Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Flowers and More

Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful day. Our holiday was very nice and we're enjoying lots of time outside working in the garden and soaking up some warm solar rays.  In fact, it's hard to spend time in doors writing this post!  Between working a lot more recently, and the gorgeous weather it has been harder to find time to post regularly.  So, thank you for not giving up this blog.   

Bloodroot flowers, named because the roots make a red
liquid when they are broken.
Almost everyday since spring started, I discover new plants planted by the previous owners of our home.  It's exciting to find sprouts and discover that they aren't just weeds, but bulbs, flowers, and ferns. So far I've found daffodils, crocus, tulips (i think), may apples, bloodroot flowers, several fern fronds, violets, strawberry plants (I don't know if they are the wild type or one that will make fruit), and lots of rhubarb.  The Bolducs built and lived in the house for upwards of 50 years.  Imagine if every year you  planted one bag of bulbs!  In addition to planting flowers the Bolducs planted a number of trees including a hemlock grove which our Barred Owls particularly enjoy.  The Bolducs passed away a few years ago, but I think fondly of them when I see the flowers and trees they planted.  I also imagine they would be pleased to know how much I love their garden and that I want to continue caring for their home.  

A few herb transplants on the left,
carrots and greens planted on the right.

a bucket of spider roots pulled with a trusty pitch fork
a row of onions and peas 

Lately, we've been spending all weekend outside in the gardens and porch.  I have started a vegetable garden with early crops: peas, spinach, carrots, radishes, onions, and lettuce.  Later, I will add tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, and a few others.  I think I have too many plants on my wish list even though my new garden is huge compared to the one in Austin.  I'm just so excited I want to plant everything!  An herb garden seems to be missing from the yard, but I think up here in New England many of the popular Mediterranean herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary) die off in the winter. So, I have dedicated a small area of the garden to herbs so far I have horseradish from friends in AZ, rosemary, oregano, spearmint, walking onions, and thyme.  I planted some dill seeds last week, and am waiting to see them emerge.  There will be a few more warm weather additions in May.  The garden is 100 square feet with heavy clay loam soil.  I've been turning it by hand, and there are few rocks since in previous years the plowing was done by tractor.  There are lots of weeds with long connected roots.  I don't know the name of the weed with spider roots, but I'm sure to get to know it well.  The garden must be fenced because deer and other creatures love veggies, too.  It will be interesting to see which plants do well here and which aren't suited to the area.

A cool rove beetle found while turning the soil.
This guy is a carrion eater.

A dead ground beetle with iridescent purples and greens.
I hope to see some alive this summer because they eat caterpillars,
and are one of my favorite types of beetles.

We've also been doing a little rock work.  Extending the path around the house, and making a flower garden.  We have been scouring the 5 acres for flat rocks and still have about a 1/3 of the path to go.  Jacob has really been placing the stone path, and I get an excuse to hunt and gather without being accused of being a nature clepto.  A flower garden will be located just outside the bathroom and will make a pretty view.  It is a small hill around a tree stump with some irises, ferns and other veg.  We are making a few terraces, and I am going to plant some of my favorite summer time flowers: zinnias, sunflowers, and marigolds.  The rocks define the area which had become pretty weedy and overgrown with invasive vines.  I love the way a few rocks make a garden feel permanent, and aged.  I'm sure we'll be coming up with more projects to stay outdoors.  I hope you are enjoying the outdoors, greenery, and nice weather.  
I would love to hear about your spring projects and garden news in the comments!

Our rock and flower garden