Suddenly we have some sunshine, and I can’t express how welcome it is after weeks of gloomy days. I think I missed being able to witness sunsets almost as much as I miss sunshine during the day! Last night’s sunset was absolutely glorious. My “camera skills” are not adequate to come close to capturing the brilliance, but you can get an idea.
Yes, we still have a lot of snow on the ground, although today’s warmer temps and sunshine will melt some of it. It has already melted off the Lady Cottage roof and is warm enough that the water in the bird bath in the Deck Garden is liquid for the first time in a month. I have been mystified all during these last snowfalls by the actions of the deer. In an area just to the east of the Lady Cottage, on the slope, the deer have continually come and scraped three spots that you can easily see below.
They first appeared after our 5″ snowfall. When the additional 8″ fell a few days later, the deer came and scraped them clear again. After our lastest snowfall, their actions were repeated. I’m at a loss as to why they are picking these spots and seem determined to keep them clear! There are NO plantings or bulbs there, just grass. It’s doubtful they are looking for water, because the creek is at the bottom of the slope and has not been totally frozen over, so water is available. There were no leftover black walnuts there, and I know it is deer because I’ve observed them doing it, and it’s not bucks marking territory because the scrapers are female! We’ve lived here nearly thirty years, and I’ve never seen this happen anywhere on our property before. Any ideas?
So, winter continues here and probably will resume once this spell of warmer weather has moved through. I potted the last amaryllis bulb for forcing today. There are other smaller ones, but I doubt they will bloom so I’ll wait to pot them when I have more soil available, and just grow them on to get larger for next year. While digging around in the garage for a box to store some empty canning jars in, I found a handful of bulbs that I’d somehow left on the golf cart. These were bulbs that were dug up while I was planting tulips last autumn, and they should have been replanted immediately in another spot. Obviously they weren’t, so today I plopped them all in a pot and we’ll see what happens. There were some dwarf Dutch iris, a couple of species tulips, and a half dozen tiny things that I could look up, but I’ll just wait and be surprised…if they sprout!
Meanwhile, amaryllis number 5 has opened. It is one I’ve had for about four years now, and although red is not my favorite color, at this time of year I’ll pretty much enjoy anything! There are still two more buds on it to bloom, but only one bloom stalk. I was not as faithful about fertilizing the amaryllis bulbs last summer while they were under the potager’s benches in light shade, and the result has been slightly smaller bulbs and fewer bloom stalks. I’m promising them I’ll do a better job this summer because I’ve certainly enjoyed them immensely this long winter. The first one came into bloom December 22, and there’s been a steady parade of blooms since, with five pots more to go. Hopefully at least one of them will be the “Terra Cotta Star” that I ordered!
I’m still debating whether to put the last six hyacinth bulbs that are currently in the refrigerator into a pot, or just wait and plant them outdoors after the ground thaws. While I’ve certainly enjoyed their fragrance and flowers, they haven’t seemed to last very long…..okay, I just checked my journal and the first bulb in this pot began to open February 9, so two weeks of fragrance and flowers is certainly adequate. I’ll be pulling those last bulbs out of the fridge and into a pot tomorrow! And in case anyone is wondering, that 6th bulb never did grow. It’s tiny root just shriveled up and died.
Later this afternoon, I’ll bundle up and trudge through the snow to the potager to harvest some spinach for tonight’s Lo Mein. If the ground in thawed enough in bed 1c, under the plastic-covered berry box, I’ll dig a carrot or two just to see if they are still good, or if they have turned to mush after that long period of sub-zero temps. If I can’t dig them, there are some carrots in the garage, and along with an onion from the allium rack, some peppers and snow peas from the freezer, and some home-canned chicken we’ll have a hearty meal for pennies. And maybe I’ll even seed a bit of lettuce in one of the troughs in the greenhouse! On a sunny day, everything seems like a good idea!