Where does the time go? January, my least favorite month of the year, came and went. February surprised us with more than balmy weather. While we had some cold days, it also gave us days with 70 degree weather. I don’t recall ever sitting in the garden in February in a short sleeved t-shirt reading the paper or just working in the garden. I considered those days a gift and I was hoping for many more. But then March came along and with it colder days and snow. March actually ended up being colder than February. Go figure.
The only good thing about March was the Philadelphia flower show. We made the trip to Philadelphia just before the big snowstorm was supposed to hit and spent a very enjoyable day at a sparsely attended show. The next day we were back at the show again (I always get four tickets) and I even came home with lots of lily bulbs for planting in the garden soon. And then, finally, winter was over (technically) and it was spring.
I am still waiting for the weather to warm up and this week they are forecasting a string of 50+ degree days in a row. So many plants in my garden are ready to come up and out, but as temperatures drop regularly it remains a waiting game. Nevertheless, I saw the first flowers on my Katharine Hodgkin irises. Two pale blue flowers opened up just as fierce winds were blowing for a day or two. The next time I stuck my head out of the door, the flowers were history. Thankfully the remaining Katharines delayed their blooming by a week or two and I might actually be able to enjoy them in another week. My dancing butterfly peony is showing more and more bright red stems ready to unfurl. This plant spent two years in a container before finally making it back into the garden and neither year it bloomed. This year I am hoping to see their bright pink flowers in another month or so.
The big box stores had their regular offerings of bulbs and plants and I must admit I could not pass by without buying something. Siberian irises were a steal at 6 plants for $15 and while the plants are small, they should fill out quickly. ‘Caesar’s brother’ will bloom in blue while ‘butter and sugar’ is a pale yellow. Supermarkets are also worth a look in their plant sections. Yesterday I picked up two large hellebores for $15 each which is really a steal. Since most of my hellebores have already started to bloom and they are actively growing I took a chance and planted the new ones. So far so good!
And then on a sad note, this morning I had to dig a grave in the garden for one of my fuzzies. Ferret Betsie celebrated her eight birthday at the end of January and although she had slowed down considerably over the years, she was still sprightly. However, over the past few days she went downhill fast and this morning she was gone. She is now buried next to the shed and has a big cement leaf on top to mark the spot (and make it harder to be dug up). In the picture she is in the bottom of the ferret pile with two white fuzzies, Sammie and Bella, on top. Although she loved to bite my toes to get my attention, she was a good ferret.