Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring has a Weak Spring

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A cold morning here on the mountain. 8 degrees and sunny. Karl the wonder dog decided it was too cold for him and he ran back to the house and dug his way under the bed quilt to go back to sleep. It has been quite a week here and the past three days have brought high winds and snow. Thursday there was wet snow and ice and I decided to plow when I returned home from work. An hour and a half later I felt like I had been riding in a tank. Yesterday morning I rose at 4:30 to plow again. The news said we received 6 inches of new snow but one couldn't tell because the wind made deep drifts everywhere that had any hollow to it. When I finished that work I couldn't get the plow off the truck and according to Alex "too many expletives" were obvious. I call it "self-talk". The slush from the night before had welded the plow to the frame and separating the two was not fun.

Today the temperature is supposed to rise into the thirties but that's still a far cry from real spring weather. If the earth has some internal spring mechanism, then it must have weakened a bit over the years because it's going to be a while before things warm up and the snow melts. Down the road less than a mile the road is reduced to one lane with large drifts so high across the field that even the grader had trouble winging back the snow. If my friend Eric from Massachusetts is reading, I guess I better share the disappointing fact with him and others that spring will not be coming to this part of Vermont all that soon. Eric has a camp at a great spot in Groton but right now I'll bet there is 7-8 feet of snow in front of the drive and another 4 feet through the sag and into the field.

Lots of folks are tending some assortment of seedlings planted sometime around the end of February, first of March. Town Meeting Day in Vermont, the first Tuesday in March, is the typical "plant the tomato seeds" date. Others plant eggplant, peppers and annual seeds. My friend Bob in Iowa plants hosta seeds before the year changes so that by now he is culling tens of thousands of tiny plants, as he looks for the hosta with the most promise. I always get as far as collecting the hosta seeds but that's about where it ends.

We tend to be magazine and book readers more than seed starters. Two magazines I enjoy are
People, Places and Plants and Vermont Magazine. PPP comes from Maine but it is a compilation of stories about gardens and nurseries in New England and upstate New York. Many people think New York is part of New England but that's just not true. VM is a magazine from down Middlebury way as I recall. Kate Carter does annual garden articles for them and she does a fine job. Kate has also written two books I use a lot, Wildflowers of Vermont and Shrubs and Vines of Vermont. These are little pocket sized volumes which make you want to insure you have them before you head out into the field.

In the current issues of each, PPP has some nice information about the hottest new annuals and shrubs and Vermont Magazine talks about shade plants and perennials and mentions our friends at Cross View Gardens in Morrisville, VT.

I belong to the Garden Writers Association and they just released a report finished this February on what people say they will grow this summer. You wouldn't have to be too together to figure that people would be thinking about planting vegetables, what with the economy and all. I was surprised how many people said they would work on their lawns and develop some more with perennials and shrubs. Obviously there have been a number of economic changes in the past month but despite the woes we face, people seem to find time to garden. I suspect that if there is less travel this year, people will have a chance to reflect upon their landscapes for a change and might well want to spend a couple bucks fixing up what they sped by in haste the past few years. With several acres of new nursery down the road 5 miles, Gail and I sure hope that's true.

Right now I have to get back to a report on autism I'm working on. I might finally get into the basement today to build a few birdhouses too. The house at the top (scroll up folks) was a gift about 6-7 years ago. The wood is splitting but nonetheless I saw a chickadee go in there yesterday. It has had multiple hatches since the first year it went up and all were chickadees. I want to concentrate on bluebird houses for the new property because of the surrounding fields. If all else fails we'll have tree swallows which are also good insect eaters. Time will tell.

Gotta' go. Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a small flock of geese just honked by. They're looking for open water but I think they should head back south for a bit.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
also writes at Vermont Gardens
and tries to sell flowers and lure customers to Vermont Flower Farm


joey said...

Please note you are not alone, George. Again we woke to 6 inches of snow. Spring has sprung??? Hold tight ;)

Gardenista said...

Oh, I am so glad to hear someone else is holding on patiently till real spring is here. I know my crocuses are probably doing well, but how would I know under the 2 feet of snow?

Another month and there may be some green things here. Good luck to you in Vermont.

Jean Ann said...

EEK! Being covered with snow does not sound like fun...we don't get much snow here in the North West,but we have wave after wave of cold rain all winter long...

Thanks for the tip on the rototiller...Being tall, I generally assume I have to adjust to things rather than have them adjust to me!

Cabs said...

Yes indeed, our Spring has lost it's hop. It is freezing here htis weekend. My corocus, which had been wide opened as if singing the praises of spring, remained shut tight for yet another day. I do hope we turn this corner soon!
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