Saturday, April 17, 2010

Farm and Garden Weekly - week of April 11

On Monday I saw a swallow investigating the nesting box on the telephone pole which these birds use every year - sort of like when the swallows come back to Windy Poplars.

The little Scilla siberica (Siberian squill) are up which I got a few years ago from Old House Gardens, a truly wonderful company.
Scilla siberica, SIBERIAN SQUILL, 1796
Vast pools of this true blue wildling decorate many old neighborhoods in very early spring, spreading without care under shrubs and into the lawn in light shade. Grown in America by 1830, its heyday was the early 1900s when one writer recommended planting “hundreds and thousands in every garden.” 4-6 inches, zones 3-7, from Holland.

The daffs are really out now. We have a whole area of them and they come at intervals.

The dear sunshiny flowers took a beating as we had snow Thursday night into Friday morning.

They look a little better today but I think I'll pick them for a bouquet.

There was a mix of snow and rain most of Friday.

Today it has stopped but still cloudy and cool, in the upper 30s. As I look outdoors, it appears like a green picture with bright white matting. Really quite lovely.

This week there was a really interesting article in the paper about Project BudBurst. Have you heard of this? It is along the same lines as dear Gladys Taber's observations all those years ago. I learned such wisdom as:
When dandelions bloom, plant spinach, beets and carrots.

When lilac is in full bloom, plant beans.

Once lilac flowers have faded, plant squash and cucumbers.

When lily-of-the-valley blooms, plant tomatoes.
I absolutely love information like this. And I love the idea of planting according to moon phases, as my grandfather did; for example, planting crops that grow below ground during a waning moon. There are a couple fun sites you may visit to find out more about this fascinating subject here and here. We have done this a few times but haven't kept records. Maybe this year we'll pay better attention.


  1. Snow! Again? In April? Oh dear, but those scillas look wonderful. And I love pic of sheepie!
    Margaret P

  2. Did you ever read Rosamunde Pilcher's Snow in April? I think the snow was in Scotland. We've had snow as late as early May but it doesn't last. I love those flowers. And my sheep thanks you. :<)

  3. Rod and I took the Amtrak train from San Diego to San Juan Capistrano one year with two other couples. We had dinner and took the train back home. It was delightful, looking out the train windows, gazing at the Pacific Ocean. That's the only time I remember being in SJC.

    I was surprised to see you had snow, but it's still a possibility here, too. Pretty much for another two weeks. Doubtful, but not unheard of!

    My Lily of the Valley are just poking up through the dirt. My bleeding heart is in full bloom and looking gorgeous.

    Happy Gardening!

  4. I'd love to see how your planting goes by doing it the old fashioned way...never knew about this. Now I wish I had paid better attention to my grandpa when he talked about his garden!!!

  5. Poor little daffodillies! We had a few flakes but not nearly so much as you folks. But, your grass is farther along than ours. We've had snow as late as May too but I'm hoping not this year.

    Love your sheep banner - he's (i'm assuming it's a he?) very handsome.

  6. I love all those folk lore bits and pieces though I think my favourite is: 'Don't eat blackberries after Michaelmas Day as the devil spits on them and you'll get a sore belly!'

    Spring is galloping onward here, thank goodness; and although they're much later than last year, we now have a bluetit in our nest box and can peek at her via the camera. To date she's laid 5 eggs and probably more to come!

  7. I've always had problems picking flowers. I have no problem buying them in bunches in the stores. But just can't deal with snapping them off at the stalk.

    Our daffodils are already wilting and some of the tulips drying up. Their color is still there though - they haven't quite given in. Not yet.

    Maybe that's why I don't pick flowers. I let them choose when and how they go. Although it's painful to see them leave...but then I don't suffer the guilt that I've made that decision for them. :)

    - J.

  8. Les, what a wonderful, wonderful trip. Perfect. The latest we've had snow is in early May. The daffodils are early this year. My bleeding hearts are up about six inches. :<)

    Staci, this is one of the only things I remember, and I don't think he's the one who talked about it. Must have been my father who told me. One of those sites suggested planting a few carrots both ways and seeing what happens. I'd like to do this.

    Island Sparrow, are different areas of PEI different zones? Are there some colder areas? The daffs look great now on the windowsill. I'm not sure if the sheep is a he. :<) We have two rams and four ewes, and with all the fleece this time of year, I don't have a clue.

    Nicola, maybe you could begin a blog on the birdies' progress! I'd love to see them.

    Jeff, I know what you mean. Especially in the spring and summer, I don't feel the need to have bouquets in the house because of all the color outside. But the daffs I picked yesterday - well, I'm sure I extended their lives. They were drooping out there after the snow, and now they are all perky and beautiful in a Smucker's jar on the windowsill!

  9. Hi Nan! My great grandfather used to say when you had snow now it was like free fertilizer! Now my Dad says that! I love those planting guidelines too-they seem to be so true!

  10. I love the photos and of course the Gladys reference.

    Is that a sitting rock wall behind the daffodils? Did you and Tom build it?

  11. Beautiful pictures. Our bluebonnets and wildflowers are out here in Texas.
    Ann Summerville
    Cozy In Texas

  12. I like the idea of your garden looking like a green picture with a white mat. Our spring is flying by. So many 80F days. It has felt like spring went straight to summer, however the past couple of nights it has gotten into the 30's. the house wren arrived this past week at our house. It is always a joy to hear him sing sing sing.

  13. Scriptor, it really is a delightful little flower.

    Sherri, I used to hear the same thing in a bit of a different way: that snow was the poor man's fertilizer!

    Alison, it is a stone planter which was here when we bought the house. We've tried growing various things in it over the years.

    Ann, I love bluebonnets.

    Lisa, our 80º day was a dream; I don't think it really happened. :<) We've been in the thirties and gloomy for days and days. I don't think we have wrens. I wonder why.

  14. Yes, I LOVE your sheep banner as well. I went out looking for sheep last week to photograph....we have so few sheep farms here. I did capture one photo, but the shy sheep scattered before I could get more:(
    Love your garden tips and of course so glad you included Gladys in there!
    I also took photos of the scillas last week and they do grow in profusion here.
    We had a small amount (skiff) of snow but it didn't last....
    Sunny here again today!

  15. Joanne, I don't know why there aren't more sheep farms. I don't eat meat, but I still don't get why there are so many cattle farms and not sheep. They are such a beautiful sight, and they eat less.

  16. I like the look of scillas too. I've used some of the old guidelines for planting. Like you, I didn't keep records. The only old guideline that always worked for me was planting peas and potatoes on St. Patrick's Day. That was when we lived in the midwest. I always had great peas and potatoes even though one is above ground and one below.

  17. Margot, two of my favorite foods! I think I remember one year when my friend's father planted his peas on St. Patrick's Day. One year! Even now the soil is too cold to plant them, if I were planting them this year. I have sweet peas, but I'm going to wait a while.

  18. I love it-a swallow song! Never heard that one before.

  19. Oh my, Larry, you must be a lot younger than I am! :<) This was a favorite of mine when I was a young girl. I saw the swallows today. What a lovely sound they make.


I'll answer your comments as soon as I possibly can. Please do come back if you've asked a question.
Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.