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!

April 2, 2011

The lone bulb species, Melasphaerula ramosa

Melasphaerula ramosa

Here is a rarely seen bulb plant from South Africa which happens to be the only species in the genus Melasphaerula; meet Melasphaerula ramosa, a bulb plant, (well, actually a corm) from a genus that finds itself currently placed within the Iris Family. Melaspharula, or 'Fairy Bells' is easy to grow in a cold glasshouse, but it is hard to find, there is only one source that I know of for the corms. It therefore  remains an uncommon plant, seen only in the most well stocked alpine houses of the geekiest of plant collectors. ( ahem).

April 1, 2011

What The F(argo)?

With 8 inches of heavy wet snow on this April Fool's Day, I feel obligated to share the prerequisite Hamamelis and crocus-in-the-snow shots (sans the crocus since the snow crushed them all. 

If the sun comes out, perhaps there will be more images to share before it all melts). Now, back to preparing for my presentation tomorrow on The Alpine Plants of Switzerland and Italian Alps that I am giving at the Berkshire NARGS chapter. This late snow is getting me 'in the mood'.