April 16, 2015

The Gardening Season Begins

What a difference a week makes! Last week, in my "Spring Hope" post, although there were small signs of coming spring, the ground was still mainly covered in snow. Now, after a few days of mild weather and bright sun and brisk winds, the snow remains only along shaded areas. The snowdrops, those delightfully hardy little blossoms, have opened to inaugurate the flowering season.

Parsnips are the first vegetable of spring, which I dig after the ground thaws and dries out a little. The freezes of winter sweeten this delicious root. I had a bountiful crop this year: I made some roast parsnips earlier in the week, and a pot of curried parsnip soup (recipe here) this morning.

 Most of the perennials are still asleep, but some fresh green leaves of Oriental poppy have appeared.


Of course, daffodils are early risers, and they are coming along well, even showing buds.

Tulips have also come to life, with early leaves bright red. I've tried to research why this happens, and it may be protective. There is a double file of tulip leaves in my vegetable garden, where I plant them for cutting, and for protection since deer love them. Now that they're up, I have to put up the garden's electric fence.

Alongside the tulips, the garlic has also emerged.

Another allium in the vegetable garden, Egyptian onions, will soon be adding flavor to dishes. These very early greens have a sprightly onion flavor.

Last year I planted some scallions, and they too are emerging, though I imagine it'll take longer for them to mature than the greens of Egyptian onions.

Sorrel is another plant with young leaves that have a red coloration. They look beautiful at this young stage of life, but will soon be green, and large enough to pick for meals. I love its lemony taste.

Lastly, the sexy red knobs of rhubarb are coming up. The plant is marvelous at all its stages: knobby, young frilly leafy, enormously grand. It will be the first fruit of spring in June (though not actually a fruit since it doesn't have seeds), a treat in pies and made into jam. It's been so thrilling to feel spring actually begin––to hear all the birds that have now arrived, to sit outdoors with the sun on my face, to do yard work of various kinds––that I've had a hard time staying indoors to do artwork. Oh well, it's okay to enjoy this fleeting feeling and take some time off from the studio...until it rains, which it's supposed to do tomorrow.


  1. It is hard to stay in for the studio. Our snow has been gone for a month now, but the greens are about the same pace as yours. Enjoy.

    1. Thanks, Frank. Today is a rainy day, so back to the studio.