Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My February Friend: Herb(s)

Yes, it's February. And yes, the last two days have been exceptionally cold and windy. And yes, the last frost day in these parts won't happen for another two-and-a-half whole months. But darn it all, it's time to start growing some things. I feel the need for some green!

Herbs fit the bill perfectly. They can grow happily by the back door until better weather arrives. I picked up some thyme, sage, basil and garden cress at the grocery store where the first big seed display of the season went up this week. I've never tried garden cress before but the package said a harvest would be ready in 10-12 days. That's almost instant results. How could I pass that up? It's so good to be planting again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Serenity Now!!!

It has been an incredibly stressful month, so stressful that gardening and blogging have been the last thing on my mind. A long, drawn-out home excavation and underpinning project next door has encroached onto our property pushing me to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Walkways have collapsed, my foundation has been exposed, building inspectors have been called in, and lots and lots of sleep has been lost. It has been hard to enjoy the blue skies during a short stint of nice weather.

If you ever watched "Seinfeld" you'll know that "Serenity Now" was a popular catch phrase. George's father would scream it at the top of his lungs during trying times. That's just how I feel. I am trying really hard to put things in perspective. Don't sweat the small stuff, as they say. Everything will be okay. All necessary repairs will be taken care of. But after two years of varied construction projects I have had enough. My gardens have been trampled; I have lost plants; a tree has been damaged; and my head aches from the daily chorus of jackhammers. All I can do, however, is wait this situation out breathing deeply and fighting back both the tears and the anger.

There has been one small comfort in this latest construction fiasco. All of it has happened in winter. If this had happened in summer my nervous breakdown would have happened long ago. It is my deepest, deepest hope that all the work will all be done before spring when months and months of worry and stress will melt away into the soil, and the foliage, and the blooms. For now, I'm finding serenity in short little spurts like watching the birds for a few minutes. Hope you find your serenity now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Winter's Hasty Retreat (I Hope)

The sun was blazing this morning and temperatures for the next four days are set to soar above the freezing mark. It's the February thaw (usually we get a January thaw but that didn't happen this year. Better late than never.)

Here's the snow retreating from the edge of the nearly-all-native woodland walk.

The moss phlox is looking a little worse for wear but I expect it to put on a vibrant spring-time show. When I planted it last spring, it was little more than a sprig of green about 3cm long. It put on quite a bit of growth in season one, so I'm hoping for a spectacular season two.

Recognize this? It doesn't look like much now but that's foamflower. I am sooooooo excited to see how it does this year. Like the moss phlox, the plants were wee when I put them in. I had eight and lost three to squirrel activity. The five that made it had the most beautiful little mounds of foliage at the end of last season. This year I am counting on some blooms.

I spend a lot of time in the garden coming up with ideas for how to get rid of a little bit more of my existing lawn. But on this sunny February day I'm going to celebrate this much maligned turf. Just look at how lovely and (sort of) green it is.

The warm spell is supposed to last all week. Needless to say, this has unrealistically raised my expectations that we'll breeze through February and March without further extreme winter weather and that planting season will soon begin. Ah well, a gardener can dream (but only for a little while longer.)