Cold front.

There’s a cold front moving in tonight, with snow in the forecast…the clouds and the wind were definitely letting me know about it as I walked on Nose Hill this afternoon.

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The garden is waking up with all of this warm weather we’ve been having, but I’m not ready just yet.  That sounds funny coming from a gardener, but the timing isn’t right and I’m in no rush.  Better to let sleeping ladybugs lie.  😉   Things will happen in their own time – but this bit of green certainly made me smile.

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Gold in the hills.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

-Anne, Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

 

I may be as delighted as Anne about the vibrant colours of fall, but I woke up this morning and realized it was October 3 and I still have a million things to do yet in the garden.  I was a little…um…ENTHUSIASTIC during recent trips to the garden centre and while perusing the mail order catalogues and so there are quite a few packages of snowdrops and muscari and a pound of garlic (am I crazy?) yet to plant.  I also bought some tarda tulips, which I’ve never grown before.  I have really high expectations for these little beauties, and I’m already eager for spring to see how they do!  Unfortunately, time doesn’t seem to be on my side…we’ve had some pretty serious frosts here and the soil is already hardening.  I have to get moving!

While I dally, autumn speedily rolls along….

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Photos taken at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, Cochrane, Alberta – 24 September 2014

Tomorrow is our fall clean up day for members of the community garden – it feels like we collectively blinked and summer was over, but apparently, we had enough time to have a fairly productive season (early snowstorms notwithstanding).  If you’re interested in seeing what we’ve been up to over the summer, you can check out the garden’s blog here; I’ve posted a bunch of photos I took over the growing season.  The diversity of crops is amazing to see: gardeners grew everything from asparagus peas to zucchini!

What garden successes have you recently celebrated?

Do you plant spring-flowering bulbs?  What are your favourites?

It’s about time.

I know snow and rain is in the forecast for the weekend, but today, it’s spring here in Calgary!  The sun is dazzling and warm and the earth is finally thawing out.  There’s even some green grass in places….

I’ve been on crocus watch for awhile now – while the horticultural crocuses in my garden have been up and blooming for a couple of weeks now, I haven’t spotted hide nor hair of a wild one.  I went up to Nose Hill this morning, thinking that today was the day for sure.  I went to my favourite trails, the places I knew they were growing…and I found one where there used to be hundreds.  It may be too early yet, and perhaps they’ll be covering the hillsides next week or the week after, but I was overjoyed to see this one!

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It froze hard this morning, and I loved the way the mounds of grass looked on the lower slopes where the sun hadn’t warmed them.

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That’s part of the downtown skyline in the morning haze.  And here I was telling my parents last weekend that we don’t have smog – my brother is right, we actually do….

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As you can see, there’s a sizeable snowpack still up in the mountains…and it’s got everyone just a bit worried about the potential for another massive flood like we had last year. On the right hand side of the photo, you can see the ski jumps of Canada Olympic Park, constructed for use during the 1988 Winter Olympics and now used as a public ski hill as well as a place to train athletes.  In the summer, COP is a haven for mountain bikers and zipline enthusiasts, and there’s even a luge track you can try out.  (Not me – I’m too chicken!).  The mini golf course there is much more my speed, LOL.

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I came across several browses for deer and some others I suspect were from porcupines.  It was really a lean winter for wildlife – we didn’t get the Chinooks we usually do and so the heavy snow cover lingered all season.  Apparently that’s part of the reason so many homeowners are complaining about the vole damage to their lawns – the rodents were able to hunker down and feed and nest there all winter, when normally they would be exposed.  (Click here for some tips to repair vole damaged turf).

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On my way out of the park, I was happy to see these two ducks swimming on the catchwater basin.  I was starting to think that little pond would never thaw out.

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And then when I got home…there was a bee on my one of my muscari flowers, which just began opening this morning.  I definitely need to put in more early spring flowers for the pollinators.

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What a wonderful start to the day!  I hope the sun is shining wherever you are! 

Green stirrings.

Something wondrous and strange is going on in my garden…

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IT’S ALIVE!!!!

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I know I shouldn’t get so excited…but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen anything that colour coming out of the ground.  (It’s interesting that they already look a tad ragged – the fact that I neglected to fertilize them last fall and a good number of hungry cohabitating rabbits may be to blame).

Of course, tomorrow is the first day of spring and we’re expecting a major snowstorm.  But just look at those bulbs go!  🙂

Spring stirrings…finally!

Two clippers blast the Prairies with heavy snow, strong winds

That’s the current weather warning from the Weather Network for the province of Alberta. While here in Calgary we are not being bombarded with the extreme precipitation and wind chills that our neighbours to the north and west are receiving, a glance at the forecast for later this weekend signals we may be in for a doozy.

But I don’t mind so much now, because this is the lovely sight that greeted me when I went outside to check my flowerbeds this morning:

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GREEN!  Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day!

(I know, I know, I shouldn’t get so excited…but this never gets old for me.  Especially after six months of winter).

I randomly planted a mixture of Chionodoxa, Siberian squill, crocuses and grape hyacinths in October, adding to a small collection I’ve been (very) slowly building over the years. I’m hoping for a bit more of an early colour display this year!

Now, if we can just do something about this snow…. 😉

Wherever you live, what signs of spring do you find most inspirational and fun?

Sunday spotlight: Muscari armeniacum.

This week’s Sunday Monday Spotlight comes to you courtesy of my garden, where small drifts of grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) are now in full bloom:

So far these poisonous plants have been left untouched by the hares that run rampant all over the rest of my garden…I can’t say the same for my Scilla (a relative of Muscari), which are also poisonous.  Do hares have a refined tolerance for certain toxic alkaloids, I wonder?  Or do they just lay around afterwards, moaning and clutching their stomachs with furry paws, grumbling about “something I ate?”  Muscari are on the “deer-resistant” list as well, so they might be a good early spring-flowering selection if you’re bothered by these pests (which, thankfully, I am not.  I would go certifiably mad if I had to deal with them on top of the hares and squirrels).   To save my sanity, I plan to put in a lot more of these pretty harbingers of spring – forget the tulip salad bar that I’ve been desperately trying to sustain over the past three or four years!  🙂

Finally, in another case of common name confusion, grape hyacinths are actually not hyacinths at all, although they are from the same family (Asparagaceae).   You can read all about how to grow and cultivate muscari – and take a look at some of the most popular cultivars – in this fantastic article from Fine Gardening. 

If you have any plant suggestions for future Sunday Spotlights, please post them in the comments or Tweet me!  I’d be happy to feature them!  :)

Related posts:  Sunday Spotlight:  ‘White Russian’ Supertunia.