Monday, April 25, 2011

Come on spring.....

Spring is a long time coming to Smug Creek this year. Although we are closer to Toronto, Canada than to New York City and we get piles of winter snow, by late April our gardens are usually bursting to break their hibernation. This year however nature seems very sleepy.

April is set to be the coldest for many years and at this rate it might also be the wettest. Snowdrops have come and gone but the daffodils and narcissus are very reluctant to nod their heads. During the last few years we have planted nearly 1,500 at the back of our orchard and usually by now the area is a sea of yellow and white. This year only about six have dared to risk exposure.

Hostas are only just beginning to show their pips above ground and the peonies, iris and daylilies have barely sprouted. But the bonus has been the hellebores. They don’t seem to mind the cold temperatures and dull days. As soon as the last patches of snow left us they began to emerge and within a week there was color in the garden. We seem to have a much brighter and bigger display than in past years and have wonderful erect stands of white, pink, chocolate and pale green blossoms dotted across the terraces.

The weather has not been a total disaster. The creek has often been full and exciting. There have been days when we have been able to get out into the terraced gardens and begin to clear up. There is some vole and chipmunk damage but nothing like as bad as we experienced last year. The practice of planting vulnerable plants in a mixture of soil and sharp gravel, of covering the soil surface with a shallow layer of the same gravel and, on occasions, covering that with a sheet of plastic mesh seems to have deterred the critters. We also wrapped the lower 12 inches of the trunks of our ornamental trees with aluminum foil to stop hungry creatures feasting on the bark worked as well.

But today the sun is shining. The sky is blue and the creek is full. Come on daffodils, come on forget-me-nots. We have waited a long time for spring.