Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rising temps, rising flowers

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Up to 45 degrees here on the hill, the light drizzle has stopped and a bit of sunlight is encouraging me to write faster and get outside. I really wanted breakfast to serve as a jump start today but Gail suggested a piece of freshly frosted carrot cake instead. She just finished making a beauty for the planting crew that will be here shortly.

Gail makes one of the best carrot cakes you'll ever eat--to me "the" best. If you want the recipe, let me know and I'll send you a copy. I like moist cakes with good flavor and this one fits the bill. But for this morning I was thinking about some eggs and toast and juice. I've been informed that I'm on my own, but that's not uncommon around here this time of year. Already Alex and I have found ourselves looking at each other at 9 PM asking "Did we have supper yet?"

Apologies from The Vermont Gardener for taking a leave of absence from this blog without having the courtesy to advise regular viewers we'd gone into hiding. It wasn't really like that, we were just plain busy. There's legislation in Montpelier related to autism and that's a subject that's dear to us. That meant a constant daily/nightly email campaign. Monday the House will get the bill out of the House Education Committee and we're hopeful on that. Two weeks ago we had Gail's mother's 90th b-day party and in between we have raked tons of leaves, planted a buckets of lily bulbs, put the cover on the greenhouse, and split two cords of wood for next winter. We've also compared aches and pains which prevail when out-of-shape +50 year olds come out of hibernation and find out how far it is to the ground all over again.

The forsythia is finally coming into bloom and the pulmonarias are already putting out flowers for the first hummingbirds to savor. If those tiny birds got a good travel agent this spring, they should be arriving here on time the end of next week, beginning of the following week. They are like clockwork in their arrival here unless there is a big storm someplace that delays them just like the big jets that can't get out for a few hours or a few days.

Gail's favorite, the hepaticas, began to bloom earlier this week and as always with her first look, shel begs me to plant her some more. This is one of those childhood loves that never fades. I agree they are a very nice wild flower and they help jump start our gardening enthusiasm for dirty hands and happy spirits.

I have raked off a third of the lower hosta garden pictured above. This is the garden built inside an old barn foundation. It's coming along nicely and with the rain this weekend, the first hostas will begin to grow. Montana aureomarginata is usually the first or second to break ground. It does this just in time to get nailed by a hard frost or two but it always comes back in all its glory. The lancifolias break through early and hold tight as they can handle temperature change better.

The hellebores are in bloom and for once the foliage looks great but the first flowers look a little weak. That will all change in a week or so. If you don't have any of these, stop by and take a look. We don't have any for sale this year but will next year when we move.

The first daffodils are in bloom over the bank here by my office. The tulips are up about 2 inches and growing fast. I raked off the hosta garden by the little frog pond and already the blue scilla are up two inches so bloom should be this week too. The list goes on and on.

If you're out and about, Peacham Pond Road is muddy in a couple places. Our place looks like a bomb hit as there are piles of tires stacked here and there and hundreds and hundreds of feet of rolled up plastic and folder insulating cloth. Place looks like a big recycling center but this is how it should look as we uncover the gardens and prepare for another season of growing good plants.

As I have said for many years, we grow hardy plants for hardy Vermonters and their friends. Be a gardening friend and keep us in mind for a visit this season. In the meantime, show compassion for my absence from this blog and give us a question or two to help your gardens grow better. We don't have all the answers but we know a lot of people who do.

From the mountain above Peacham Pond where a tom turkey is calling his female friends and looking for a fight with competing males, while two docile mourning doves coo happy thoughts and act out plans for a new family.

Gardening wishes,

George Africa

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