Sunday, April 17, 2011

Triumphs and Tragedies

We recently moved our laptop into one of the bay windows which provides a lovely view of the apple trees and front border.  I am truly delighted with this spot as yesterday while I sat working I spotted some of the first spring robins carefully checking over my lawn.

Gazing out the window I sat contemplating what should be done with this border.  It still requires some expansion as the digging was not completed last year.  But more problematic is that it is full of a hodge podge of plant sale finds.  A proper planting scheme must be considered.  As I sat pondering inquiring faces came to the window to see whether I would be joining them soon in the yard.

So with camera in hand I decided to head straight out to the front bed and take a look at what plants were there.  We've had a bit of rain this past week and the snow is now completely removed from our yard.  yah!!  The tragedy is that the weather is still quite chilly, we even had snow on Friday afternoon, so although plants are beginning to emerge from the earth their growth is not fast and furious but just a smidgeon at a time, testing the temperature as they go.  These bleeding hearts are just beginning to poke their noses out of the earth.

It was a rather triumphant day though as I found the evidence of numerous plants that have survived the winter.  In the entrance bed I found the white phlox 'David' pushing its way into the world.

White phlox 'David'
Also found was the Mountain bluet.

Mountain bluet is beginning to push out leaves
A surviving plant tag next to the emerging foliage told me this plant was the Bluet.  Otherwise I would have had some difficulty knowing what was growing there.  Tragically many of the plants don't have tags.  

I was able to identify some, like this lambs ear, simply by sight.

Other plants I was not so fortunate.  I'm fairly certain I planted a ligularia in the front bed but I could have sworn it was in a much different spot.  This could possibly be the golden glow but again, I thought that was in a different spot.  

That presents a bit of a difficulty because I had intended to move the Golden Glow.  I'll have to wait a bit longer and hopefully their identities will become more evident.

Some of the plants I wasn't certain about but luckily I created a master garden list last summer and was able to put some names with faces.  Like this artemesia.

From the entrance bed I moved out into the yard to see if any of my bulbs were ready to appear.  The daylilies have started to push through although it will be some months before they are ready to bloom.

The muscari have only produced the tiniest of leaves but the Siberian squill, despite their diminutive size are producing buds.

From there I wandered over to the vegetable garden.  Last fall's garlic has started to grow and is doing quite well.  

Chives are also sprouting and the Hardy geranium 'Samobor' that I tucked into the raised beds for lack of a better planting space has begun to produce leaves.

The final triumph of the day came as I was wandering around the raised vegetable beds.  Some weeks ago I had commented to hubby that I found it strange that field mice would tunnel into our lawn.  I don't really know if mice are diggers and I'm wondering if all the holes can possibly be attributed to them. Hubby said that they had to live somewhere in the winter and the mice couldn't very well live out in the open.  In fact his comment was something to the effect of  'you don't see them building little teepees out on the lawn so you?'  

Well who's laughing now?

It might not be a teepee but I know a straw hut when I see one.


  1. I love watching the bulbs push their way up. I have daffodils, tulips hyacinths and crocuses as well as a couple of different day lilies. Every spring it lifts my heart to see them come up. Last weekend I thinned out the raspberry bush and cleared away around the rhubarb. Looks like we'll have a lot from these guys this year.

  2. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but those straw huts as you call them are probably the tunnels of moles. The voles use those tunnels to travel around your garden. I find mouse traps with some peanut butter on the underside of the trap works well.
    It is fun discovering new growth emerging from the ground. Unsure of what it is? Check your photos from last year! My photo record has helped me before.

  3. Lannie says Hi: Several things come to mind, we too catch many moles with peanut butter and mouse gardens here in Muskoka are on par with yours in P.E.I., buds emerging beautifully..Artemisia spreads like crazy, it can take over, I've thrown out buckets of it..Something I do is buy little photo albums with plastic pages at the Salvation Army and every plant I buy which has a plastic tag stuck into the pot, gets washed and put into these memory is terrible, people stop by on their walks and ask me names of plants, so I revert to my albums for the names plus the name tags come in really handy for hostas so I don't duplicate them when buying new ones..isn't spring so hopeful and energizing? regards Lannie

  4. you have a nice group of plants in the waiting Marguerite, looking at past photos like Janet says helps identify where things are, you will have a lovely view of your garden from your bay window, the birds are always gleaning my grass and soil, if I put down a mulch it can get thrown every where especially if it is grass cuttings, the upside is not just having the birds to enjoy but few wee pests,
    your husbands teepee comment made me laugh sounds just like my son would say, Janets saying the voles travel through mole tunnels, on the islands south of me where they have an over population of rabbits and hedgehogs (both non native to the islands) the hedgehogs use the rabbit tunnels making it near imposible to protect the eggs of the thousands of ground nesting birds from becoming hegdehog food, and some people think amimals are stupid!
    love Priscilla at the window,
    hope you get some warm weather soon, Frances

  5. Hi Marguerite,
    Can you believe it is snowing here!! Where is global warming hiding out? I can't remember such a cold, miserable spring. As in your garden, plants and bulbs are peeking up out of the ground, but they have halted now until warmer weather returns.
    That little mouse teepee is quite something! I am sure that as well as providing shelter, it helps to keep the snow up out of their burrow.

  6. We are getting a few flakes here too. Simply disgusting! Last Sunday was 23c and today it is 2c. WTH?
    In better news my bleeding heart is up about 6 inches and my myrtle is starting to bloom. (Obviously nothing much is going to grow today!)
    That cute little straw house looks pretty cozy, much better than a teepee lol!

  7. Nice to see some life emerging after the long winter. Soon enough...I keep telling myself.

  8. Johanna - Aren't bulbs a joy to watch? Such bright bursts of colour so quickly in the spring. It's a real cheery sight.

    Janet - I wondered about that! I actually pushed the 'hut' in this photo over but there was no tunnel underneath? However I just couldn't believe mice would dig all those tunnels. I'm pretty sure we must have moles but I've never actually seen one. What sort of damage do they inflict?

    Lannie - Artemisia spreads? Fabulous! There's a number of places I could use this plant and I love the feathery texture and silver colour. An album is a great idea. Previously I've used my mac program 'pages' to create a master list of plants and insert photos of the plants.

    Frances - you're right, perhaps the mice are using the mole tunnels for themselves. That would make a lot of sense. Unfortunately past photos aren't going to help me much as many of these plants were placed just in the fall and pictures weren't taken. I purchased them in spring thinking I would make spots for them over the summer and never managed so they got thrown in hither and yon before the bad weather hit. That's why I have geraniums in my veggie beds! I must be more organized this year.

    Jennifer - I noticed they built their little hut on the far side of the raised bed. Some protection from the snow and wind on that side. Smart little varmits. I watched the weather channel this morning and boy was there ever snow in Ontario! Ours didn't amount to much and was quickly washed away so I can't complain really.

    Jane - this weather really is outrageous. Last weekend I was in a t-shirt and this weekend nothing less than 3 layers would do. If I'm confused I can't imagine what the plants must think.

    Liz - I"m so impatient but it sure is nice to see some growth, even if it's just a couple inches. I literally had to lay down on the lawn to get the photos of the squill they're so tiny.

  9. I laughed at the grass hut! No doubt it is the portal to an underground world filled with critters. It is exciting to see new growth emerging. My spring is ending, and yours is beginning. Almost, I wish I could do the season over again, it has been so glorious. I will be checking at the end of summer to see what has survived, as you check now to see what has made it through your winter.

  10. My workspace is nearby a window as well and I find myself called to the garden, camera in hand...sometimes work just has to wait! Nice to see spring coming on strong where you will break the back of winter in no time.

  11. How wonderful that, despite the last gasp snow flurries, Spring is finally arriving for you. I can see that you are going to have a lot of fun this year taking your garden plans on to the next stage, making lists, planting plans, taking hundreds of photographs. Exciting, like all the new growth pushing its way up. Not sure you are ever going to get anything serious done on that laptop, other than, perhaps, looking up plants - not with that view and your head so full of plans! Good luck curtailing the ravages of the wildlife.

  12. Debsgarden - I find it absolutely amazing how blogging has changed my sense of gardening. To see gardens that are a full season ahead or filled with tropical plants. It's baffling and awing. The downside to our late spring (or upside some would say) is that it is short. The weather is so haphazard, with cold and rain, it's hard to get outdoors and then suddenly it's June and it's hot!

    Cat - I hadn't really thought of putting the desk in front of a window before and now I can't imagine why we didn't do it sooner. It's a lovely, and somewhat distracting, spot and once that entrance bed starts coming together it will be a really lovely place to sit.

    Janet - It was definitely difficult to concentrate with all the action going on outside! But it was good in that it really made me think hard about what should go in that entrance flower bed. perhaps I should move the desk around to every window of the house so I start thinking about what all the views look like!

  13. Marguerite just reading comments and your last to Janet about moving the desk to each window, there is a simpler way, take a photo and make it you desktop background, not forever but for just as long as you are considering what to do, Frances

  14. Frances, brilliant idea! I could take a series of pictures and use them as my screen saver at work. Something to contemplate when I'm tired of looking at files!