March 16, 2014

Seasonal celebrations: taking stock

mixedmedia

The crossroad of winter and spring is a fascinating place--where last autumn's leaves, winter's melting ice and snow, spring's new plant growth, and other mixed media from nature come together.

Like other gardeners at this time of year, I'm taking stock of which plants survived, which ones may have died, and any damage from the brutal winter and herbivorous critters.

I'm linking in with Donna's Seasonal Celebrations and Pam's Foliage Follow-Up.

toad

This little toad has greeted me on the back porch table all winter--teasing and reminding me that spring eventually will come again. The Pansies in the pot behind him appear to have survived temperatures well below 0F (-18C). Is that possible? I guess I'll find out if they start growing new shoots.

lamium

Spotted Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) is making an appearance right on schedule. I wouldn't be surprised to see it blooming soon. Amazing little ground cover plant!

moss

Whenever the snow recedes, there's always a healthy crop of Moss. The plant nerd in me loves the delicate textures and colors of Moss--I could study it for hours.

pachysandra

Pachysandra (P. terminalis) stays evergreen--even after repeated arctic blasts. Soon these little green buds will transform into delicate white flowers.

daffodils

Plenty of Daffodils are making their appearance.

crocuses

Crocuses, too! These need protection from rabbits, so I need to add some type of barrier.

evidence

Speaking of rabbits, they've been partying with squirrels under our Yew bushes. I counted more than a dozen corn cobs in one small area, together with rabbit skat, gnawed branches, and torn-off foliage. Apparently rabbits avoid eating Yew shrubs ... unless they're starving. My imagination is running wild with images of rabbits, squirrels, mice, and other critters hunkering down here during the worst winter days ... not a pleasant sight.

hellebore

But one sight that has my heart singing is the first appearance of Hellebore foliage. Looks like they survived! The Oak leaf mulch and snow must have insulated them sufficiently. Yay!

Some areas of the garden still have mounds of snow, and in many spots the ground is still frozen. But every day brings more discoveries of plants and animals that survived this brutal winter.

Remember to check out Seasonal Celebrations and Foliage Follow-Up!

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Coming soon: The Garden Lessons Learned wrap-up. Please share a post or your thoughts about lessons you've learned during the past few months. To join in, click here to leave a comment with a link to your post. Thanks!

40 comments:

  1. I worked in the garden today doing whatever I could before another storm brings us about 8" of snow and saw a few signs of spring. I have 2 crocus that just might bloom this week! Yay! I am also in the process of bunny-proofing my garden. Even if I don't succeed completely, I will make it significantly more challenging to devour my garden than it was last year. I'm hoping to be done and have the post up in the next 2 weeks. I love these photos. They feel so promising. :o)

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    1. More snow! Wow, you're gettiing more snow this year than us, it seems. I'm so excited to see the Crocuses, too! It can't come soon enough. Dang rabbits! I had significant damage to my Lilacs again this year. I'm going to have to wrap them in chicken wire fencing and burlap before next winter. Thanks, Tammy. Spring will feel so great this year, won't it?

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  2. I have nothing showing yet as we are not melting with frigid temps. My hellebores all seem to do well in this frozen tundra. I too adore moss and could study it forever. Spring is an interesting mix of the seasons as the winter gives way to the new season of growth...great post. Thanks for joining in Beth.

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    1. Hellebores amaze me. As do all the early blooming plants. How do they muster enough energy to bloom right after the soil thaws ... let alone to survive arctic weather? Thanks for collaborating once again, Donna!

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  3. New life is starting. The snow is melting and all look so fresh

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    1. Yes, new life is starting. That is the best way to think of it, Endah. Thanks for your perceptive and kind comments.

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  4. I've yet to see any signs of green here unless you count the daylillies...but they are always eager. Love those daffy shoots.

    Jen

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    1. The signs are subtle and spotty here, Jen, but things are definitely changing. And the birds are going crazy! So they must know something that we can't see yet. I'm so ready for spring this year!

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  5. Finally spring is definitely arriving at your place. Those rabbits are a nuisance, I never had them in our garden, but the last few weeks I see them running away when I come into the garden in the morning. I missed a lot of Crocusses this year, now I know where they gone to.....

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    1. Yes, indeed, rabbits are a nuisance. I'm still trying to make my peace with them--probably always will be as long as I live. ;-) That's part of the reason I plant more Daffodils now than Tulips and Crocuses. One option is to plant Daffodils around the perimeter of the Crocuses and Tulips--my mom usually does that and it seems to work pretty well. Good luck! At least we can commiserate...

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  6. It is funny, but the moss on the the pavers (where I shoveled to get in the house) is the only green visible so far. Still snow covered, but this week the garden should start to show. Yesterday it was 9° but the weatherman promises warm weather is on the way. I have seen some of the damage though. Broken branches are everywhere.

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    1. I'm sad about the damage to our shrubs--some of it dessication from the brutal dry/cold winter, and some of it from starving rabbits. But spring and summer will help some of these plants and animals to recover. Every year is so unique in what species thrives and which ones struggle. I do hope you start to have some "normal" spring weather like we are having now. Soon we'll be comparing notes about our blooming bulb plants!

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  7. I love this detailed look at the world, it is ever hopeful. Somehow--even in the worst climates, the hellebores make an appearance. Even with their little heads facing down as if to say "I'm still not sure if I'm ready to shine." This year has surely tested the most optimistic among us...

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    1. Thank you, Susie! You pegged a wonderful description of Hellebores. While I've been gardening for decades, I added Hellebores to my own garden probably about 10 years ago. I've been in love with them ever since. They make such a powerful statement when they emerge from the soil--I'm not sure I can really describe it with words. ;-)

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  8. Your stock is looking good and promising, gratifying after the beating our gardens have taken. Mosses do offer entire worlds when looked at closely. Speaking of close-looking, your leaves under the words "not a pleasant sight" amount to Rorschach, looking to me like the heads and wings of a prehistoric creature.

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    1. Ha! I sometimes look at clouds that way and see interesting patterns. As you say, it is gratifying to see new life emerging after repeated arctic blasts. Perennials that survive extreme winters never cease to amaze me!

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  9. Slowly you are getting there! In London yesterday it was like an anticipation of the summer, gorgeous sunny warm day, but today we are back to normal. Happy St Patrick's Day!

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    1. Hi Lula: I hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day! London sounds wonderful this winter! Other people are writing about how you haven't had any frost. Wow! Enjoy the beautiful spring!

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  10. What amazes me at this time of the year is that each day something new raises it's head above ground level - I then have a little sigh of relief and acknowledge that it's woken from it's winter slumber.
    I hope you get a complete thaw soon Beth - although not too quick that it does more damage than good.

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    1. That's a good point, Angie--we don't want the snow and ice to melt so fast that we have flooding problems. I'd take an extended forecast of 40s gradually heading into 50s and 60s (F), though. Sounds like the U.K. has had that kind of weather (4C to 15C) all winter. How nice! (Except for the excessive rain, of course.)

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  11. Nice to see someone else appreciating moss. So many are dead set on eradicating it.

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    1. I wouldn't mind an entire lawn of Moss, but I'm not sure the neighbors would appreciate it. ;-) But I'm not going to fight the spots where it thrives! It's beautiful!

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  12. Oh my, I think you have BEGINNINGS going on in Wisconsin . . .
    Exciting . . .

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    1. Yes, we have the beginnings. Near 50F tomorrow, and then back to the 30s for a while. :(

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  13. I enjoyed your macros of the daffodils coming up and your toad is adorable! It looks like spring is making its appearance by you!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. I love the toad, too. I ordered it through Amazon last summer and I'm very happy with it. It's motion activated and I placed it where I wanted to chase away the chipmunks. It worked (sort of).

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  14. Love the frog! I have been out checking the garden and finding what is green out there. Mostly the weeds!. I found the dead nettle going like gangbusters, as usual. Chickweed has flowers already and I need to pull asap. All of it!
    Kim Smith @thehypertufagardener.com

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    1. Ha! I have lots of weeds, too. I know some people don't like Dead Nettle, but mine is only growing in controlled spots. I certainly appreciate a plant that blooms in November and late March/early April--and every month in between!

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  15. Hello Beth, at last your cold is now being alleviated and almost finished. At this side of the globe, a 3-week semblance of cold with 19°C before sunrise is the coldest we got before starting the more grueling experience, our dry season. It is now starting and my plants are already showing burns, most of the city plants are already brown too. It will be 2-3 mo of anticipation for the rainy season. Somehow it is the counterpart of your winter in terms of stress to plants and people.

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    1. Wow, a semblance of cold at 19C (66F)! That would be nice. The opposite of our cold--yes. Hot and dry is tough. Hot and plenty of rain is definitely easier on plants and people. Take care!

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  16. I'm impressed your pansies survived those temps! Mine never winter over. This time of year is so exciting ~ every day a new discovery. You've captured some good ones. Glad your snow is melting.

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    1. I don't know for sure that they survived--we shall see. I'm just surprised that I still see green on them. I guess that's a good sign? "Every day a new discovery" -- that is a great way to think of it. Thanks!

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  17. So sorry this winter has been so hard. I hope most everything in your garden survived. Hard to imagine how plants survive the temperature differences they have to live through, but somehow, many of them do. When the daffodils start to come out, spring surely must be coming!

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    1. It's just a cold Midwestern winter (not that I like them, but...) I'll never get tired of studying plants that survive the extremes. They're absolutely incredible. It's one thing to survive when the temperatures and the precipitation are optimal. It's quite another to be able to survive -20F to 110F, and the extremes of shifting precipitation levels. Gotta love those plants!

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  18. So good to see spring is making an entrance in your garden Beth, I am not surprised to see the hellebores have survived the kind of winter you have just had, they survive very well the winters in Norway too. I just got an email from my sister and they have just had a another foot of snow and more to come this week. Strange how Britain has been squeezed in between two cold continents and stayed warmer than usual.

    When you get an overview over what’s survived this winter, I hope you will find most things have survived, fingers crossed :-)

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    1. I understand your sister's situation! We sometimes get snowstorms in March. And sometimes even light snow in April and May (I hope it doesn't happen this year, though). Thanks for your good wishes. I'm thinking most of the plants will have survived because they're supposed to be hardy in this climate. I'm so glad you've had such a pleasant winter!

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  19. You look further along than we are! I'm also very fond of moss, I guess that means I am a plant nerd, too.

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    1. So far, so good. More cold next week, but I suppose you'll get some of that, too? Hurrah for plant nerds!

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  20. It is so great to see plants that have survived and are coming up again! Only now am I finally seeing the snow recede and a few daffodil tips peeking through the mulch. I love moss as well - so pretty and pettable!

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    1. Yes, yes! So our climates/gardens are in synch this season. How fun for comparisons. Happy spring!

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