Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Garden Notebook - April 2014

King of the Striped Crocus

Winter seems to have made a strong refusal to leave and allow spring to take over. We have had snow this month, very cold temperatures, and some periods of rain and wintry mix precipitation. However, all of that does not seem to hinder the emergence of spring for many of the plants in the garden. Spring manages to squeeze in a few days here and there of warm temperatures that whisper a soft tune to all the plants that spring is coming despite winter's resistance.


stats

Gardening Zone: 7a
March High Temperature: 73 degrees F
March Low Temperature: 10 degrees F
Precipitation: 3.10 inches

wildlife

The American Goldfinches have molted and are glimmering with their spring plumage.


Male American Goldfinch in spring plumage

This hawk has been a frequent visitor to my backyard hunting for small birds. It is either a Sharp-shinned or a Cooper's hawk. The two are very hard for me to distinguish. Perhaps you have an idea which one this is.


Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk

A flock of Red-winged Blackbirds came by to visit during a snow storm.


Red-winged Blackbirds

what's blooming, sprouting

The daffodils are opening up. Each day, I find a new clump blooming.


Narcissus - Las Vegas daffodil

Lilies are breaking ground.


Daylilies

Roses are leafing out.


Knock-out Roses

Tulips are showing their leaves through the ground.


Various tulips breaking ground

The dogwood blooms are beginning to grow larger--even with the decorative hat of a feather.


Pink Dogwood bud

Maple blooms are spreading their fingers.


Acer rubrum - Red maple tree blooms

The Eastern Redbud tree is preparing for that lovely spring display.


Cercis canadensis - Eastern Redbud buds


in the vegetable garden

The peas are coming along, but there have been some snows that have crushed them and covered them. I created a wall of tarps around the bed to protect them and contain some warmth because they are hard to cover. Even with frosts and heavy snows, they are holding their own. 


Peas - Avalanche


I have prepared some beds in the garden and planted more vegetables, such as Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Napa Chinese cabbage, chard, mustard, and kale.


the spring vegetable garden



completed chores

pruned back liriope
pruned roses
tested soil
prepared vegetable garden beds for planting
moved damaged White Fringe Tree with hopes of some growth
planted new White Fringe Tree in old location
planted peas, lettuces, spinach, kale, Chinese cabbage, mustard
spread lime

chores for April

clear away plant debris and leaves in planting beds
weed garden beds
spread compost
plant annuals in containers
spread mulch

observation notes

Some of my Carolina Jessamine vines have suffered in this harsh winter. I hope they will find life again, but I am not sure there will be blooms this year.


Ice and cold damage to Carolina Jessamine vine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

What is in your garden notebook for April?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
notes

I am joining in the following:

Michelle of Rambling Woods hosts Nature Notes. A weekly meme, Nature Notes is for sharing all those observations in nature.

Helen of The Patient Gardener hosts End of Month View, a monthly meme where gardeners share there gardens at the end of the month.


Gemma Wiseman of Macro Monday 2 hosts Macro Monday. This weekly meme is for sharing all of those lovely macros from the garden.


coming in April

I will post the next installment in the composting series, Composting Part III: How to Make Perfect Compost. 

 If you missed the start of the series, here are the first two posts:

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

© copyright 2014 Michelle A. Potter

61 comments:

  1. Your list of completed chores is shorter than your list of chores for April. That is certainly something worth celebrating! Such lovely photos as always - and so much promise despite the wintry weather. Last year we had a few plants which concerned me - they really didn't look as if they had made it through all the snow, but slowly they recovered over the course of summer. We have just enjoyed a much milder winter and it is hard to believe that 12 months ago I thought these plants were compost fodder. I hope for a speediest of recoveries for your vines.

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    1. The list always starts out that way, but as I get in the garden, it grows. Thank you for the good wishes on the vines. I am hoping they do come back to life.

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  2. Your garden is coming to life again - hooray. It has been a long, cold winter here as well. Some plants have probably been lost, though it's still too early to say. Here so far only snowdrops and winter aconites. The birds are here too though - ready and waiting for spring whenever it decides to arrive.

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    1. It is so nice to see the garden coming back to life after such a long winter. I have been ready and waiting to get back into the garden.

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  3. What a lovely post! So many signs of spring! Beautiful photos!

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  4. You have so many signs of spring, lots of lovely buds ready to burst forth and make the garden beautiful after your long cold winter. What wonderful bird photos you have taken, so much better than mine!

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    Replies
    1. With one week's passage, there is even more life in the garden. It all seems to happen so quickly once it begins.

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  5. Your photos are amazing! Each one of them! My son in law is the gardener of the family -regretfully I have no green thumb, but I love anything in nature that is beautiful. Thanks for coming to my blog earlier:)

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the post. Nature has so much to offer us even if we choose to sit on a bench and observe.

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  6. Oh, bird pictures today! How I love the birds. The goldfinches are so pretty, and I recently took a picture of one myself. That is such a pretty and unique picture of the pink dogwood bud. Your roses are starting to come alive.

    Happy spring, and don't work too hard on your chores.

    love
    ~Sheri

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    1. I love watching the transformation of plumage on the goldfinch....such a drastic change.

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  7. I'm glad that you are seeing signs of Spring at last, it's been a long hard winter. Love the goldfinches, different to the English ones but just as beautiful!

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    1. It has been a very long winter. Spring is very welcome indeed.

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  8. You've had a very productive month. I wish I could be as focused and keep notes like you have, it must make life just a bit easier. Good to see your garden coming to life. I love those redbuds but unfortunately they come into leaf way too late here in Scotland. I've never seen a dogwood flower bud before, I like when I see something new on blogs. Thank you and have a good week. :)

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    1. The notes help me stay organized and not forget anything. The dogwood flowers are just now beginning to open.

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  9. one or two of our grenadilla vines are doing that I'm not resting, I'm dead - and need cutting back. Tomorrow it rains. Then I can get to planting some spaces which look more noticeable as my garden greens and blooms.

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    1. We have rain today, too. I probably need to trim back the dead foliage on those vines. I was putting it off because I didn't want to cut off any buds. Now, I am thinking there are no buds coming.

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  10. Spring really has visited you, blooms and the golden goldfinches. The Goldfinch here are still a bit olive colored. The weather is warming so hopefully the goldfinch get the memo. You have been busy too in your garden. The soil here is still unworkable. The hawk is beautiful, I think it might be a Sharp-shinned by the tail.

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    1. It is nice to see the weather warming. I am looking forward to spring very much. This hawk has many characteristics that seem to match either of those hawks, but I will go with your call on Sharp-shinned.

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  11. It is so exciting to watch the garden come alive again, especially after the winter we've experienced! Your shot of the pink dogwood bloom is so interesting! I love it! I've seen a larger population of red-winged blackbirds in our garden this spring. The word must be getting out that we are the garden to be seen. :)

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    1. LOL! We had a lot of snow this winter, more than usual. I think the Red-winged Blackbirds were looking for any food they could find.

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  12. Nice to see all the beautiful blossoms!

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    1. I am glad to see them as well. They have been hidden long enough.

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  13. Such a pleasure and amazed to see macros details from your Spring garden!! I'll find gladly time to visit those shown wonders: blooms, leaves, buds! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post. The garden keeps me very busy at this time of year.

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  14. Hopefully your vine will recover soon when spring really breaks through. The buds in your trees and plants are very promissing. Enjoyed reading this post with all the chores done and to be done in April.

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    1. I hope they come back as well. It was a very harsh winter.

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  15. I love your beds. Look like a terrace garden. The blue flowers are so stunning

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    1. The vegetable garden is built on a hill, so we had to build terraced beds. It has worked very well.

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  16. Hello..I love your blog.. as a novice gardener I am learning. I want to compost so will be reading your posts. You have much more evidence of spring than we do near Buffalo NY. Now that the snow melted, I will have to go and take the camera out to see. Thank you for linking up to Nature Notes...Michelle

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the post. I love your blog as well, and thank you for hosting Nature Notes.

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  17. Lovely to see your garden coming back to life, I know you have had a hard winter over there so I hope it will be plain sailing from now on. I don’t make chore lists for a whole month, instead I make it for the following week as so much is depending on the weather and how fast things are developing in the garden. Here in my London garden I do gardening every single week of the year and only rain stops me from going out and potter about. There is always something to do, and if not, I sit down and make some cuttings or just find something else to do!

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    1. I don't always get to everything on the list because of the weather changes, but I try to set goals. Writing it down also keeps it on the list so I don't forget. I could always find something to do out in the garden.

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  18. It is always so exciting to see signs of spring appearing. It has been a very slow spring here - you're right about winter refusing to leave this year! I hope your Carolina Jessamine vine will spring back to life. We had a late freeze that damaged a lot of plants, too. Sad to see what weather can do to our precious plants.

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    1. I think they suffered from ice damage. I have another vine on the other side of the house, but it seems to have not suffered the same damage. Perhaps it is the sun on the ice that damages it?

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  19. I saw a Blue Jay this morning. :)

    And everything is about to bloom. (Well, except for the creeping Veronica and the Camellia, which are already in bloom. A few days of temps near 80 will do that for you! (How strange to think we were down in the 20s only a week or so ago!)

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    1. It is strange how this weather has changed from week to week. I am hoping we have more of a lull in all that change for a while.

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  20. My garden notebook is still pretty empty. The snow is still melting, and I have one tiny clump of snowdrops that is not hidden by snow. Still if I look really closely on my sunny south slope I can see tiny tiny shoots of chrysanthemums of all things.

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    1. My chrysanthemums are beginning to break through the surface. I hope we do not have any more snow.

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  21. You have completed many plans Michelle and are having more chores for April. How do you have time for all? My garden plans are doing slowly because of cold weather and frozen soil. It's wonderful to see vernal flowers, buds, young leaves in your garden. Hope your damaged plants will have life.
    Have a nice weekend!

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    1. I often ask myself that question, 'How do I find the time?' It is a constant balancing act, but I would not give up the garden for anything. :)

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  22. This has been quite the winter, and I am still waiting to see if all my plants made it. Your garden looks like it's coming along quite nicely. I've been busy working on making some raised beds for the veggies - I am anxious to get those peas in soon enough!

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    1. My peas have been real troopers, weathering snow and frost and still holding up. I hope they will have an easier road from now on.

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  23. It's always a delight to read your articles. The photos are stunning!

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  24. It's good to see so many signs of spring in your garden. The biggest item on my to-do list this month is cleaning up leaves and debris and cutting back last year's perennials. I've been slowing working on this, mainly so the spring bulbs can get some sunshine. I've been surprised to find some emerging green under all those leaves, not just bulbs. We're getting our usual April showers, so days to work in the garden are limited. I can't wait to see some daffodils blooming like yours!

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    1. We were not able to clear the leaves out from the garden last year because we had so much rain in the fall. So, I have a lot of that to do as well.

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  25. Great post Michelle! You sure have been busy in your garden and I love the photos especially the birds. Wonderful!

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  26. So glad you enjoyed it, Kim. The garden does take a lot of my time, but I enjoy it very much.

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  27. Do you still have snow? Your vegetable garden looks great--I need to get going on that! Great photo of the hawk! We had one here last fall, and I saw him swoop down from the neighbor's roof and kill some kind of prey. It was fascinating and sad at the same time. You are busy, and your work shows in your lovely garden!

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    1. The last snow was a couple of weeks ago, and I hope we don't have anymore. These nice spring days have me quite addicted. I have not seen the hawk in action, but I do see him around the area very often.

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  28. Finally getting out to garden and planted my early veggies...so much blooming in your early garden Michelle!

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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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