Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spring rains, spring flowers

Mornin' from Marshfield! 50.7 degrees now as a gentle and much needed rain begins to fall. I've been away for a few days and there is a lot to catch up on. The greening grass, the calls of loons just back to Peacham Pond and the sight of the first blue heron all suggest the early spring will continue. The lone cowbird and the absence of red winged blackbirds remains a mystery.

The ice left Peacham Pond on Wednesday and that's a couple weeks earlier than the April 28 average. Although the water level is still low, the power company will probably be closing up the dam gates and the level will rise quickly over the next couple weeks.

Each spring is somehow different. The first spring we were here in Marshfield, the spring of 1990, Gail's Dad planted his peas on April 1st. It's never happened that way since. On April 23, 2001 we had 8" of fresh snow a day after we had planted 1500 lilies into gallon pots. On April 28th, 2003 about 4" of wet snow covered everything for a couple days and slowed down our spring planting. Keeping a garden journal is a good reminder to the past as well as things we should do that sometimes are escape us.

I was outside early this morning setting up the hoses on the lower hosta garden for the first time. I waited impatiently for rain but there hasn't been enough to suit me. Last year I waited and I paid the price with some less than admirable looking hosta. This is a plant that loves water, in fact water is said to be the best fertilizer. Dry springs, absent of sufficent rain to really get to the roots, shows itself weeks later when the leaves dehydrate ahead of time and brown and tear at the edges. One of my favorites is Regal Splendor, a vase shaped sport of Krossa Regal. Last year the creamy edges cracked and tore early and once that happens the beauty of the plant is lost for the season.

As I set up the hoses I noticed some damage from voles this winter. There is all kinds of information available about these little critters and I avoid the controversy of moles, voles, mice and who eats what, damages what, and so on. Fact is I could see too many holes among the hostas and pieces of root mass on the top of the ground.....chewed leftovers from sometime this winter. Hopefully a thorough watering will bring them around.

Time to get going here. The list is long. The rain is now falling hard enough that it was like turning off the switch on the voices of the spring peepers who carried on all night as they do when the temperature stays above 45. Already I miss their voices as nature's music is kind of nice. Off to the garden..Be well!

George Africa

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