April 25, 2014

The Newly Burgeoning Garden

I love the changes in the seasons, and each has its beauty, but there's nothing like the thrill of early spring, when plants finally begin to emerge, in bud or leaf or shoot. One of the most wonderful is the rhubarb, whose shiny red knobs open to display a crowded leaf, which then spreads slowly, unfolding its complex wrinkles. It is both comic and slightly obscene.

The first herbs of spring are the perennial Egyptian, or Walking, Onions. Their fresh tangy greens are welcome in soups and salads before anything else in the vegetable garden is ready for eating.

They are even earlier than the chives, which as you can see, are still very small, just beginning their growth. 

The sorrel too has only small young leaves, some still tinted their youthful red.

Garlic shoots have emerged under their winter blanket of straw, now pushed aside as a mulch for spring and summer growth.

 Each fall I plant a row of tulips in the vegetable garden, so I have have cut tulips in the house. Their leaves are above ground but they haven't begun to bud yet. I love the little red points at the ends of the leaves.

Once the tulips have emerged, I put up the electric fence so the neighborhood deer don't make a meal of them. The little packet of aluminum foil is spread with peanut butter inside it, a strongly scented treat for any animal; if they come for a nibble, they'll get a shock and won't return. 

On Monday I planted some lettuce and arugula in a coldframe, and today I planted the cold-loving crops of peas, above, and spinach. A little of the arugula has already germinated....soon fresh salads! Next up for planting will be early carrots and beets. After many years, I still find vegetable gardening remarkably rewarding.

To end with a flower: the first daffodil to bloom, an early variety, "February Gold". None of the bulbs in my border are blooming yet, so the pond water may have a warming effect on this group. But in a few days their will be lots of yellow as more daffodils, and the forsythia, begin to bloom, sunshine brought to earth.

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