Dreaming of Summer

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) enchant in the May garden. (Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)
Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) enchant in the May garden. (Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill)

The gardening season has returned. No more freezing temperatures and snowfalls. It’s a time to celebrate for sure!

Signs of spring are everywhere. Especially pretty are the flowers of the bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis), creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera), the purple-leafed cherry trees (Prunus cistena), and the various daffodils, to name but a few.

In the vegetable garden, we are happy to see the return of our perennial chives, rhubarb and lovage as well as our biennial parsley.

It’s a busy time. Water to outside faucets has been turned on; hoses have been taken out from the cellar; snow barriers for the street snowplows are put away; long stems of the climbing roses have been tied back on their trellises; and the dead stalks of perennials, such as sedums, have been trimmed off.

Squirrels are doing their best to dig up the daffodil bulbs. They don’t eat them, but they do make a mess. Something the squirrels did this year, which I’ve never seen before, was to eat the flower buds off one of our azaleas.

And while on the subject of squirrels, we finally figured out how to deter them from eating the birdseed in our feeder after they munched away on the plastic container. We purchased a new feeder that is covered with a metal cage keeping squirrels and large birds from reaching the seed. Spaces between the steel wires allow average-size birds to enter and exit at their leisure. During the summer months we don’t use the feeder, anyway, since we want our feathered friends to find some bad bugs to munch on.

Sadly, deer keep munching on our shrubs, especially the yews and the evergreen hollies. Chipmunks have “returned” and just this week we saw a turkey walking on our sidewalk. Ticks are plentiful, probably because of the many deer. One neighbor has already been placed on antibiotics after a tick bite and visit to the hospital.

Although they’re pretty for sure, the grape hyacinths keep multiplying and it’s a bit scary when I see where they’ve found new homes. Hubby has cut our so-called lawn and used the clippings catcher on the mower to make sure that there’s no more reseeding from the hyacinths. Annual garlic mustard is everywhere, but it’s easy enough to pull out and dispose of before its flowers set seeds and disperse.

The goutweed, on the other hand, is a tough one and must be dug up, or at least, kept cut at ground level. We know this is a fight we’ll never win.

Monarch butterflies and hummingbird migrations are underway and it won’t be long until they’re here. Our hummingbird feeders will soon be hung, where we hope our homemade fresh nectar will entice them.

I’ve received some new books to read and review when there’s some down time. The most recent copy is from Cool Springs Press, “Growing Heirloom Flowers” by Chris McLaughlin.

Also received were packets of my favorite seeds from Renee’s Garden (www.reneesgarden.com) in Felton, California. As a garden writer/communicator, I am honored that the non-GMO varieties of my choosing are offered as a courtesy to us by owner Renee Shepherd to test in our own gardens. Later in the season, I will share my results with my readers.

In the meantime, there’s so much to learn. I recently saw the word “celtuce” mentioned in an article and have no idea what it is. I also read that robotic Roombas have been developed to “work” in the garden. I’ve seen videos of robots moving containers in a garden center, but none yet of Roombas doing their thing.

The pollen is plentiful and we’re definitely in the midst of the Sneeze Season.

But no matter…. I’m dreaming of summer!