Sunday, April 12, 2015


After a long, cold winter it's finally looking like spring. We've had two weekends in a row without snowfall! And today it got up to around 70!


[OK, so that's a bit of a cheat. I bought the Pericallis above at a Big Box Store. What can I say? I'm feeling desperate for color.]

So yesterday was the Ceremony of the Moving the Snow Shovel into the Basement and the Putting the Parkas away till next winter. Today was the first day of the Spring Races.

I'm racing to cut back last year's dead vegetation before this  year's new green grows up and make the job that much harder.

I won with the chives.

But the catmint, Nepeta Walker's Low, might have gotten ahead of me. I have my "short" day tomorrow so I'll scootch out after giving lecture and rush home to try to finish the spring clean up.

And I will make a note that I need even more crocus for next year.

Did I mention I was desperate for flowers? So are the bees.

They were all over my crocus today.

Hmmm... At least the Dwarf Iris were able to grow through the dead perennial. Now how am I going to trim back the dead.... 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

First Flowers of 2015!

Today the first flowers of 2015 (outside) have bloomed. Not surprisingly they're crocuses.

This does not herald the arrival of spring in all her glory but it does show that winter is (finally!) in retreat.

Yes, that's today. At least I can see some patches of ground.

In other news... One of our new kittens in living up to his name. We recently replaced our old couch and have temporarily turned it on it's end to take up less space till we can get rid of it. Wren manged to fly up and perch of the top of the couch, right up by the ceiling.

I just hope he doesn't try to build a nest up there...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Update from the Arctic Hinterland

I've been looking at other bloggers post on their early spring flowers, spring clean up, mud season. Up here, North of Boston, we're still firmly in the grip of winter. At this time of previous years I've had crocus blooming.

This year I can't see the Hellstrip where I've planted hundreds of crocus bulbs.

These, tucked up near the house in a rare bare spot, are TRYING to come up.

You can do it!

Well, maybe in a week or two more...

The snow is starting to recede in places, mostly up against the house and along the driveway.

Here's an unknown plant making a run for it. I can't even see what's near it to try and remember what I planted there - you're seeing basically from the edge of the house to the edge of the snow field.

Right by the front door my always early Aquilegia 'Little Lanterns' is starting to show. Those early bloomers got to get started as soon as possible. When these bloom you know it's time to have your hummingbird feeder up.

Of course the receding snow is also showing signs of damage.

I don't think this holly is going to be nicely shaped this year. It should be quite a bit taller than it appears now. I guess I'll have some "rescue and recovery" pruning to do once the snow finally melts. [note the leaning gutter behind the shrub? Guess what The Husband has to repair once the snow finally melts?]

And my matching dwarf golden threadleaf cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) are sporting matching damage.

The plant should be growing up in this picture, not sideways.

In this image "up" on the plant is to the right. *shudder*

I think I'll be replacing those this year. They bracket the front door. I'll have to think about alternatives for those spots...

When is spring arriving this year? 

I visited my mom in NC last week. She sent me home on the plane with a lone daffodil in my hand. Thanks, mom. I need that on my desk this week! I won't be seeing those in MY garden for a while yet.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

New Anthurium

My regular local source of fresh eggs got a new job and is no longer convenient. My back up options (farm stands) are all closed for the winter. BUT a local garden center has a Winter Market in their greenhouses. Local meats, home made breads and local eggs. So we drove half an hour to pick up some eggs.

Did I mention it's in the Greenhouse? 

I love visiting greenhouses in winter. But I'm often feeling so deprived of green that I end up buying houseplants. 

I'm kind of full up of houseplants right now. So I swore I wouldn't buy any.

I only came home with five. And two were small.

Today, however, I'm only going to post pictures of my new Anthurium. I've been having problems with my Anthuriums this winter (probably low humidity and I recently found mealy bugs. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) so I swore I wouldn't buy any new ones until I figured out the problem.

Yeah, right.

Then I saw this beauty.

Gorgeous purple flowers. Yum. And a slightly pinkish purple, different from my other purples.

The flower age more pink.

Still a nice color.

AND she's pregnant!

It's too bad (ha!) I don't live closer to Mr. Subjunctive. If I did I'd constantly be dropping off plants and seeds in the middle of the night. This would be one of them.

Of course he'd probably figure me out and in turn drop off plants at my house in the middle of the night and I'd end up with a house full of over 1000 plants like he has so maybe it's good for both of us that we're not feeding each others addictions.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter Interest

I know some gardeners like to talk about winter interest in their garden. We've gotten over 100 inches of snow in about a month. My idea of winter interest is... well...

I'm interested to see if our dog figures out that the fence is proportionally low enough for her to get over...

I'm interested to see how much work and/or money it's going to cost to repair the damage from the leaking roof...

I'm interested to see if the gutters stay on the house or if the ice dams are strong enough to pull them down...

Most of all I'm interested to see how long it will be before the snow is gone and I can even start to THINK about planting my vegetable garden... It's under there. Somewhere.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Problem with Snow

In case you've been living in a hole - Boston (just down the road from me) has had it's third snowiest winter on record this winter. And most of that has been in February. I've got about 4 feet of snow on the ground in my yard right now.

The bit of plant to the right is part of a four foot tall Pieris 

Even our fuzzy dog is tired of it. 

But what problem is this causing to my garden? It's causing a problem that I'll have to deal with in April and/or May.

I'm still getting new catalogs from mail order companies.

I've ordered too many plants.

Because of the snow I'm not getting out of the house as much as normal. So I'm stick inside, bored, and longing for some green. And I've got this great big stack of catalogs on my desk. 

Add to that the fact that my garden looks like this...

and I can't exactly go outside and look at the garden and notice where the empty spaces are or where I could possibly tuck in  a new plant. I think I've ordered about 2 or 3 plants for each space.

Oh, look. I haven't ordered anything from the new High Country Gardens catalog yet...

Monday, February 2, 2015

What's that smell?

I'm a mad biologist who has filled her house with life: about 70 houseplants, 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 large fish tank and Walter the snail. So sometimes my house, well, smells (not in a bad way, just in a well lived in way. Well, I guess the house perfume industry would argue that any smell except for their house perfume is a bad smell but I just don't buy that).

Last Friday I went upstairs to bed and smelled an unfamiliar odor. Sweet. Floral. Hmmm... I didn't think anything upstairs was blooming. I checked. Nope nothing. Maybe the maids used a new cleaning product when they came earlier in the day?

I found the source the next morning when I walked into my home office (which is right below the bedroom) and go a stronger wiff. 

Ah-ha! Hoya!

Hoya iacunosa

This is a very small Hoya and it only has one bloom cluster (yes, those are my fingers holding the bloom) but it is enough to spread fragrance throughout the office, through the ceiling and in to our bedroom. Very impressive!