Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Forest Floor Springs To Life

It seems that snow cover was deep and continuous just a few days ago.  Unseasonable early warmth ended the snow quickly and perennial plants are now rapidly appearing.  Shooting star was purchased from cultivated stock several years ago.  Apparently foraging rodents have no taste for it as the emerging bright green shoots are numerous.  Its dried stalks were allowed to drop seed at will so we will be looking for more of these close by.   The three leaved plant is a wild columbine that grows here like a weed.  Its numbers will have to be kept in check.

Fringed polygala is evergreen but at this time of year its leaves are reddish.  The green leaves speckled with brown are new.  Trout lilies corms were inadvertently moved with the polygala and they are also highly prized.  We will see no lily flowers until each plant presents two leaves.  A number of years must pass as the corm reforms itself deeper and deeper in the soil each year.  Expecting no flowers yet, we were thrilled just to see the single leaves.  Another look is needed to see if we have twins yet.

Aconite frequently blooms while surrounded by snow.  This year the depth of the snow cover held the plant dormant until the snow was gone.  Clear bright yellow flowers like this lift my spirits now.

This bleeding heart has been modified from its natural wild form.  More compact and covered with deep bright flowers, we find it to be an improvement over its close by wild cousin.  The dark green oval leaves belong to a weed that remained unseen because of its early appearance.

This squirrel corn remains despite its inadvertent disturbance several years ago.  Now Becky is called in to closely watch my weeding activities here early in the season.

Many of these plants are woodland natives but appear here in our artificial shade garden.  A single locust tree provides both the shade and the fallen leaves and stems.  We will complete the filling of the wild shade garden with natural soil washed from the woods and diverted into a collection area near the lane.  The more demanding wild flowers will be replanted in this more natural soil.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Potato Onion Spacing

Of all the things that have been misplaced, I miss my memory most.  During my six years as an undergraduate student an appointment calendar was never needed.  If an obligation to be in a certain office in ten days at a specified time was told to me, I simply remembered and appeared in the named place on the correct day ten minutes early.   The need to use six years to complete a four year course of study was not due to insufficient intelligence or poor memory but was the result of a lack of focus.  The object of my focus and I will celebrate fifty years of marriage this year.  Looking back, it was time well spent.

This year I could not remember the spacing for the potato onions.  The protective wire cage is inverted  to serve as a marking grid but how many rows and how many plants per row was information that simply could not be retrieved this year.  This post will provide the lost information next year.  A forty inch wide bed contains five rows of seed.  Sixty inches from path to path accepted nine onions.

Multiplier onions is another name for potato onions.  Each onion planted will grow into a clump of approximately six onions.  We can expect to harvest at least two hundred seventy onions.  This will supply next season's seed and satisfy our need for this food for a full year.  A second similar planting was made for the shallots.  We feel that the shallots possess a milder taste and that they are kinder on aging digestive systems.  

My manner of dress requires an explanation.  Recently a passing car began to stop while we were working on the flower bed near the road.  Frightened by my appearance, they sped off.  I am not a cult fanatic to be avoided at all costs.  Decades of working on hands and knees while tending my plants has left me with sun damaged skin.  The white hood and shirt by Solumbra effectively screen out harmful sun light.  I find the clothing preferable to chemical sunscreens.  Still, there is widespread concern about the mental viewpoints of one that would appear outside dressed like that.  Many just drive quickly by.  

The first picture does show several errant holes in the rigidly uniform spacing.  They were made while trying to figure out the correct spacing.  Unused for planting, they were simply brushed closed.