April 3, 2011

The Perfect Spring

Containers for feeding the bees sugar water and early antibiotics, sit on the porch waiting to be cleaned and stored for the season.

There is no holding spring back it seems, even though we here in New England are experiencing a long, colder-than-normal spring, for us gardeners, it's the perfect spring. Everything is emerging later, which means there is less of a chance of new tender growth being frost bit, and the deep snow cover we had all winter, protected many of the plants from the bitter cold sub-zero temperatures we experienced in January. Now, it's time for chores, which all seem to arrive at once. Garden clean-up, raking, thatching and animal maintenance such as fixing the pheasantry where the heavy snow caused the roof to cave in during a nasty blizzard earlier in the year, which relocated our Chinese pheasants as they had to move in with the pigeons until this weekend.

Petasites japonicus var giganteus, a cob emerges a full three months later than normal, as in milder spring seasons, this is out first flower of the year with some opening in late January. It won't be long before the 'giganteus' part takes over the back of our property with 4 foot wide leaves.

Our Indian Runner Ducks finally started laying again for the year, and now we have so many duck eggs that I made a law that once a week we shall have poached duck eggs with asparagus. Yummy!

Indian Runner Ducks are comical, and since ours are 'free range' they roam the yard but rarely leave it. Remember, we do not live in the country, but in a small city, on a busy road. Yesterday, I saw cars slowing down to honk their horns are the ducks that were hanging out at the end of the driveway. The UPS man was afraid to deliver a package thinking that he was going to get attacked. I told our city dweller "it's not like they're geese, or anything!" He didn't seem to understand.

A Cardoon seedling emerges. I know it's late for Cardoons from seed, at least as a food crop, but these are for the perennial border. Cardoons make spectacular specimen plants.

Tomato seedlings just repotted into 4 inch pots. these are rootstock plants, onto which I will be trying to graft heirlooms plants which are just germinating.

A male Lady Amherst pheasant, try's hard to capture a lady Lady Amherst's attention. Soon, there maybe baby Lady's.

A male Golden Pheasant struts his fancies showing off in front of all our our females, who seemed rather unimpressed. They are just happy to be out in the sun and fresh air again since forest insects are their main source of food.


  1. Yes, it has been a good spring... I was impatient for a while, but as soon as the crocuses start blooming, I'm content to wait and watch everything come slowly, gradually into life.
    I'm so jealous of your pheasants! They are lovely.
    And how hardy are cardoons for you? Mine have been hit-or-miss in the open garden (zone 5), but have made it through the past couple years.

  2. Beautiful birds!

    Cardoon is a fantastic ornamental, and I actually got it to overwinter one year somehow, and it produced its huge thistle-like flowers that the bumble bees loved.


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