Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March blasts

March. Too many seedlings indoors. Here, the unrealistic artichokes. I know. But in winter you think unreasonable thoughts.

Feeding the flock. The white throated sparrows (top and bottom) have stayed all winter. They are cheekier than the common sparrows, and sing much better, of course. I do miss our Harlem terrace juncos and house finches (wth red heads and throats).

The elephant garlic braved the snow. The saffron crocus leaves also persisted right through winter (they bloomed in late fall, a few weeks after I planted them. I collected enough for one stew/bouillabaisse).

Nettles! One of the first perennials to emerge. It came with us from Harlem, in a blueberry pot, where it showed up one summer. It will be eaten. I am curious to see how much it has spread in one and a half years.

In the kitchen I looked up the other day to see a possum in the corner viburnum. I have not seen them for ages, though the Frenchman spotted one late at night, recently. I love their presence in the garden. They do not carry rabies (unlike raccoons), they eat their body weight in ticks, and have kept my garden slug and snail free (I think - I don't know what other explanation there could be).

I have horse radish to plant in the vegetable plot. And tender bulbs like Eucomis (pineapple lily) and spider lily (Hymenocallis - so sexist, yes? White, pure, virginal? Am I reading too much into it?). Anyhoo, both an experiment in flowering bulbs for shade; they will be planted on the cement slab, closer to the house, in pots.



  1. Didn't know possums were useful ... have seen two (or one, twice) over the winter. But, i haven't seen slugs, so maybe ...

    they are certainly so ugly they are cute.

  2. There is a "trick" with artichokes. You have to "fool" them into thinking they are in their second year--not the first. Looking it up would be better as my memories of the technique is sketchy. But it's still cold outside and I think I remember something about March outdoors to reset their inner clock. Good Luck.

    1. Indeed, the cold temperatures. Which reminds me, I think I must bring them in - they were outside today!

  3. Nettles! I am reading Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Her old nanny quotes a rhyme:
    "If they would eat nettles in March
    And drink mugwort in May,
    So many fine young maidens
    Would not go to the clay."
    I hope to join one of your Spring walks!

    1. Really? And mugwort, too... Thank you for the reference, Ariane!!

      Book soon-ish for a walk as they are filling up :-)

  4. I like possums, too, and am always surprised and saddened by the fact that most Americans seem to despise them. The saffron crocus foliage should persist well into June; mine usually does. Make sure it does not get shaded too much when other stuff gets going so that next falls crop does not suffer. They normally come back much better the second and third fall.

  5. Glad you are giving possums a better name--they are unfairly maligned!

  6. I love possums ever since one visited our yard in Iowa when I was a kid - have never seen one here.


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