The Garden Unfurls

Things are emerging from the ground at a very rapid pace. It’s amazing to me how quickly the space is transforming itself. Here’s what it looked like about a week and a half ago:

April 9, 2015

And then a week later:

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Suddenly the world is blooming and growing (click on any photo to find out a little more about what you’re seeing):

Of particular note is the wonderful way that the ferns seem to crawl out of the earth, unfurl, and expand:

And water droplets on hostas are always beautiful:

The Next Phase of Spring

This year, the magnolia bloomed for Easter. It is always such a treat to smell the flowers as I walk up the front steps and to see the grand tree covered in happy blossoms. Unfortunately, the blooms are considerably muted this year because so many were damaged by the cold and never opened. Still, the ones that remain are gorgeous.

Magnolia 2015

Other signs of the quickening spring are appearing everywhere in the garden (click on any image below for a slide show of larger photos):

  • The grape hyacinth blooming (I always loved my grandma’s grape hyacinths: the teeny tiny, knobby blooms and the fragrance!),
  • unexpected little blue blossoms,
  • the Japanese painted fern emerging from the ground like a cluster of cramped bird claws,
  • hops (reminding me of my family in Germany) that’s quickly ascending its support,
  • tiny lettuces,
  • tiny blackberry leaves greening the formerly bare branches,
  • asparagus shoots–the garden’s first edible produce,
  • multi-colored and multi-textured leaves emerging from the ground,
  • a healthy patch of wild ginger and Solomon’s seal unfurling skyward,
  • and violets that fill my yard and refuse to give way.

Here’s an overview of my garden now:

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For Easter, we had beautiful weather in Evansville. I had the afternoon to myself, so I decided to ride my 1968 Schwinn Hollywood Red Line bicycle along the Evansville riverfront and down the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage. It was the perfect day for it. Photos below are: the pedestrian bridge along Ohio Street, the Fligeltaub scrap yard, the flooded Ohio River, and the tulips at the Pagoda.

 

 

Spring: Yeah, It’s Happening.

Spring is undeniably in the air. The first brave crocuses opened at the beginning of February, but were quickly pummeled by the snow. Now, the reinforcements have arrived and are covering the lawn with bright colors and attracting plenty of honeybees. The yard is coming back to life!

The garlic is beginning to rise from beneath its leaf mulch blanket. I’m glad to see it doing well.

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This weekend was beautiful, and I planted lettuces in my raised bed. While doing so, I enjoyed the sedums growing along the edge of the bed.

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The hellebores have popped up within the last few days and are blooming happily. Their blooms are always so welcome at this time of year. I need to plant more!

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And I discovered the first signs of other plants–the ones that will reign over my garden during the summer months. They’re there: emerging just above the soil, deciding that perhaps it is just warm enough now.

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Winter Postscript

This week, the first week of March, it snowed again. We got 8.5 inches, the #5 one-day snowfall total of all time for Evansville. It began with heavy rain on Wednesday morning, followed by a little sleet, and then thick snow. It was beautiful.

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And it created some interesting snow sculptures in my back yard.

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It snowed all night. The next morning the city was quiet under its blanket of snow. Here’s what 8.5 inches looks like:

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I shoveled walks and then went skiing along the levee.

I’ve been grateful to have access to a 4-wheel drive vehicle, which greatly expands my potential skiing sites. It was bitterly cold after the snow, which meant that I got another nice day of skiing on Friday. I decided to try a short stretch of a levee close to the neighboring town of Newburgh. It was also very pleasant, and I saw the tracks of one other cross country skier.

Ski EVV

It was remarkable enough that we had over six inches of snow in Evansville. What was even more remarkable? That the snow we got was *perfect* for skiing.

Most unusual was that the snow didn’t start as rain switching to snow. That meant that there wasn’t the customary inch-thick layer of slush under the snow’s surface to attach itself to my skis in globs and stop all forward momentum. And it was bitterly cold with wind chills below zero, so the snow was crisp and not half melty.

I was out skiing five days in a row and took my camera each day. The Evansville riverfront and the nearby levee protecting the downtown area were a beautiful setting and are not far from my house. I’ve heard that Evansville is one of very few large cities that are on a river but don’t have a city across the river from them, so the view from the downtown is special.

I like the way that my photos capture the different stages of the snowstorm and its aftermath. There’s the gray on gray with the snow still falling, the clearing/clouding before the blast of cold, the crystal clear and bitterly cold and windy arctic blast, the return of snow, and the return of clouds that portended freezing rain and the end of my skiing.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Storm Saga 2015

It all began with a Cooper’s hawk. He sat in the magnolia just 25 feet from the bird feeders for over an hour. The sweet cardinal couple let their anger be known–they wanted breakfast. The clouds of goldfinches and juncos were nowhere to be seen.  I wasn’t sure who I hoped would be fed: the small birds or the hawk. Snow began to build up on the hawk’s head and beak. And the snow kept coming down.

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By the end of the day, we had around 6 inches of snow. Driving was a nightmare, but the world was beautiful and white, for a change.

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Schools were closed. I got to go cross country skiing. Tuesday was much the same. Wednesday we got more snow. Thursday the roads were still bad. John and I walked to work. It was hard to stay focused during snow days, especially with no other staff reporting in.

Friday, some of the normal routines started to return. It had been a very strange week. And then the ice storm began. It, too, was both beautiful and treacherous. We got over an inch of rain/freezing rain/snow/sleet by noon Saturday.

I’d been planning to spend Saturday enjoying the splendor of an icy world, but the world had other plans for me. John awoke at 5:00 am on Saturday morning to feed the cat breakfast (or, rather, the cat woke him up demanding breakfast at 5:00 am) and discovered that a recently repaired roof section was leaking and a section of the ceiling had fallen in.

The ceiling has been weeping ever since. I hope that it continues to quietly cry to itself and does nothing more. Half asleep, we cleaned up. I spent the day taking photos of ice formations, shoveling slush from our walks, and sitting with the cat in his warm upstairs fortress.

This time around, the ice made particularly interesting and beautiful patterns on the trees. Even after it had melted off of the branches, it remained as a silvery, grainy, bubbly casing on the trunks. A post on Facebook tipped me off to the fact that you could watch water droplets slide down the trunk under the ice. The droplets on our trees were subtle and very peaceful. I made some videos (plus you can hear the birds and wind chimes in the background).