Happy Easter! (almost)

Another warm day and we jump ahead a week (and I’m sure we’ll take three steps back tommorow).  Generally I prefer a long drawn out spring, but at this point I’ll take anything we can get, even if it means fast-forwarding through the season.  Five days ago the bunny buffet officially opened with its first crocus bloom and now a second sunny day has brought out the rest of the snow crocus (mostly crocus chrysanthus types).

crocus lawn of dreams

Van Egelen’s “lawn of dreams” crocus mix just starting to bloom. 200 snow crocus barely make a splash, but it’s enough to bring me out to sit in this part of the garden on a sunny day.

These are what remains of a fall 2012 planting <for more planting details click here> of about 200 snow crocus and maybe 150 tommies (crocus tommasinianus).  The tommies are not yet up but are supposed to be better spreaders and less tasty to all things which love crocus as much as I do.  Unfortunately Pennsylvania rabbits must be a less refined bunch since in my experience they mow down all crocus equally.

snow crocus naturalized lawn

They sure would look nicer spotted about in a velvety green carpet of lawn, but this is the Pennsylvania tundra so you get what you get!

I don’t mow this patch of thin grass until late, so waiting for the crocus foliage to die off naturally is no problem, but if you are a mower keep in mind that the crocus need to grow for five or so weeks after blooming in order to build up next year’s blooms.  Because the rabbits were so brutal on both bloom and foliage last year I didn’t think I’d see any flowers this year, but fortunately they came through even if a little weaker.  Luckily the snowdrops are not at all tasty to bunnies.

first snowdrops galanthus

The first snowdrops opening in the backyard.  They’ve multiplied but not so much that I can’t still count every last bloom to compare to 2014’s show…. sad and desperate, I know.

I of course did not follow the rules of common sense last year and ended up adding more new and expensive snowdrops to my garden.  They’re just as white and drop-shaped as my free snowdrops and all the other ones I have, but they’re much much better 🙂

galanthus lapwing

Galanthus ‘lapwing’

Another new bulb added last fall is iris “Katherine Hodgkin”.  Everyone loves Katherine for her subtle colors and intricate patterns…. except me.  I have a lower class of taste and of course prefer the brightest colors, and this one doesn’t show up as well as I’d like.  My mother of course will like it, and my wife too if she ever happens out into the garden before May, but I on the other hand say “meh.”  Hopefully our children will not inherit their taste from me but will instead be the perfect blend of well rounded, refined, garden loving young adults.  Optimism is one of the highlights of spring.

iris Katherine hodgkin

Iris “Katherine Hodgkin”.  Makes me think of dirty snakes.  I bet it’s virused too, I can see darker blue streaks in the blooms on the left and believe this is a sign…. 

A couple more warm days and all the early bulbs will be blooming.  Crocus are a favorite and along the warm south side of the house the first of the plump and bright dutch hybrids are opening.  I wish they lasted longer, but nothing lasts forever and when spring turns warm and sunny I always make a point of getting out to see them.

first dutch crocus blooms

Dutch crocus just starting to bloom in the warmest parts of the garden. The bees will be happy, the bunnies too.

Yesterday was beautiful, today not so much.  I want to get out there and clean up but don’t want the neighbors judging me for gardening in the cold, gray drizzle.  Looking at the forecast, Easter Sunday is supposed to be the most promising day, but Godless and crazy is probably a worse label than just plain old crazy so maybe I’ll try and get a few things cut back and cleaned up before then.   Fortunately I was out there last weekend for a start (the backyard snow melted briefly before the latest batch came down, so I rushed out to do some raking and trimming!)

vegetable beds ready for spring

The vegetable beds cleaned, straightened up, and ready to go. I even went over the lawn with the mower to give it a springtime “vacuum” of twigs and other debris.

It’s going to be a lazy cleanup this year, I can feel it already.  Electric hedge trimmer to cut everything back, mower to go over it once to chop, mower bag emptied on the beds to cover up all the leaves and bits which I didn’t bother raking out.  Done.  I need more time to transplant and divide, and gift plants with shovelfuls of compost.  Plus the mulched debris will keep down many of the self sowers, and I think last year’s “riot” of volunteers was a little messier than I want this year.  Always have to keep things changing!

Best springtime and Easter wishes to all, enjoy the weekend!

24 comments on “Happy Easter! (almost)

  1. Hehehe, my feelings exactly — about the weather, the prospects for Sunday (Sun and Mon look to be the only two non-rainy days for the next seven), and the crocuses! I can see some bits of purple outside my window just waiting for the sun. Do willow catkins count as “flowers” after the winter we’ve had?? 😉

    • bittster says:

      I vote yes on counting willow catkins as springtime flowers! Who could deny pussywillow after all?
      My crocus are all now firmly closed, which is good considering the rain which has been coming down. They’ll really just sit and wait until things dry out, there’s no sneaking open here and there like some other flowers. I guess we’ll need to wait just a little more.

  2. Chloris says:

    No snow? Absolutely no snow at all? Amazing. It will probably snow again next week, but in the meantime how lovely to have so many crocuses in bloom and lots of snowdrops, even if they do all look the same. Happy gardening.

    • bittster says:

      Yes. Other than a few dirty piles along the street there is no snow in sight. Flurries in the forecast, but nothing requiring a shovel thank goodness.
      You would be ashamed to know how many new drops I have. All of them white of course.

  3. I will have to try a masonry hammer for my next batch of crocus. I’ve been planting about 400 a year in our lawn, although I skipped last year. I used the ProPlugger which worked pretty good, but not as fast as I could wish.

    • bittster says:

      The hammer worked well for me, but I admit I’m fine with a sloppily done job just as long as it’s done. The bulbs didn’t seem to mind though, and they were even clearance bulbs so not quite the freshest.
      You’ve inspired me to think about adding a few more… even if the rabbits ate half the plantings last night (they’ve been discovered). Maybe if I add more the rabbits won’t be able to keep up? That’s what I’ll tell myself at least.

  4. mattb325 says:

    The garden is looking remarkably good considering the immense weight of snow that’s been sitting on top of it for almost half a year! I’m with you on the bright colours for spring – especially after such harsh winter weather, you deserve an explosion of colour, not just a pale wash of colour 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Isn’t it amazing how quickly everything kicks in to action once the ice cap thaws? I’m grateful for that at least.
      Today was a gloomy wet day and ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ looks much better. I may have to admit it has a bit of a glow to it that isn’t all that bad. But they’re nothing like my hot-pink, cotton candy bright, cyclamen!

  5. Cathy says:

    I have to admit that I am also not keen on Katherine H. I have some lovely deep blue/purple Iris reticulata and they are so blue they just demand attention when walking past! I hope your weather is now going to warm up a bit so you can make use of that smart blue chair again… I mean so you can do some work in your garden. 😉

    • bittster says:

      Haha, were you watching me? I already spent quite some time soaking in the springtime sunshine. It just feels so good to be warm again, and I’m looking forward to a little less static in my life… seems like everything has been sticking to me for the last six months :/
      I have a patch of blue iris coming along and I hope mine call for attention as well. Spring should be loud!

  6. Your garden is looking very spring-like and much tidier than mine. Here, the ice pack hasn’t completely thawed yet, so I’m reluctant to start the cleanup. I do have a few crocuses in bloom. My common snowdrops are up, the expensive ones seem to have disappeared. Pennsylvania critters are the worst! Have a wonderful Easter! P. x

    • bittster says:

      Oh no! How do they always know which flowers are the precious ones!?
      If you haven’t already guessed I only show the cleaner parts of the garden. The melting of the snow in the front yard has revealed a garbage dump’s worth of stray children toys, sleds, and random windblown trash. I hope the rain finishes off your last bits of ice, and a joyous Easter to you as well!

  7. johnvic8 says:

    Looks like you are beginning to catch up with spring. Great! I hope you have a Blessed Easter.

  8. rusty duck says:

    Bunny buffet… I like that. The description that is and the kindred spirit it reveals, not the bunnies. We have one, I think, and for as long as it’s one and not two I’ll be happy. But the mice (voles?) make up for what we so far lack in bunnies. Bulbs are a no-no here. Unless I plant them in metal cages underground. And even then the mice just wait a bit and nip off the emerging shoots.
    I like Katherine Hodgkin too I must admit, all two days that I had her..

    • bittster says:

      I have friend with voles and mice, and she has basically given up completely on bulbs and many of the plants she used to grow easily. It’s a shame and a struggle and I feel for you.
      I have a few of the blue iris opening today and Katherine is a nice contrast, but the color still doesn’t overwhelm me. I’m sure it’s me though, nearly everyone else loves it!

  9. You are so lucky you can leave the grass long in spring. In this city we get cited. I have naturalized Muscari and a few wayward crocus in the tiny lawn patch and they have to be cut before their time. Since our neighbors complain about everything – even how many trees, how much lawn I removed and that the turf is almost all cut weeds (that I let it go to seed on purpose sometimes) – the only thing they get action on is how long I keep the grass. If it is over 4″ we get a citation and fine. Our neighbors love their green lawns. That is the big difference between Buffalo and here. In Buffalo they appreciate having a front yard filled with flowers. I love your bulbs in bloom. Here, the weather is still keeping them tight to the ground.

    • bittster says:

      That’s a shame, and also a bit odd. I’m not a big fan of local government (or any for that matter) micromanaging my life. My grass has been over four inches on many occasions and I almost think in the summer when I set it high that’s about the height I start at.
      My crocus lawn is out back. I’m sure even here there would be complaints about a front lawn which needs cutting but in the back I only hear complaints from one person. Over the years the complaints have become fewer and I think they’re choosing to fight other battles such as the lack of any interest in car washing and fresh bedroom painting.

  10. Look at you, with all your bare ground and crocuses and “dirty snake” irises! (I like Katherine Hodgkin, personally!) I am just celebrating that about 1/3 of my yard is now bare of snow!

    A few years ago I planted a couple hundred snow crocuses and thomasinias on my back hillside, and they were lovely . . . for two days. And then the woodchucks came through and ate every blossom. Expletives may have been uttered. Last fall I planted a lot of squill there; hopefully that won’t be as tasty, and I’ll have a nice display in a month or so.

    Happy Easter, Frank!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Kimberley!
      If Katherine ever needs dividing I’ll make sure a few come your way.
      The bunnies stopped by the other night and about half the crocus are now gone. Easy come easy go I would say, except it wasn’t that easy planting them all 🙂 At least I got over five days out of mine this year, and I’m still hoping the tommies come in for a second flush of bloom later.
      I think squill may be poisonous. They’re seeding like mad in my front bed this spring. Apparently I didn’t collect as many seeds as I thought I did…

  11. Annette says:

    well, there you are, Frank, I’m so glad you can spend Easter on a lawn of dreams! your veg garden looks so neat, bet you can’t wait to fill these beds. happy Easter to you and your family 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Annette!
      I already put a few cold hardy seedling out in a sheltered spot to harden off a bit. Awfully optimistic considering we have only been snow-free for less than four days but the forecast looks pretty good 🙂

  12. I think your crocus-blooming lawn looks wonderful. You are rather hard on poor Katherine Hodgson, though. I don’t have any, but she seems quite attractive to me. Hope you enjoy your Easter, inside and out! I am digging up turf for a new bed today.

  13. willisjw says:

    It looks like you are all set to go with the garden. We started to till for the peas this weekend (at last) but the rototiller has acquired a major gas leak. By the time we get it back from the repair shop, I’m sure there be some spring rainfall…

    We have had crocus in the lawn forever. I see rabbits but they don’t seem to bother the crocus. Chionodoxa have not only naturalized in the lawn but they have moved into the pasture as well. They never seem to have any critter problems.

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