Sunday Garden Chat: Spring Awakening

scout211 blue dick 2014

From commentor Scout211:

Wildflowers in our front yard at dusk. These are common in Calaveras County California (and most of the foothills of California) in Spring. The common name is Blue Dick. [insert off color joke here… ]

scout211 apple blossom 2014

Apple blossoms

scout211 cherry blossoms 2014

Cherry blossoms

scout211 great blue heron 2014

Since I usually add a pic of our local wildlife, this is a pic of our resident Great Blue Heron. It is a bit blurry but he is perched atop the tallest of our oak trees, which all are at least a century old.


Not much blossoming here north of Boston yet, not even the forsythia down the block, although the first of the rather frost-draggled daffodils closest to our south-facing, basement-window heatsink are finally in bud. It’s a start. As promised, there will be a further special-edition Left Coast Garden Chat (should be) popping up some hours from now, courtesy Mary G & Higgs Bosun’s Mate.

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

53 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    We spent most of the day working on it yesterday. Pulled up the collards and kale and the princess went to the botanical garden sale and got more stuff. Today she’ll head to the growers outlet and bring back another load. Our winter grass didn’t really take on the spot of the failed construction but we’re having faith that we can live with the wheat straw this summer and that, when the sewer project is done, the addition will be there next year.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    Great pictures!

  3. 3

    Here in South Florida the live oaks have stopped shedding their leaves and replaced them with new ones; my hibiscus are in bloom, and at the still-dark hour of 6:48 a.m. the peacocks are screeching as they parade through the back yard.

  4. 4
    marv says:

    There’s nothing much to report on the ground up here, at roughly the 45th parallel, because it’s still frozen stiff. But I did step outside late last night to pee and think things over, in this blessedly light-pollution free portion of the great North Woods, and noticed that the moon is most definitely going through a phase. It’s waxing. I mean, it’s REALLY waxing. I noticed similar behavior a month or so ago so I guess actually it’s re-waxing, which just sort of makes me happy somehow.

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Great pictures indeed, makes me hungry for the blossoms of spring to paint our hills and hollers once again. The daffodils and hyacinths are beginning to take over for the crocuses. I had some daffodil bulbs that didn’t get into the ground last Nov so I planted them along the drive after work on the theory that, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Already 4 of them are seeking the sun. Got some Dutch Iris bulbs that also didn’t make it so today they go along the highway with a few Asian lilies I just bought for around our mailbox.

    The compost I bought last wkend is still in the trailer. Didn’t get a chance to spread it, and then the rains came (correction: 6+” on W+T) so to venture into the veggie garden is to risk death by quickmud. More is predicted for tonight and tomorrow but then it is supposed to dry up so maybe by next wkend I can finally empty the trailer…. And go get another load.

    The herb garden terrace project is done and ready for plants. Now all I need is above freezing temps at night. All my garlic is up and doing well. I planted 4 types, Chinese Pink, Spanish Roja, Duganski, and Northern white. I look forward to the Duganski the most as it is especially pungent.With all that I planted, there will be plenty to share. My little brother FINALLY opened his restaurant for real and I think a gift of some to him and his wife would be appropriate.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @marv: In the south we have something called indoor plumbing. We don’t have to step outside on frozen ground to pee and think.

  7. 7
    Gndy51 says:

    @JPL: You also have to contend with large biting bugs if you did so it is understandable that you would not venture outside to pee. Sad you never get to write your name in the snow!
    As for gardens, it dipped below 32 last night and only the daffodils, and snow crocus have braved the blooming stage. The garden is on hold until May 1, but we did plant a scarlet maple tree in the back that my male dog has fallen in love with. He loves it so much he won’t pee anywhere else unless we put him on lead.

  8. 8
    Raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: all your rain keeps missing us

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Raven: I’ll save some for you.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    @Raven: Since we are under a flood watch, I presume that the rain will not miss us this time. I just want enough rain to wash off the yellow muck on my deck.

  11. 11
    randomworker says:

    I still have snow over most of the yard and garden.


  12. 12
    Schlemizel says:

    I must be near Marv, though I am on the frozen tundra not the big woods and pee indoors. We got a foot of snow Thursday but then it was in the 40s on Friday afternoon & nearly 60 yesterday so I can see the yard in spots. Saw the first robin of the season.

  13. 13
    gelfling545 says:

    Here (WNY) it snowed again yesterday. Some things that usually start to show buds in Feb. have just started to show them this week which is a great relief. I thought they were dead. It looks like the forsythia didn’t make it though. We may have non-frigid weather this week long enough for me to cut back the roses.

  14. 14
    Betty Cracker says:

    The mister has already harvested a few cucumbers from his garden and reports that they are delicious. (I don’t like cucumbers, so I can’t give a first-hand quality report.) That’s the only thing that is actually edible at this point aside from herbs, but we have tomatoes, peppers, beans, etc., growing like mad.

  15. 15
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Not much blossoming here in Detroit due to the late and especially cold winter. Yesterday we paid help to get the street facing area of the property cleaned up. Once the snow banks melted it was really appalling.
    I was in MS last week, driving Highway 61 from Memphis and the sight of redbuds in bloom sent tears down my face. Man, I want this spring so bad.

    Following advice acquired from BJ-ers last fall, I just had my wonderful yew bushes chainsawed down to bare trunks 2′ high. They were too tall, out of shape and overwhelming the front of the house. The plan is to regrow them from the stumps and keep them low and tight. I desperately hope this is the plan they have in mind as well, because bare limbs look really awful out there now.
    But at least now Doglius has a clear view out the front window of things that need barking at so we’ve got that going for us.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    A couple of engineers are looking for the rear of 212 Targee Street, a location that is now under the Scottrade Center, home of the St Louis Blues hockey team. When they find it they intend to put up a plaque honoring it’s history. What history you might ask?

    That’s where Frankie shot Johnny.

  17. 17
    Josie says:

    I have a few tomatoes and hot peppers that struggled through our mild (usually non-existent) south Texas winter. I have planted more, plus cucumbers, eggplants and squash. The rosemary is thriving and the basil is coming back, so we are good on herbs. Duncan the corgi goes out to chase the cats around the yard for his exercise and comes back in smelling like rosemary, since their favorite hiding place is close by the bush. It’s a nice aroma for a dog.

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    Warm up here in St. Louis. I got grand plans for my garden this year, but alas it needs to warm up.

  19. 19
    SJ1919 says:

    Anyone notice the WaPo’s front page “the 99% suck, they won’t take our low paying jobs in the middle of nowhere” monstrosity? I can see quotations from Brooks and Will in upcoming columns.

  20. 20
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I didn’t know that. For those that don’t live in St. Louis the Scottrade center is like our “cool” place for concerts. In the next few weeks we have Billy Joel and Miley Cyrus playing (just looked at the schedule).

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy: I’ve never been to the Scott. Back in the day I saw several concerts at the old Kiel Auditorium and the Opera House. Allman Bros blew it away at the Opera House. Great setting. Lots of at(cough cough)mo(hack)sphere(gasp wheeze).

  22. 22
    Fuzzy says:

    @Tommy: I lived in St Louis long ago when the Blues played in Checkerdome (?) and Scotty Bowman was the coach. My eldest was born there. It seemed like a great city back in the late 60s but the racial tension apparent.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I have to admit I’ve never been to the place for a concert. Oh the Allman Brothers. Only saw them play in like 1989 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU. It was a grand thing.

  24. 24
    Tommy says:

    @Fuzzy: Long story short it is still an issue IMHO. I Lived for 15+ years in DC where I was the only “white” dude around.I mean the only white dude in NE where I lived. So when I moved back here I was confused. Race is an issue.

  25. 25
    SIA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: oh wow, Kiel Auditorium! I saw Yes there in the latish 70’s, it was mind-bending. Beautiful place. Is it still there?

  26. 26
    Tommy says:

    @SIA: Nope.They built the “new” place on top it.

  27. 27
    opiejeanne says:

    Our yard just outside Seattle has daffodils and grape hyacinth in bloom, and the cherry trees and apples and pears are just on the cusp of blooming, but we won’t be there to see them or the tulips because we are hurtling towards Southern California at 70mph right now, to visit our son and my sister, and to list our little mountain cabin in Blue Jay for sale. It needs some work before that happens so we will be there nearly a month getting it ready. Since Dad died we aren’t using it, but while he was still with us it was a nice place to stay without piling in on him in Upland.
    I probably brought the wrong clothes.

  28. 28

    Fanfare For Forsythia… everything is blooming or getting ready to bloom in Tennessee. Most gorgeous time of year here.

  29. 29
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SIA: The auditorium is gone, the Opera House, IIRC, is still there, and You and I** may have been to the same Yes concert. I saw them 2 or 3 times.

    **pun intended

  30. 30
    Scout211 says:

    I harvested my first bunch of rhubarb and baked a pie last weekend.

    Yesterday I planted the rest of my veggie seeds and seedlings in the raised beds.

    As in the first pic above, this year has been amazing for wild flowers here in rural Northern California.

  31. 31
    Poopyman says:

    Looks like winter has finally left Southern MD. The geese are gone and the ospreys are back. Everything that delayed bloom because of the cold is popping out now along with everything that normally would bloom now. Looks great, but everybody’s sinuses are feeling it too. The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin in DC are set for peak bloom this week, so things are quickly coming back on schedule.

    In my garden, not so much. Today’s the day it’s finally dry enough to turn over some beds so I can at least get the early crops in. Didn’t start seed like I should have back in February, so I’ll either start late outside or hope for some decent seedlings for tomatoes online or locally.

    Now off to prep some beds. Two inches of rain forecast for tomorrow night/Tuesday.

  32. 32
    SIA says:

    @Tommy: oh sorry to hear that.

  33. 33
    Phylllis says:

    The azaleas popped out this week, and the flowering fruit trees are blooming as well. The dogwoods bloomed about two weeks ago & have already greened up. I always have to remind myself that even if I live to be 100, I’ll still only see 100 Springs. I really try to pay attention each year and appreciate the beauty.

  34. 34
    fidelio says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Have they got a plaque up yet for the place a few blocks over where Stack Lee Shelton shot Billy Lyons?

  35. 35
    SIA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: ha, maybe! Can’t remember the tour name/album, but remember Rick Wakefield coming out in a long white gown with his long blonde hair and they started playing and blew me away!

  36. 36
    SIA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: so love that song

  37. 37
    the Conster says:

    West of Boston there are crocuses, but not a hint of forsythia and only the very tips of of perennials poking through, and still haven’t had a day above 60. I’m coming down with something that’s giving me the chills but I’m listing the house on May 3rd and have to spend every spare minute cleaning out closets and basement. I have no idea yet where I’m moving to except into a rental somewhere so I’m alternating between deep depression with a huge dollop of anxiety, and excitement about creating a new reality for myself that won’t involve tending to an acre of lawn, garden beds, mulching and cleaning up tree mess for the 17th year in a row. Trees are way overrated.

  38. 38
    J R in WV says:

    Our house, deep into the SWestern W Va forest, is surrounded closely by white oak trees, with a giant beech tree by the back deck, and assorted hardwoods throughout the place… There are early blooming Serviceberry trees some years, with delicate frilly white blooms. (AKA Sarviceberry trees) Dogwood trees are still hanging in here, I understand there’s a fungus attacking them which is bad news!

    So by the house we have shade-tolerant perennial wildflowers mostly. There are a fat row of daffodils along the front steps, which are all in bloom now. That flowerbed also has jonquils, some hyacinths (like two of ’em) and the other side of the steps is periwinkle.

    Below a big rock there’s a big patch of hundreds of what we called dogtooth violets, but which I have learned since planting them is more formally known as trout lily. There were 3 or 4 roots in little plastic bags with a pinch of peatmoss, and now there are hundreds of them, a few of which will throw on their finery of bright yellow flowers this spring. Here’s a link to a page about trout lily:


    Farther from the house in front are a handful of paper narcissus, white flowers like tiny daffodils, in a row beside one of the water well bores. There’s also a bleeding heart behind the well head, and something I’ll have to go get the name from Mrs J – barrenwort, she says. Waxy leaves on narrow dark stems. Pretty little yellow flowers soon.

    There are also several beds of Lenten Rose, aka Helleboros all around, and they’ve been blooming since we got home from Arizona the middle of last month. They’re lower on the list because they’re so well established we don’t do anything for them. The deer hate them, so we don’t have to worry about them, except that they’re spreading into the woods, kind of invasive. They have heavy blooms from pink to dark maroon from February into April and will spread large leaves of dark waxy green all year round.

    Behind the house, deeper into the woods, we have two patches of bluebells, which are up now, proud to be green, and will put on formal clothes of bright blue blooms in another week or so – no, wait, news flash from the back yard…when I went to look there are a few blooms already!!

    There’s some lily of the valley back there beside the path, too. I’m discouraging that, because it looks a lot like the ramps I’ve got started, but Lily of the Valley is poisonous, and ramps are delicious! It will be a long time before we have enough ramps to harvest them for eating, though. They’re spreading by runners now, so the 4 or 5 patches that were 2 or 3 plants are thicker now, but a long way from being a crop-bearing plant.

    We had a birthday dinner next door last night, which I made a sour cherry crumble for. There was old timey music, beer and bubbly wine, and mexican style dinner, beans and meat sauce, tortillas, bright red pepper salad, tangy cabbage slaw, all wonderful. So I’m a little slow this morning.

    Obviously Mrs J is mostly in charge of the flower beds, with the exception of the roots I’ve planted for dogtooth violets and trillium. I planted Jack in the Pulpit roots too, before I knew enough to recognize that the woods are full of them. We have lots of native ferns, wild geraniums, and (planted) Solomon’s seal all around in the woods.

  39. 39
    karen says:

    Cherry Blossoms here in DC are expected to reach their peak this week and miracles of miracles, the parade is on the 12tth.

  40. 40
    cleek says:

    in our yard, the daffodils have come and gone. the tulip tree is in full bloom and the redbuds, dogwoods and phlox are just starting.

    peas and swiss chard are growing in the garden. peppers and tomatoes are growing in the garage.

  41. 41
    maya says:

    Daffies here (NorCal) have already bloomed and gone as of the end of March. Tulips are beginning to fade too. All is green. Plum (always the first), cherry and apple trees all in bloom. Late frosts haven’t amounted to anything so should be bountiful crop. Except for cherries, damn birds get every last one of them and they’re too big to net. The trees that is.
    While the rest of Cal and just about all the western states are still in severe drought, not so in this small pocket couched in the tit-pit of Cape Mendocino. Almost 100″ so far three-quarters of that coming after the first week of Feb. Spring is flowing strong and clear. Lots of lawn mowing and least favorite chore, weed-eating, ahead this spring and summer.

  42. 42
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @fidelio: Not as far as I know. Around STL he is more popularly remembered as “Stagger Lee”.

  43. 43
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Can’t remember the tour name/album,

    “If you can remember the 70s, you weren’t there.”

  44. 44
    fidelio says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can write Stack Lee all day but it’s almost impossible to say it that way.
    I hope they get around to Billy & him soon.

  45. 45
    Josie says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The things you can learn on this blog! As far back as I can remember, I thought he was “Stagger Lee.” I never knew his real name was “Stack Lee.”

  46. 46
    w3ski says:

    A shout out to scout211. We live in Calaveras too!
    Small world.

  47. 47
    SIA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:HAHA very true, lots of chemical enhancement going on in those days

  48. 48
    Denali says:

    Sunny day, and thought of Spring abound. But WInter keeps its hold with cold nights, so there are few signs around here in upstate NY. Maybe it will be an imaginary Spring.

  49. 49
    Tommy says:

    @Josie: Hey the station in St. Louis is KSHE. Their playlist:

    11:00AM JETHRO TULL “Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of the New Day)”
    10:55AM JEFFERSON STARSHIP “Ride The Tiger”
    10:51AM LEON RUSSELL “Bluebird”

    I don’t think most folks on the coast know this, but there is this huge hole of this or that in the midwest. My parents age know KMOX (radio station). The station likes to say they are the 50,000 watt blow torch. Broadcast to the entire midwest.

  50. 50
    Scout211 says:


    Hey, hello!

    How are your wild flowers this year?

    We are loving this strange weather year–less grasses/ weeds but explosions of wild flowers in our part of the county.

  51. 51
    Bill D. says:

    @Scout211: This phenomenon has been noted previously in California- winters that start wet and end dry favor grasses, and winters that start dry and end wet favor the wildflowers. Enjoy them while you can!

    Where I live in the Bay Area, the green grasses on the hillsides are definitely sparser and lower than in a normal year, even though the casual viewer from the city might not notice the difference.

  52. 52
    different-church-lady says:

    As hard as this is to believe, it has actually warmed up enough in Eastern Massachusetts to go outside and prune the roses.

    [sings “We Are The Champions”]

  53. 53
    dmbeaster says:

    Despite the horrible drought, the Spring wildflower bloom in California has been decent so far (though thin). It is one of the great things about this state, the incredible wildflower shows that begin in February in the low desert and progresses into August at the higher elevations in the Sierra. Always glad to see wildflower pics, I have dozens.

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