Monday, April 5, 2010

First garden weekend

Easter is associated with resurrection and rebirth, and the weather here this past weekend could not have been more appropriate. After a period of record heavy rains that caused serious flooding in some areas earlier last week, everything changed in time for the weekend. The temperature was 70-75 Fahrenheit (21-24 Celsius) during the afternoon, abnormally warm this early in spring in these parts. There was barely a cloud in the sky either day, and the air was relatively dry with just enough breeze to cool the skin a little bit. So, it was obvious that I would have to spend much of both days doing garden maintenance in my father's garden (lacking any garden, or land, of my own at the moment).

I'm normally not much of a fan of hard physical work or chores, but working outside on a really nice day is much less burdensome, in my opinion, than vacuuming or cleaning bathrooms. There were three basic tasks to be accomplished this weekend - trimming and cutting back, raking out the various flower beds, and trying to rake over as much of the lawn as possible in order to pull out the matted dead grass blades from the winter (a.k.a. dethatching). I managed to accomplish all of them, not perfectly, but adequately, I think, and left a considerably cleaner garden ready for future steps, as well as a lawn that is at least a little less suffocated by a blanket of grass from last year.
Part of one of the flower beds early in the process of being cleaned out. The grass has been
reclaiming one corner for the last 2 or 3 years.

Part of the back yard. If you're used to a milder climate, you'll have to trust me when I say
that the grass here is incredibly lush and green for early April.

Most of the perennials and shrubs are off to an early start, and so are the trees. The red maples are usually just getting started, but this year their red flowers are just about at their peak.

Closeup of red maple (Acer rubrum) flowers.

I even managed to find a bird that would stay still long enough in one of the maples for me to get a decent picture - I think it's a red-winged blackbird, but you can't see the red patches on the wings because most of the light is coming from behind. Too bad I didn't notice that the bird's head was hidden - I'm not exactly what you would call a great photographer!

Agelaius phoenicius perched in Acer rubrum. Background provided by
a commercial jet of unknown model.

It's not easy to find a bird around here that isn't camera-shy. The only birds that I could get a really decent picture of were some american robins, and even they would only cooperate when I was inside and took the photos through a window.

The American Robin, or Turdus migratorius. Yes, that is the real
scientific name for the species. I can only guess that they showed up
really late when they were assigning names.

Although most things are really just getting started, much of the local ecology seems to be about 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule this spring. Apart from some crocus, daffodils, and the red maples, very little is blooming yet, but the weeping cherry out front is looking like it won't be long before it erupts in light pink blossoms.

Buds on weeping cherry.

All in all, a very good weekend for someone who likes spring and gardening!

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