I have two children napping at the same time! So, some pictures of developing vegetables:

tiny unripe tomato on plant
Black krim tomato in the making. Last year all our tomatoes were eaten by squirrels before they had a chance to ripen. Hoping for better this year.

tiny oblong green pumpkin
Long pie pumpkin in the making, maybe. Last year these plants formed several fruits, most of which dried up and fell off.

tiny unripe plum tomatoes
Monica plum tomatoes to be.

top-down view of cabbage
Caraflex mini-conical cabbage. This is about ready to harvest, I think.

small onion sticking up from soil
Copra onions pushing up out of the soil. Hope they’ll get bigger – they’re supposed to…

top-down view of broccoli head
Broccoli – another thing that needs harvesting soon. Problem is, it’s a small head (looks bigger in the pic), about enough for one person. And so far it’s the only one that’s even close to picking.

tiny zucchini on plant
Zucchini to be. Last year, contrary to reputation, two plants produced precisely one zucchini. This year I have three plants, so can I hope for two?

raised bed full of yellowing garlic tops
The garlic needs to come out shortly, opening up that bed for fall crops I may or may not have time to plant. If I do, it’ll be kale, beets, broccoli, lettuce, and cilantro.

pale purple flower
Desiree potatoes blooming. Note that flowering of potatoes is not an indicator of production. The past couple of years our potatoes have bloomed robustly and produced badly. This year we’re trying growbags for a hopefully less lousy result.

The 2012 veg garden website is up now.

Last year….

Things are happening way too fast around here. This time last April daffodils were blooming and tulips weren’t out yet. Now tulips are peaking and daffodils mostly done. With 80-degree temps expected for the next two days, I wouldn’t be surprised if all the bulbs were gone within the week.

yellow tulip with red flames
Tulipa “Flaming Jewel”

carmine-colored flowers on brown twigs

lots of tiny yellow flowers on light-brown twigs
Flowering quince and forsythia.

view of front flower bed with all sorts of colored flowers
Compare to last month. This hasn’t turned out exactly how I intended. There are two distinct color schemes: the white/pink/purple and the cream/red/yellow. They were supposed to bloom at different times; instead the hot dry spring has brought them all clashingly together.

daffodil with ruffled center
Non-traditional daffodils.

creamy daffodils with yellow and red tulips
The cream/yellow/red scheme, intended for May, too garish for April. Of course, this weather is too garish for April.

closeup of interior of red-yellow striped tulip
Who can resist tulips, though? These are Beauty of Apeldoorn.

pink ruffled tulips, white daffodils, purple hyacinths in background
The white/pink/purple scheme.

bud cluster on red-flowering honeysuckle
Native red honeysuckle has been blooming.

small white puffy flower clusters with different brown flower spike in front
In the more naturalized area, pussytoes (white flowers) and pennsylvania sedge (blurry brown spike in front) are blooming. Compared to last year, these seem to be blooming as they should be.

pink-white clusters of bell-shaped flowers on shrub
Highbush blueberry flowers, another native. As usual, the only one of four bluebs that’s made flowers. These are ahead of last year.

two types of small seedlings growing in raised beds
Peas and radishes planted a few weeks ago.

tray with about 40 seedlings
Kale, cabbage, and onion seedlings hardening off. They’ll go into the ground today or tomorrow.

yellow daffodils

I believe this is the first time I’ve actually had daffodils blooming at (before!) the Spring Equinox. Freaky. Compare to last March, in which nothing was blooming outside. Compare further to last April, which is what this March looks like.

single white snowdrop flower with green trim
Snowdrops have been up for a couple of weeks.

cluster of yellow crocuses
Crocuses, looking like they did in April 2011.

green shoots of chive emerging from leaf litter
In the herb garden, chives coming along well. Other herb action: winter savory, catnip, mint, oregano, and parsley. No sign of the tarragon yet.

closeup of head of curly kale
Last year the kale survived because of thick snow cover. This year it survived because it never really got cold.

wide view of mulched bed with lots of green shoots
Last fall I planted about 100 bulbs in this bed in front of the house.

green, clustered hyacinth bud deep inside leaves
Hyacinth bud.

cluster of reddish buds on honeysuckle
The honeysuckle is getting ready to bloom. Looks like it’ll be in flower when the hummingbirds get here.

raised bed full of green shoots of garlic
The garlic bed pleases me.

I also have kale, onions, cabbage, broccoli, eggplant, and impatiens started inside under lights. Peas, radishes, and spinach to be direct-sown this weekend.

Can I just start by saying how utterly miserable this winter has been? Yes, I’m probably the only person who feels this way, and I know, last winter was difficult. But right now I feel totally disconnected from the seasonal cycle; how am I supposed to await the coming of spring when it’s already been here for months? It’s disorienting and really unpleasant.

Anyhow, the December and January state of the gardens didn’t happen. And nothing’s blooming outside in my garden (though I hear tell of snowdrops in nearby vicinities), so for actual flowers you’ll have to be satisfied with houseplants.

closeup of purple african violets
African violets doing pretty well in eastern-facing window.

tiny, pale purple rosemary flower
Rosemary flower – only one on the plant.

small green bud-like protrusions on bay tree
Is my bay tree going to flower? This looks like a bud, and there are a few others on the plant. It’s never bloomed before. I was planning to repot it later this spring, but if it’s happy enough to flower in the pot it’s in now, maybe best leave it alone?

cluster of white daffodil-shaped flowers
I forced paperwhites this year. Dead easy. It was supposed to be an antidote to winter if we got one like last year….

tiny green buds emerging from a rosette of green leaves
I overwintered a primrose! That’s never happened before. I’ve had this since last March, and I think those little nubs coming up from the center are going to be flower stalks. Should I fertilize, I wonder? (I’m pretty clueless about fertilizing – my outdoor plants get by on compost and manure, and my houseplants just get water.)

sliver of yellow emerging from forsythia bud among cut branches in a vase
A couple of weeks ago I cut some forsythia for forcing. Sitting in a south-facing window, these ones are the furthest along.

tall flower stalk coming out of pot
I’m also forcing one amaryllis. Not quite as easy as the paperwhites, but not difficult either (I should really wait till it blooms to say that).

cluster of green daffodil shoots coming out of leaf litter
Moving outside now, tons of bulbs are up. These are daffodils. Last year they bloomed in April. This year…?

swelling buds of lilac

swelling buds of quince
Swelling buds of lilac and quince.

lots of green shoots emerging from straw mulch
Lastly, my garlic. I planted a whole 4’x8′ bed of garlic last fall at 4 plants per sq ft; here is the result.

Pics taken on Nov 15, but I’m just now getting around to posting.

small tree with red-orange foliage in front of rocky outcrop
Native cherry, rock

Gray-brown fluffy seed heads
The seed heads of those pale purple wild asters I’ve posted before.

closeup of red leaves with yellow edges and some insect damage
Highbush blueberry fall color

Large puffy seed heads
Seed heads of new england aster, with switchgrass in background.

Yellow flopping asparagus fronds
You don’t think of asparagus as having fall color, but…

small shrub with bright orange-yellow foliage
My new-this-year fothergilla. The color lived up to its billing.

cluster of yellow ornamental grass with the bright shrub in background
The picture didn’t do this combo justice.

plant with purple-black berries and spotted foliage
The viburnum berries have fully turned and have been hit by frost. Remains to be seen whether the birds will eat them.

Catching up on these…
Not a ton this month. The season has turned slowly this year, and looking out the window I see more green leaves than not. But…

multicolored oak leaves on background of asphalt
These fell from the neighbors’ oak tree onto our driveway.

deep purple aster with yellow center
New England aster “purple dome”

cluster of pink and blue berries
The viburnum nudum berries keep turning. The next question is, will the birds eat them?

pale purple asters
The wild asters are still going.

tangle of red virginia creeper vine
Virginia creeper turned early.

red-yellow virginia creeper leaves against a fence in dappled light
Afternoon light.

pumpkins and rust-red mums on front steps
The obligatory.

dark pink new england aster
September is aster month

dark pink new england aster
New England aster peeking through fence, switchgrass seed heads behind

fluffy white clematis flowers
Sweet autumn clematis, a vigorous (dread!) vine. I hack it back viciously several times a year in the vague hope of killing it, but it always springs back.

semi-closed yellow primrose flower
Evening primrose, a wild seedling. Flowers stay closed during the day, whence evening.

viburnum nudum with pink berries
My viburnum nudum is now full of berries. Flowers previously shown here. The berries start white-green, then gradually turn pink, then blue-purple.

closeup of viburnum nudum pink berry cluster
Closeup of the berries.

ornamental switchgrass, green with some red striping
A switchgrass, new this year. This variety is supposed to have red fall coloration, which you can just see starting at the tips.

deep red nasturtium flower

closeup of pink rose
Rose is putting on a second flush of blooms.

yellow goldenrod with hosta and pink impatiens in background
Wreath goldenrod, solidago caesia, another wild seedling. Have tons of this and am encouraging it to spread.

stem with many blue-purple aster flowers and buds
I believe this is heart-leaf aster, symphotrichum cordifolium. It’s another wildflower that I’m encouraging. I’ve got lots, and there’s an amazing variation in color. This one is by far the purplest. Others are nearly white.

closer view of asters

two purple coneflowers
The orange centers are the best part.

fading white flowers of clethra alnifolia
Clethra alnifolia, or summersweet. Best thing I planted this year, it has a lovely fragrance and was absolutely covered in bees.

scarlet runner bean flowers
Scarlet runner bean flowers. No sign of beans yet.

black eyed susans
Black eyed susans. Hopefully will reseed themselves for next year.

purple balloon flowers, one unopened, and seed pods
I think this is a balloon flower.

pale purple spike shaped flower with wasp
Not sure what this is, either. Maybe obedient plant?

several chamomile flowers
Chamomile still going strong.

tiny pink switchgrass flowers
Switchgrass in bloom. I’m becoming increasingly fond of native grasses.

yellow goldenrod flowers
Early goldenrod. Finishing up now, and there are buds on the autumn goldenrods.

pink double flowered rose of sharon
Double-flowered rose of sharon. Not native, but pretty and the bees like it.

red bee balm flower

pink swamp milkweed flowers

red daylilies and yellow coreopsis

pinky purple liatris flower backed by silver foliage

cucumber flower and baby cucumber

small scarlet runner bean flower hidden among foliage

yellow evening primrose

blue-eyed grass with succulent sedum leaves in background

red honeysuckle

yellow rudbeckia

daisy-like chamomile flowers growing in pots
My chamomile is blooming. Need to figure out how to make tea with it.

blue-eyed grass
Blue-eyed grass, sisyrinchium angustifolium. The camera wouldn’t focus on the flower unless my hand was in the background.

pink rose blossom
Following drastic pruning at the direction of father-in-law, the unknown rose is blooming.

lavender bush with lots of flowers
Lots of lovely lavender. What shall I do with it all?

yellow tomato flowers
Tomatoes! About half of my plants have flowers on them now.

fine white viburnum flower
Viburnum nudum Brandywine, new this year. I can’t take credit, it came with the buds already on it.

Not chamomile, weedy pretty daisies.

white mountain laurel flower
The mountain laurel is almost done.

And for memories’ sake, the chives, irises, and peonies all bloomed and went between last month’s pictures and today.

Oh, and the multiflora rose is blooming, joy.

Belated and bare, but I wanted to get it out there. June coming soon! (poet know it etc)

closeup of yellow daffodil with white center
Wow, wacky to think that daffodils were only a month ago

red columbine flower
Aquilegia canadensis

lilac blooms
The lilacs were finishing up. It was a good year for lilacs, probably because I’m in the middle of a three year pruning plan, and the plant has been stimulated.

yellow tulips bent over
The last few tulips were blooming.

zizia bloom and foliage
The new zizia I got at Garden in the Woods. I also started some from seed and planted the babies. It’ll be a few years before they’re this big.

half-emerged chive flower
Bustin’ out

uvularia sessifolia bloom plus insect
Is that a wasp?

purple geranium maculatum flowers
Geranium maculatum

red tulip supercloseup
Tulips in the woods. Need to move these.

pink rhododendron blossoms
The pink rhodies were blooming.

lonicera sempervirens buds
The trumpet honeysuckle was about to bloom. It’s all done now.

solomon's seal flowers
Solomon’s seal.

tree trunk

tree crown with dead branches
Notice the various branches that have not leafed out.

bark peeling away from base of tree
Bark could be pulled off in sheets, by hand.

tree worker being raised up into tree
Up he goes.

tree worker using chain saw raising a cloud of sawdust
Vrrm. Surprisingly the toddler slept through it.

large limb just sawn off
It’s away!

limb being craned away
Being lowered to the street (this is actually a different limb from the above).

the main trunk being craned away
The main trunk now going. We had this part sawed into fireplace length. Still need to get it split.

the area after the tree has been removed

More afternoon sun now, which will be good for my new foundation garden.

The big dying cherry tree in the front yard comes down today. I have mixed feelings about this. It’ll make the front yard a lot sunnier, so we can put veg there and I can worry less about some of the full sun plants I’m planning to put in the foundation bed. On the other hand, it’s a venerable old tree that probably would still be fine if not for the grading work that was done when our house was built (60 years ago!). This kind of cherry (prunus serotina) doesn’t often get this big. And I’ll miss seeing the line of the trunk from the dining room window.

Also: prunus serotina is a tree with a good deal of wildlife value. It’s the larval host for a number of butterfly and moth species. I see birds perching on it all the time, and I really hope there aren’t any active nests up there :(

On the plus side, the tree guys will also be cutting down the invasive glossy buckthorn that seeds itself around everywhere.

Pics to come.

1. The direct-sowed spinach is exactly the same size as the spinach started inside and transplanted, with approximately 85% less work.

2. There’s a bit of a bloom-lull going on at the moment – basically it’s geraniums and nothing else. Find another May-bloomer, please.


trio of daffodils
The daffodils have been up for a couple of weeks now.

daffodils long view
Daffodil corner. I’m pleased with the combination of daffodils and the geranium spilling over the wall. Not happy about the rest of the bed being taken over with spiderwort. Curse you, spiderwort.

blue scilla tumbling over the path
Pretty clump of scilla drooping over our walkway.

yellow crocuses
Crocuses I planted next fall in the new bed behind the house. These and the snowdrops came up well after the daffodils.

pea sprout
Moving over to the vegetable garden, our peas are sprouting. Also radishes, lettuce, spinach, and the first few carrots are up.

seedling trays on patio table
Seedlings of kale, spinach, and arugula hardening off. These were started inside in early March and were planted out into the garden beds yesterday.

group of bottles
My winter sowing, started outside in early February.

2-liter bottle with sprouts inside
Most of them have now sprouted with very minimal intervention from me. These are lupines.

hepatica on forest floor
Now moving to the native plant/woodland area. And my hepatica! The only one of five I planted that survived. Not a great pic, and the color is wrong — it’s really a clear blue-purple.

Pussytoes (antennaria), host plant for the American Lady butterfly, growing on the slope leading up to the woods.

pennsylvania sedge bloom
The flower of pennsylvania sedge, which also grows on the slope.

buds on blueberry plant
Highbush blueberry buds, about to bloom.

Our 2011 vegetable garden website is up! Our radishes are up! Our peas are up! Our lettuce is up! And our kale seedlings have sunburn, doh.

I pulled a grocery bag’s worth of garlic mustard today. But! one of my hepaticas is blooming!! I was sure they’d all been dug up by the squirrels and chipmunks, but one of them has lived!

A.k.a. Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, although the only blooms I have at the moment are inside. There is, however, plenty of other garden action to report.

crocus sprouting through a leaf
A determined crocus

chives sprouting
Chives coming back in the herb bed

tulips coming up

kale sprouts in 2-liter bottle
Winter-sown kale sprouting

kale plant
This kale survived the winter, mulched by snow, and is putting on new growth.

kale seedlings
Same kind of kale, started indoors a few weeks ago

spinach seedlings
Spinach seedlings

potted primrose
Primrose blooming inside

forsythia blooming
I took some forsythia cuttings on a warm February day. They’ve been blooming for a couple of weeks.

My camera died a few weeks ago, and I still haven’t decided what to get to replace it (suggestions welcome!). So in honor of the current February thaw, here are a few old pics of the garden in warmer days.

liatris scariosa var. novae-angliae
New England blazing star, September 2009

Annual fleabane, June 2010

coreopsis bud
Coreopsis about to open, June 2010

spider on liatris bud
Spider on blazing star bud, June 2010

bleeding hearts
Bleeding hearts, May 2009

Forsythia against blue sky and bare trees, April 2010

icicles on forsythia

view from backdoor with snow
There’s 18″ on the ground, and even three days after the storm snow is still sticking to the trees.

buried rhododendrons
The rhododendrons are bowed over with snow.

tracks on the snow
Tracks (squirrel?) leading toward the bird feeder (behind me as I took the pic). Also, you can maybe see the snapped branch on the lilac in the background.

closeup of bird suet
Here’s a closeup of the suet cakes I made before Christmas. They’re mainly made of peanut butter, cornmeal, and lard, with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries mixed in.

forsythia buds
The promise of bloom to come: buds on the forsythia.

bay tree
Moving inside for something green: my bay tree is doing well in the unheated, south-facing entryway.

rosemary closeup
The rosemary’s also looking healthy in the same location.

bay tree closeup
Think green thoughts…

johnnys seed box
…and plan for Spring.

Seen in our yard:


Sadly, none are frequent except for the ubiquitous non-native cabbage white that eats my kale.

Other Bugs
Loads, as yet unclassified. Honeybees, bumblebees, yellowjackets, worms, spiders….


  • squirrel
  • chipmunk
  • woodchuck
  • coyote
  • rabbit
  • white-tailed deer

Reptiles and Amphibians


It’s December, and all the leaves are gone.
bare trees

No snow yet, but cold enough for December
leaf encased in ice

But even in December green things are still growing…

Unknown moss
macro moss

Young eastern white pine, caught in the wind
white pine caught in the wind

Tiny mountain laurel, planted this year
tiny mountain laurel

Red lowbush blueberry stems peeking out from leaf litter
lowbush blueberry stems

The veg garden is mostly done, but the kale’s still putting on new leaves
winterbor kale

Looking up from my back door
bare trees

wreath goldenrod seed heads
Wreath goldenrod (solidago caesia) seed heads. Everyone talks about the trees turning colors in Fall, but no one talks about wildflowers. Smaller scale, but just as beautiful.

yellow flower
This is the only plant still flowering. I’m not actually sure what it is. Some kind of hawkweed?

kale and parsnips
Kale and parsnips still going strong.

red dogwood foliage
My new dogwood (cornus florida) is changing late, probably because it came from a grower in the south.

oak leaves on trees
Oak leaves still hanging on the trees.

grass seed heads
Seed heads of a woodland grass which might be deschampsia flexuosa (common hairgrass).

more wreath goldenrod
The colors of the season.

It’s garden bloggers’ bloom day, wherein garden bloggers post pics of whatever’s blooming in their gardens on the 15th of each month. These aren’t all blooms since that misses out too much interesting stuff.

New England asters
new england asters

Red mum from one of those nursery pots
red macro mum

Sedum Autumn Joy. Less bloom and more seed head now.
autumn sedum

Wreath goldenrod and blue wood aster. They grow wild around here and make a pretty combination which I plan to encourage.
combination of wreath goldenrod and blue wood aster at the woodland edge

Blue wood aster close-up.
blue wood aster closeup

Wreath goldenrod close-up.
wreath goldenrod closeup

Now into the woods. Most of the trees haven’t colored yet. Virginia creeper is showing, though.
red virginia, lichen on a rock

More virginia creeper, plus fungus on a log.
virginia creeper, log fungus

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