Saturday, March 1, 2014

My Garden Notebook - March 2014


Hello, dear friends. This time away has been a great time to get things in order and to look ahead to the gardening year. Grief has a way of transporting us to a place where we can see the mist in front of the sun, hear the low chortle before a bird's chirp, and sense the enormity of silence. It is a time to do many things, it is a time to ponder.




Winter has a way of slowing me down, forcing me to sit back and ponder. With all of these snowy days, the best place to do that is in front of a window--to see nature paint the bare branches or brush the evergreens with just enough crystals as to keep them warm. Although this winter has been harsher than most, it certainly has been one of the more beautiful. Snow always seems to add a dimension that makes the gray and brown of this chilly season more bearable.




There is not very much happening in the garden because the harsh cold and ice and snow have kept growth and sprouting to a bare minimum. However, there are a few things I am doing to prepare.




stats

Gardening Zone: 7a
January/February High Temperature: 64 degrees F
January/February Low Temperature: 6 degrees F
Precipitation: 4.26 inches

wildlife

There is a cardinal pair frequenting the feeder. The male is always so regal and beautiful.




The wren sings every morning here by the feeder to remind me not to forget to put a little seed out for him.




what's blooming, sprouting

The daffodils are coming up in spots all over the garden.



The hellebores are budding a little later this year. They usually bud in January.

Lenten Rose - hellebore - Red Racer
I added four witch hazel plants to my garden last year. They are still very, very small, but one is blooming.


Witch Hazel - Hamamelis mollis primavera

in the vegetable garden

I did not plant a fall/winter garden this season. I let my garden have a break. I am very glad I did because with all of the snow and ice we have had, it would have been quite a challenge to keep everything alive.


This is how the vegetable garden has looked most of the winter.

I planted peas indoors and hope it will be warm enough to plant them outdoors in March.


Snowpeas - Avalanche

completed chores

pruned buddleia shrubs
pruned raspberry bushes
pruned Atlas Cedar
sowed peas indoors

chores for March

clear away plant debris and leaves plant beds
weed garden beds
prune back liriope
test soil
spread lime
spread compost

notes

My dear Simba passed away last month. He was a week shy of 19. Pets have a way of delicately reaching in and caressing the heart. They seem to become a part of that heart. We will miss him terribly, but we know he is free of his aging and failing body and frolicking with ease and little care somewhere in a magical forest made just for him. That's how I see him, anyway--curious, chattering, and with an ageless sparkle in his eye.


Our sweet and spicy Simba

plans

I planted a White Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) last year, but the ice broke the very small and tender trunk. So, I am hoping to add one in its place and move the broken one elsewhere. Perhaps it will find new life.

What's in your Garden Notebook for March?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I plan to continue the composting series this year. If you missed the start of it, here are the first two posts:

Composting Part I - All About Compost
Composting Part II - Advantages and Disadvantages of Compost Bins and Piles

This spring, I will post the next article in the series, How to Make Perfect Compost. 


© copyright 2014 Michelle A. Potter

38 comments:

  1. I'm very very glad you're back to blogging! Great photos!
    I see you have a lot of plans and your plants survived this snowy winter. We here have no snow (!!) and my plants are cold because of frost (-3 C) I'm sorry your blue-eyed cat passed away, the animals are part of our lives.
    Have a nice weekend, Michelle!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Nadezda. Your winter sounds much worse than ours, but I do see some signs of spring slowly emerging.

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  2. I am so happy to see you back blogging, I have missed your gorgeous photos and well thought words.

    Thanks for the lovely photos today, we are hearing about your cold weather on the news and I am sure you are aware of our completely different weather this winter and what challenges it has brought to us and still do. Looks like you will get a busy March with your list of chores but it is good after a hard winter to finally get started. So sorry to hear about your Simba.
    I hope you have a good week-end, take care, Helene.

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    1. Yes, I have heard about your mild winter. I have relatives in Germany, and they are already talking of flowers in the garden. Thank you for your kind comment.

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  3. Welcome back, Michelle! It's such a delight to see your lovely photos once again. My condolences on Simba; I hope that there are lots of colorful birds over the Rainbow Bridge for him to enjoy.
    It certainly has been a harsh winter, and we're not done yet--another 10 inches of snow is supposed to fall here tomorrow! Instead of thinking about gardening, I've been checking the pantry to make sure it's stocked before we're housebound again. How nice to see daffodils budding in your garden already! I'm hoping by the time this next snow melts, we might see some here, too. Have a good weekend, and I hope you're able to get out in the garden soon.

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    1. Hello Rose. I just noticed one of the daffodils blooming this morning most likely because we had temperatures in the 70's yesterday. I hope you stay warm and safe during this very cold and snowy winter.

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  4. Each one is s stunning capture. Excellent clarity and focus in the pics.
    Snow is an amazing subject to photograph!

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    1. Thank you, Indrani. There is quite a lot to find to photograph in the snow.

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  5. It is so cold here this year that I think March will be all about waiting. I am sorry you lost your dear Simba. What beautiful blue eyes! I hope the days are warm for your fledgling peas and that they prosper.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I may have to cover the peas a few nights because very cold temperatures are predicted.

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  6. Great photos, beautiful ice and snow (we had nothing this winter), lots of garden chores done and still more to do. I am so sorry for the loss of your Simba the cat, it was a beauty. The design of your vegetable garden is so pretty!

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    1. Thank you, Janneke. It has been a very beautiful and interesting winter.

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  7. The cold and ice looks so lovely on your flowers. These are exquisite pictures. I love to see the snow because I don't see it much where I live. It's raining a lot lately, but the blossom trees tell me that spring is on its way. The red cardinal is beautiful. I usually only see the ordinary birds around, but it would be such a sight to see this one.

    It looks cold where you live. Stay warm and bundle up, my friend.

    ~Sheri

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    1. Thanks so much, Sheri. We have had more snow than in previous years. And I see those buds coming...can't wait.

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  8. I always enjoyed cardinals in the winter. Living in Wisconsin, they were one of the few colorful winter birds and they brightened up the yard when the snow was on the ground. I see them occasionally here in Texas, but I'm in the wrong part to get a lot of the song birds I enjoyed in Wisconsin (like your wren, they have such a big song for such a small bird).

    Sadly, what I see most around here are those ugly and annoying blackbirds and grackles. I also see something that is either a killdeer or a plover in the fields where the lovely black angus cows are out grazing (always makes me think of a nice steak). I probably need to take a picture sometime to figure out exactly what they are.

    The only bad thing about spring is that it marks the return of the insects. Not looking forward to all those spiders (especially the brown recluse) and the fire ants.

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    1. We have some crows and starlings come by the feeders. I suppose they are part of the whole, and so I try to tolerate them. Thank you for stopping by.

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  9. Welcome back. Hope you have a kind spring. It's amazing how different our garden looks now the sun has lost its fury and everything (almost) turns green and vibrant. Sorry to hear about your cat.

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    1. Thank you, Diana. I am hoping the spring will be a slow emergence to give me time to get everything done before the heat sets in.

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  10. I think snow is in the forecast this March. I will not be seeing much above the soil much for a while it looks like. It is wonderful you are back blogging. Maybe you will have better weather than us. I love that little wren, I see them very rarely here.

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    1. We are experiencing a harsh winter as well, but I am hoping March will begin to show signs of spring very soon. Thank you for your kind comment.

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  11. Hi Michelle: I missed your graceful words and your lovely images, so I'm glad you're blogging again. I'm sorry about your difficult time, including the loss of your dear Simba. What a handsome animal! He had a nice, long life with you but I know that doesn't make it any easier. As I read your post, my dear Oreo girl was curled up on my lap. I'm seeing signs of her aging, which is difficult. She's only 13, but I can see her slowing down. :( Enjoy the new life that is making an appearance in your garden!

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    1. Hello Beth, and thank you for your kind words about our dear Simba. He is greatly missed as he was a very strong presence in our household. I wish for you that Oreo lives a very long happy and healthy life. And spring is showing some subtle signs of emerging.

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  12. I'm sorry for your loss, Michelle. Simba sure was a beautiful creature.

    My garden plans for March? Removing plants that couldn't stand the brutal winter this year and making plans to add plants that will hopefully be tougher, more beautiful and more giving.

    We've had plenty of chilly days in February, but at least a sprinkling of warmer days that have allowed me to get out in the garden, make some decisions, take some actions and stretch my gardening muscles. Sure felt good.

    It's great to see you blogging again. Welcome back! :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind welcome, Aaron. I will most likely have to remove some of those plants that did not make it through this severe winter. I see some ice damage here and there. And the rosemary plants are not looking very good at all. I keep hoping with the warm up of spring that they will begin to show some life.

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  13. I'm so glad you're back! I'm surprised you had such little snow in Jan/Feb. We had over 18". I've had to say goodbye to many pets and family members. It's never easy. I love the idea of starting peas indoors. They'll be fun to grow this spring. :o)

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    1. We had a lot of snow, but, for some reason, the precipitation is logged as water, not snow inches. It is so nice to see you.

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  14. I'm glad you are back, Michelle. You were missed, that's for sure.

    I'm sorry about Simba. Our pets are part of the family and I know it's hard.

    Well, lady, you inspire me just by doing what you do and telling us about it. I hope you have a really nice spring this year, with lots of joyful discoveries in your yard and garden.

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words. I am hoping we all have a very nice spring. I think we deserve it.

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  15. Simba ♥
    Lovely garden ♥
    Beautiful photos!

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  16. So nice to see you back. But so sorry to hear about your Simba. It must have been especially hard to deal with even more grief while you were mourning. We're having a lot of ups and downs in the temperatures here, but I'm holding on to those signs of spring.

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    1. Yes, it was not pleasant. I wish I could have had one more year with him, but I know it would still not be enough. Thank you for your kind words. I am hoping for better weather for us all.

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  17. I like your positive attitude regarding the severe weather. Snow would have been quite a novelty for us this past Winter, even when we do get a little it seems like we always want to moan. Sorry to hear about Simba, we have lost a few of our cats over the years and it does hurt. Myra is the real cat lover,although they always insist on clinging to me.

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    1. I know what your mean. We do not usually get very much snow, but I do love it despite the mess. And thank you for your kind words. Cats have been a part of our lives for a very long time. It is always hard to say goodbye.

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  18. Michelle it has been a wonderfully beautiful winter for helping to heal. I am sorry to hear about Simba. And look at your blooms...we just had another 1.5 ft of snow and bitter cold tomorrow. Maybe someday soon it will finally melt. Gorgeous shots of your winter!!

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    1. This winter has been extraordinary--a time for many things. We have snow again this morning. It is beautiful, but I am looking forward to the warmth and color of spring. Happy spring!

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  19. May Simba rest at peace. I'm very sorry for your loss. I understand the sadness and the voidness; this phase too will pass.

    The birds and buds are a delight. Waiting for more updates about them, during warmer climate.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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