Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day

Mothers Day
May 13, 2007

Good morning mothers, good morning gardeners! It's a beautiful day at Vermont Flower Farm even though the wind is strong and the 56 degrees on the thermometer in the sun is misleading. Karl the wonder dog and I went for a morning walk while the rest of the house lay quiet with sleepiness. It's Mothers Day and although there's a lot to do, Gail can sleep as long as she wants. Yesterday she and the crew planted over 700 pots and ended the day with sore hands but a sense that the end of planting is near. She deserves a little extra snoozing.

Karl and I walked out back. The turkeys were off the roost earlier than I expected and three hens were scuffing the new piles of leaves I spread across the back field. The soil is very poor there so I gather spring and fall debris and spread it out and allow sheet composting to take place. It works well and gives the turkeys a place to feed. Try as I might, I could not get a tom turkey to talk to me again this morning. The season is on and perhaps hunters are disturbing their daily patterns.

Two male ruby throated hummingbirds are already fighting over the feeders but to date, no females have arrived. The males arrive first but usually by now we see at least one female. Perhaps later today as it is Mothers Day.

Good gardeners develop their eyesight so they can be watchful for insects and plant diseases. I have always been a detail person and although my eyesight isn't as strong as it used to be, I know how to notice things which are out of the ordinary. This morning a yellow crab spider was obvious to me on one of the daffodils planted outside my office window. There are many crab spiders and this one is a female golden rod spider. The two brownish colored bars on her abdomen tell her gender. This spider enjoys anything white or yellow to hide against while eating.

I have read that these spiders lie and wait for a meal and don't spin a web. Whenever I see one I visually check this out and always thought it to be true until this morning. I noticed that Mrs. S. was raising and lowering her right leg and I could see a tiny web across the daffodil.

Daffodils are a great bulb and make springtime in Vermont a lot brighter for us. I am always amazed how many people stop this time of year and want to buy some and actually ask for "daffodil plants", not knowing that they are bulbs. We don't sell bulbs, even in the fall, as by that time we are busy enough with cleaning things up and getting our own bulbs planted. We have thousands in the garden now and daffodils are a favorite.

Gail and Alex enjoy tulips but they have a short life in Vermont and for me, I like to plant things once and have more than just a memory in future years. There's plenty of time to give this some thought between now and fall but if you don't have any daffodils yet, plan to go to your garden store or online and buy several varieties. They are often sold in 10's and clumps of 5 or ten in your garden will bring enjoyment and welcome comments from your visitors, neighbors and other gardeners. Bulbs usually appear in stores by the first of September. And don't forget, there's also a chance that next year you'll see a golden rod spider.

As I head for the kitchen to begin making my Mothers Day chores, I wish all mothers a happy day. Everyone loves flowers and today is a great day to enjoy your flowers or get out and see what others grow or sell.

Happy gardening, Mothers and others!

George Africa

1 comment:

Ki said...

Thanks for IDing the spider. Now I know what it is. I saw one hiding between a fold on a tree peony flower but didn't know the name of the spider.