Typically I’d be writing something along the lines of how much we are enjoying going outside now that it’s spring, but that would be a lie. The weather this year has been so mild, and, unfortunately, dry, that we’ve been going outside for hours at a time almost daily since mid-January. Right now, at the beginning of March, it’s so warm it feels like June, and last month our lawn started dying and I had to resume my watering schedule at the unheard-of month of February.
We have been enjoying the frighteningly unseasonable weather, especially since our heater quit working right after Halloween. We got through the several freeze spells we had with a new appreciation for long johns and cosleeping. I dread thinking about how we’ll get through a summer of 100+ degrees with an air conditioner, but we’ll figure it out. In the meantime we’re enjoying having windows and doors open all day.
We made the most of a warm winter by pulling our stunning collection of weeds from our flower beds. I was so nervous the poppies we planted last year wouldn’t make it through the freezes but they did and they are more beautiful than ever. Isobel and I have been planting seeds such as California poppies (my favorite, and part of my life list), marigold seeds from Jacob’s garden, and sunflower seeds.
We planted flat-leaf parsley and a few types of onions last summer that still seem to be doing well, but the beets and jalapeno peppers we put in last fall succumbed to flooding and downed. And ironic fate for a year plagued with drought. After thriving for two years our catnip looked to be having serious trouble but I could never figure out what was wrong. I was vigilant with my pest control, which consisted of me picking off caterpillars and snails and Isobel gleefully squashing them with her boot, but they still seemed to be flat and dispirited. Then I caught Jupey sleeping in the midst of them one fine warm day and it all made sense. They were suffering from a case of fatal attraction.
We stocked up on plants last year at the dollar store and this year we were rewarded with three daffodil flowers.
When we moved in my Mom gave me several boxes of iris rhizomes and they have been slow to get established but are now blooming rich royal purple flowers. My parents are still living in the house I grew up in, and my Mom originally got these plants from our neighbor, Mildred, who lived at her house next door to ours longer than we have. Sharing plants with a friend is a great way to inexpensively enrich your garden.
Most of our trees are still bare, but the Japanese maple out front has always been sort of Type-A and it’s been furiously unfurling its leaves as fast as it can make them. It’s probably partly responsible for my allergies.
The giant succulent I bought for five dollars at an estate sale surprised everyone by blooming this year. I’m so pleased I can’t take enough pictures of it.
In addition to our regular sunny orange poppies we had several sunset-red and even a few white ones blooming last year. This year Isobel wants to grow pink poppies so I bought multicolor poppy seeds. I hope we can grow a rainbow of poppies.
We already have several sunflower seed sprouts coming up (also from Jacob’s garden, I should say) and I’m expecting them to be enormous. In the seventh grade I managed to raise sunflowers that were seven feet tall. Depending on if we are spared from the layoffs we might continue the pergola project we started two years ago. Originally we were working on that with Jacob, but he moved away and then Anthony needed surgery so we pretty much gave up on it. We’ve been talking with Jacob’s brother, Cay, though, and he might be able to help us finish it. Of course now I’m fantasizing on scrapping the pergola altogether in favor of some raised gardening beds. Of course, this is all moot if Anthony gets laid off, so we’ll see. I still get lots of page views from people wondering what the hell is a pergola, so at least our failed project is contributing to the betterment of society. Or something.
Isobel’s current favorite flower is henbit, the weed with the tiny purple flowers you see in the vase above. It’s a weed very commonly found everywhere here from mid winter to late spring. Some think it was named “henbit” because hens liked to eat it, so Isobel made sure to bring some with her when we visited Melynda’s chickens. You can see her trying to feed some to Peanut Butter.
We have big plans for our backyard this summer, so let’s hope the weather stays mild.