Cherry Blossoms & Blackberry Winter

Cherry blossom

Our Weeping Cherry is waking the bees from their winter slumber and tempting us into the garden. A string of warm days sends us, pell-mell, to the the garden store, for (at least) a little window shopping

And although we’re sorely tempted, year after year, to go ahead and start planting, we know that, more than likely, more cold weather’s ahead. We’ve been burned…or, I guess, frozen, by setting out plants too early then either raiding the garage for anything we can put over the tender seedlings to ward off the frost or just watching helplessly while they suffer the cruel fate I’ve subjected them to.

In our part of the the Ohio River Valley, spring is a fickle thing, teasing us with soft warm days, lulling us into a false sense of an early summer. But there always seems to be one last freeze, one last frost, that happens after we’ve put our winter woolies away.

My Grandmother called it Blackberry Winter.

That short cold snap that reminds you the earth hasn’t quite turned far enough toward the sun yet. And so we wait. And plan. And order too much from the seed catalogs.

Mother’s Day is usually safe to set out most anything–The second weekend of May is almost always sure-enough spring at our place. So that’s when we plan to plant.

The weatherman is calling for balmy temperatures this weekend. I wonder if I should just set out a few tomatoes…

Are you as anxious as we are to get out in the garden? When do you start digging?

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Spring Stirs From Her Slumber-Wordless Wednesday


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Spring Foreshadows


Slowly we’re shaking off the effects of our winter hibernation, walking outside to sniff the air to see if we can detect any signs of spring.

Some days it feels like yes. Some days, no.

That’s part of the joy of living in our part of the Ohio River Valley. We might see a couple of 60 degree days in February, but they’re usually followed up quickly with snow or ice or a frozen blast of arctic air.

But we can feel it coming.

Our hemisphere’s been turning its face back toward the sun since late December. and somewhere, deep in our bones or maybe in our lizard brains we feel the spring. It whispers its song to our mitochondria causing them to sway and swell, filling us with the desire to get outside and get some dirt under our fingernails. To feel the sun on our faces. To taste the breeze.

And so we rub the winter sleep from our eyes, stretch our slothful backs, and watch the weather reports. We look for signs of crocus and daffodil. We watch for the the tips of tree branches to green. We scoop up a handfuls of earth and feel its temperature, wondering if its almost time to push a few peas into the ground.  Daffodil shoot

The tug of spring acts on us like the pull of the moon on the oceans, leading us back outside, back into the garden and back into the sun.

Are you ready for spring? Or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, have you started putting your gardens to bed?

And aren’t the seasons wonderful?

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Winter Solstice


Bank the fires against the darkness, on this, the longest night of the year (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.)

Underneath the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there is a quietness, if you listen hard enough. This seems to be a good time of year for a little introspection, a bit of self-examination. Maybe it’s the constant hum of Dickens in the background and Jacob Marley’s words echoing in the dark: “Mankind was my business!” that makes me want to take stock.

And so, in between the shopping and the cocktail parties and the frantic to-and-fro-ing we reach for something deeper, looking for those things that tie us together, that connect us.

And in this time of unrest (Has there ever been a time that wasn’t a time of unrest?) it seems especially important.

We want to show our children (and each other) that there is more than fear and hate and greed in the world. There’s good stuff. Really good stuff. Friends and family and music and holding hands and laughter and hugs. Crackling logs in the fireplace, both real and metaphorical, keeping us warm and the darkness at bay.

Peace, joy and love to you and yours during this season and throughout the new year.


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Wordless Wednesday – Prepping for Winter

Bee on Coneflower

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In A Vase…err…Pumpkin On Monday

Pumpkin celsosia1And so Monday arrives with all the baggage she brings. The weekend is in the rear-view mirror, the work week  begins. Five long days to slog through on our way to another glorious October weekend.

Five more long days ’til fun and frenetic Saturday, with her soccer matches and football games and errand-running. And then here comes Fun-day Sunday and her bicycle rides , brunches and rambles in the woods. (Maybe an afternoon nap, if the planets align.)

But don’t be so hard on Monday. Monday’s okay. Monday can be good.

Cathy, over at Rambling in the Garden brings much cheer to Monday with her In a Vase on Monday meme. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may and stick ’em in a vase. Snap a picture. Congratulate  yourself on your teamwork with Mother Nature.

“But!” you cry. “That’s not a vase!”

Okay, so a pumpkin isn’t a vase. But, hey, give the artist (artist?) a bit of license.

A tin can inside a hollowed out pie pumpkin can make a dandy receptacle. Especially for these Cockscombs, or Celosia cristata, rescued from the garden before our first freeze–The night of October 17th in our Zone 6 neck o’ the woods for those keeping score.

I think it turned out quite nice…very autumn-y. Very October-y. Very Pumpkin-y. And we get to enjoy the Cockscombs for at least a few more days.

Is it freezing yet where you live? Any last minute flower/veggie grabs before Jack Frost made his visit?

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September’s Warm Embrace

Goldenrod1By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson

If April is the cruelest month, as T.S.Eliot suggested, September may be the kindest.

And September in Kentucky means blue, blue skies and goldenrod. Chilly mornings and sunny afternoons. Gardens running amok, as the busy gardener (me) neglects the plot, too busy with young’uns starting school and all the myriad obligations the end of summer brings.

cornBut what a wonderful time to take a moment and breathe in the sweet September air. The tomatoes still taste of summer sun. And the cucumbers, still plentiful on the vines, smell green, green, green.

If there is ever a time to spend a lovely hour or two in the garden, this is it.

And we’re not the only ones taking advantage of good gardening weather. Bees are everywhere, kicking it into high gear as the slanting light of the September sun tells them to make haste. Buzz on, little bee, the frost may be here sooner than you know!Bee Coneflower

So September brings us much to do in the garden. Lots to harvest as everything gives one last mighty Huzzah! We’ll clean up a few veggie beds. Remove the tomato vines and other plants that have run their course. Pull up the faded, gangly petunias in pots. Plant some mums. Maybe a bed of lettuce or two. And spinach. And, if I hurry, perhaps carrots and Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard.

All months have those things that make them special, but September is pure magic. Take a moment to stand in the sun, spread your arms wide and soak it in.

What does September bring to you and your garden in your part of the world?

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