Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last Day of March

This thermometer is on the south side of my house.

Above the garden of earthly delights-- indoors...

... and that's garlic growing through the snow.

A beautifully-formed Seckl pear.

A Lapin sweet cherry I am torturing into an espalier. The guide strings are attached to a couple bricks. Twice a year I review, prune, and adjust my guides and bricks. This will be the third year in the ground for this cherry. I am anticipating getting a couple pounds of cherries this year. I had about a dozen cherries last year. I surely do not want a 30' tall sweet cherry in my yard, so, "it's my way or the compost, Mr. Lapin!"

Those are the grapes I need to prune. I cut away a lot of the vine in the fall to prevent the over-wintering of insects and pathogens. It also allows me a better view on what I need to prune in the spring and saves the plant's spring energy reserves, while still allowing some of the mass of the plant to provide winter protection. I grow these grapes on wire strung between two posts placed eight feet apart. The posts are four feet tall.

My handsome dwarf Honeycrisp apple tree.

Today is the last day of March. I've lived in a couple different zones. Some places I have not only raked my lawn, but mowed it as well, once more than a couple times! I almost always have it raked here in zone 4. Not this year, though! Although I am starting to see brown grass peek out from underneath the snow, and my female boxer has taken an inordinate interest in the male dogs in the neighborhood (a sure harbinger of spring around this house!), spring is not here.

The sun is shining, though, today! Applause!

This weekend we are forecast to return to sleet and snow.

Typically, my apricot is blooming in about 20 days. That is hard to conceive!

It is still difficult to get out in the yard. Any sort of clean-up of storm-damaged, rabbit and mouse gnawed shrubs has to wait. I have hydrangea with swelling buds that I can not cut back because I really have no where to go with the clippings. Generally, the village begins picking up yard waste on the first Monday in April-- four days from today!

We are behind. When spring finally arrives, I am afraid we will be leaf-frogging into summer in the blink of an eye.

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