Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just One More Day of February!

I know. I know. I know. It's wrong to wish your life away, but when it comes to the month of February, I'm going to make an exception. The coldest month of our year just isn't short enough. But, it's almost over and I've found some wonderfully hopeful signs. Look - I think I see snow mold just to the right of this mucky piece of melting snow. I couldn't contain myself when I saw this lovely moldy mess. In the off chance you've never had snow mold, this happy sign of spring is caused when not completely frozen ground is covered for an extended period of time. (Basically, a description of our winter - early snow that didn't leave.) Fortunately, it is harmless and after a good rake and a bit of rain - woosh, it's all gone.

Yesterday the day hit 9C (48F) - and then the temperature fell to -16C (about plus 3F). Fingers crossed for everthing that is now uncovered. This really is one of the tricky times when crowns of plants are reduced to mush as the temperatures spring back and forth.
You really can see how much snow we've lost - just think, in May the town will have these beds filled with bedding annuals.

Canada Geese hanging out on the ice in 16 Mile Creek.

No wind, no big waves, but a really nice February day.

These leaves have been rolled up like cigarettes from the cold - so nice to see the buds nice and plump and the leaves unfurled.Woohoo - it's what you don't see here that's important - not a flake in sight.
But, as warm as it's been, I still haven't been able to remove the shiny red Christmas tree from the planter. It is completely frozen in place. I'd purchased it a couple of years ago - stowed it in the basement and used it this year for the first time. In a fit of Christmas madness, I had decided to have a red theme Christmas vignette just as you walked in the door to the house. It looked just fine. However Mr. Tinsel Tannenbaum, manufactured in China, emitted a smell so vile that neither Kevin nor I were able to breathe. And, that is just one tree, can you imagine what that factory must have been like? Unimaginable. So, out into the backyard wilderness of my covered porch it went. I had it all shored up with logs and when you had enough to drink, looking at it from the frost covered windows in the kitchen and dining room, it looked quite festive.
Our porch lid leaks terribly. The container filled with water, froze solid, and so there stands my homage to Christmas. I got it to wiggle yesterday, but no cigar, it's not quite ready to join the rest of the ornaments downstairs just yet.
I've been beavering away on a new shade presentation. Many people start with the idea and look for their photos for illustration. I like to get ideas from my photos and then work backwards to the shape and direction of the piece. Just thought I'd include a little oddity I found. I'd grown Aquilegia skinneri and Aquilegia canadensis very close to each other - I thought I'd lost both. Not sure if I've got the offspring of one or the other, or perhaps something all together different that just has the same colouring. I like the colour and especially the fact that it blooms from May until the end of July, which for us and any sort of columbine is very unusual. So, a break from winter, and hope for spring - here is my pretty Aquiligea whateveritisii from Summer 2007. (Apologies - Blogger is twisting landscape to portrait again.)


Teza said...
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Teza said...

Barbara: Sorry about that, perhaps with the mental spellcheck on this time..... definitely looks like A. canadensis. I wish more Canadian gardeners would add this to their garden repertoires!
It is -14 here, and I too worry about the recently exposed buds.... we damn the snow but then when we lose it, there is something else to cause us worry! Fickle lot we are!! Stay warm, and hope all is safe in the gardens.

Frances said...

Hi Barbara, I have never heard of snow mold, but if you are happy about it, so am I! I think your red tree is great too, very retro. And what a great columbine! Those colors and form are wonderful. I hope it seeds well for you and spreads all over. Good job with the special plant breeding. :-)

Meems said...

Here's hoping every day makes you feel a little closer to spring. I had to chuckle at "In the off chance you've never had snow mold..."... uh, that would me. But, I'm glad to know now what it is. I was using my imagination along with the pretty flowers you featured to imagine the beds full of annuals in May.

Peggy said...

Everything looks a bit dull and jaded for a few dasy after snow but then it is great to go outside and find some green shoots coming through.You have colour already with the flowers. The red Christmas tree reminds me of various things I have bought made in Taiwan or China and they all had a particularly revolting smell too.

Barbarapc said...

Teza, think you're right about the aquilegia - certainly closer in appearance to canadensis - really hoping its offspring will prove to be long bloomers too - and doesn't seem to be prone to leaf miner as well - a really good little plant.
Frances - I gave the seed heads a good shake around the garden - fingers crossed I'll have a whole flock next spring.
Meems - started another 10 things on my light table yesterday, and I made it to March...things are really looking up.
Peggy, -17 today, just 4 more weeks until something will be blooming in my garden....