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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

This past weekend, we’ve been hit by a freakish, (is anything this year not extraordinary?) cold snap. The polar vortex has swung south so a deep freeze is giving us lows I’ve never seen in May while we’ve been here.asparagus1

I’m still holding out hope for some of the fruit trees and my haskap bushes to pull through, but there are some things that I knew would not be able to withstand that level of freeze.

The biggest was the asparagus. While it’s been a bit slow, (lack of rain has helped keep it down as well as the milder bouts of cold) we were getting tips coming up. Thing is, asparagus is a total frost diva. More will come up later, but anything that is above the ground will be killed if it freezes. I think part of the issue is how juicy the spears are. At any rate, once we had confirmation that frost was coming in, I just took everything. At least it was tasty!

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IMG_6541It has been a glorious few days weather -wise. With it suddenly in the high teens and low twenties, the plants are busting out all over! We are always especially impressed by the haskap bushes. In just a few years they have gone from sad little sticks to substantial shrubs. The varieties for this zone have been hybridized from the Siberian species and it shows. They are incredibly early in setting their flowers. It’s just a bit odd to have a shrub in full flower at the same time as the daffodils! It’s not a bad thing, certainly as far as the bees are concerned. At one point today I could see almost a dozen bumblebees darting about among them. Even if we didn’t want the fruit, I’d almost be tempted to keep them around just because they make the pollinators happy, and happy bees are essential to a fruitful garden. That being said, we’re still excited about the potential fruit haul. It looks like they might be big enough this year to provide for at least a crumble or two! (and I really like how they also fruit early enough that the birds aren’t providing for nestfuls of hungry chicks yet, so we won’t have to work too hard on fending them off)

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While we’ve been working on the grounds of the store, we’ve also been planting around the house.

tree peony, June 2013

tree peony, June 2013

One of the long term projects is to get rid of all the lawn in the front. It has a pretty, metal fence around it and we’re going for the English country style garden, inside. A couple of years ago we put in a small tree peony. As is typically for all peonies, it sulked for a while, but has finally decided that it is going to flower this year. This is the first flower and while it’s bigger than the other peonies, it’s not quite a big as I’ve seen from other fully established tree peonies. There is one other bud, but it looks like it will be a bit smaller. Overall, we’re pleased to see it in flower, but are looking forward to it being a bit bigger and, hopefully, producing the dinner plate sized flowers that are expected from the tree peonies.

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I have to say that the cherry is just so much prettier than the plum trees.

sour cherry tree, May 2013

sour cherry tree, May 2013

It’s hard to say exactly why it is, but it may have something to do with the shape of the branches and flowers. It also seems to set a few leaves, in a decorative manner, around the flowers. Even the way the proto-cherries emerge from the flower remains is better looking than the plums. I’m also a bit surprised at how fast the fruits are growing. It has set a surprising number and they are bigger than I expected at the is point. (the plums are so much smaller, right now) We’re planning on wrapping it, to try and keep the birds off. Last year, the few cherries that had set were stripped to their pits, pretty much as soon as they had a hint of red colour. I’d like to get at least enough of the sour cherries for a tart or pie, but we’ll have to wait and see how many make it.

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It appears that there was some sort of bunny territorial dispute that img_4979 went on this morning. (we haven’t been paying much attention to the bun issue since the mini fence has worked to keep them out of the sorrel, this year) We knew there were still some around since they did a number on the blueberries, over the winter, but they’ve been keeping a low profile. Not so this morning. I went out to open the store and a mad chase was going on around the building and the the east lawn. Standing at the door of the shop, one dashed past the front and came within a couple of feet of me! Unfortunately, by the time I was able to get to the camera, some sort of victory seems to have been achieved and I was only able to grab the one, blurred shot of a bun in motion.

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Two years ago now, we put in an asparagus patch.aspar  We went with the root crowns and one small pot that had been sprouted from seed. They’ve done pretty well, but the early spring last year meant that they popped up and then got killed by a hard frost, so it was almost as if we had picked some. As a result, I’m a bit torn about cutting any this year. Technically, we should be able to take a small amount, but it might hinder the long-term growth of the patch. I think we’ll probably take just a few spears, so we can see how they taste in comparison to the commercially grown stuff, and let the rest have another year to expand.

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spring flowers

Our daffodils have been struggling through all the random bursts of cold, daff snow, and even a batch of hail, the other day. We’ve been impressed by their endurance. After the hard freeze last week, all the greenery went limp and I thought they were finished but they managed to recover with no visible damage. The tulips, on the other hand, are still alive, but their leaves look terrible. The only bulbs that are looking actually as they should, are the hyacinths. Now that it finally seems like spring is really here, it’s time to get to work on the garden again.

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The ice storm hit this region badly, and a bunch of hydro poles ice went down, to the north of us. It took days for them to get them replaced and the power back. It wasn’t until Sunday evening that it was back at both the house and the store. We still have some clean-up to do, on the grounds, but we’re hoping to get to it later this week. It was upsetting to lose some branches from the big maple, in the middle of the east lawn, but it could have been much worse. We’re hoping that there won’t be an too obvious reduction in it’s symmetry since we’ve always loved how pretty it is.

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The main motivation for putting in the new bed around the shop sign was to provide

peony flower, May 2012

a good home for a couple of peonies (the increased ease of mowing was a nice additional benefit). As we’ve been expanding the production garden beds, there were a couple of lovely, older peonies that were in the way. They also couldn’t really be appreciated since they were tucked away behind the house and side of the store. The new bed provides both a great, full-sun location, but also a place for them to be seen. They were pretty unhappy with being moved, last year, but that is apparently typical for peonies. They are prone to sulking and I thought it was possible they would continue to do into this year. The good news is that they’ve at least partially gotten over the move and have put out some flowers! We’re so pleased that they’ve not only recovered so quickly, but that we’ll finally be able to really enjoy their blooms.

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The garden space is still growing. Last year we put in a new flower bed around,

bachelor buttons, May 2012

and under, the store’s sign. It was both to create a bit more colour and interest over there as well as to reduce the amounts of grass Dad has to mow (especially in that area, since it was very fiddly to try and move the mower around the various obstacles). Part of it was done fairly early in the season and then the rest was filled in a bit later with some plants from a local charity group. They have a sale of donated plants every spring and it’s a great way to hardy, heirloom and local perennials. The sale only runs for a few weeks and then they clear out the left-overs which are often more-than-a-little sad looking by then. Considering the size of the bed, we picked up a number of plants and figured it was worth the gamble. They got put in just before we had the drought last summer. They were watered, but probably not as often as they would have liked. They all survived, even if they didn’t look all that spectacular. I guess they were putting all their energy away for this year because we’ve had impressive growth so far. They came up strong and are already larger than I had expected them to get until next year (so some splitting is going to have happen next spring). The most spectacular has been the Bachelor Buttons. It’s become a huge patch and is covered in flowers!

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