I tried to make a blog showing the progression of spring in the northern climate, but after several photos, the site would no longer upload them. So, I will show you what's going on today. The trees are 75% leafed out. The lilacs are slow movers. It is late for them.
In the second to last photo, you see that my hostas are still unfolding. In the photo are also lily of the valley, Virginia bluebells, and Jack in the pulpit. I pulled away the leaves to show you the flower of Jack In the Pulpit in the bottom photo. I haven't worked in this flower bed yet because I'm waiting for a local woman to have her annual perennial plant sale. Ordinarily it would be this weekend, but it is postponed for a week because of the cold spring. She is still digging her plants up. I know exactly what I want for this bed.
In the meantime, I've been planting perennials around the patio that my husband put in last year. I had to buy them at a garden center because I know the plant lady won't have them. I've also been weeding and planting bachelor button and poppy seeds in a flower bed out in the yard. The highlight of this bed was roses. I came to the dim realization that they died this winter, especially after my sister-in-law came over and said all of her roses died, and others reported the same thing. So, I've been cutting the long brown sticks out from them in preparation for removing the root ball in phase 2. I have to do things in stages because I don't have time to do it all at once. My husband came in from mowing the lawn a couple of days ago to report that there is green growth coming out of the bottom of the roses. So, we're giving them a chance to see what happens.
I have annuals sitting around that are slated for various places around the patio and other beds. I'm just waiting on that plant sale next week to be sure I don't want to place some perennials in some of those spots first. It will be interesting to see what she has this year to sell. She charges only $1.00 for 1-gallon pots. It barely covers her time, but she wants to see them get homes and not thrown away. Even though I'm not ready to plant annuals, I bought them when I was in town to save gas and time. I like to combine as many errands as possible into one trip to help the environment, energy and pollution wise.
I've also been weeding out the rose bed and it has been some good exercise. It looks like my lavender has taken a major hit, although I see a little green showing up. I can't remember when lavender is supposed to green up because this is only the second or third year of having it. I really don't know lavender! I may have to start over with that too.
In the apple blossom photos, look for signs of pruned branches. My husband did that the first week of April. He used a saw for the ones you will see. The lilac bushes are late. They should be in full bloom by now, and even on the wane. Overall, trees are only 75% leafed out; usually, they are fully leafed out by mid-May. When the apples are nickel size in diameter, it will be time for me to go out with a ladder and put a Baggie around each apple and a twist tie around the stem of each apple. That is an organic method of protecting against worms. By then, the plum curculio has already visited and some of the apples will have the crescent shaped cut in them that is characteristic of this insect. We have plum trees down the road from our house. I will photograph them on one of my walks when they are in full bloom. I hope that their bloom time will be behind the bagging that I have to do on the apple trees; it seems to be so far. If the plums continue behind the apples, this will be a banner year for apples. Plum trees have the most exquisite fragrance imaginable. There is nothing else like it.
Our berry patch is a mess. My husband devoted all of last summer to putting in the patio and walkway, and building a deck. He was forced to neglect the berries, and it will take a team effort of my husband and I and our son to bring it back. We have scores of baby trees that took root in that short period of time, maybe even hundreds, in amongst all our berries. Last night, I was pulling out the smaller ones, and cleaning out dead raspberry canes at the same time. There are so many trees coming up! It will take the superior upper body strength of our 17-year-old son to get the larger ones out. The circumference of some of the little trunks is about 1/3 inch. You might be surprised to see how tough they are to pull out by the time they are that size. We might even need a shovel. It's amazing how things can decline from one year of neglect.
The east end of our home is a disaster from several years of neglect. We had to pick and choose our most important projects, and each year the east side was put farther down the list in favor of more urgent needs. I have plans for that, but again may be left until next year. At least we have a plan and only need to execute it. Spirea bushes need to be pulled out. They cannot be salvaged. It will be fun to start over, though. I'm not going to worry about things that we could do nothing about. If there was a way to take care of them, it would have been done. Interestingly, bleeding hearts made a home there all by themselves last year, and the hollyhocks I planted almost 10 years ago are still reseeding themselves. We are working toward strategies of low maintenance landscaping. You can see why!
I'm learning that this time of year, my exercise is gardening and yard work during the month of May and June. This is something I never took notice of until I joined Spark People and am actually chronicling and taking the time to notice what really goes on in my life. I've learned the value of counting and accountability and it really is making life more fun. It's amazing how many calories I've burned from gardening! Every time I track it in, the numbers are awesome. And I see my tummy going down. If this keeps up, there will be no more apples there!
Keep Sparking, friends! I tried to upload a blog of how spring came around here this year, but after several photos, the site wouldn't take any more photos. So, I scrapped that idea. In this blog, the site accepted more photos than I loaded into the other one before I gave up. Go figure. Maybe I'll try my unfolding spring idea in a few separate blogs, although I'm not sure that the number of photos has anything to do with it. Maybe the Spark webmasters are tired of looking at winter. Aren't we all!