glorious sunshine, blue skies and daffodils on this April Bloom Day!
The chill wind was not so bad today, but still it persists, as it has done on most days for weeks on end, making today's mid-sixties temperatures (approximately 18ÂșC) feel not quite as warm as they otherwise would have.

The daffodils nodded their pretty heads in the morning breeze and bright sunshine this morning.

Yesterday, Hannah was out enjoying the garden with me as I did some clean-up work. She has recently moved back from the Big Apple after being a city cat for over a year, but that's a story for another post.
(Click any photo to enlarge for details)

The purple striped crocuses/croci (take your pick...the dictionaries list both!) are still blooming in the Lilac Garden shown above, where Hannah is investigating.

There were also 2 nice clumps of these beautiful bright yellow crocuses, but I found the telltale signs of moles in the areas where the clumps were, so I'm guessing the nasty little critters must've eaten them for a tasty winter snack. This little clump is in another garden. Posted by Picasa

Scilla sibirica (Siberian Squill) also blooms in the Lilac Garden.

That rich blue makes it a lovely companion plant for the daffs.

It spreads itself around liberally and is easily moved to fill in other spots.

I found this busy bee enjoying the blooms. Can you see the blue pollen sack on its leg? I've only ever noticed yellow sacks before, and didn't realize they could be different colors, did you? It's amazing to see the details the camera captures.

These little beauties are almost finished now, but they've been putting on a wonderful show by the side porch. They're especially beautiful in the late afternoon sunlight. There are 2 varieties here.

This clump has a smaller bloom....Posted by Picasa

....and these are bigger with rounded petals.
I planted all the crocuses years ago and didn't keep a record of the names. Posted by Picasa

The lawn began greening up at the beginning of April as the first crocuses began to bloom. If you enlarge this photo you'll be able to see the red flowers on the Maple tree.

Here they are closer. Aren't they pretty?

There's a little clump of white crocuses in this garden.

And I found another busy bee enjoying them. Posted by Picasa

These purple striped crocuses are a different shape to the ones in the Lilac Garden.

I love to see them in the glow of the afternoon sunshine.

This clump of sweet snowdrops is still hanging on, but they're almost finished and not looking as good as they did 5 days ago when this photo was taken.

This was a very large bee with an orange band on its back. Unfortunately it didn't hang around long enough for me to get a better shot of the band. Posted by Picasa

One of my favorite springtime views is of the daffodils backlit by the late afternoon sun. I find it very hard to capture....

....but I keep trying.

I'm always reminded of William Wordsworth's poem,
The Daffodils,
which begins.....

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

You can read the entire poem here if you'd like to.
It makes me think of my father, as it was one of his favorites.

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers! Posted by Picasa

Happy Bloom Day everyone!

Be sure to visit Carol's May Dreams Gardens to see more colorful blooms all over the world!