Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring in High Gear.

4-30-13 SHORT HILLS: We did have a nice rain yesterday and today is warm and sunny again. The trees all have something going on, new leaves, seeds and/or flowers. The shrubs are busy leafing out.

I am still in the boot, but only when outside. I’ve started PT and can drive next week.

New blooms: Virginia blue bells, blueberry, apple.

Goldfinches swarming the feeder, two males, two females.

Virginia Blue Bells, another spring ephemeral.

Dogwood-great color.

Wild Strawberry, when the whole center is pollinated the berry will develop.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cherry Blossom Festival.

4-28-13 SHORT HILLS: The Kwanzan cherry trees are open and are quite showy, especially against a blue sky yesterday. The weather remains warm and dry. We are at one-third of normal for precip this month, but there might be some rain tomorrow.

I have done more pruning, nothing too hard because of the awkwardness of the orthopedic boot. I see the doc tomorrow and may get released from bondage.

Maizie is settled into the house routines and is growing fast. She’s up to sixteen pounds, on her way to seventy or so in four months. The boys are still tolerant, at best, and still in denial. Judy and Maizie have started puppy kindergarten classes.

New blooms: Kwanzan cherry, Chinese snowball viburnum, wild strawberry.

Kwanzan cherry trees with double, pink flowers are quite showy.

More Kwanzan.

And again, these are Japanese trees.

Chinese snowball viburnum, very aromatic with lots of red pigment that shows on the leaves and buds as well. First viburnum to bloom here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Warm One.

4-26-13 SHORT HILLS: I did more pruning yesterday and hung a replacement exterior shutter. Today I glued up and clamped a broken, antique end table. It’s warm and sunny again. The tomatoes have several seedlings up.

New blooms: lamium, both purple and yellow.

I showed a clatonia on 4-9-13 without the red pinstripes, here's one so equipped. At the moment, a couple sections of the yard are all white with these tiny flowers, but soon they'll be dormant until next April.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spring Marches On.

4-24-13 SHORT HILLS: Today is summery. With Judy’s help, I loaded all the prunings into the Subaru, and we hauled it all to the dump. There’s always more to be done, maybe maƱana. The grass actually looks pretty good this spring.

New blooms: dogwood.

Trout lily, another two inch, spring ephemeron.

Kerria japonica. A sprawling shrub that gets to five or six feet.

Saucer Magnolia just about done.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Back in the Chill.

4-22-13 SHORT HILLS: Yesterday and today were both cold, with morning temps in the thirties, getting up to fifty in the afternoon. It feels like March. April always gives us some March and some May.

New blooms: kerria, grape hyacinth.

White Breasted Nuthatch working on a sunflower seed.

Violet, another spring flower standing tall at two inches high.

Grape Hyacinth, a four incher.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New Butterfly.

4-20-13 SHORT HILLS: Yesterday was tropically warm and sultry, so I got the wheelbarrow out of the garage, loaded up fertilizer, two bags, one for the acidophiles and one for everybody else. I gave everyone their spring feeding. It took longer than usual because every job is harder and slower with the boot, except for typing. I also did a bit more pruning.

There was a T-storm last night, and today is cool and windy. I got back to pruning and used the cordless saber saw to remove some broken branches caused by winter snow. I have a couple piles for the dump on Monday.

Val and Lucy are visiting. Lucy and Maizie each made a new friend.

New blooms: pear tree, white ash.

Mourning Cloak butterfly with a couple of bites out of the left wings.

Daffodils get prettier as the season moves along.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mystery Flower.

4-18-13 SHORT HILLS: The canine intramural relationships are running a bit more smoothly, but still on the cool side. Today’s a bit cool also and overcast. I have another ten days in the boot before I am released. Imagine having a brick glued to one shoe, that’s what walking is like in the boot. But it’ll be off sooner or later.

New blooms: violet, boxwood.

Daffodil, no yellow.

Is this too confrontational? Too much yellow?

Here's a flower, its on a shrub. Any guesses?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Throwing Out the First Tomato.

4-16-13 SHORT HILLS: It was sunny this AM, but has become overcast and might rain. Nick and Gus seem slightly more accepting of Maizie, slightly.

I started the tomatoes today, using a mix of peat moss and potting soil. I put four or five seeds in each of 24 cups. There are eight each of Sun Gold, an orange grape tomato that worked well last year, Red Pearl, a red grape not used before, and New Girl, a full-size red, early ripening variety.

New blooms: saucer magnolia, bloodroot, marsh marigold, dandelion, bleeding heart.

Saucer Magnolia just starting.

Bloodroot has a short lived flower, but the interesting leaves are open all season.

Marsh marigold is another yellow spring flower that disappears shortly after the blooms are done.

Tomato seeds started in a mix of peat moss and potting soil today for Memorial Day in VT.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Maizie Moves In.

4-14-13 SHORT HILLS: Maizie joined the pack yesterday. We picked her up from her breeder near Manchester, NH in the morning, drove back NJ and have been trying to get everyone’s feelings back to normal. Gus is terrified and resentful, and Nick is angry and resentful. She has approached them both, but Gus flees and Nick has snapped at her. We are hopeful that things will get better in a few days. Both of them usually have tails wagging all the time, but not so much now. She is curious, calm, affectionate and very mellow.

Today is sunny, but cool and breezy, but lots warmer than VT.

New blooms: pulmonaria, trout lily, spice bush, cherry tree.

Maizie looking vigilant.

Pachysandra flower.

Cherry tree blossom with customer.

More cherries.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Winter Is Back.

4-12-13 VERMONT: Ques.-‘What’s prettier than a new blanket of white?’

Ans.-‘In April, just about anything.’

It’s foggy, freezing and icy. Icicles are hanging from the eaves. Now, the sleet/freezing rain is turning to rain, but will freeze again tonight.

The birds are swarming the feeders that I refilled this afternoon. A bunch of evening grosbeaks arrived today and have been picking the shriveled crabapples off the trees near the house. Robins were working the yard this morning before the new cover began to accumulate.

A new inch, maybe more, of 'wintry mix' that started as sleet and changed to freezing rain.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Winter Hangs On.

4-11-13 VERMONT: Winter is hanging on here. We’re on the cusp of spring, but it will be a few weeks yet. Daytime temps are in the forties, while over night it drops back to near freezing. The pasture gets more sun and is snow free, but the house yard is more shaded, and the piles under the eaves are still huge.

Daylilies are showing their first leaves, as are lamium and a few others. Snowdrops are open where the snow is gone. Some new snow is predicted for tonight. The road isn’t bad, only a few muddy spots.

I filled the feeders when we got here, and they’re being mobbed by the usual customers—chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, mourning doves, finches, sparrows, downy woodpeckers and red squirrels.

New blooms: snowdrops.

Snowdrops starting as the melting sets them free.

Plenty of snow here.

And ice here. The ice melts around the edges of the pond, leaving a big floating island that slowly shrinks away.

More icy piles.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Finally Forsythia.

4-9-13 SHORT HILLS: Yesterday and today were in the seventies, and today might hit eighty. It’s sunny and windy. It feels like mid May. The forsythia all popped overnight.

I did more fertilizing and light pruning. This Thursday makes six weeks since the Achilles tendon surgery and, hopefully, means only two more weeks in the boot. Doing any hard work outside in the boot is a struggle to find footing and keep your balance.

New blooms: forsythia, claytonia.

Unknown tiny spring flower/weed, anyone got a name?

Claytonia, another tiny ground flower, some have red stripes on the petals.

Forsythia, more yellow.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Forsythia Watch.

4-7-13 SHORT HILLS: The weather has been unchanged, warm afternoons, sunny skies, which sounds fine, but there’s been no rain for at least a week. I turned the sprinklers on and tested them, did a few minor repairs and they’re running on schedule.

I also fertilized all the spring bulbs and flowers and limed the grass. Both of those jobs were a struggle in my orthopedic boot. The plan is for three more weeks before it comes off.

The spring openings seem to be on hold, perhaps it’s the dryness. The forsythia have looked ready for more than a week.

New blooms: Siberian squill.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, female, waiting for a turn at the feeders.

Siberian Squill, another early ground hugging surprise.

Monday, April 01, 2013

First Yellow.

4-1-13 SHORT HILLS: Today was the first day warm enough to be outside without a jacket. It was a bit breezy, but definitely warm. There was a little rain yesterday, and we probably need more. All the shoots and buds are cautiously creeping out their winter hiding places.

The gold finches are going from gray to yellow. The bird nesting in the junipers is a mourning dove, not a robin, and it’s still there, even after the pruning.

New blooms: elm tree, daffodil.

Let the yellow begin.

First daffodil in this yard.