28 April 2012

Spring At Heart's Ease Cottage

Spring came in February this year, now it has decided to be Winter in late April. We have had temps dipping into the low 30's, which doesn't do much for my warm weather crops like tomatoes. I never plant tomatoes before May 1, even though our last frost date is April 15, because I don't trust the weather to do what it is supposed to do. Unfortunately I had  tomatoes that I had started indoors out for the day to start hardening them off and I forgot about them. The temperature over night dropped to 31 degrees. When I remembered them in the morning I went outside to find my poor little baby tomatoes had withered with the cold..sigh. I just have too many things going on at one time these days... I will start new tomatoes from seed for my specialty tomatoes, but I will have to go ahead and by some flats of Romas so my canning tomatoes can go in the ground May 1.
The gardens this Spring have been beautiful and as I write this my rose arbor is bursting forth with hundreds of pale pink blossoms. I will take some photos tomorrow, when it stops raining. For now, here are some photos of what Spring has been like here at the Cottage:

 The azalea bushes in front of my house were spectacular this Spring! These bushes are about 20 years old. Last year we planted 90 more azaleas in what used to be the front yard.

We now call  it the "Bird Garden", since the birds have come by the droves to hang out in the bushes. The new bushes haven't bloomed yet since they are a later variety, but I will be sure to post some pics when they bloom.

This little bunny fountain is playing flower pot this year while I rework the garden it usually resides in.

I try to plant some Heart's Ease every year, as a nod to our beloved Cottage. The weather here turns warm so early in the year that they quickly go to seed, but I enjoy every minute of the time they are with us.

Da spent a lot of the late summer last year reclaiming the blackberry trellis' that turned into a thicket of unruly brambles while we were living in Costa Rica. All his hard work paid off this Spring. The canes are absolutely covered with blossoms and newly set berries.

The thumb-sized sweet berries will come ripe in July, and will be eaten with home made granola for breakfast, will accompany other seasonal fruits in smoothies, and will be made into some mouthwatering  cobblers. We will freeze some, make some into jam and best of all we will get to share them with neighbors and friends.

                    Friskie enjoys a walk through the iris beds with me.

                    This Iris smells like lemon Chiffon Pie!

                              Granny Smith Apple blossoms.

    Our resident Anole spends the afternoon napping on the deck rail. 

   Here he is showing off his colors for any sweet young thing that might be watching...

Patrick's Rose, better known as David Austen's "Graham Thomas", has bloomed a month early. The early Spring weather convinced everything in my yard to bloom way before its time.

This rose was damaged in a wind storm last year and I thought it was going to die... It came back with determination and has graced the deck with its citrus scented blooms since late March.

   Black Seeded Simpson, Lolla Rosa, Mesclun mix and Romaine lettuces, will be in the salad bowl this Spring, along with beet greens, new onions and Cherry Belle Radishes. In the bed to the left of the lettuce, Jersey Wakefield Cabbages and Cherry Belle Radishes grow as companions. The radishes will be ready for harvest before the cabbages get large enough to compete for the sunshine.

Lolla Rosa is a compact curly leaved lettuce that is cut and come again, I have harvested most of this bed twice and I will still be able to cut it once or twice more before I need to replant with a warm weather variety.

At the time of this photo the romaine still had a few weeks before it was mature. As of this week it will be ready for harvest.
Well, I'd better draw this post to a close, but before I do I will give you a sneak peek of my newest garden project... My newly renovated kitchen herb garden.

My established herb garden was overcome by couching grass and some insidious form of weed that looks like Artemesia but with a very aggressive nature. So I have finally dug out all the weeds, sifted the soil and am now I am replanting my surviving herbs, as well as adding many new ones. I will post more on the herb garden another day.

                  May you all be blessed with a simple life!
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