Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Today, even though it's been chilly, it really felt like spring is on the move. The sun is out, and the snow pack is melting. I can hear birds all around. (I've heard a robin or two, but haven't seen on yet. I'm sure I'll see one any day now.) I saw a woodchuck fresh out of hibernation, looking for the first green shoots of grass. I saw and heard red-winged blackbirds today, one of my favorite bird sounds. My tulips are just starting to poke through the mulch, and my rhubarb is barely showing its tightly curled nub of new leaves - the peonies shouldn't be too far behind. The buds on the lilacs are strong and light green, just waiting for some warm days in April to unfurl. The willow trees are turning golden yellow, and the brambles and dogwoods are flushed dark burgundy-red. Patches of grass are starting to glow with hints of emerald and chartreuse. Color is returning to the muted gray-beige-white world.
I spent quite a while winter sowing yesterday, and kept at it until I ran out of containers. Here's what I planted:
Sunflower 'Del Sol' (this was a star performer last year - 7-8 feet tall, well-branched and loaded with flowers)
Coneflower 'White Swan' (a tried and true winter sowing success story - I've grown them before)
Alyssum 'Carpet of Snow' (in a big, flat, clear sheet cake container - they get planted out hunk o' seedling style)
Summer savory (a favorite herb for use in my chicken and turkey soups)
Sweet bell pepper (orange)
Dianthus 'Chianti' (gorgeous maroon-black flowers with white picotee edging)
Dianthus 'Victoriana' (various fancy eyed pink/rose/white shades)
Amaranth 'Illumination' (new for me - bright orange/gold/red bracts)
Sweet bell pepper ('Big Red')
Zinnia 'Enchantress' (tall pink/rose)
Zinnia 'Oriole' (tall golden yellow)
Zinnia 'Benary's Giant Orange' (tall bright orange)
Zinnia 'Will Rogers' (tall scarlet - stunning)
Zinnia 'Orange King' (tall medium orange)
Viola 'Tiger Eyes' (wispy dark veins on golden "faces" with purple edges)
Begonia (scarlet-flowered, green leaves) - indoors to germinate, because they can't be winter sown, but I wanted to try something different
I also sowed some containers for a friend:
Shasta daisy 'Alaska' (I've already got the shasta daisy 'Becky,' so I didn't need any more for myself)
Oriental poppy 'Princess Victoria Louise'
. . . . and a few others. I ran out of containers - definitely an issue, since I probably have another 30ish things I'd like to plant, including several kinds of tomatoes and more annuals. I'll have to see if I can get some containers from friends who don't mind me scavenging through their recyclables before garbage day.
I'll have to wait until spring is fully upon us to see if my dogwood survives the rabbit-mauling it got over the winter. If it doesn't make it, I've decided to put a lilac in its place. If I can find the variety 'Andanken an Ludwig Spaeth,' that's the one I want. It's an heirloom, vigorous, dark violet-purple, and highly fragrant. I miss the lilacs I had in my old garden, and nothing smells as good as lilacs in May.