I spent Saturday doing hardcore gardening work including prepping the fire-escape windowboxes for planting. On Sunday afternoon I purchased a few plants for the boxes and decided to get them planted up rather than wait for additional plants. Check out what I found buried by our friendly neighbourhood squirrel:
A sign of the times. Last year peanuts, this year an entire slice of pizza!
I know it was a new addition because not only was it still intact but I had just dug that spot yesterday. There was also evidence of squirrel digging on the other side of the box.
The location of the squirrel pizza.
Now that we’ve moved into the next phase of spring — a stable phase when the threat of a random snowfall is safely behind us and temperatures are more consistently predictable — a new crop of blooms have begun to emerge. I’ve been happily carrying at least one camera around with me, capturing observations I happen upon on my routine errands.
Hooray for forsythia! My childhood memories of springtime are very connected to puffy bushes of these bright yellow blooms bursting on every front lawn regardless of the neighborhood. Forsythia is one of those plants that the classes seem to agree on — just about anyone can afford a small bush and no one is too good for its bright and cheery flowers.
Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) This is the violet commonly found filling up lawns.
Elephant Ears (Bergenia cordifolia)
Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) This is one of those pretty spring-blooming bulbs that naturalizes well. They are popping up all over the place these days and seem to last longer than some flowering bulbs that come and go with barely a chance to enjoy them.
You can’t beat an early spring harvest courtesy of cold-hardy perennials. I’ve barely done anything in the garden and I’m already raking in the food stuffs!
Clockwise from top right: Onions, dandelion greens, garlic chives, chives, lemon balm.
These chives have been growing in a large galvanized wash basin on my rooftop deck for several years. They always survive whatever winter throws at them and are the first thing up in the spring. Buds are starting to show which means that chive blossoms aren’t far off.
This is only the beginning of lemon balm (aka lemon bomb!) season at the community garden. The trick of it is to catch it early and harvest the tender leaves before flowers make an appearance.
My French sorrel (another early riser) inexplicably disappeared this year so I walked over to the garden early this evening and popped a new one into the ground.
A photo I took for World Pinhole Photography Day, an event that just happened to coincide with my first stinging nettle foraging expeditition of the season. I am an accomplished multi-tasker.
I went out foraging stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) last weekend. I harvested young leaves for eating and have set aside most to be made into a liquid fertilizer for my plants. Stinging nettle is very high in magnesium and iron making it good for both your bod and your plants’ too.
I went out partially prepared with snips and a collecting bag but forgot my gloves and was stuck slowly and delicately lifting each snipped piece into the bag wielding the sharp clippers like tongs. I suffered a few small “bites” to my hand after growing impatient with the delicate procedure but the early season foliage doesn’t seem to be as nasty as late-season plants because I didn’t need to seek out foliar antidotes (Rubbing the leaves of dock, mullein, jewelweed, or plantain on your skin will neutralize the sting. It is said that the cure is always growing within eyesight and in my experience that has proven to be the case everytime.)
I’m thinking of going out again before the plants mature. I’ve become intrigued by the idea of making up a batch of nettle soup after seeing it done by school kids reliving WW2 times on the BBC show Evacuation. Why yes, I do know that I’m a geek.