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The Reluctant Spring 2014


By Lori


It’s hard to believe that it’s the 24th of May weekend…things are very quiet in our part of cottage country. It was only a few degrees above freezing last night and I’ve been keeping us warm with fires in the wood stove the past few evenings. I know that elsewhere there is a lovely spring in progress but here our warm days are sparingly distributed. Hasn’t stopped the black flies though…was trying to take some pics of the wildflowers in the bush this evening and the blood sucking devils drove me indoors!
I managed a few shots of the emerging flowers and my barren looking landscape. This pic is for Amy.

The white trilliums are really very thinned out after the pigs ravages last summer. There are purple and yellow violets, and some “Freckles” transplants from the other garden which have established themselves beautifully. The hostas I acquired last year are emerging and the hollyhocks which bloomed last year for the first time have a carpet of seedlings starting!
Here is where the red fern grows!

The deer pruned my little crab apple so thoroughly that I’m worried it won’t survive. I’ll have to take the top third of it and cross my fingers. The other larger crab apple and the apple trees have had the same fate. It was an extremely long, cold, food-stingy winter for the poor deer…so I’m just going to clean up any mashed twigs and hope for the best there too. A neighbour was telling me that he counted 15 deer at our driveway one evening in March. Touching wood that they don’t discover my emerging hollyhocks. The large Jack-In-The-Pulpit is emerging too. It’s very cozy with the orange lilies (hemerocallis).

The pond has filled with sand and silt. Standing in the stream with my trusty round mouth shovel, I tried disturbing the silt and letting the water carry it further down stream. It’s a panic situation when you discover you’re mired to the top of your boots and the water is freezing cold. Counted to ten, Very Quickly, and sank my shovel down to find the gravel bed…then worked my foot free and stepped back onto the bank with extreme relief, and half sitting, half standing I worked my other foot free. Whew….won’t make that mistake again. The object was to have a pond for ducks or maybe geese…but it looks like that will have to wait for next year. Actually saw a pair of Mallards checking it out…but I think they were bothered by the road being so close.

The perennials on the stream bank are emerging, much to my relief. The two ligularia are looking like I could split the clumps but I’m just going to leave them be for another season. The tradescantia “Sweet Kate” turns red in cold weather and it’s been very slow to turn to yellow this cold spring. The Siberian Iris is emerging, and the Butter and Sugar has survived as well…the two rescued yellow water iris have multiplied nicely.

I’ve managed to demolish two push mowers in as many years. I bent the shaft of the last one when I ran over part of the steel gate post! Decided that I needed something a little more powerful and suited to heavy duty work.. my hub bought me a Husqvarna! Yessirrree!
The last two days I’ve been out buzz cutting the weedy field on the other side of the stream.

progress report on the English Blue Bells and some plants I forgot I had!

Wildflowers that I found last year growing in an unexpected spot.

The trees are finally in full leaf and everything is looking wonderfully green.

More blog posts by Lori

Previous post: The draft that I forgot!

Next post: My Epi has blooms!



Spring/Summer is definitely here in our neck of the woods and you forget that other GOY members live in cooler climes and things are further behind. Puts me in my place when I mumble and moan about the nipped off plants by the rabbits when you have larger plant predators!
Lovely piece of land you have and I bet you still go "Arrrr" if you see some baby deer, even knowing that they will grow up to be plant munchers!
I would love a stream in the garden, they just give so much, from the variety of wildlife attracted to them, the conditions you can grow things in around them to just the joy of hearing them.

19 May, 2014


I believe we are in the 19th day of Summer here in Ireland, although if you ask me I still think it's more like the beginning of Spring. Everything is growing slower this year (and my garden seems to be especially lagging behind). It's been wet, cold and windy with maybe 2 or 3 sunny days since the beginning of the year. I'm hoping for a 'heat wave' or at least a dry spell and a few hours of proper sunshine a day, the constant rain is depressing at this stage.

Your garden looks lovely, great job getting the grass trimmed (it's an impressive looking lawn). No wonder you killed a couple of lawn-mowers there ;)
Hopefully the temperature will start rising and you'll enjoy the beautiful garden long after all of us living in warmer parts of the globe, say goodbye to the last Summer/Autumn flowers.

19 May, 2014


thanks for your comment, Jagienka. Your last sentence was wonderfully optimistic. If only that could be the case, but last autumn we had our first frost (killing frost) in the first week of September! The winter that followed was record-breaking, for both it's longevity and it's severity, and to cap it all...this spring has been frustrating. We've had arctic cold periods with only one or two days at or above normal temperatures! I'm not the only gardener grinding her teeth and chomping at the bit~ ;-)
Crops are usually planted in February, in Ireland, am I right? Would love to have a growing season that long! I really hope that your summer shows up soon.

19 May, 2014


I know what you mean Lori....a longer growing season would be a treat for us too. We have two months of summer. June and July, and July is often very wet. As soon as August arrives, we feel the temps cooling, and like you, frost is not uncommon in September. Winter goes from October to April most years. I have learned to enjoy it all in spite of that. And at least there are no insects in winter!!

19 May, 2014


sorry Honeysuckle...I just realized that I had not thanked you for your comment. so, thankyou! You mentioned an aspect of having a stream that most people don't credit. The sound! like the "babbling brook" of literature in it's quiet times, it is a joy...and it's also a herald in early spring, thundering along swollen with meltwater. To enhance that feature I've made a few waterfalls with the abundance of rocks hereabouts. The flow is slowing now and it's not audible from the house..but in early spring I can open my bedroom window and hear it rushing along. nature's music. being in the Fens you must have plenty of water about but the topography is pretty you have a windmill? I was thinking that I would love to have one, but that would be getting carried away with a project well above my abilities to produce. still working on the pond! little bite at a time.

20 May, 2014


ahhh...yes, Karen. We have a very similar situation in climate. I think that's why the Scottish settlers in Canada settled so well into this area. Hardy Scots! I read a piece on some site on the internet about the feasibility of the total eradication of mosquitoes, and it was concluded that it probably wouldn't upset the ecosystem that much because other insects would move in to fill the eco-link. You have midges, right? We would be so happy to lose our mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, no-see-ums, horse flies and all blood sucking insects that I'm not at all worried should they be selected for extinction. sounds like a twilight zone premise ....the last blood sucking insect dies and humanity follows suit! maybe the midges could stay...;-)

20 May, 2014


Lol! Midges in Scotland are a peat bog issue. You found the worst swarms on the West side of the country. Here they are just the usual little ones that occur all over Northern Europe. no, our problem is huge swarms of Hawthorn Flies...but it's no problem really, as they are good pollinators, a feast for the birds, and they neither bite nor sting. I could live without them though! Lol! The worst flies here are the Cleggs, or Horseflies. Two years running I couldn't walk with swelling and painful infections after being bitten. now I use a lot of fly repellant all summer. I think what will finish off Humankind is probably a virus....but let's not dwell on it eh? :)

20 May, 2014


"Cleggs"???? hahahahaha....sorry, I'm laughing because it is so close to my last name! When we lived in Moosonee, up on James Bay, the horseflies were attracted to any source of heat...and whenever I lit the barbeque they would fly 'round it in an ever tightening gyre, until they connected with the hot black bbq...then fzzzzt! I felt like I was doing my bit for bug control every time I used the barbie!
" not with a bang, but a whimper"...I agree let's not go there! It's May after all!

21 May, 2014


Just had the best reminder of why I love blogging on GoY...checked out the blog I did on the 14th May, 2013 and was not surprised to see how far behind we are compared to last year! Hope we get some warmth soon.

21 May, 2014


I'm thrilled at seeing the Bluebells thriving Lori and a flower in progress as well ,they should spread nicely eventually giving you a beautiful blue carpet .. the J in the P looks very large ,mine still only has the foliage I look at them every day hoping to see a spike ! I have 8 plants .. I don't envy you all those nasty blood sucking insects I was bitten last year and had to keep a pad over the swollen lump on my leg for weeks to stop me scratching it .. what a shame your spring doesn't start earlier I hate to tell you our strawberries are fattening up although still white , the birds have already been trapping themselves in the fruit cage trying to steal growing gooseberries . I wish we could send sunshine through GOY :o)

21 May, 2014


going to do an update, Amy. pics of the first blooms..and some leucojum that I planted last fall and forgot about! I really have to start making planting maps!
Our strawberries are still in blossom...hoping for a few this year...the robins descend on them and there's not much left for us.

27 May, 2014


Sorry to hear you have had such a slow start to your gardening season Lori. Lots of cold and then things that bite. After a horrendous wet and windy flooding sort of winter here, we had the warmest Spring bar 2, since records began. The weather seems to be odd all over the world recently. Glad you now have the trees leafed up. That makes things more cheerful I hope. Maybe the rest of the year will be better for you. Getting stranded in the pond was a bit scary too.

2 Jun, 2014


LOL...yes Dorjac...things like that keep a person 'umble. Summer has arrived, can you believe it? We've had some lovely weather and things are popping. The first iris to bloom is the Double Your Fun...and I'm so surprised. It is the prettiest thing and so early, even in it's streamside position it has beat the Siberians into bloom.

4 Jun, 2014


Apologies for not praising your lovely pictures Lori. Your plot looks so wonderfully spring like and colourful. Sorry your pond has silted and nearly sucked you into its depth....if any! Do you have 'Indian Summers' to extend autumn as we sometimes do? So everything is now on catch up, which is good. We have had carnage here in our small garden. Four fledged blackbirds killed by evil magpies. Two left headless on the lawn. Eggs taken out of a second nest they laid in. Then all the blackbirds stopped singing around. Silent morn. I was so upset I couldn't have breakfast in silence outside. I know it's natural but so pointless and cruel.

4 Jun, 2014


I can understand how that would leave a person feeling disturbed and sad, Dorjac. we have foxes and coyotes which kill the silly old turkeys...and last winter was a terror which meant that a lot of wildthings were starving by the time warm temps arrived. The deer herd and the turkey flock, is shrunk dramatically and last week I saw a fawn beside the highway which had been struck by a vehicle. Last winter I saw a shrike (Northern Jay) take a starling from the birdfeeder. Nature, red in tooth and claw. I know it's all nature, and would go on even if we weren't there to see it, but it upsets us all the same.
We do have "indian summer" as well. It's usually during mid to late September or early in October...5 days to a week of summer weather...then into the deep freeze!
So, SMILE! it's almost summer!

4 Jun, 2014

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