Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Son-of-a....

Hey, look at what I just read...and just when most of the snow was gone in the front yard

From the National Weather Service site:

...WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY EVENING.

* TIMING: SNOW WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA LATE THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY.

* ACCUMULATIONS: GREATER THAN 6 INCHES OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE.

* IMPACTS: ROADS WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY ALONG WITH PORR VISIBILITIES AT TIMES AS THE DAY PROGRESSES. THE HEAVY WET NATURE OF THE SNOW MAY AID IN DOWNING SOME TREE LIMBS WHICH COULD RESULT IN SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weekend Tasks

Today's weather: High of 42 degrees and sunny. At least some of the snow will melt but, of course, more snow is predicted for the weekend. *sigh*

Yes, I am still feeling rather perturbed about the weather. For the past three days or so it's been so cold that the existing snow hasn't melted at all. Yesterday there was some melting but it's still not enough.

To keep my sanity and to try to stick to a schedule I have in my head, I decided to go ahead and plant some of my bulbs and other plants indoors so that they can get a head start. I don't normally start anything indoors because our house is so small and the only place I have that could hold anything more is the kitchen - and it's not insulated. In the dead of winter we can leave things like soda and water on the counter and they stay just as cold (sometimes colder) as if they were in the fridge. So - keeping seedlings warm is an issue.

But, it's warm enough now in the kitchen and I just had to do something garden-related besides trudging through the snow to the melted spots to look at the tulip and daffodil sprouts (which are doing fine).

I cleared my baking table - I had to move everything into bags and tuck them into a corner - and potted all of my bulbs and roots and set them on the table. It's gets sun most of the day. I covered them all with plastic wrap which is holding the heat nicely. I've never had much luck starting indoors but maybe this time things will take. The Hosta plants already have large leaves and two of the Phlox plants have sprouted. I didn't want to chance them dying before I could get them into the ground - which looks to be at least a month away now.

(Not my picture - just a visual aid :) )
I planted the following: Both of my Iris types (Lion King and Eye of the Tiger - anyone know of a bear variety I could add?), both Phlox types and the Hosta.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting Ready

Today's High Temp: 35 degrees, chance of snow (which it is doing right now...*sigh*)

So, yeah, it's still freakin' snowing here. We got about five inches on Monday and some of that is still on the ground but most of it melted yesterday. The snow we're getting now isn't expected to add much to the still existing foot of snow but it's just plain annoying, you know?

But enough whining. Despite the fact that it's still very winter-like here, I'm getting ready for Spring. Last night I found some good deals at a local big box on some bulbs that I need and picked them up. I'll be planting them this weekend in some temporary pots to give them a head start so I can hopefully transplant them in about a month.

In my first flower garden I planted some white Iris in memory of my grandmother who passed away that year. They have done really well and I've split them twice. They even survived being half-eaten away by moles. Their only problem is that they are white against a white house. No one can see them unless they walk into our yard.

So, one of my garden plans this year is to expand the Iris beds and plant more Iris in varied colors. Last night I picked up two varieties that I think will bring out the beautiful white Iris I already have.

First, I picked up a bag of Lion King bulbs. Never been a huge fan of the Disney film, but the Iris has some beautiful colors:

Lion King Iris
I also picked up some purple Iris bulbs, whose variety I can't remember at the moment. I'm sure I'll post the name sometime later:

Purple Iris
I'll plant these behind the white Iris and mix them in. I think they'll look nice.

Side note: While trying to find the name of my purple Iris, I found out that the Iris flower was thought to lead the deceased to heaven. They would be planted on graves. I'm not a religious person, but I thought this was rather fitting since I started planting Irises in memory of my grandmother.

Another garden plan I have is to create a 'Butterfly' garden on the south side of the house. Tall Phlox does amazingly well on the south side of our garage, so I reasoned that it would do just as well next to the house. I found some purple Phlox last week and last night I found some orange. I love orange and didn't even know Phlox came in that color. It'll look a bit 'Halloweeny' but that's just fine with me.

Purple Phlox
Orange Phlox
Hopefully the cheap bulbs will take but if not I'm not out much. Besides, it'll keep me busy until I can finally get outside. Cabin fever sucks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Really, really annoyed

Today's high temperature: 35 degrees

I know I'm being impatient but this weather is really pissing me off. It's not supposed to get out of the low 40's for at least another week to ten days and for the next three days there's a high chance of snow. Sure, the forecast says it shouldn't accumulate more than an inch but that means we could get anywhere from nothing to a foot.

I'm just so tired of being cold.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Converging Interests

Today's high: 41 degrees F - Sunny

Because of my husband's complete lack of interest, the garden is one of the few things that is completely mine. (And before you make any assumptions, I think this is a good thing. I still find it amazing that I found a man who shares so many of my passions - but I digress.)

And since the garden is completely mine, I get to do whatever I want with it. Yes, I often listen to his advice on layout and color - he's a graphic designer and has a great eye for that kind of thing - but in the end, it's all up to me.

But, to be quite honest, I haven't really been making the gardens 'mine' at all. I've pretty stuck to standard practices as to what to plant and where and, more specifically, how to decorate the garden. My overall theme has been bugs - specifically ladybugs and dragonflies. And that's fine, because I loves me some beneficial bugs, but I want to make the garden space a bit more personal; a garden into which people can glance and know that this isn't your ordinary vegetable plot.

I want a TARDIS in my garden. No, not anything as obvious as this:


I want something a bit more subtle. I think I'm going to paint one of my bird baths dark blue and add the words 'Police Public Call Box' to the rim of the saucer along with a few windows below that. I might even add another small pot to the top for the light.

I'll just say the chameleon circuit is functioning correctly...almost

I've also considered just painting a small TARDIS onto a more conventionally-decorated pot, but I haven't completely decided yet. Maybe I'll do both.

Only one thing is for certain - there will be no Amy Ponds in my TARDIS.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting closer...

Today's high: 30 degrees F, Sunny

The past few days have been in the low forties and the snow is slowly melting away. This wreaks havoc with our plumbing and it is so ugly outside right now but I'm delighted to see the snow receding.

It's melting, melting....
This time last year the snow was pretty much completely gone, which is actually unusual, so I'm not too upset that we still have a lot of snow. But I certainly will be happy to see the last of the white stuff until next November.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Daylight Saving Time

Today's weather: Cloudy and 27 degrees F. Chance of snow.

It's amazing how much gardening can change your perspective about so many things. One of the biggest for me is how I view Daylight Saving Time which starts this weekend.

Until four years ago, I hated it. I hate losing time and losing that one hour every year used to really piss me off. I totally agreed with all those naysayers who ranted and raved about the uselessness of setting our clocks ahead an hour and I envied those few states that ignores the rest of the country and leaves their clocks alone.

I can't say that I now disagree with any of the aforementioned logic against the practice of DST but personally, I like having that 'extra' hour of daylight now. Starting it weeks early like we have the past few years has made it even better. Now, it's a signal that the winter is almost over and that I'll be working in the yard again soon. It also means that for a few days at least, it'll feel like I'm leaving work an hour sooner. Yeah, I have to be there an hour earlier as well, but it still feels like I'm leaving early by the end of the day.

It's all psychological and not logical in the least but for a while that 'extra' hour of daylight lifts my spirits which I despeartely need this time of year.

Here it Comes

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And so it begins...

Today's Weather: Party cloudy, 28 degrees

If you live in Maine, then you know about the local chain of stores called Marden's and if you hear their jingle, you will curse them 'till the day you die. Which means it's effective.

I happened upon a Marden's flyer yesterday and saw that they're selling garden stuff and had a few things that I could use - and since it's very early March and there's still 2-3 feet of snow on the ground, I hoped that my fellow Maine gardeners weren't thinking 'garden loot' yet.

For once I had good instincts. Marden's had tons of garden stuff last night that hadn't been picked over yet and I got what I wanted...and a few more things. (That's the danger of Marden's - if you see something you like, you better get it because it'll be gone the next time.)

I got some more basic tools - mine are literally falling apart - some metal rods for stabilizing tall plants which can also be used for hanging items, a new extendable 3-prong hoe, some garden decorations and some hanging containers for growing tomatoes and other plants upside-down.

Garden Swag


I was going to make my own hanging containers from buckets and old pots, but Marden's had them really cheap and that will save me a few hours when the time comes. Besides, even painted, old cat litter buckets just aren't attractive. :)

I also picked up some flower seeds. I sometimes don't have much luck with cheap vegetable seeds, but I've never had any problem with cheap flower seeds. Even if I do, these seeds were very cheap (5 packets for $1.00) and I won't feel cheated if they don't germinate.

Cuteness abounds
I think my favorite items are the ones that are pure decoration. I love those big ladybugs. They're made of wood and wire and are well-made. I'm going to add a few layers of varnish to protect them from the elements and they should look good with all the other ladybug paraphernalia I have. I also like the little bird feeder I picked up. I plan to put some rocks in it and use it as a butterfly watering station.

My husband wanted the shy turtle so it's staying in the kitchen. :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Waiting for Spring

Today's weather: Sunny and 19 degrees

It looks like the first hint of Spring will come this weekend. We're going to have two whole days above freezing - all the way into the low 40's. It'll be a scorcher, it will.

Yeah, I'm getting impatient. I've gotten into a funk and I'm hoping that Spring cleanup will help pull me out of it. I know what I want to do with the gardens and I might actually be able to afford it this year so now all I have to do is wait. For at least two months.

Ugh.

So, today, to distract myself, I'm going to post some of my favorite pictures from gardens past. They're either photographs of favorite subjects or they're just photos that I think turned out pretty well, since I'm just an amateur photographer with a point-and-click digital camera.

Smoke Bush at its Best

Lilacs for the Birds

Royal Feast

China takes the time to smell the Phlox

Resting on a Hosta leaf

The Phlox have a Royal Visitor

Pink Food

Draping Blue Flowers

A Garden's Best Friend

Field Flowers

Monarch Close-Up

Bright Phlox