One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

February Odds and Ends

cardinal-serenadeThis morning we woke easily to the happy sound of a cardinal singing on the morning outside the bedroom window.   His song is loud and repetitious and eager and pretty and bright and I’ve always thought it was a pretty terrific way to start the day.   I can’t wait ’til it gets warmer and we can have the windows open again so we can hear all the birds’ songs unmuffled by walls and glass.  Which isn’t to say they aren’t still pretty loud.

cardinal-one

I haven’t seen a feather of those red-wing blackbirds since they appeared Sunday evening.  Of course, it’s been so darned chilly since their arrival, I wouldn’t blame them at all if they’ve turned around and headed back down along the coast to Jersey or Delaware…somewhere a smidge warmer…to await the spring warm-up.   No doubt, they are hunkered down in the margins of the marsh.  I’m sure if I went for a walk on the loop trail I’d hear they toiling about in the brush, claiming their trees, setting up nest-keeping for the season.

Actually, I’ve been researching the red-wing blackbirds a little and it turns out they don’t actually set up nest-keeping in a tree.  Their nests are made of grass which are then lashed to cattails or bullrushes or other vegetation at the edge of the pond.   Fascinating.   I was studying about them a little because I was concerned about their diet, and what they find to eat this time of year, especially after hearing someone say they thought the RWB’s were insectivores.   Turns out they rely on grains and seeds for 75% of their diet and it’s that sustains them during these bug-free months.

february-sunI made mention in my last post about how the Nest remains something of a work in progress, as far as decorating and settling in.  Soon I should be able to get the benches I’m thinking of for the table in the dining room, which will help get that room properly organized and set to rights.   The table there is a little bit of a catch-all just now, despite my eating there most nights…but I keep sorting out new ideas for where things are supposed to live and that helps to cut down a little on the cluttering…at least, that’s my hope.   ; )

I’m trying to be patient with myself and the whole process, because these things do take time and when I find the perfect spot for almost everything, I believe it will be an amazing feeling and suddenly my Life will have new meaning.   Ha.  Anyway, it’d be nice to have a little less clutter.

framed

You might remember in the fall I gathered a bunch of disparate picture frames and painted them all the Sherwood Green color of the shelves in the bathroom(You’ll notice one white frame; that’s a photo for a different room I did at the same time.).  And then I never mentioned them again.

My plan had always been to fill those frames with photos I’ve taken for the blog, but had to wait until the budget would support such an effort.   Even with a nice discount, good things cost money.

Yesterday, I got those pictures printed and I’m quite thrilled with how they turned out.    I like my photos okay when I see them on the computer screen.   But seeing them hanging on the wall now is pretty cool.

I’m looking into doing some notecards with my photos to sell at the photo shop, as a little supplemental income.    Seems like an interesting idea, as a starting point in my thinking, anyway.  Here’s a glimpse of that greenish hue I’m seeing in the bay lately.

green-bay-west-at-rh

heliotrope-pot-1

Here’s that marine heliotrope from last season, which I transplant back at the start of the month.   As you can see, it’s really responding to the fresh planting and of course, the incrementally-longer days can’t hurt either.   There’s another one of these sharing a pot with another plant.  I need to rescue that one, and give it a pot of one’s own, so it may similarly thrive.   I don’t think you can have too much of this fantastic purple beauty and its sweet scented blossoms.   In case you’ve forgotten what it looks like, James featured some recently over at Lost In the The Landscape on a recent Wordless Wednesday.

amaryllis

Generally, all the plants are looking pretty terrific.   I’m afraid that the amaryllis blossoms didn’t last as long this time, I think because I was sick when they were doing their thing.  I’m afraid I may not have doted on them as much as I had for their first big bang in January.   But still, the show was pretty terrific.   Now that the flower stalks have come and gone, the bulb is putting out those big strappy leaves, to absorb energy for the next time around.

An older gardening friend of mine, now deceased, once told me the secret for getting the bulb to bloom again, after it’s gotten to that big leaf stage.   The trick is that the bulb needs a little bit of rest.   Those leaves will gather sunlight and sink deposits down into the bulb, but once that’s done, it needs a break to get it to start over.   It’s a sort of bulb reboot, I suppose.   So what you do is take it out of the sun, turn the pot on its side and let it dry out.   The foliage will die away and then, you can turn it right side up and it should begin the whole business again.

Of course, since you can get one of these pretty inexpensively in stores around the holidays, you might decide it’s not worth it…but I hate to throw something away that still has some life in it.

clementine-seedlings

I had just about given up on seeing anything in this particular pot.   Back in early January, one of those delightful Clementine oranges presented me with a few uncharacteristic seeds.   Naturally, I saved them aside and stick them into some dirt in a pot and stick the whole thing in a plastic bag, as a sort of greenhouse.

I’d checked it a few times, with no sign of anything…and then today:  voila!    I don’t know if they’ll actually amount to anything – citrus and New England seem an unlikely partnership – but one never knows without a little hope and encouragement.  I’ll keep you posted.

So, it’s feeling just a little bit more like Spring might not actually be impossible, but it IS still February, and there’s almost nothing better for a February afternoon or evening than a nice long nap.  Just as we should make hay while the sun shines, it seems there’s nothing wrong with making Snooze when the skies are cat-colored.

evening-nap1

And I’ll leave you with just one last bit of unfinished business, the other shoe you were waiting to hear drop.   You had to know I was going to have to go back to the Hero Factory and revisit some of the other options.   I was intrigued by the insect wings…and the scaley green skin…and the stick.  It turns out it still makes for a pretty sexy looking superhero…and I did manage to score a good gay name this time around!

great-fluttering-monarch

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Comments on: "February Odds and Ends" (11)

  1. OMG I want to kidnap that cat. Could he BE any CUTER??? Badum Fan Club!

    The ONLY way he’s any more adorable is to meet him live!!

  2. Yup, Badum is excellent company. And he sure knows how to live.

    Congrat’s on the photos! They look gorgeous. As you can imagine the huge purple one caught my eye first (is that a morning glory?), but the scale and variety of them all looks beautiful. Can’t wait to see where they end up.

  3. I am thrilled that I know something about a plant to tell you! All commercial citrus stock grown in Florida is grafted. Apparently citrus roots are subject to a weakness (weather? blight? insects?) that cannot be bred out, so they use another fruit tree for the trunk. (I can’t remember which.) All this is to say that you may have trouble with your clementine, but with all the care you give your plants, probably not. Looking forward to growth reports!

    Gee, how did we ever grown fruits and vegetables before scientists and farmers started playing around with species?! ; ) Thanks for the heads up on this, though, my dear Birdie.

    I’ll admit, I never thought I’d get this far. Planting those was a pure act of faith and hope in the darkness of early January, a version of the old saw about making lemonade when Life hands you lemons, except here, when life gives you orange seeds, plant a tree.

    Who knows what will happen? Well, as long as you keep reading, I’ll be glad to tell you…

  4. That bird is so pretty…it even looks like it would whistle a nice tune.

    And how cute is the kitty!

    P.s The heliotrope is stunning in flower.

    Sh@ney, they DO sing an awfully pretty tune. As for the kitty, he’s just as cute as can be. And you should smell the heliotrope…!!

  5. Oh, I forgot to mention before, but a few years back I planted some grapefruit seeds and did get a very nice plant out of it, but the thing I hadn’t taken into account was the fact that the grapefruit had come from a full size tree, with some vicious thorns to it. So I got that, when I think I had been (unconsciously) hoping for a dwarf tree and fresh fruits in the house. So you might get a nice little tree out of your clemmy seeds, but you probably won’t get fruit (in case you were wondering). No ideas if you’ll also get vicious thorns.

    Interesting!! One never knows what one will get in this case, so the experiment’s half the fun. I can find things to do with a thorny plant. ; ) Naturally, something unthorned and dwarf would be nice for apartment dwelling. I do expect I’d need a second one to pollinate the flowers for fruit even if I did get as far as all that.

    Interestingly, two gardens ago, there was a thorny plant, about waist high. Small tree. All descriptions seemed to match it being a hardy Norwegian Orange tree, or something. It leafed out. Had nasty, three inch spikes of doom. Never flowered. But interesting plant.

  6. Hardly anyone seems to grow fruit trees from seed anymore, preferring the pre-selected commercial varieties. But how are we going to find cool new varieties? Be sure to post on your clementine when it finally fruits in–what?–2017 or so? But I can tell you’re patient for things like that, oh Great Fluttering Monarch.

    The cardinal’s oh so cool. Even with all our bird species here, most are little brown things. What better consolation for your living on the tundra?

    And cool flower pics. Is that a heliotrope pic of your own beneath the morning glory?

    What a keen eye you have – that indeed was a framed heliotrope shot. If only I could get that scent to waft from the frame.

    2017?! You think it’ll be that soon, eh? We do have some pretty birds here on the East Coast, that’s for sure. And these cardinals have the sweet song to match, which just seems like a bonus.

  7. I’m so pleased to see a morning glory represented in the framed photos! I had forgotten how much I enjoy seeing photos of your morning glories.

    I like your Great Fluttering Monarch hero, too. I know, there’s something about that stick.

    Love the pic of Badum in full rest repose. I agree, make sleep while the skies are cat colored. My cats are both very black, does that mean I have to wait until pitch dark to sleep? ‘Cause that ain’t gonna happen. Naps are my friends.

  8. I don’t know what I am more thrilled about, the Red Cardinals or the Hero Factory. I may have to play around on that tomorrow – tonight I have to turn the computer off! And please send my compliments to Badum on his incredible plushness :)

  9. The fluttering monarch? That’s an interesting name. :-) Spring is definitely in the air in your neck of the woods. I can’t wait to hear the first cardinal.

    Ahem. That’s the GREAT Fluttering Monarch, if you don’t mind. It’s worth pointing out here that the Hero Factory generates the name. I didn’t. Making it even sweeter.

    Yes, spring is most certainly teasing us, the air thick with birdsong and temps “soaring” into the 50s. Alas, snow coming our way tomorrow.

  10. that was a really pretty cardinal photograph :)

    Thanks, Indigo. That cheery little fellow sings outside our windows every morning now!

  11. Cardinal photos and a truly content kitty. What more could anyone want in a blog post? :)

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