Sunday, April 17, 2011

spring has finally sprung...sorta


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i really should not be surprised spring is fighting to stay- one day it will be 70 degrees, sun shining, you see the beginnings of a tan; the first of the season and get the itch to unbox the sundresses that have been tucked away for the past 6 month's- you want to wear them and don't care that you are paler than casper this time of year. only to have the next day's high clock in around 30 degrees, rain & snow mix and you find yourself almost surrendering to cranking up the heat (but you don't because it is april & you are bound and determined not to fill the tank until the fall- i am so my mothers daughter). typical new england weather- this is the time of year i find myself a bit envious of our southern neighbors (florida, georgia- you know who you are); this time of year down south there are no shortages of 80 degree weather, fresh citrus, strawberries and farmer markets galore.

envious- yes.
jealous- yes
jealous & envious of hot, humid, hurricane prone weather 6 months out of the year-
not a chance

i think i will keep my fickle new england weather- it makes spring all the sweeter when it finally arrives & decides to stay awhile



DSC02727-spring

this is the time of year that i start to crave sunlight, leafy greens & asparagus. spring is wonderful to watch unfold- everyday there is new growth & life. the start of something special- a tip of hosta pushing its way through the thick blanket of mulch stretching out to reach the sunlight, the winter spread of bee balm; a spread which started in the fall. any day that isn't raining buckets you will find me visiting each and every one of my perennials- old friends who come back year after year with a new story to tell.

the day these photos were taken i was running in and out of thunderstorms that were making their way across our region. i decided it was not the best idea to be standing in the highest point of the yard next to large steel poles- i had convinced myself if i got struck by lightening i would be okay because i had my rubber wellies on. i think there is a little bit of logic behind that thought.












DSC02719- sedumDSC02720-helenium
 
one of my favorite fall flowers is the "american beauty" sedum- the leaves are thick and electric green with hints of purple and pink, growing tall with beautiful spiky blush pink flowers  
helenium is a power house in the garden- blooming in early summer well throughout fall.








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bee balm


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day lily


bee balm has to be within the first 5 of my top ten favorites, if not number one. all flowers hold a special place in my heart but bee balm has it all; smell, color, abundance, ease of care. bee balm is coveted by hummingbirds- they are always zipping between the clusters of bee balm for a sip of sweet nectar.  my favorite feature are the perfumed leaves of the bee balm; each time the wind blows, a gentle brush against its foliage as you walk by or when you are pruning the smell that is released is nothing short of intoxicating. you will more often than not find me crouched down, nose to the ground getting drunk off the lovely smell.







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paprika yarrow


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bachelor's button
 
yarrow is another power house of the garden- an early bloomer, eager spreader, it is a giver of boundless color throughout the season.









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this fall we tried something new. with the never ending piles of fall leaves we covered our raised beds for the winter season. the leaves provided the beds with a nice insulation throughout the bitter cold new england winter, an easy food source for the earthworms emerging from their winter slumber & a great organic source for the soil.

DSC02713- compost

speaking of composting- otherwise known to organic gardeners as black gold, i am a huge believer in the art of composting. before it was even "cool" to compost it was always just a normal part of gardening; the two go together like peanut butter & jelly- the anchor of my dad's successful gardens is his compost. compost is truly invaluable- fantastic for the garden, great for the environment; your plants will thank you for taking the little time & effort it takes to compost. healthier plants = a greater flower & veggie yield.

composting is so simple- start small at first to see where it takes you.
we compost:
any vegetable & fruit peelings/scraps or past its prime
(we do not compost leftovers mixed with other ingredients)
stale bread
eggshells
coffee grounds w/ filter & tea bags
leaves
grass clippings
weeds
(we hot compost which kills the weed seeds)

you do not want to compost:
meat, dairy, eggs

composting is a pretty amazing process- i don't think too much about the actual process; my philosophy is throw it in- layer with leaves and grass clippings and let it get to work. throughout the summer & fall it works hard breaking down all the goodness you added to the pile, takes a break during the winter and is ready to use the following spring. i keep a ceramic covered and carbon filter composting bin on the kitchen counter and empty as needed.

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anna is happy spring is almost here too!

whats sprouting in my seedling box?
last night i was finally able to start a few seedlings, here is a quick list of what's growing:

tomatoes
brandywine, celebrity, kelloggs beefsteak, eva purple ball, purple cherokee, peace vine cherry, cherry tomato, striped cavern, black cherry tomato...there may be one or two more
peppers
carnival peppers & fire alarm hot pepper mix
Yum

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