And then it was spring!

This was a good weekend.  Not so much Saturday with blustery cold winds and stray snow and rain…. more so Sunday with calm sunshine and some of the highest temperatures of the year!  Of course Saturday (the cold day) was the open day for Hitch Lyman’s garden, so trust me you’ll hear more about that, but for now I just want to bask in the warmth that was.  Pansies were on the list and Perennial Point did not disappoint.

pansies for sale

Just one of several pansy filled flower benches

Perennial Point is my go-to nursery for the best plants in my neck of Pennsylvania.  This was their opening weekend, and I’m always glad to see them back especially after nearly losing them three years ago when the Susquehanna River flooded, spreading plants far and wide and covering the whole place in over ten feet of rushing water.  They’ve rebuilt, and the new and improved is overflowing with spring goodies.  Here’s the interior filled with more delicate things not ready for the frosty nights.

spring greenhouse

A spring greenhouse overflowing with all that’s good about ending winter.

I have to say my daughter was very patient while I looked around.  Not every 5 year old tolerates plant shopping as a follow up to her first day of T-ball practice.  Stopping for  chicken nuggets helped, and she got to pick out one of these trays of primula for mommy.  How could I not at $4.59 a tray (four plants)!!?

spring primulas

Some perfect primulas. I hope the ones I bought stay this nice for at least a week or two.

I could have hung out for a while among the spring color and fragrance, but ice cream was promised so off we went.  I wanted to carry out another spring tradition, the visiting of a local spring snowflake patch near the ice cream shop.  The snowflakes (the good kind!) were in full bloom and although there were fewer than in years past (there’s been some careless construction going on) there was still a nice patch filling the creekside hollow.

naturalized leucojum vernum

Naturalized snowflakes (leucojum vernum). Notice the cool green tips on the flower petals?

I love snowflakes (leucojum vernum).  They open just after the snowdrops, usually just as soon as the soil thaws, and because of that they’re always a special part of spring.  This group is just a few feet away from a creek, and I think they do well in damp ground, but they also do just fine in a regular garden setting.  Good luck finding them though, I hear the bulbs resent drying out and as a result few sellers carry them.  But they’re worth a search, and even better if you can find a special form with yellow tips to the blooms or double flowers…. if you do keep me in mind!  Sharing is caring 😉

How not to do a project, part deux

Sunday rolls around and I’m not even sure what the weekend project is…. or was.  I think it had something to do with that box of bareroot apple tree that’s been sitting on the porch for two days now.  Bareroot plantings should be taken care of asap, first step is to plump up the roots again by sitting them in a bucket overnight, I think 24 hours is sorta the max for soaking, you don’t want to drown them.  When planting, the only special thing to remember is to spread out the roots and work the soil back in between.  A little dirt, water it in, a little more dirt, water in.  It’s better to keep the root flare high rather than deep, you can always add soil or mulch around the base later if needed.  Don’t bother mixing anything into the planting hole, if your soil is horrible, plant even higher and mulch well with compost and those nutrients will work their way down to the roots, just like they do in every forest on the planet.  You may think it’s cruel not to try and improve the soil for your baby, but look around.  If you can see other trees growing then your tree should be fine too…. unless those other trees are swamp cypress… you might have a drainage issue then.

spring seedlingsSo with a sense of urgency to get my tree (and 3 gooseberries too!) into the ground I got the coffe brewed and sat down at the computer….. breakfast followed and then some Lego villages had to be built.  Then a friend stopped by.  Six hours later, a run to the local nursery (to drop off $40), and this is where I’m at.  It’s pansy season after all and buying pansies, shaking off winter, and supporting my local nursery are tradition in these parts.  The apple tree is still not planted but it’s Sunday after all, and things shouldn’t happen too fast on a day of rest.

spring pansiesIt’s more fun to plant pansies than dig holes for dormant apple trees, and you shouldn’t pick-axe pond holes on a day of rest, so I drug out the planters for my new purchases and got them planted.  Again it’s not that easy.  All the fancy pots already have stuff in them.  It’s stuff like rubber trees and fig bushes that need repotting too, so that all came out to make room for the pansies.  Did I mention I bought lettuce?  I was embarrased to  even think of my own seedlings when I saw the lettuce plants for sale.  My reasoning was if I can get at least 215 servings of salad off these plants, they should pay for themselves.

spring pansiesThe back deck got a little spring too.  I should have powerwashed off last year’s stains first, but that’s another project and right now I’m too busy planting trees.

Tomorrow maybe I can actually get one in the ground.  The rest of Sunday was spent taking the kids (my two plus another three) for a walk in the woods and down to the railroad tracks.  They then insisted on seeing the drug house that burned down on Saturday.  Funny how these things never get mentioned in most tree planting tutorials.

Around 9pm I snuck out and opened the tree box.  Everything is soaking and has to be planted Monday before it drowns.  I should have no problem getting to it since the only other thing going on is repairing the pond hole.

Regarding the pond hole, I made the mistake of leaving the shovels out next to the dirt piles,  and after two hours of worm hunts, “climbing the pile”, and playing with the pick-axe, most of the dirt is back in the hole or thrown into the pond liner.  A little more work for me, but at least most of the local earthworms (and a couple of grubs) have been given names.