Friday, February 24, 2012

A Sunshine Day

So, we had a little sunshine today in Portland.  And even though it's been a pretty great winter with more sunshine than we're used to, that big ball of warm is always a welcome sight in February.  These photos were taken in my garden last summer, and when the sun comes out in February it makes my fingers twitch a little bit, eager to get digging.  I think I'll pick up some primroses on the way home for the big pot on the front porch.  A little bit of color for when the clouds move back in to remind me that spring is on it's way.

Before I do any real planting in the garden, though, there's got to be a little bit of clean up.  We have this pine tree who is my nemesis each spring and fall.  It's ginormous and sheds these irritating pine needles.  Our cottage garden is probably 20'x20', and right now it is covered at least an inch deep with pine needles.  The good news is, they provide a lovely mulch and keep the weeds at bay.  The bad news is, they are covering up my flower beds and must be raked up and hauled away.  My least favorite garden task.  Do it every spring, about the time the daffodils start to come up, which is now.  So, you can guess what my weekend agenda looks like.  It only takes a few hours in our small garden, so that's something.  And when I've finished, the garden beckons me expectantly..."plant me, feed me, make me pretty".  That's the fun part.  The adding of annuals in May, the planting of sweetpea seeds for my trellis by the back door, the rearrangement of patio furniture.  The physical proof that winter will end, and spring will arrive. 

This is Nicodemus.  He lived in my grandparents garden for many, many years.  When my grandfather passed away, I carted Nico from his tropical Hawaiian Island garden back to the Pacific Northwest to live in my garden.  He's very happy here.  And it makes me happy to have a bit of my grandfather's garden spirit in my own garden.

Late spring and summer will bring the farmer's markets with all of their fresh flowers, native plants, wonderful produce and local cuisine.  This is my favorite flower stall, which I visit every week for fresh posies.  We have mostly a shade garden, so it's full of hostas, ferns, and other woodland plants.  They're lovely and green and mossy.  But I do like me a sunflower.  For a little color this summer, I'm going to plant some delphinium and Icelandic poppies.  I always have loads of geraniums on the front porch because it gets the hot late day sun that they thrive in.  This summer, too, I'm adding some strings of lights from the back porch to the aforementioned pine.  I got the idea from a coffee house I visited last September.  We sat outside in their garden, under several strings of lights strung from their porch to a large tree.  I fell in love with the idea and decided to duplicate it in my garden. 

Maybe that pine tree isn't so bad after all.

1 comment:

Ornery's Wife said...

Last summer we moved to a new home that also has a pine tree in the back yard--the first time for us to have that variety of tree. The summer was brutal here, and I was really surprised the tree survived, but it seems to be okay now after shedding pounds and pounds of needles on the grass. If you make your own compost, they are supposedly good for it, but a tree that large must really drop a lot of needles.

Our new yard has a lovely pergola that I would love to string lights on, but Ornery is not quite so enamored with the idea, fearing it might easily look a little trashy. I love nothing more at Christmas than the twinkle lights and have been dreaming about putting them up ever since we moved in. He might get overruled on this one. :)

We have had a very mild winter here in OK and I just checked the forecast for this week and it looks like spring is already here with day temps in the upper 60's to low 70's and night time lows in the 50's. After last year's crazy weather, (we set high and low records at 115 and -20) I can't say I mind an early spring, but I sure hope we don't get hit with another 115 degree spell!

Enjoy your spring planting and color gathering! We are going to join the container gardening movement this year for our veggies and herbs. Hopefully it will keep the grass out and make it easier to keep things alive and weed free.

It has taken me nine months, but we just about have the interior all decorated like I want it, so it will soon be time to move outside and begin the transformation there!