Friday, February 3, 2012

A Dooryard Ramble

By afternoon today the cattle in the neighboring pasture were quietly lolling.
In the background, wagons are loaded with the tobacco which has been hanging in the barns since harvest.
Apparently it now goes to auction.

The growing spears of the daffodils push through the accumulation of dry leaves.

Few of the daffodils have come into full bloom.
The buds bulge in their papery sheaths, but only a few have unfolded yellow-green petals.

Poking about in the strewing of leaves near the carport I found two more seedlings of lemon balm.
During our first springtime here I dug up many of these, transplanting them to a new garden or giving them away--still the new starts persist.

Seedheads of purple coneflower. I have pinched these off from time to time, letting them scatter on the ground.  I hope that new plants will emerge. I have set out several of the newer hybrid coneflowers which seem far less vigorous than the generic variety.

A dried pod on the trumpet vine which clambers around the crabapple tree.
Left to its own devices, trumpet vine in a temperate climate is a strangling menace, throttling other shrubs and trees, clutching tenaciously at the walls of a nearby building.  We have learned to keep most of the seedlings mown down, allowing only the  parent plant to flourish and bloom.

In October I transplanted my tree peony to the new garden which D. made. These red buds at the ends of the stubby branches have been visible for weeks.

Another transplanted peony has poked through the earth.
I have 'moved' many peonies over decades of gardening.  Most reestablish and eventually bloom.
There is always a bit of fuss as to whether the crowns have been reinterred at the correct depth.

Cardinals are shy, and I moved stealthily closer with my camera on 'zoom' after spotting this one.
The yard was busy with birds this morning after rain in the night.
Looking from the kitchen window I noticed a great deal of bouncing near the clothesline--a large clan of ruddy-vested robins drilled in the soft ground, hunting grubs and earthworms.
The feeders have attracted tufted titmice [identified by G.] a variety of sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, goldfinches, and bluebirds. The mild open winter has made the birds less needy than last year.
The three barn cats sometimes eye the comings and goings of the birds.  There has been only one casualty in two winters--that I have noticed.  We've tried to position the feeders in places where the birds can have ample warning of a marauding feline.


  1. It really looks like spring has arrived down your way. Can't wait for the daffodils to bloom here, but that won't be for two more months.

  2. I can't wait to see how your tree peony does. I have one and I love it. The peony family is by far my favorite flower. We've had a blizzard today, so much for the 60's we've had lately. I love seeing all of your spring photos, especially that Cardinal, which as you know, we don't have here.


  3. A nice ramble around your yard. It's something which I should be doing soon instead of just looking out of the window or ordering seeds for the spring.

  4. We wont have daffs for nearly two months here and most things are still very dormant. I love to see Lemon Balm in the garden ...not that i cook with it much ...but I love squeezing a leaf and sniffing my fingers.

  5. Didn't realize they grew tobacco in Kentucky. We're having such a mild winter here that I'm getting worried.

  6. I bet your tree peony will be beautiful. I have had to shelve garden plans for When We Move. You have good growth in your garden - my early growth has had a shock with the cold snap, especially the Grape Hyacinths which were tentatively flowering!

  7. I have lemon balm growing near the front door. It is persistent but I do love the scent and the delicate white flowers in summer.

    Daffodils are in tight bud here. With this weeks`s bitter cold, they will have to wait a while before they flower.

  8. Jane; This being our second winter here, we don't know what might be the "normal" look of winter--the thought of a late cold snap crosses my mind.
    Shanon; I love peonies, even though they tend to get rained on and fall over at the height of bloom. I missed cardinals--and even those greedy bluejays during the years in WY.
    John; Seed catalogs have always lured me into thinking I can manage a huge garden. On mild days I use these tours of inspection as a reason to be outside instead of dealing with cat hair and dust indoors.
    Angie; I don't cook with lemon balm either, but I love to stroke the leaves. Its such a friendly homey plant to have around.
    Janet; Tobacco is still the favored cash crop in KY--good for paying the property taxes!
    BB; Everything goes 'on hold' when one is living in a house with a For Sale sign--I found it most unsettling!
    DW; Lemon balm, along with spearment, was one of the first herbs I grew many years ago. It is strange to be living now in a place where so many of my herbs remain green through the winter.

  9. There are lots of things poking through the earth here too but currently they are buried under three inches of snow which fell overnight!

  10. Thank you for your lovely visits and comments. I am green with envy at your signs of spring, but that is the only thing that is green around here right now. When we moved I had to again leave the peony tree behind, and I know how you must feel, seeing those bright red buds, so promising.
    And daffodils!!! Oh my, - I have some grape hyacinth growing in the window, and as few pots of hyacinths, but I am looking forward eagerly to see if the garden here has any spring bulbs. If not I will go up the hill to the old garden and do a little garden cleaning... I brought the lemon balm down in a pot, and it is doing fairly well in the kitchen, but will go outside once spring comes. Enjoy the beautiful cardinal - I am content with the flock of little winter birds that come for feed, but am watching for robins and meadowlarks.

  11. Imagine...daffodils in February. This is definitely an unusual winter to be sure. I love purple coneflowers - one of my favorites. Enjoyed your photos as always...

  12. Paradise. Really. Your photos are just wonderful. Glad to hear of success moving peonies. I've always heard it doesn't work. Trumpet vine sounds scary. We have Japanese bayberry that sounds sort of the same. The yellow of the daffs is a sight for my winter eyes. Thank you.