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March 2012


This year we should have been told “beware the ides of March” ….record temperatures around the middle of the month saw the snow melt in record time. (Granted we had less snow this winter than in other years.) In the space of 4 – 5 days we went from late winter to summer.
Back in the 90’s the previous record high was 14.6 degrees C. whereas this March of 2012 it was 25 degrees C….and the night temps were well above freezing for a period of five or six days.
This meant chaos for anyone wanting to make maple syrup. The maples “run” when the nights are in the low minuses…and the days are just above the freezing mark. As a result the “run” seemed to be over before it had begun…but a local friend is making syrup now as the temperatures have returned to something closer to normal.
The buds have burst on the lilac bush…and the hillsides are clothed in the many hues of bursting buds that usually happens in early May. Nature …animal, vegetable and mineral…is confused. The occasional anomaly is tolerable however, this unseasonable strangeness, upon extreme, upon backlash, has frustrations piled up against our wall of hope! If Mother N. will just calm down a little! LOL

The backlash of the very cold temperatures we’ve experienced since can’t be fully appreciated for a few weeks yet… but the buds on flowering shrubs and the leaves of newly uncovered perennials will tell the tale. I’m hoping that although I removed some of the leaf cover that my efforts with polyfilm and acrylic frost blankets will have helped them survive.

The Sugar maple should not be tapped until it has a breadth of 12 inches….so mature trees are needed in a sugar bush, to ensure that taking the sap doesn’t pose a hardship for the emerging leaves. This tree was basking in the summery temperatures and the eerie mist rising from the unmelted snow on the forest floor.
The days have been above zero since the warm spell, but only just. They have been sunny also and that’s not a really good thing as we should be receiving lots of moisture. Trees suffer in drought and the stress weakens them and makes them vulnerable to disease and insects. I’d be happy to see some nice warm downpours …it is needed. (This is true…I have not lost my reason!)
With everything so dry early… I’ve been able to start my annual spring blitz a lot earlier than usual.
Raking! my shoulders have suffered and I’ve achieved a new level of callus on my palms!
The greenhouse is functional! I have a small ceramic heater to keep the night temps comfortable for seedlings. Today I gambled a is really a little on the early side to do so..but I have planted some of the seeds from my friends and have a whole briefcase full of seed collected in previous years in my city garden. They may be too old to be viable but I plan to plant most of them directly into the soil as soon as it’s warm enough. (Hollyhocks, Annual Poppies, ligularia, violets,) That won’t be until after the 24th of May weekend. Seems a long way away here in the beginning of April but given that our spring arrived so early maybe I can hope to be a couple of weeks ahead.
In the cleanup phase I am finding locations for drifts of colour that I’ve dreamed about. Everything done from seed takes a season or two longer than being able to buy plants at a nursery but I have been fortunate to have seed donated by my sister for one such dream bed… I love hollyhocks but have had no luck whatsoever in prior gardens, unlike my sister who has an established stand. She mailed me a large envelope full of seeds and has more in reserve. These are the plants that will form the backbone of a perennial border that I’m planning on the south-east side of the greenhouse.

On the west side of the greenhouse work has been started on transfer beds and the herb bed.

This picture of the flood plain which was tall grass and weeds last summer I hope to add some yellow water iris along the margin of the stream and maybe a drift or two of blue and purple…(flax and lavender) on the edge of the moist area.

This shows it at the worst of the highwater..but now I’ve cleaned up a bit and the snow is gone….and the pile of trimmings from the walnut tree will be dealt with …I promised myself a wood chipper…and I’m going to find one for rent as they are expensive to buy.
At the front of the house …where the grubs destroyed what was supposed to be a lawn…I plan a meadow and have bought the seedmix for spreading as soon as the weather cooperates.

Along the stone wall at the front (just above the stream) I’ve worked with the stone and removed the thatch filled sod and weeds in an effort to rehabilitate the area into a rock garden. Have plenty of rocks! just need the plants! lol…

Just visible in the background…on the deck…is the trellis seat in it’s semi-completed state! Going to add a peaked roof and Virginia Creeper to make a little private corner on the deck.
Life goes on… we have adopted a sweet little gray ball of fluff we lovingly refer to as Rufus…he’s going to be a “house cat” for a while as we (as new parents) are loath to let him run in the wild hinterland.

As you can see…like most youngsters…Rufus is at ease with electronic media. He gets his best rest on the laptop!
There is a list which grows longer by the day, of the tasks to be done in April..before everything starts to grow..and I’m hoping that by the time I have a moment to write April’s blog I shall have progress to report in more areas than those covered in this blog. i.e. the fate of my November planted bulbs after a very nutritious winter for the moles! Argh!
Need to take a hint from Rufus and get my rest…so much to do and so little time!

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I was tired after the first couple of paragraphs the end exhaustion had set in lol! Your vision sounds wonderful and I do look forward to seeing it..but, thank goodness, not doing it!! Love Rufus btw..dont know how you resisted the rest of his kin tho!!!

7 Apr, 2012


great read & photo diary Lori. Im visualizing 'shapes & colours' ( & feeling your pain ;-) where there is bare earth at the moment particularly iris in the flood plain. Re your city seed collection, the poppies are sure to germinate if nothing else also Hollyhock are a favourite here to the point of weeds. I hate having to hoe all those lovely seedlings back into the soil as they emerge amongst the veg which they are doing by the hundreds at the moment.
The climate is certainly throwing us garden & outdoor folks a few head scratchers that's for sure!
Looking forward to the next batch of photos.

7 Apr, 2012


Lovely, lovely blog. I can smell the air from here, and what a brilliant backdrop to your garden. There's quite a bit of space you have there, Lorilyn, I think you're going to need every seed you can get to fill it.
Aaaah! Maple syrup - one of my favourite tastes of all time.

7 Apr, 2012


There is a remarkable parallel in your blog to what has been happening here as well. The village up the road from me recorded the highest March temperature - 24C - for 57 years, in a run of the most fabulous spring weather which brought everything in the garden on dangerously early. Then, last week we were back to snow and frost and the poor plants have been suffering.

But, in other ways, your extensive garden is the opposite of mine, which is a tiny scrap compared to the land and potential you have. But, what an amount of work in hand!
Your plans sound good and it seems you are enjoying the challenges and keeping fit at the same time - unlike Rufus!

Really looking forward to seeing the results, Lori.

7 Apr, 2012


enjoyed reading your blog Lori and your plans sound great.
rufus is so cute and dont blame you keeping him in for now, i just love the surroundings to your new home :o))

7 Apr, 2012


these extra couple of weeks will give you such an advantage over previous years Lori..:-)

7 Apr, 2012


Oh Lori your work is never ending , you are right ' so much to do and so little time ' I love reading your blogs , so many interesting things going on there , I shall think of you every time I use the Maple syrup ... fingers crossed that a fair selection of your seeds wil germinate and grow :o)

7 Apr, 2012


Hello and thanks everybody! The only subject of constant comment around our neck-of-the-woods is the blinkin' WEATHER. What a strange year it has been so far.
As I knew it would be from last summer's experience..I'm spread a little thin...lots still to do and had hoped to see all the raking done before our first spring rains...but is finally raining. We need a downpour but all that's coming down now is just enough to keep me from working.

9 Apr, 2012


hi Lori, i see another summer of idling for you, lots of deckchairs and pottering then!!
yes i am with you on the rain front, our soil is bone dry too after a rainless winter, however this week rain has shown signs of arriving, long may it continue.
your floodplain looks very impressive, how often will it look like that and for how long you think?
love your grey Rufus, very cuddlesome.
Your hillside pic looks beautiful, can you tell yet if you have lost many plants this winter?
enjoy your few extra weeks.
good luck with all your planned projects this season, i will be looking in
but lavender on moist soil? and would they survive your winters??
i lost all my lavender dentatas this winter, but the officionalis all survived.
whilst i write it is lightning, thundering, raining and the sun is shining on the next hill with a howling gale up on our hilltop.

10 Apr, 2012


Hi again, Resi! Got our wires crossed I must have been reading and commenting on your blog while you were reading and commenting on mine! LOL...
Not to repeat ...hoping to establish some lavender higher on the bank to the left of the mess...but your caution has me rethinking...maybe something a little more hardy would serve better there.
Was looking out the window while musing over my response and it was SNOWING!!! now it's sunny! Our weather is very similar; temps are lower here though...just 4 degrees above freezing. Last year I posted pics on Apr. 20th of a snow/sleet storm! sure hope April is kinder this year.

10 Apr, 2012

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