The Milkweed Diaries

Monday, March 8, 2010

Signs of Spring

Witch Hazel blooming in the garden today

It was a beautiful sunny day today (high of 62!) and I spent a good chunk of the day in the garden before I had to shower and get into professional mode and drive in to town for a meeting.

It felt so much like Spring outside today. I had to keep reminding myself that there's likely plenty more cold in store for us. We still have two more

months before the average last frost date here, but I couldn't help it, I just let the Spring fever flow and planted some seeds.


In my defense, I did plant the seeds in a cold frame and in another raised bed we have covered with a mini-hoophouse type structure, so it really is possible they will germinate, grow, and produce food. I planted several spinaches (Bordeaux, Space, Winter Bloomsdale), Ruby Streaks Mustard from the OGS Seed Swap, carrots (Oxheart, Scarlet Nantes, Napoli), radishes (French Breakfast, Easter Egg), a little lettuce (Pinetree Winter Mix), and beets (Early Wonder, Golden Detroit, Chioggia).

While I was getting the beds ready for planting, I encountered this little critter: one more reason I am glad we do not use a tiller. She was a little disoriented when I uncovered her with the fork I was using to work in manure, but she would have been dead meat with a rototiller.

You can see how she's barely visible in the soil. This was a moment when I felt really good about using hand tools, which are slow and gentle enough to allow life to go on in the garden beds despite our disruptions.

Another highlight of my time in the garden today was watching
the honeybees forage. I was kneeling in the herb garden to enjoy the crocuses up close when one of our honeybees landed on a tightly closed crocus bud and proceeded to open it up and get inside. It was really amazing to watch. She opened three buds this way, with
efficiency and enthusiasm. A good reminder, too, of the importance of early food sources in the garden for beneficial insects. This meal will help her and her hive sisters get
through the rest of the winter! (They're all sisters at the moment; the females kick the males out of the hive to freeze to death when resources
get scarce in the winter, and make more in the Spring.)

I was lucky to have my camera with me, and at some point remembered that it has a video feature. So here's a little photo
sequence of bee/crocus Spring
celebration, followed by my first HOME VIDEO posted to the Milkweed Diaries! It's just 14
seconds, but you can really get a sense of the crocus/bee lovefest in action....enjoy!


jack-of-all-thumbs said...

As a gardener who keeps bees, your video (and your post) brought a smile to my face. Spring is coming!

Do you use your witch hazel?

Amber said...

Oh, just lovely! I adore the buzzing bees, and watching them work their way through the flowers as they bloom.

Right now, the bees are all into the speedwell that's covering my yard. :) I'm just over in Candler, by the by. I'm trying to identify a local plant, mind stopping by my blog and seeing if you might know?

We don't have any bulbs set up in our yard for this spring, and I'm sadder for it. I love daffodils more than anything, but your crocus and witch hazel sure do make me smile! :D