It’s Meteorological Spring

March 1 begins meteorological spring. That being said, it sure doesn’t look like that around my house.


This is the one bright spot. It’s my witch hazel, ‘Jelena.’


Its bright blooms can literally be seen from all over the yard. They can even be seen from the second story of my house!


But everything else, not so much. Here are my snowdrops–or not.


The chives on my porch are doing well–but they are in a glassed in environment.


And while these hellebores are called Lenten roses, we’re already well into the second week of Lent. They have some catching up to do, I think.

A few more freakishly warm 70 degree days are needed before my landscape catches up to where it’s supposed to be–but that’s okay. I’ll settle for what I have for now.

Wordless Wednesday


These Japanese maples are not as lovely as usual this year. First a late summer dry spell, then an abnormally warm late autumn–followed by a “flash freeze” so to speak, left the leaves suspended on the tree.

But the leaves are always very late to drop–one of the last to fall off. It’s partly a protection for the delicate nub of leaf forming underneath for next year’s leaf.


On this red leafed variety, it’s even worse. It drives the Spoiler mad–and of course, we track them in until January or later.

But of course, there’s no hurrying nature. When you see the brown oak leaves in this photo, however, you know that these maple leaves are very late to fall since oak leaves are one of the last to come off the tree!

Wordless Wednesday–Ways of Seeing

Every so often I get fixated on a particular tree. In this case, it’s an Eastern White Pine that’s clearly been topped by a storm at one point.


When you look at the thing, you wonder how long it will even be alive.


Clearly it had been double-trunked at one point. But now, it’s just a sad mass of needles, really.


The trees around it don’t look much better. There are some hemlock struggling to hang on, between the years of drought and the adelgid infestations.


One last look. I wonder if this tree captivates you as much as it does me, or if you have to see it in person?


Wordless Wednesday–Spring Color



After my whining last Friday about how we were never going to get spring,  a few warm days have brought out the flowers.


You can see how early it is. The trees still have no leaves and very little is greening up. These photos were taken April 14–the very day that I was whining that we don’t have spring.


So it’s nice to see a little color to prove me wrong.

Picking Good Plants–Round Two

On Friday I talked about picking a plant that looked most like every other plant. This is a good rule no matter what type of plant you are buying.

Today I want to get into a few more specifics about  what to do when you get to the garden center–and let’s presume you are at a garden center today, simply because  it will have more signage about varieties and possibly more information on the plant tags that will be accurate for your location.

What do I mean by that? When I go to a box store, I am told that the plant “lantana” is a perennial. That’s technically true. It is not, however, a perennial for me here in New England.

I know that in some parts of the country lantana is considered an invasive pest and can grow to the size of a shrub. Here, we grow it as a nicely behaved hanging basket that has flowers that feed our butterflies and hummingbirds and the plant dies at the first hard freeze. See what I mean now about “for your location?”

So, when you walk into your garden center, depending on where you are, you might find lantana in a hanging basket, you might find it with the perennials, or you might not find it at all because it is invasive in your part of the country. There you are. But chances are, you’re not going to just find it willy-nilly labeled “perennial.”

I know the box stores are working on this–and one reason has to do with their guarantee for a year. They don’t want New England customers bringing in their dead lantana the following spring and asking for a refund–and rightly so! No one is happy in that scenario.

Enough plants die in our now unpredictable winters that they shouldn’t have to give for plants that are mis-labeled. But if they mis-label them, well, they get what they deserve.

Apparently I have gone on long enough about why you should be going to the garden center for your spring plant shopping and not a box store–at least if you are a brand new plant buyer. We’ll talk about what to look for on Friday.

Wordless Wednesday–The Story of a Tree


I planted this tree in 1997. I bought it as a tiny sapling, on close out, the prior year. I had  originally planned to make it into a bonsai.

After a nearby dogwood showed signs of decline, I decided that I would plant the maple instead and let it grow up as the dogwood declined.


I am not sure what I was thinking about when I planted it in this narrow spot. Talk about wrong place! Nevertheless, the tree has thrived and has found a way to cope.

And despite the presence of the above ground roots, don’t think that the tree is compromised. I have talked about my rock ledge many times. This is how trees in my yard have to cope. All of our trees look like this .