OK it's spring.

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)March 6, 2010

I know we still have a couple of weeks before it is officially spring, but when I see a crocus that's good enough for me! And the winter jas*mine has started a new round of blooming. It should be sunny and 50º or so today and tomorrow which means I can get out again and do some more early cleanup. Overall, this winter was not bad at all. I know some places very close by got a LOT of snow, but we didn't. And the temps were not so bad. I think we had only one night at 8º and the rest were in the teens or better overnight. Last night was burgers cooked out on the grill so I'm good!

Bill

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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Remember the April Fool's Day snowstorm? So don't relax your guard yet, bill. However, we too are going to finish the big garden cleanup today and actually stay over! First of the season! We're going to be walking around, waving our arms and a meas. tape, trying to design a fenced veg.& flower garden with tall posts at the corners, for climbing roses. Also need to find a manure supplier. Yup, spring has ALMOST sprung.

Carol

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 8:38AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Carol,
I sure do remember that snowstorm. I also remember one in May of 1977 (I think?). The lilacs and tulips and azaleas were all in bloom. The maples were in full leaf. The snow of course at that time of year was the wet heavy kind, so a lot of tree limbs fell. The lilacs were bent to the ground and the tulips were flattened. It was mostly gone next day, but that was the latest I ever saw a significant snowfall!

Bill

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 9:59AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Well, no spring here yet. No crocuses and Arnold Promise hasn't bloomed yet, and there was ice in the birdbaths this morning.

But it is a gorgeous warm sunny day - maybe I should finish organizing the cellar before it's too late - once I get out gardening I'll find endless excuses not to deal with the cellar.

Claire (sigh)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 12:08PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,

You can always fill the cellar with water and tout as an indoor pool...........asset vs. liability??? :-)

Bill

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 12:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Actually Bill, when I was a kid I used to dream of a house that had canals connecting all the rooms (tunnels under the walls). I hadn't really worked out all the details of getting to an upper floor, but the water slide down was obvious. The idea was to be able to swim between rooms rather than use doors.

Now that I'm older I can think of many more problems that would have to be dealt with, but the idea is still tempting.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 12:24PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Ah, the practical side of me just kicked in and I realized that if I flood the cellar I'll have to find a place to put all the junk down there. LIke the boxes I moved up from NYC. Maybe put them on rafts on the pool? But with my luck I'd surface under a raft and bang my head....

Maybe I should just finish organizing the cellar.

Claire (sigh)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 12:38PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,

I guess there's just no escape! Gotta clean that cellar!
A house with canals? And would each room have it's own supply of towels and a hair dryer? Moving in the furniture would be interesting too! Well maybe easier at low tide..............hmmmm.

Bill

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 3:31PM
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hunt4carl

At least all the stuff in your cellar is in BOXES. . .come visit mine, where it's layered to the ceiling! Of course, you could always do what I did moving from
a full house to a co-op in NYC. . .rent storage space! It's kind of like having an adjunct apartment a few blocks away. Or: how about a Cellar Sale? Someone I know tried that, sell*ing off every box in their basement for $5.00 - SIGHT UNSEEN !!! A fascinating gamble (for both buyer and sell*er), but she claims she didn't look inside any of the boxes before the sale - if she hadn't missed it in over 15 years, she figured she didn't need to own it !

Back OT: spotted my first periwinkle this morning, along with a couple of early yellow crocus. . .still plenty of berries left on the nandinas, though, and
since they are usually the last berries to go, maybe the birds haven't finished
their winter foraging? Meaning, it ain't over yet?

Carl

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 4:44PM
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chickadeemelrose(5)

It's so funny reading these posts; I had set a goal of spring cleaning my house before I would allow myself to start in the gardens. Some kind of self denial goal-setting strategy. (I must have Puritan ancestors or something.) I know I won't get the house done before I head out to clean up my gardens, but who started this spring cleaning thing anyway? Everything looks fine to me, and if I'm outside it won't bother me, right?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 6:04PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It was GOR-geous out there today!! For the 10 mins I was able to sit in a chair and enjoy it. We had the windows open today. Ahhhh! I see the tips of the foliage and the white of the coming bloom on snowdrops and the fo*liage on daffs about 4 inches tall up against the foundation of the h*ouse facing west. But no crocus blooming yet.

Claire, I take it you love to swim? [g] Have you been to Venice yet? Sounds like right up your alley [oops, I mean canal] lol

    Bookmark   March 6, 2010 at 6:12PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Carl: When I moved here from NYC, I did it in stages, one minivan full at a time over a period of months. I had a place for me to stay during construction but no place for my stuff, so I did rent a storage space a few miles away. It worked great until I finished construction and could move all the stuff into the cellar. A lot of it is seasonal and I actually use it - of course there's some that would never be missed if it disappeared.

PM2: Years ago I was living in Germany and planned a trip spending three days in Venice and then three days in Florence. After the three days in Venice (it rained three days straight) I checked out of the hotel with my bag and got out the door and the sun came out - I turned around and checked back in. I never got to Florence. Really loved Venice.

RE changing perspectives: When I walk outside in the sun and warmth and hear the birds, I hate the thought of finishing organizing the cellar. But a few days ago I suddenly discovered I needed documentation for a tax issue dating back to 1997. I really hate dealing with old tax issues. Naturally, some of that documentation was in the cellar so I trotted down to dig it out. I knew where it was so there was no problem finding it, but while I was down there I started looking around the cellar and seeing how much I had already done and how with just a little more work I could finish that job instead of dealing with the tax issue.

I was beginning to enjoy the thought when I grabbed myself by the arm and dragged me upstairs to finish with the stupid paperwork instead of having fun organizing the cellar. It's all in the point of view.

Of course if I stayed in the cellar I might have looked out the cellar windows at the sun and gotten the head turned around again.

Claire (who finished the stupid paperwork this morning)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 3:00PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

It's not easy is it Claire? [g] I avoid the basement, since I know I don't have opportunity to do anything about it. I remember how empty it was when we moved in and the kids could ride their tricycles around down there. ~ DH has been working on t*axes all weekend. He helped DD w hers and they're done, but hers are simple.

I'm glad you were able to visit Venice, Claire. I think you made the right decision. It would have been a shame not to see it in the sunshine. I was just watching a mov*ie on TCM not long ago, called 'Summertime' with Katherine Hepburn. First time I had seen it and it was set in Venice. It was like a travelogue there was so much scenery in it.

Sorry, I guess we are getting a little off topic..... :-)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 4:09PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Venice! Yes! Been twice and loved it both times. Going back in the fall.

Claire, isn't there a statute of limitations for taxe$? 1997! Sheesh! I hope I don't have any problems because I shred stuff after 10 years.

To get back on topic................It was 58º here today. A little warmer than yesterday. I have cleaned out a large bed, trimmed the peonies (which are just showing pink tips) and the daylilies (showing green shoots), trimmed some English*Ivy, Oak leaf hydrangea and my aucuba. Also chopped back neighbor's grape vine that was growing all along the top of my fence and starting to wedge some pickets apart. Now all I have to do is gather up all the debris.

Several crocuses and winter jasmine blooming now!

It's a good feeling.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 5:47PM
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diggingthedirt

I'm really trying to pace myself, tendon issues in my fingers make it impossible to use clippers for more than a half hour before I need to sit with ice on my hands. Boy does that slow down the gardEn cleanup!

Today was so beautiful, and warm ... just had to be in the garden. I got most of the nepeta cut back - I have a mass planting of it around 2 sides of a patio - and started in on the hellebores. Most of them really need to be cut way back now, the leaves of the orientals (H. x hybridus, I guess) often turn black over the wintEr, and whatever fungus attacks the dead leaves can also infect the flower buds; so they usually need haircuts right about now. Many are blooming, including some that had flowers going strong under a mat of old wet maple leaves. Should have had my camera out there, but ... nope.

So, yes, I agree, it's spring. Maybe only temporarily, but today was enough to keep me going until the real version of the season arrives.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 6:16PM
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sue36(Z5 Maine)

I'm in southern Maine and it hit 60 here yesterday and 57 today. I did some garden clean-up and cut down some wild juniper (I was feeling ambitious, now my arms are covered with an itchy rash). The soil in the east facing garden was only frozen in a few spots (under the Dianthus Greystone, which I severely cut back less they take over), but the north side garden is still frozen in quite a few places.

The following are already showing new growth (off the top of my head, not everything): hardy geranium, Lady's Mantle, Montauk Daisy, sedums, Endless Summer Hydrangea, Miscanthus Gracillimus.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:49PM
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EGO45(6bCT)

It's interesting that I hear third time in a two weeks that people from NY now residing somewhere else getting notices for 1997-8 backtaxes.
I was told that apparently there is no statue of limitation for the underpaid taxes itself, there is a statue of limitation for the criminal prosecusion for underpaying taxes unless associated with another crime.

Going back to the gardening: except blooming helebores and heaths not much of activity was spotted.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 11:56PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

I've been away from the computer since Friday (2 days) and so I see many posts to read. As for our spring cleanup, I spent the weekend Day 1 cleaning the garden beds and cutting back the buddleias which are turning into small trees. The greenery of the bluebells is seething up out of the ground but not much else. And I spent Day 2 moaning and groaning, recovering from Day 1. Eventually limped and hunched around the yard hammering stakes in, to mark a new veg bed I want, with tall posts at the corners for climbing roses. Day 2 finished with Chinese take-out and the Academy Awards.

Do you think that if I worked hard at gardening every day, would I feel better, or would I be dead? :) I always forget how exhausting it is!

Carol

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 1:50AM
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defrost49

It felt like spring but we could barely pry a couple of parsnips out of the vegetable garden. The top inch or 2 of dirt is still frozen. DH is continuing to cut firewood and brought me an old apple tree stump to use in the garden. He got a second one for a friend. I like rustic but haven't decided where I'm going to use it. Single, brave crocus blooming against the south foundation having survived major renovations and a new pea gravel border under the drip edge. Visitor yesterday got excited to see my daffodils are up about 4 inches. Next 2 weekends are super busy with other things but I'm anxious to get out in the garden. Lots of awful creeping jenny to dig out of the vegetable garden.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:15AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Thankfully I no longer have to squeeze gar*dening into weekends! It's nice to be able to do an hour or so any day. Anyway, along with being retired comes the realization that you can't really do more than an hour or so without some part of the body calling a halt! :-) I guess things work out.

Today will be another great day here, and some more cleanup is underway. I bought 50 lawn/leaf recycle bags yesterday at Sam's Club and they will be used by the end of the season if not before!

Today will be cleanup under the blue spruce which sheds tons of needles and cones. I also have a white pine that started as a volunteer seedling which I planted in a Japanese sty*le planter about 3 years ago. I will start to train it into a bonsai-like shape. A little snip here and a wire there ought to get it started later today.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:44AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Bill/George: The tax issue has to do with information entered on the 2006 return. It's just a question of the history of an investment with a start date of 1997 and the taxes may have been overpaid, not underpaid. The investment people suddenly noticed that they had never gotten certain information (and hadn't ever asked me for it) so they had erred on the side of caution. No one is going to come after me for money, in fact they may have to give me some back if I decide to re-file. It's probably a non-issue and my tax preparer now has even more paper to look it.

I started to say that I nothing in bloom here yet; I checked this morning and my little Arnold Promise witchhazel has not opened, but I thought maybe I should go check the hellebores. Hellebore 'Green Heron' is closer to bloom! Of course it's been in bud since January, but this is definitely progress.

Other than the hellebore, the only other non-bird sign of spring I've gotten is the first few pollen alert emails from pollen.com.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:35PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,

Here's hoping that they owe you a bundle!
Meanwhile, while the tax guy looks over all the boring paperwork, you can enjoy the weather...........well for one more day unless the weather folks are not on their game.

I think it hit 60º here in Providence today. Works for me!

Bill

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 5:05PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Bill:

60 degrees here too! Windows open in the car and in the cellar (I basically finished the cellar organization for the season - I can see the floor and walk around without bumping into things and most of the gardening stuff is right in my face as I open the door - the toolshed is good too),

I wonder if the compost pile has thawed out yet.... I've now got a lot of cardboard and scrunched up newspaper to dump on the pile.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 5:37PM
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diggingthedirt

Claire - That's a really lovely hellebore.

I've been tackling my compost, which needs to be turned to make room in the first bin, and it's thawed all the way through. It's in part sun, in a sheltered spot, but I think most piles would have melted by now.

I'm not retired yet, but I'm able to take part days off just about any time and I DO agree that an hour or 2 is about all I can manage without some body part or other calling a halt. So my compost turning enterprise will probably take me all of March to complete. Last year I'd have done the whole thing (about 5 yards of material, maybe 6) at once and I'd have been in agony for the next few weeks.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

DTD: According to Tony Avent, "This Heronswood cross of Helleborus niger x argutifolius was selected by Dan Hinkley as the plant he wanted to name to honor the memory of Heronswood Nursery." I bought the little one, and this was its first winter here. I have great hopes for it.

I checked out my main compost pile and it's mostly thawed out - I managed to embed two large cardboard boxes filled with scrunched up newspaper in it today. The purists on the soil forum would probably cringe, but it's good enough for now.

I've been on a quest this winter to compost all of my newspaper and paper mail, and I have two subsidiary locations (one black plastic bin and one cardboard shipping box both filled with torn up paper and used coffee grounds, with kitchen scraps scattered in with them.) Torn or shredded paper is very hard to add to a frozen compost pile, hence the subsidiary enclosed locations.

My fond hope is that the cardboard shipping box will slowly disintegrate, releasing its contents just in time to be incorporated in the main pile this summer. If we get a good rainy spring it may actually work.

I discovered some daffodil foliage emerging next to the foundation.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 4:42PM
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carol6ma_7ari(zones 6 & 7a)

Latest report on Spring in eastern RI: first blades up of tulip leaves. Red (swamp) maples develop red buds. No redwing blackbirds yet. No spring peepers yet. Ground soft. Ajuga repens weed has been sneakily growing all winter, needs grubbing out from lawn edges. Feral cat seen under deck, neighbor says let it be because it eats swamp rats in our wetlands. Ugh.

It was great, sunny and not too warm, for planting peas and raking shrub prunings. Rain expected by this weekend, so I feel smug at having gotten some garden tasks done now. I'm still moving stakes around for our planned rose & veg fenced garden in the middle of the back yard. It's difficult to decide before the wetlands shrubs, trees and bittersweet road hedge all green up and grow again.

Carol

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:58AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Now wasn't that fun last night, with the wind and the rain causing mischief (my weather vane blew off the roof). At least the car is nice and clean again.

I'm hoping that all that water will push the crocuses out of the ground, sort of like when the earthworms rise up from waterlogged soil and lie on the pavement gasping for air. Although I've never seen a crocus gasp, I'd rather see a gasping crocus than no crocus at all. I think I'll go out and listen for peepers tonight.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 5:32PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Spring is here, I heard robins singing a couple of days ago and last night I slept with two windows open. I love it!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 3:46AM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

I was out raking all afternoon. I was good and wore a hat. I took a shower to sooth my oh-so-aching shoulders and I realized that I had been inadvertently working on my farmer's tan. Oops! Remember your sunscreen people. Try to pace yourselves too. That little-bit-more will bite you in the tokus. This message has been brought to you by A Word From The Not So Wise Foundation.
Deb

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 7:24PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Wise words, Deb, thanks. I cut down all my ornamental grasses today, and added some more stuff to my compost pile since the wind has died down (torn paper gets frisky in high winds).

I couldn't resist clearing a few of the peony buds - one of them didn't bloom last year and I think the mulch was too deep. Pretty little red eyes.

I finally saw a snowdrop today! This is the time when the gardens in all of the colder zones catch up and race past us coastal regions. There are many advantages to living right up by the bay; early spring is not one of them.

All I have starting to bloom are the snowdrop and a couple of hellebores. This is Hellebore "Blackthorn Strain" which is just opening.

There are a few daffodil buds coming up. At least I have lots of birds to look at.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 8:53PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

More spring-like signs: Pussy willow buds are fuzzy, small insects are flying - visible when the sun sinks lower, and I felt the need to put a few screens on windows. Just a few, no need to tempt fate.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 5:18PM
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deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)

Way up in the lakes region I have snowdrops blooming for 1.5 weeks, peony eyes on ALL my peonies, even the ones I planted newly last year AND including the one I mangled because I had to dig it out as it was not planted shallowly. I just plopped them in the ground and then decided to read the instructions. My tiger lilies and irises are sending up green shoots, my tall phlox 'Orange Perfection' and 'David' have brand new shoots way at the base. Something from a swap has sent out a new leaf. AND, the temperatures are beautiful!!!!!

Also, a little green grasshopper greeted me yesterday. Not sure I was glad to see him!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 7:49PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I swear they weren't there yesterday! And I don't see how I could have missed them this morning when I got the paper and walked right by, but I was out later raking out the beds and I saw the first crocuses smiling at me.

The bees had no problem finding them; I didn't even notice there were bees around. Very hungry bees I imagine.

My idea of "raking out the beds" is skimming off the top few inches of leaves, etc. and leaving the rest as mulch. Good in terms of reduced amount of work, not so good in that the beds look pretty much the same afterwards. At least the bulbs can reach up, the edges are neater and my compost pile is bigger.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 3:46PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

OK now it really IS Spring. The vernal equinox occurred today at 1:32 P.M. EDT.

Happy (official) Spring Everyone!

Claire - It is amazing how quickly crocuses can go from nothing to full gloriousness.

Deb

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 5:43PM
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diggingthedirt

And, if you have a happy dog, they can go right back to nothing, just as fast. Maybe faster. My dog loves them, apparently they feel fantastic on your feet. If you're a dog.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 9:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The crocus has been blooming for a few days, finally got out there with a cam*era.

And one of my favorites... 'King of the Striped'

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 1:15PM
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