Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring Blooms Continue to Pop

Headed outside today to check on the flower beds to see what's blooming - about bloomin' time, too! Spring is a full month behind but it looks like most things survived the winter.

The front flower bed is starting to fill in with the divided & replanted bulbs from last spring plus a smattering of randomly sown seeds & transplanted plants. I hope to continue to divide & transplant things from the backyard over the summer as we rebuild the back.

 The large daffodils are starting to nod their yellow heads at me & I find it hard to resist cutting them to bring them inside for me to enjoy on these dull & dreary rainy days.

The front flower beds are starting to develop their own personality with the mini daffodils & hyacinths slowly emerging. I'm looking for a few layering plants to add some depth to the flower beds without blocking the front approach.

Out in the back, the mini daffodils have poked up through the leaf mulch I applied in the fall. I want to leave the leaves & will more than likely apply a layer of compost over top once some of the flowers have finished blooming. This area has pretty poor soil - I cannot dig up the daffodils to divide them & hope that in a few years of soil amendments, I will be able to do so without damaging the tree & shrub roots.

This particular ground cover - whose name escapes me at the moment is finally starting to bloom & the divisions I took last year look like they are taking hold elsewhere in the beds. Wonderful, long blooming plant.

The bulbs I found in the tool shed & planted up in some pots on a sunny day a few months ago seem to be taking off & will at least grow leaves to help them survive til I am able to plant them properly this fall. I'm enjoying the extra added bonus of a few blooms as well.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Blooms at Last

 I'm playing a bit of catch-up with some of my photo sharing. The weather isn't the greatest for working in the gardens right now anyway - too wet.

Last week, there were a couple of days where it was truly Spring-like & warm. The crocuses practically exploded out of the ground!

They were also calling to the bees to return & it was nice for me to see & hear some of the insects out in the yard.

I found that I have mini irises that bloomed this year. These are such pretty wee flowers & I just might have to add them to my wish list for planting more.

Hopefully the warm weather returns quickly & I'm able to get out there & see what else is blooming & returning to the gardens.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Veggie: Pickled Asparagus

 I've fallen behind in my garden journaling; partly due to the harsh weather we've had this last month & also partly as I've purchased a new computer & am still adjusting to new programs & not being able to use the older ones with the new technology.

So, I've not yet figured out how to shrink my photos & that might prove to be an issue with some people viewing the posts. I'm working on it.

But today, seeing as it is now officially Spring, I decided to preserve some spring veggies  for eating later in the season when they are not as fresh.

Pickled Asparagus!!

They were on super-sale, so I picked up a few bundles of nice thick & crisp stalks. We like our pickles tart & tangy, so I decided to use very little of the pickling spice blend you can find in grocery stores. I think I need to create my own blend this year...

Into the jars went some crushed garlic, a California bay leaf, some ginger slivers & peppercorns. I broke the dried up ends of the asparagus off & then snapped the stalks in half. I put an equal amount of spear tops & spear bottoms into each jar, making sure that the top pieces were not too tall & below the neck of the jar. (the jars I used are the 500 ml jars - preferably the wide mouth ones)

I made sure to really cram the spears in the jar & if there was enough room (there always is) I put in some wedges of onion. I love pickled onion so try to ensure that whatever I'm pickling, there is onion in each jar.

My vinegar blend was equal parts white vinegar & water (in this case 4 cups of each) with about a tablespoon of the pickling spice you find in stores. I don't like how sweet it is, so don't add any extra sugar. I put in about 3 tablespoons coarse salt & then got a little funky with some powdered galangal & lemon grass.

Once the water bath was ready & the vinegar blend hot & well seasoned, I poured the hot liquid into the jars, sealed them up & put them in the water bath for almost 10 minutes. They are now cooling on the counter & will sit in the pantry for a few weeks before I test them to see if they remained crunchy & have that mustardy-lemony-garlicy flavour I was aiming for.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Strange Weather This Spring

This is what we woke up with yesterday morning...

I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm a full month behind in gardening & am starting to feel like we'll just be skipping Spring this year!

I've not yet seen much in bloom, which is a good thing with all this snow & freezing temperatures. The plants must know to delay things & just stay hunkered down for a little while longer.

Wonder what sort of predictions will come about for our Summer season with such a cold start to Spring?