Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring! For Real ... (finally)

I cannot believe it's been 3 months since I last posted?!  To be honest, Mother Nature has been harsh in the Midwest - with a long lingering Winter in February & March.  Gardening has typically been the last thing on my mind (other than some rabid "Pinterest" action).  I follow many of you on your Facebook garden pages, along with the local Arboretum and garden nurseries, so that is a treat.

That didn't mean I didn't do periodic 'walk-arounds' in the gardens this Winter.  There were a few sad moments.  Bunnies have been busy, wreaking havoc again.  (You would think I learn?!)  They chewed through the 'bunny fence' protecting the Golden Privet and the Japanese Willow, then nipped all the branches off the former and stripped the bark off the latter.  They added "insult to injury", by leaving 'organic evidence' of their frequent visits (besides foot prints in the snow).

Here is a quick collage of the my winter wanderings (double click to enlarge the photo):

Late Winter Beauty & Bunny 'Anarchy' 
As you may see from the photos, the bunnies decided to help me out this year, by "pruning" the "Wine & Roses" Weigela and the variegated Red Twig Dogwood to about a third of their height.  Fortunately the Double Pink Knockout Rose is protected by a metal wire fencing - safe from razor-sharp bunny incisors.

Though we are still running 10-20 degrees below normal, today was a breezy but tolerable 57F.  I spent a few hours cutting back the prairie grasses and 'dusty bones' of dead plant stalks from the Pink Guara, Monarda and Daylilies.  Underneath all the debris were the little lime green nibs of "Banana Creme" Shasta Daisies (Yay!  "Year 2" victory), Crimson Asiatic Lilies, various Daylilies, Hollyhock, Monarda, Rudbeckia and Pink Guara.

Now, I am finally feeling the 'garden vibe' I was desperately looking for.  Last year at this time, we had freakishly warm March weather - with temperatures in the low 80's.  Farmers were in the fields by April 10th (unheard of, normally).  This year I hear we are trailing about 2 weeks behind 'normal'.  As I ward off the Spring chill wrapped in a blanket, I'll head off and catch up with my 'garden blog friends' to see how your gardens grow.

Namaste!
Shyrlene

© Photos and content are created by the Bunnies Buffet (unless otherwise noted)



22 comments:

  1. I've had similar "pruning" help this winter; in my case, it's deer rather than rabbits who have left behind their tell-tale footprints. In southern PA, we had a lovely tease of spring yesterday. Here's hoping the real thing arrives soon. -Jean

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    1. Jean - I would be devastated if I had to contend with deer too! They are in the area, but not near our subdivision. Mother Nature has been stingy sharing the spring with us, but tomorrow's hopeful (low 60's). I think there's a plan for some compost "dressing" this weekend! :)

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  2. Good to hear from you again, this winter has been a long one, hasn't it? We've had rabbit damage too, the naughty varmints. The audacity of them to chew thru the mesh. Unbelievable. I have a few trees I'm afraid are not going to pull out of being debarked. I need to get excited about gardening, too, but with all the snow on the ground it feels like winter yet.

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    1. Karen - hasn't it felt like a 'Winter marathon'?! Uck! (and I like winter, in the beginning of the season). Hopefully your snows will melt this weekend?! It's amazing how many nooks & crannies still have little snow mounds left. I hear spring rains are on the way next week.

      I've been thinking of your plant propagation a lot lately. You are such a pro; I'm going to 'dabble' a little (but in the 3-Season room)... I will be swinging by for some tips, if you don't mind?!

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  3. We are about 10 to 20 degrees below normal temperatures as well. We have had a few nice days that call me out to the garden. Hope your spring warms up very soon.

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    1. Sage - so good to hear from you! With the temperature swings we have from year to year, it is amazing plants come up. Of course they don't look too enthusiastic this season. I daydream a lot lately - trying to imagine my '3rd season' plants having a more mature profile (especially my Blue Star , and Twilight Baptista). **Deep sigh!**

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  4. Let's hope that spring is here now. I don't think that I will thaw out any time soon!

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    1. Suzi - Amen! Out of curiousity, did you ever decide on which lavender to grow? I'm looking at my teeny-tiny Provence French Lavender, and it's hard to believe it will grow to 2ft tall (someday)!

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  5. Rabbits nibbled a young witch hazel and black chokeberry almost to the ground. They also chewed on my 'Sally Holmes' rose, not quite sure if it is girdled. If so, I am hoping that it will send up new canes.

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    1. Jason - thank you for stopping by for a visit! Isn't it frustrating to see what damage those little tiny bunnies can do? A 'bush hog' mower doesn't clear out an area like rabbits. I need to take stock in metal farm fencing. The gardens will look like Fort Knox in the Winter...

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  6. We've had a week of warm and the results are fabulous... buds are swelling like magic. Of course, it's not uncommon to have another snow storm. Our Spring always requires a good deal of patience. Welcome back!

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    1. Carolyn - you can't know how encouraging your 'warm weather' feedback is! I have been scrounging through my garden books to see what plants come up, snow or not. Hellebores and Snowdrops really caught my eye.

      I tried Crocus before, and they never came up - just a pulpy pit when I dug them up. I also heard starting bulbs inside can work, for us 'bulb-challenged' gardeners? Thanks for the kind words -- it feels SO GOOD to be back! :D

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  7. Rabbit stew! So glad you're back! :o)

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    1. LOL .. I am so there! My husband teases me mercilessly about the 'buffet' I provide. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really a nut case, thinking I can persevere over those furry, little critters? Then again, I'm just too stubborn to stop. (Is that the definition of insanity?!!)

      It feels amazing to have that 'garden mojo' back! I swear I get jacked up just smelling damp black soil & mushroom compost! (Yep, self-diagnosis: certifiable nut case.)

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  8. I used to have a pet rabbit when I was a child. I don't think I've loved anything so much since. I didn't know that they were so aggressive - guess people don't have pet rabbits where you live ?

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    1. b-a-g, pet bunnies are still popular with small children and in grade school classrooms here. We had big dogs growing up, so bunnies as pets probably wouldn't have been the best idea.

      And don't get me wrong - I'm a guppy for a fuzzy bunny with their wiggly noses and puffy white tails. I just struggle with the plant devastation they cause. Tender green plants - I understand (though I was shocked when they mowed down a whole row of sunflowers I planted), but it's the bushes they destroy that gets me! Those bushes are my garden "anchors"! I want them to grow big!! That's my struggle - and why my blog is called the "Bunnies Buffet". (It's a love/hate thing...)

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  9. Great post, Shyrlene!
    We still have a lot of snow up here. I'm a little worried about the damage I'll find. Last year we had either moles or voles. Still not sure which, but they decimated a large portion of my rock garden. Thankfully most of it was able to recover, but my dwarf lilac was beyond help. And like you, a few seedlings in the raised beds disappeared. Not sure if it was a bunny or deer. I'm working on some sort of fencing this year.
    Hope the bunnies don't have too much of a buffet in your garden this year!
    Happy Spring to you!
    Hugs, Karen

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  10. Thanks Karen! :)

    It's hard to believe we still have measurable snow in April?! Moles & voles are even more scary than bunnies. They are like little ninjas that can't be seen, while taking out plants & bushes.

    It was a balmy 65 today, but with 30 mph winds - composting the gardens was not going to happen. Patience is a virtue, right? The perennials are peaking out, in spite of the cold.

    Happy Spring Karen! Here's to warmer weather and healthy plants!
    Shyrlene

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  11. The mosaic snaps of your winter garden are very beautiful. A garden in winter has its own beauty. we do not get that here. Not bunnies ether, other wildlife like bandicoots dig up the garden where it is soft. Bush turkeys make a bit a mess too. This happens not all the time. Many other backyard buddies visit and live in the garden but are not destroying, the big white cockatoos can be a bit a problem with nut trees as they destroy every nut ripe or not. Wish you a lovely spring and happy gardening.

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    1. Titania - Thank you! A week later, and the weather is not much more spring-like though there is a promise of 70F and rain tomorrow. We'll always take the rain - especially after the drought last year.

      I took another walk-about today in the windy 44F degree temperatures. There are a few brave & sturdy perennials trying to show face - but not many!

      Thanks for the visit! :)

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  12. Hellllooooo Shyrlene!
    I wandered off for a while there, but dashing back in to the blogosphere to say hello! I don't seem to be able to log on here as gippygardener anymore, but never mind. I hope everything is doing well in your garden :) Heidi

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