Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Day

So apparently reports of an early spring were a bit premature. From a nice 60 degrees early yesterday we are now at 28 degrees and it's still snowing. Schools and colleges have been cancelled so much of the area is enjoying a snow day at home. We were at the southern edge of this blizzard. I imagine Amarillo and cities north of that have seen 2-3 times the snow we've received.
View from the living room window. At 10 am it's still snowing hard and the wind's a whipping.
Symon, my 13 year old half siamese half tabby, is frisky today and chasing his tail and toys around the room. He can't figure out why he can't see anything through the bottom halves of the windows which are snow covered though.

I just hope all the ranuculas (Persian Buttercups) survive this latest round of freezing cold. Everytime they start poking out of the ground and greening up the cold kills the new growth. Also found the California poppy seeds my co-worker gave me back in the fall and will scatter those this weekend when the temperatures go back to the more tolerable 60s ranged.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Between Days

Today is a beautiful day... just made for gardening. What little wind exists is gentle and the plants poking up everywhere are soaking in the warm rays of the sun. Hard to believe we have a 30% chance of snow tonight and the temperatures are going to drop 15-20 degrees tomorrow. The Lubbock area of West Texas has had little in the way of a real winter. We've gone from a very cold fall to a chilly spring, but no freezingwinter as we enter the third straight year of severe drought. Each year gets a little better though so hopefully this one will be even more wet than last year. We had about 11 inches last year and so far we've almost reached 2 inches since the start of the year. Things are looking good so far! 
Miss Penny checking out the daylilies, pincushion plant, and catnip flouringing in the bed underneath the dining room window.
In the garden, the larkspur is coming up everywhere, including everywhere in the grass. A good mowing will fix that later on. The rose bushes are budding out everywhere with striking red and dark green foliage.
Red leaves budding our everywhere on this rosebush, which was planted in memorial of my cat, Basil. The serene angel was a gift of a co-worker and watches over his deep red rose bush year round.
The daffodils are still short with no flower buds yet but they normally don't bloom in my beds until April anyway. The shasta daisies, sedums, nepeta, salvias, and daylilies are greening up nicely. None of the trees and rose of sharon bushes are showing any signs of green so far.
The flower-shaped heads of the sedums are coming up nicely, even in the shade. 
The month of February is such an in-between month. Can't really plant much because the ground is still freezing in the early mornings. Watching numerous episodes of Cottage Farms on QVC is only making the gardening bug more impatient. I keep eyeing the reblooming daylilies and fruit-named butterfly bushes and have to remind myself that I should try to buy more locally this year as the drought has been hard on our local nurseries due to city watering restrictions and little annual rainfall.  February and early March is the clean up months. Need to repaint the wood fence, expand flower beds, dig up weeds and put in a ton of humus and top soil. The earth seems to inhale the compost and new top soil the way I drink iced tea. Seriously, I can't figure out where the tons of dirt/compost I put down each year goes. The beds don't seem to get any taller. 
The Pill insisting her picture is taken. Half the shots I took today had either a tail, furry head or behind in it. There is something relaxing about having a garden cat following you around the yard... well, until she starts rolling in the dirt or chasing the butterflies around. Thankfully she's never caught one that I'm aware of. Don't think she really tries to catch them but rather just enjoys the chase itself.
As soon as the ground freezes are over I also need to start cramming plants into every open spot of dirt. Four neighborhood cats, three of whom actually belong to people around me, keep using bare spots in my flower beds for their litter boxes. The fifth culprit is the stray I adopted, Miss Penny the Pill. The tight planting would also help cut down on weeds in the beds.

Adding oranges and orange peels has so far not deterred the cats from digging into the beds. Bummer. The green pictured here is one of the shasta daises in this bed. Their flowers are so cheerful swaying in the summer breezes.
The weeds got so bad last year that I finally consented to having pre-emergent put down on the grass. We'll see if it was worth the cost later on. I'll have to put down more bug pellets this summer too since the lack of winter is going to make the bug situation bad in the summer months. 
Well the basil might have died. The dill and cilantro, on the other hand, is coming up everywhere in the herb circle. I just love the weeping seed heads of the dill and so do the butterflies. The dill is also coming up in the surrounding grass and thin side bed of the east side of the fence.

The raised veg bed didn't work out so well last year due to the drought and baking temperatures. What did work well was all the mint, cilantro and basil plants tucked into the cinderblock openings. The chocolate mint, mojito mint and orange mint is reviving itself in our warming temps. I suspect I'll need to reseed the basil.  
The cilantro is quite happy in the cinderblock too. Must add more this year. I think instead of veggies in the larger opening I'll add some flowers and turn the rest of the raised bed into a herb bed, most of which will be mints. Will have to look for apple and pineapple mint to add to the collection.

Update: By 5 pm the wind was whipping and the sky was dusty pink with dirt in the air. The cold wave is definately headed our way.


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