Spring progresses, one flower at a time

Easter Sunday – another warm and sunny day which resulted in the vegetable plot receiving the rest of its first digging though there is plenty of work left before I have the tilth on the soil that I require. J continued with potting the lily bulbs.

Tried to aerate the compost pile and found it was ice six inches down.

Some new flowers … and Molly’s Urn has been taken out of its winter wrapping. The first daffodils should shortly be in flower.

Dafodills should soon be in flower

Daffodils should soon be in flower

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Molly's Urn in Molly's Dell

Molly’s Urn in Molly’s Dell

Unexpected pleasures

Mild and sunny this Easter Saturday and so we got out and did things in the garden – rather unexpectedly early in the season. There is still a small patch of snow in a shady corner.

J has made a start on collecting the pots of overwintered lily bulbs and is busy potting them up in fresh compost on show pots where they will grow on for display later in the summer. the winter pots are sunk up to their rims in a holding bed and when they were lifted today we found a layer of solid ice underneath them – the ground has a lot of warming to do before anything gets planted.

Now that the old maple has been removed (see previous post) the area that was originally intended, many years ago, to be a small vegetable plot but which was overshadowed too much is now going to come into its own. About a third of it has acquired some fine blackcurrant bushes but the rest will do fine for salads and tomatoes this year … once it has been turned over. hard and heavy work, but a start has been made.

Gardening is a lot of fun. Sixteen years ago this plot was basically not much more than boring grass but now it’s a proper garden. very satisfying.

The last snows of winter

The last snows of winter

Potting up lily bulbs

Potting up lily bulbs

Digging the new vegetable beds

Digging the new vegetable beds

The garlic bulbs planted in the fall are already showing above ground.

The garlic bulbs planted in the fall are already showing above ground.

A truly busy day

At the bottom of the garden near the pond we have two large and mature (Norway) maple trees … not the best maples, thugs to be honest, but we inherited them and they do provide shade and the birds like perching in them. One of the trees, however, had developed canker and was pushing at the fence as well as giving way too much shade to the small patch of garden that I laughingly call the fruit and vegetable patch. So, we decided that this tree had to go and called in our friends at Botanica Tree Surgeons to do the deed. As they pulled up at the front of the house with their huge truck the delivery guys from the piano shop also arrived with jean’s new digital piano … a lot of shuffling and walking around each other ensued, the piano was installed (much to J’s delight and the cats’ bewilderment) and the tree guys set to work with a vengeance.

I had always been at work when trees were trimmed before so had not seen how it was done. I am enormously impressed by their skills having watched the process. Kind of like rock-climbing with chain-saws. The lawn is now so compressed that i doubt grass will grow again and so will need some remedial work but the increased light in the fruit and veg patch is immediately apparent. The down side is that we can now see the neighbours so I shall try to avert my eyes from their gallivanting and general presence. It had to be done. Might plant something smaller than a maple as a screen?

At the end of the work they ran the branches etc through their shredder as expected and then pulled a few levers and it swallowed the whole trunk. I have never seen a machine quite like it.

A clash of guys with big trucks

A clash of guys with big trucks

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Starting at the top

Starting at the top

Half way

Half way

"Timberrrr ... "

“Timberrrr … “

Swallowing the trunk

Swallowing the trunk

They’ll regret it

Almost too warm (15C above seasonal norm) and muggy. Found the first small bunch of dwarf iris flowers mingling with the crocus … but they are going to regret it as the forecast for tomorrow reads thus: “Cloudy. Rain beginning in the morning. Amount 10 to 20 mm. Wind south 20 km/h becoming west 30 gusting to 50 in the afternoon. High 15 with temperature falling to plus 4 in the afternoon. Rain changing to snow in the evening and ending after midnight then partly cloudy. Snowfall amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50. Low minus 8.”

Dwarf iris

Dwarf iris

Early snowdrop honey

A few more crocus flowers showed in today’s sunshine and a pair of hive bees were assiduously working them and the snowdrops. Really golden coloured pollen in their sacs.

The ground is too wet for much wandering on though and the grass is looking very threadbare – I can see the time in a couple of years when we will have to do something about it … replace it for instance.

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What a difference a day makes

Cooler today, but bright sunshine (senior cat desperate to go out and explore). Grass brown and land soggy, under water in parts. Yesterday;s snowdrops have been added to by clumps of crocus and the first spears of daffodils are starting to emerge.

There is still hope in the world – and landscape plans to be worked on while we wait for the land to be dry enough to walk on without causing undue compaction.

Crocus clump 1

Crocus clump 1

Crocus clump 2

Crocus clump 2

The edges of the pond are starting to thaw

The edges of the pond are starting to thaw

Crosus clump 3 overlook by K'nuf

Crosus clump 3 overlook by K’nuf

Another could of days should see this gone

Another could of days should see this gone

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Daffodils

Daffodils

Spring start …

It’s a month since anything was posted here … the parallel birding journal has been busy (http://sparroworks.ca/wildlifing/) but the long winter has meant that there hasn’t been a lot to say about the garden for a while other than to once again record that is buried under snow. Well, finally, on our return from the annual trip to England the snow is disappearing – though we may get more next week the forecasters say – and patches of grass are surfacing, albeit brown and sad looking. Some early spring birds have returned – see the link above – and the long awaited snowdrops have shown themselves. Snowdrops are really hard to get established here, although they grow well enough once they have settled in – this is primarily because they have to be sown from sets which are always unreliable rather than ‘in the green” as nobody supplies them in that form. A bit of a speciality plant in Canada … and one of the best.

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And so, the garden journal for 2014 starts here …

Meanwhile, as mentioned above, we have just come back from ten days in the UK where we managed to capture some real spring. Here is a small selection of photographs for those readers who are still snow-bound and need cheering up. Click on a thumbnail for the full-size slide show.