Garden Report: January 28

This is the time of year when my East coast and Midwestern friends insist it's spring here. Of course, it's not spring; we're still weeks away from getting enough sun for that to be the case. But they say that because the soil is warm enough here that the flowers that herald spring in freezing climates start coming up.

This year we have a kind of funny set of sprouts, because when I widened the path last year, some bulbs stayed behind.

Allium coming up in the path

This allium, for example. Just outside the path markers.

Crocus curving in the pathway

And more amusingly, these crocus, who trace the old location of the path edge. Am I going to dig them up and move them? No. It's OK with me if flowers grow on the pathway itself, as long as they are flowers I'm OK with running over with a laden wheelbarrow. On second thought, I might try to find and move the allium, though those guys can dig themselves quite a ways into the soil.

Flowering quince in bloom

Another lovely spring bloomer that came a little early this year -- it's been extra-warm here the last week or so -- is the flowering quince. It's a great source of nectar for those warm days when the bees are flying, and in the last week, when we had record high temperatures (nearly 70F one day), it's had lots of little visitors. My efforts to plant year-round nectar sources have paid off.

In the meantime, I've been pruning. I pruned much of the orchard, the magnolia tree out front, and this week I've been working my way through the rose hedge in preparation for building a retaining wall out front. As I go, I've been spraying the trees that need it with sulfur for peach leaf curl.

On the actual house front, we're waiting for the city to approve our permits for the constellation of work surrounding our foundation project -- none of which is the foundation itself, of course. Those should be ready by Wednesday next week, at which point I will have no excuse for not getting to work on that project.

posted by ayse on 01/28/11

5 Comments

Thanks for posting about the flowering quince. I've been wanting one of these beauties for ages but with all the more critical plants (fruit trees) waiting in my garden queue, I haven't been able to justify buying an ornamental. My bees are a big deal to me, though - so early nectar may be just the excuse I need to finally get myself a quince. :)

Bear in mind that you have snow on the ground now, and we don't. I don't know how they flower in your climate.

True, they definitely wouldn't be as early as yours. Nectar flow is said to start in May, and I'm to start feeding the bees in late March. But they do like the climate here - I've seen a few in the spring and they are Just. So. Beautiful. They really don't seem to be that popular around here - in McMansion central everyone plants azaleas and barberry - but my little farm and I aren't exactly conformists anyway. :)

They really are gorgeous. I never saw them when I lived back East, but I wasn't as attuned to shrubbery then. You might also want to consider a witch hazel -- there are some really lovely red ones available. Those were what I remember being big early-spring/late winter nectar sources, especially for sap-drinking birds. And they look amazing in bloom in the snow.

You're right! I forgot about Witch Hazel. I think they like damp soil, too, and Josh loves them. Though they'd probably be blooming against mud and swamp, not snow, by the time March rolls around. :)

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