Tag Archive: tulips


How to Have a Big Year

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week, I noticed a lot of stuff as I drove or walked around our community.

The town accountant readied his boat for a cruise or perhaps some fishing on April 16th. Yep, he probably deserves a break right about now.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

As I walked Lady around, I noticed all of the beautiful spring flowers and flowering bushes- daffodils, narcissus, crocus, blue star, and forsythia – in bloom right now. In my own garden I have a new narcissus I am pretty sure I did not plant. I love those surprise volunteers.

Last week, I came home after a night of work only to hear the frogs from the nearby pond. It is about a quarter mile from my house as the crow flies. But the frogs were making a racket that made me think about opening the window so I could fall asleep to that sound.

But that might not have been the best sound. Hearing the birds make a racket might have been the best sound. I could pick out the red wing black birds and the bird that makes a sound like a Star Wars fighter plane. I am seeing blue jays and cardinals. Occasionally, I hear a wood pecker working on a tree but I haven’t seen one yet.

Birding is a different type of sport. It becomes more about making the impossible sighting, the wondrous vagrant, the birds sent off course by storms and high winds. I know parents of college friends who go to Texas for the winter not to winter but to work at a bird sanctuary. Walking into the woods with Neil Case is never a straight forward hike, you are going to see things.

While I enjoy watching the birds that come to our feeders, I never knew or imagined that there was such a thing in the birding world as a Big Year. This is when bird watching enthusiasts take a calendar year from January 1 till December 31 to see as many birds as you possibly can. The record is over 700 species seen in a one year period.

The Big Year PosterI became interested in finding all of this stuff out when the kids turned on this movie, The Big Year (2011) one night during spring break. Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson are three men who decide to do a Big Year in the same calendar year. Martin and Wilson are wealthy businessmen while Black is a working stiff getting over his divorce.

The Black character does everything he can, including racking up several credit cards to the limit, to do this Big Year thing which means a lot of traveling across the United States and Canada in order to see over 700 varieties of birds from North America and others that get blown off course. This includes Alaska, Florida, Texas, boat tours on the Pacific, and Colorado. They will miss work, spouses, and the little things to make this dream of seeing every possible species come true.

I found this movie worthwhile although slowly paced at times. It is a movie meant for adults, context-wise, but my ten-year-old could watch it for the most part. As we watched this movie while at my parents’ house, I wondered if my dad had ever seen it or if he would watch it. There were some exciting moments of almost making the plane and almost catching sight of a bird but no explosions or gun fights.

Perhaps Dad would have just changed the channel if he saw this movie coming on.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Advertisements

Working in the Spring Garden

This has been a tough week as I start the 13th week without having a job. I can’t believe I have been out of work this long.

Luckily the spring rains have come to make the grass green and help my flowers grow. Sunday I took the time to transplant the Evening Primrose from the front of the garden to the back. Because it grows four feet high, I feel this is a much better placement.

However, that was not the first thing I did the spring. The first thing was planting some seeds. I love Sweet Peas but for what ever reasons, they have been growing where there are not any support systems beyond other plants. So these coated seeds have been placed at one end of the porch where they can start on some lattice work. If they grow higher than the porch, I will string some twine for them to follow as well.

Seed packets

Seed packets

The other side of the porch was treated to the bird house gourd seeds. That side has been taken over by Morning Glories which I intend to lessen – a lot. The seeds were interesting as they were almost the shape of a butternut squash about an inch long. I see a future 4H project if they are done in time.

Last year I tried to plant Scarlet Runner Bean which was destroyed by said Morning Glories.

So here are some of the plants that are coming up now.

Spring 2013 - Chives

Chives returning for the 15th year

 

Spring 2013 - Clematis

Clematis starting to vine out. Note to self – do something about that stick.

 

Look, it is the red sprouts of peonies.

Look, it is the red sprouts of peonies.

 

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

 

Because I think the coldest of the cold weather is done, I might even remove the compost this weekend that has safe guarded all of my plants. Why, I was brave enough to trim up the rose-bush today.

Here is what I do know. Anytime that I feel like going out and playing in the garden, I have gloves, clippers, and a little rake at the ready by the back door.

Tools

Tools

 

How are you getting ready for the spring garden?

 

 

Clearing Out for Spring

Are you getting itchy?

 

All of this nice weather makes me want to get out to the garden, clear off the mulch and dead plants from last fall, and get ready for spring.

 

So that is what I did Sunday. People were coming to take raspberry canes from a different flower bed so I worked up front until they arrived.

So many plants are making their way.

 

The tulips are quite high.

 

The hollyhocks are making an appearance.

 

The sedum is in a tightly knitted group, making me wonder if I should not do a little separating.

And there are a few things to look forward to seeing.

Hello, foxglove. Never had one of these before.

 

 

And then there is this plant. I am still not sure what it is although my guess would be grape hyacinth. Hopefully the picture is here although it was not on my preview.

I am trying to leave some of the mulch just in case another nasty ole freeze comes out way. But let me tell you, that is really hard to do. Instead, I plan to plant scarlet runner and black-eyed susan vine on one section, and hyacinth bean goes to another place. While I am at it, perhaps I will throw down some poppy seeds.

How are you getting at spring gardening chores?

  Related Posts:

         Bird and Flowers in the Garden

         Surprises in the Garden

         Getting the Impatiens Planted

Of Tulips and Pansies…

Product Thursday

Remember all of the beautiful tulips from the spring?

The tulips at my house.

 

Yellow tulips against a Sage green house.

They were quite beautiful and always a surprise. I never know what will be coming up in what color clumps because bulbs get moved all of the time. I forget where I have placed them and when I plant other items later in the season, I come across bulbs and realize I have to replant them.

 
I mention all of this because now is the time to plant bulbs, purposefully. It is also time to take those perennials you have and divide them if you so wish.
 
The tools for such a job are simple. Gardening gloves to keep your hands clean, a shovel, a bucket for transport.
 
 
 

Picture by Solrac Gi 2nd

Picture by Taliasin

And don’t forget the bulbs. Tulip bulbs, daffodils, crocus, narcissus, alum and others. You can find them at garden centers, hardware stores, and big box stores.
 

Picture by Borae

I bet if you ask around, neighbors might be willing to share in order to thin out their beds a bit. Look in the classified ads and see if people are selling or giving away if you come and dig.

 
Personally, I am giving away some of my hosta plants and putting in more bulbs in that garden. I am also on the lookout for unusual hosta plants to create a more interesting bed.
 
The other plant I am on the lookout for is pansies. They can handle cold weather and live through the summer if protected well.
 
They add a color lift to beds that have been wilted by summer’s heat and are beginning to get leggy. Oh,  I am not specifying a brand or variety nor do I want to do that here. I want to encourage people to plant flowers and help make the world a little more beautiful.
 
How are you finishing the growing season? 

Tulips Abounding

Pink tulips waiting for the rain to end.

Watching the tulips blossom

Tulips in the Grotto.

has made this rainy spring bearable.

 
From yellow to pinks to reds, the color display has been wonderful.
 
All of these are favorites as I walk the dog around town.
 
The tulips in the grotto were picked because I love the way they ‘just happen’ to appear around the bases of these bushes – scattered and occaisional.  

Yellow tulips against a Sage green house.

Tulips dancing around the pole.
Around the corner from my house

 

 
 
 

The tulips at my house.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How do the tulips look in your neighborhood?
 

The Look of Spring…

Spring is here.

How do I know?

The Forsythia bush is in bloom.

Forsythia Bush

 

I love that shot of yellow that lets you know the warmer weather is on its way.

I'm Ready for My Close-up.

Some people trim up their Forsythia bush to make it look nice and neat. One of my neighbors made it look like a tree. While I normally hate shaped bushes, this one is pretty nice. It fits with the formal Georgian style home.

The shaped version of Forsythia

There are some other signs that spring is really here. One of my neighbors planted their yellow daffodils against their red brick home and edged the bed with more bricks.

Parsonage daffodils

In my garden I managed to put last years pansies right in the middle of the tulips. Considering they like shade, this might not be that big of a problem.

Yellow Pansies about to bloom

Last but not least are pictures of my peonies emerging. This first picture is of one patch I was able to clear away last years stems before the big storm Sunday night. These guys are standing tall, nestled between star of Bethlehem on the left and tiger lilies on the right. The peonies will keep the rose bush’s feet cooler in the summer.

The red stems are the peony sprouts

I didn’t have time Sunday to clear off the stems from this other bush. See how my laziness has affected the look of the stems. That has been corrected and we are one good rain storm from have great stems.

Old stems in need of removal

Hollyhock to the left and Spider Wort to the right. I like to save some of these removal chores for the spring because it forces me out of the house after a long winter to get it done. Plus, I like leaving the stems for possible mulch and seepage of nutrients to the ground. Tomorrow, I will put in the tomato cages in the center of the peony plants to give them structure and the ability to stand when big rains make them fall with the weight of the flower heads.

How is spring looking in your area?

Spring 2011 has finally arrived!

Yesterday, March 16th, was a truly gorgeous day.

Finally, the temperature during the day made it impossible to wear a coat of any sort. A jacket could and did suffice. When I went for my morning walk I had a wind-breaker on over the zippered sweatshirt. There was still some frost about. But then the sun came out and it was wonderful.

Pansies on the bottom, tulips on top

When I got home from work, I went digging around the garden. I didn’t have to dig for the first bit of returning plants. The tulips had been coming and the pansies made it through winter. Now they were side by side, enjoying the sun.

One pansy plant had been knocked out of the planter and I will have to ensure it is in the ground before much longer. I blame the squirrels, they are convenient villains in this tale. Why the husband does not allow me to shoot them is beyond me, besides the fact we live in town on the same street as the former mayor and fire chief.  I would be doing a public service considering they are always chewing up the soffit of another neighbor’s portico.

Daffodils with tiny blooms

I started looking around again and there were the daffodils by the base of the rose bush.

I did not plant these particular bulbs. I might have daffodils in this garden but this group I did not plant. Nor am I ever moving them elsewhere until this rosebush is done done. I mean never going to sprout again done. The thorns on this bush are particularly nasty and I only try to touch it when I am pruning or dead-heading. So there, the daffodils stay.

One of my favorite plants in the spring and early summer months is the Star of Bethlehem. Right now

Star of Bethlehem

the green stems with a white strip are coming up. These particular ones have not been covered by mulch so their color is green. In my shade garden I discovered a number of these under the mulch and they are a green-yellow color. Once the mulch has been removed, they will green up and later in May they will bloom.

grassy weed

As happy as I am to see these plants, a few others that I do not like have re-emerged.

I do not know the name of this one but I hate it. It has long roots and tries to spread. There is no pretty flower, the leaves are not notable and it is unwanted. That makes it a weed in my book.

Creeping Charlie

The same goes for this creeping charlie. I pull and pull and pull it all summer. It has a miniscule purple flower I do not value as it winds its way around the flowers I do value.

It is always one of the first and last plants I will pull this growing season. But wait there is one more.

Dandelion

Can you believe it? I actually saw several of these throughout the garden. Today is going to be spent clearing the mulch and using my weed stick on dandelions. I guess we could use them in salads as these are younger and more tender.

But I see them as weeds so out they will go. At this point in the year, I have a one gallon ice cream bucket I use for weed collection.

By May, I will be using a five gallon bucket.

How is your spring garden shaping up?

Signs of Spring

What was your first sign of spring?

For me it was seeing the tips of my Tiger Lilies coming out of the ground.

Then I looked over and saw green leaves popping out where my hardy mum are located. That is when I got excited. So I lifted up some of the compost that rests over the Tulip bed. Oh Yeah! They were coming up, too. I placed the compost back over the tender sprouts and skipped into the house. My plants are coming back and spring is almost here. This past Friday I was running around without my coat, just in my shirt sleeves.

Because I cannot really do anything in the garden, I get antsy. I want to dig and remove compost and put in new mulch. But it is not time yet. There are no plants at the garden centers yet and there’s still a danger of frost. I suspect next week anxiety will get the better of me and I will be out there with a rake.

The other signs have slowly made their appearance as well. Last week I heard Redwing black birds singing. Yesterday, I heard to shrill call of the woodpecker.

Better yet, our kids are running outside to play. Granted they are doing a lot of gun games that I do not like. But the kids are also skate boarding and riding bike. My daughter and I rode our bikes over to Casey’s to put air in my tires.

Now for the days that it gets too cold or too rainy to be out, I have some great movie picks. One of my favorites is Enchanted April (1992) starring Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence as two English women who rent an Italian Villa for the month of April to escape the rain.

Their housemates include Joan Plowwright, an older woman whose family were friendly with many of the literati; and Polly Walker, a socialite seeking solitude from the world and her broken heart. The beauty of the Italian countryside is transforming for the characters and for the viewers. This movie is best suited for older teens and adults in regards to context rather than anything particularly objectionable.

Two other more recent movies that have great scenery is Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) and A Good Year (2006). These adult treats feature Italy and Provence, respectively, and makes one yearn to have that ease, that comfort, that lifestyle of being totally completely happy while living on an estate. Plus, I like watching Diane Lane and Russell Crowe take on roles that are not as intense as their normal parts.

A movie with lots of greenery that is more suitable for children is The Secret Garden (1993). The story is about a young girl brought to Yorkshire, England from India after the death of her neglectful parents. Mary is sullen and angry but kind housemaid, Martha. gives her a jump rope and shoos her outside. Mary discovers a garden that has been locked up and neglected by her uncle.

With the help of Dickon, Martha’s brother, they bring the garden back to life. That same magic is used on Mary’s cousin, Colin.

Another good choice for kids is Over The Hedge (2006) which stars Bruce Willis as a racoon who has to pay back the Bear his winter stash of food. His plan involves using other woodland animals to get it. Unfortunately these animals have discovered a housing development in the place of half of their woods. And not all humans like furry forest animals.

My kids end up laughing and having a good time, even when some of the action sequences get a little hairier than I would like. However, even I can laugh when the villains get their due.

Until next week, see you in the movie aisle.

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know your family’s recent selection by dropping a line to momgoestothemovies@sbcglobal.net. You can also ‘friend’ me on Facebook.