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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - January 2017

Welcome to Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for January 2017.

Many people think of January as the beginning of another year of bloom day posts. Actually January is the end of a year of bloom day posts since we started this tradition back in February 2007.

That's right. February 2007. That means those who have joined in from the beginning now have ten years of bloom day posts. Ten years.

And many of you said you were terrible at keeping records of  what is going on in your gardens. Now you can no longer make that claim. Now you have up to ten years of records, depending on when you joined in.

Wrapping up this tenth year of bloom day posts, here in my USDA Hardiness Zone 6a garden in central Indiana, we are so far being spared the ice and snow that is gripping much of the U.S. to the west of us and to the north of us.

So far.

I am actually writing this post on the 13th, just to be sure there is a bloom day post on schedule. I realize that by the 15th, I, too, could have ice on my garden. I hope if there is ice, there isn't a lot of it.

I walked around my garden and saw many shoots poking up out of the ground. "Is it time yet?" Not for many of them. Above is a snowdrop sprout.  It could bloom at any time and likely will bloom before the next bloom day posts.

I'd prefer these crocuses wait a bit.
For those concerned with the corm being exposed, rest assured I threw a handful of dirt and mulch on it after I took the picture.

I think these reticulated irises seem a bit rambunctious for this time of year.
At least I think those are the reticulated irises. If not, well, it will be a nice surprise to see whatever they are once they are blooming.

Nearby the witch hazel's buds (Hamamelis vernalis) are puffing up.
Not too exciting yet, but in a few weeks perhaps we'll see some color on them.

We might also see a few of these Helleborus niger open up, too.

I think I've shown these buds in previous bloom day posts. I hope for a sunny day soon when they will actually open up.

In the meantime, there are always the plants in the sunroom.

The amaryllis buds are taking their time.

I've forgotten what color they are going to be but will soon find out.

I also don't know what color these hyacinths "on vase" will be.
But I do know from looking at past bloom day posts that they are pretty much the same at this point every year.

But where are the blooms, you ask?

Here they are!
Once again I've purchased pre-chilled pips of Lily of the Valley to force into bloom. I'm happy to have them now, in the middle of January when little else is blooming.  They remind me that spring is really not that far off.

What's blooming in your garden and home on this January day? Please join in for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and show us by posting about your blooms on your blog. All are welcome, whether it is your first time or your 120th time. Then leave a link in the Mr. Linky widget below  and a comment to let us know what you have for us to see.

And to commemorate the conclusion of 10 years of bloom day posts, please also let us know in your comment how long you've been joining in.

"We can have flowers nearly every month of the year." ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Enga: Enemy of the Garden

The other day, I had a close up encounter with Enga, short for ENemy of the GArden.

Enga a fat squirrel who hangs out around the bird feeders, trying to steal the peanuts I've been putting out for the blue jays.

The blue jays love the peanuts. At times I've counted six or more blue jays hanging around the crabapple tree, waiting for their chance to get a peanut from the peanut wreath.

Then I saw Enga climb down to the wreath and grab a peanut for herself. One day, she actually knocked the peanut wreath to the ground. I'm sure she then proceeded to gorge herself on peanuts because when I found the wreath, it was empty.

And she is fat.

I did the only thing I could do after that happened. I used two wire hooks to lower the wreath even further from the branch it hangs on. Now to get to it, Fat Enga has to carefully, gingerly climb down almost two feet of a skinny wire hook...

Which I watched her do a few times.

Finally, fed up, I threw a few peanuts on the nearby porch. I told myself they were for the blue jays, but I guess I secretly hoped Enga would see them and eat those instead of messing with the peanut wreath.

Then I watched as the blue jays took all those peanuts, one by one, in what seemed like a matter of minutes.

Enga is now on her own.

Or is she? I've seen a squirrel devouring the sunflower seeds I put in the back garden feeders. Could it be one and the same fat squirrel? I don't mind if Enga eats from those feeders as I mostly watch the birds in the front garden, where the good seed is.

The good seed has attracted cardinals, finches, chicadees, blue jays, woodpeckers, and at least one bluebird that I know of. Plus a few grackles and a mourning dove or two. It's been fun watching all these birds out the window as I sit at my desk and work on whatever it is I am working on. Some days an article, some days my book, some days mindless social media, and soon some presentations for upcoming speaking opportunities.

I can look up from whatever is on my screen at any anytime and see at least a few birds, and occasionally Enga.

I hope Enga is the only squirrel hanging around my garden. And I hope she stays in the back garden where there are two feeders full of sunflower seeds. Hopefully, she's eating that seed and has stopped digging up crocus corms.

Time and spring will tell.


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Garden fairies take umbrage

Patiently waiting for helleborus buds to open
Garden fairies here.

We are garden fairies and we take umbrage! We are beside ourselves after taking a look through this book that Carol is getting ready to publish.

Please sit down and hold tight as we tell you...

There is just one mention of garden fairies in the entire book.

We are garden fairies so we will just take a moment and let that sink in.  We did a search of the entire book and found just one place where she even mentions garden fairies, and it is only a mention, not a focal point.

I am sure others will agree that taking umbrage is called for at this time.  We took such umbrage that we had to call a meeting of all the garden fairies to discuss it.  We are garden fairies. We hate meetings. But in times like these...

At the meeting, everyone spoke, clamored, shouted, and talked at the same time. Our minute taker, Sweetpea MorningGlory, finally gave up on trying to write anything down except when the wise Granny 'Gus' McGarden finally spoke up. Granny runs The Vegetable Garden Cathedral and is wiser than the owls we hear across the way, so when she speaks, we listen.

What Granny said was that perhaps the reason Carol only mentioned fairies once in her book is because she is planning another book that will only be about garden fairies.

That thought hadn't occurred to any of the rest of us, but it made sense when Granny said it. Of course. There has to be a book just about us garden fairies. It would be best-seller. It would be one-of-a-kind. It would reveal all of our secrets...

Wait. We are garden fairies and perhaps we do not want all of our secrets revealed!  Perhaps we only want to reveal secrets about Carol, like the fact that here it is four days after the New Year has started and she hasn't taken down her Christmas tree.

Apparently when one works at home as a writer whenever one wants, one doesn't need to rush to take down the tree before going back to work after the holidays.

The tree fairies are of course delighted. Why wouldn't they be? "Keep turning on those pretty lights," they say. "We'll hang here till spring if that's what Carol decides," they declare.

We are garden fairies and so we would be re-miss if we didn't say in Carol's defense that she did take down the outdoor decorations so the neighbors don't know she has slacked off indoors. But they don't know that the outdoor lights are in a heap in the garage, waiting to be wound up nicely on spools.  Nope. We will not tell those secrets, we are garden fairies.

We will just bide our time, waiting for Carol to write a book that is just about us. After all, we are garden fairies, time is on our side.

Submitted by
Violet GreenPea Maydreams, Chief Scribe of the Garden Fairies at May Dreams Gardens

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year, Seventeen

The old rabbit, Sixteen, sat by the garden gate, watching for her replacement to show up, a new rabbit named Seventeen. While she sat and waited, she surveyed her garden and thought back over the year.

"I thought I did pretty good with the weather," Sixteen said to no one in particular.  And she had done a good job with the weather. Everything was seasonal and as expected with no lows too low and no highs too high, and there was enough rain, too.  However, it seemed she had trouble finding the dial to go from Fall to Winter, making for a longer than normal fall.

Once she did find the dial to move from Fall to Winter, she promptly ignored all instructions to turn it slowly and with a quick flick it was suddenly winter. She laughed as this sent everyone scrambling to get ready for the snow, ice, and single digit temperatures that soon followed.

Then Sixteen remembered the Camellias and was sorry she had pulled such a stunt. She hoped they'd be okay.

Oh well, Sixeen enjoyed the flurry of activity toward the end of the year. She was used to it since she happened to be in charge of the garden when Carol decided to retire from what she called her "day job" way back in early summer.

At first Sixteen and everyone else in the garden were quite concerned upon hearing that Carol would be around more often. After all, there was a certain rhythm to the garden that everyone enjoyed and expected. Would Carol disrupt it?

As it turned out, Carol seemed to fit right in with the rhythm of the garden. She got right to work, though some grumbled about how she didn't weed nearly as often as should have and sometimes she just sat there, supposedly thinking. And what was her obsession with zinnias all about, really?

Everyone was pleased, however, when Carol added a new variegated dogwood in Woodland Follies and planted a Brown Turkey fig in The Vegetable Garden Cathedral.  Sixteen also liked that she planted more bulbs in the lawn and a lot of tulip bulbs in the garden borders.

"Seventeen will love those," she said to the garden fairies who had gathered around the gate to see her off. She bore no grudge that Seventeen would see those blooms and she wouldn't.

"But one thing I am a little bit jealous of is that Seventeen will be in that book Carol says she is publishing," said Sixteen.

"After all, Carol wrote the book on my watch, so is it fair that Seventeen will be in the book as the date published? I hope I at least get a mention in the acknowledgements!"

Just then, Sixteen checked her watch and realized it was nearly time for Seventeen to arrive. Peering out the gate, she caught her first glimpse of her youthful replacement.  Seventeen was hopping toward the gate with high leaps full of energy— she seemed quite excited to reach the garden.

"Hello, Sixteen!" Seventeen shouted as she saw the gate. "I'm here and I'm supposed to ask if you have any instructions for me before you leave."

"Do I ever have instructions for you," replied Sixteen. "But I have no time to sit here and go through all of them so I scattered them about the garden. I think and hope you'll find them as you need them. And do watch the weather. Carol likes it to be seasonable and just that, with plenty of rain when she needs it."

Just then a far off clock began to chime the midnight hour.

"That's it for me," shouted Sixteen over the sound of the bells. "I'm off, good luck and all that Auld Lang Syne stuff."

And with that Sixteen was gone and Seventeen was now in charge of the garden.

Surveying her new garden and already making plans, Seventeen asked the garden fairies, "Now, what is this about a book Carol is writing?"

The garden fairies giggled and pointed to the windows of the library where they could see the desk where Carol wrote, in a spot where she had a good view of the crabapple tree and all the birds roosting in it.  Excitedly they told Seventeen, "She says it will be out for the world to see well before the crabapple blooms again."

"Wonderful," said Seventeen. "I'll check on it first before I start on the much needed clean up of this garden. I need to find the first set of instructions Sixteen left me. Hopefully they are inside where it is nice and warm. But there will be time for that tomorrow. Today we say..."

"Happy New Year, everyone, from all of us at May Dreams Gardens!"