Spring in Full Sway

daff view with brdbathI was sitting in my chair by the window admiring the view, when a bright red blur streaked past, squawking, streaked past in the other direction squawking more, perched on a bare branch to squawk again, and flew off in what I perceived as a huff. The cardinal is impatient with me for slacking off when I should have been getting the birdbath out of the garage. He was right. No more ice, no more danger to garden ceramics, so birdbath time was here. I rolled it out, set it up, dumped in a bucket of water, leveled it, and while I was out there took a few photos. The sweep of April is glorious, from the daffodils at the birdbath’s foot, to the pear tree just starting to fill out, and down by the road a crabapple tree only barely beginning. A grand succession.

weeping cherryLook how happy the weeping cherry is this year.  I’ve also been following the little blue chionodoxa since that last post, and it does indeed subside in time for the first lawn mow.

seedlings in windowSome of the same view shows up from the upstairs window where the seedlings are sprouting. I had seeds for Supersteak tomatoes left from last year and, thinking few would germinate, I put several in each pot. They all sprouted. I thinned them by snipping off the extra ones, since they were too close to risk pulling. I had some Millionaire Eggplant seeds from three years ago, and planted those. The germination rate was less, but not bad considering their elderly condition (for seeds).

tomato tulipsMeanwhile out in the garden, where it’s still far too cold for the tropical likes of tomato plants, my tulips are coming up in the erstwhile tomato beds. They’re behind the fence to keep the deer from eating them; as they start to bloom, I cut them and bring them indoors for bouquets. Next time I’ll have pictures of the redbuds and dogwoods, which are trembling on the brink of gorgeousness.

tulips indoorsFull-on Michigan spring is not subtle – it hits you over the head with sheer, steep, moonrocketing glory. A little snow is falling this morning, mixed with rain, but it melts before it even hits the ground. The water in the birdbath trembles a little. The cardinal has noticed. Too quick for my camera, but I’m sure he’ll be back.


What Have We Here

seedstartsA year ago at the start of the pandemic, which was also the start of the lockdown, we arranged to have our milk delivered. It came in glass bottles. This was delightful, but it meant no more empty milk cartons to start my seeds. So I ordered some peat pots,  gathered leftover paper cups from picnics past, scrounged up a handful of unused peat pellets, and proceeded. Here they are at the sunny upstairs window, only a few days in and already a few sprouts. The lobelia seeds were so tiny and so determined to stay in the seed envelope, I couldn’t tell if I got any of them planted, or if they blew away with the house dust. But little green bits are coming up pretty thick in those blobby pellets at the back there, so either I managed to plant the lobelia, or something colonized the pellets as they sat all year in the garage. We will find out.

daffsThe sprouts in the blue cups, though, are basil. I recognize them. No surprise there. Basil’s very nice because when you thin out the seedlings, you can use the discards. They’re recognizably basil, in scent, in taste. Throwing them into the spaghetti sauce is way more fun than tossing every second tomato seedling in the compost pile, after going to all that trouble to start them.

chionodoxaMeanwhile on the other side of the window, the narcissus are far enough along that neighbors out walking their dogs stop to admire them. Last fall I put a lot of chionodoxa in among them – the small blue things. They were easy to interplant because they’re so small, I barely had to lift a little soil on the point of my shovel to slip them in. I’m hoping they will naturalize, that is, spread and thicken up. The lawn’s started to go green but is not growing yet. I’m keeping an eye on the relative progress of chionodoxa and grass. If the chionodoxa die back before the grass needs mowing, I’ll put a whole bunch of them into the lawn next fall. A blue lawn – even just a swath of blue lawn – will really give the dog walkers something to stop and look at.