Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ready, Set...

Spring! We've been having absolutely lovely weather here in Iowa. Last week, we changed from -2F one night to 40s and 50s, literally overnight. It's like the knob was suddenly switched from "Winter" to "Spring," and warmth and sunlight was turned on. Now temps are in the 50s and even upper 60s, with sunshine every day!

Of course, the warmth has meant that our snow has finally melted and is almost gone!

I took this photo last Wednesday. My son, Robbie, was amazed that he could walk on top of the snow without sinking in (in his socks, no less!) because of the thick layer of ice on top of it. The ice layer made the melting take longer, but it was eventually no match for the strong sunshine and temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Note how much snow remained in the background.

One week later and only a tiny bit of snow remains in the sunshine-covered yard. The sweet williams (Dianthus barbatus) I seeded last summer are up in the bed in front of the fence. It's fun to see some green foliage peeking through -- not just white snow!

I've been working outside for a little bit each day this week, beginning to cut back the perennial foliage that I left last fall -- I think it's so much more enjoyable to do it in the early spring, when the first few nice days make me long to be outside. I still have many beds to cut back, but there's lots of time to do it, and I think I made a good start:

All neat and tidy, with the dried foliage and stalks (shown in the first photo) cut back and carted to the compost pile.

Lots of room for perennials to come up and annuals to be seeded in front of the porch. It always looks so empty in spring, but by midsummer these beds are so crowded I can hardly get in to weed them. I still need to prune back the roses.

This annual bed is ready for planting. I'm tempted to put in a few pansies and other cool-weather annuals, but I'd have to replace them in May, so it never seems very cost effective to plant bulbs and annuals just for a few weeks' show.
Maybe just a few pansies ....
I did get some sweet peas planted along the east side of the house. I've never had any luck growing them before, so I'm hoping these will work out.

Best of all, when I went outside today, I saw that the crocus are starting to bloom! I noticed that the foliage was up the other day, but this warm weather must have kicked in their overdrive to make them bloom ASAP:

What a happy sign of spring! The first flowers of the year!

More flowers to come....

I love a warm and early spring! The weather forecast says we aren't to drop below freezing even at night for the next ten days, and no snow is predicted. Even if we do get more snow after that, the ground will be sufficiently warm that it will likely melt off right away. I sure hope we stay warm -- after last winter's horribleness, we could use a nice spring.

Hope you are enjoying warm spring weather in your gardens as well. Thanks for reading! -Beth


  1. What pretty crocuses. They look like eggs the way I like them

    1. That's what I always think, that they look like eggs over easy... :-) I thought I was the only one!

  2. Nice to see crocus peeking through! A sure sign that spring is arriving :-)

    1. Yes, I was quite surprised -- I hope you're getting a few signs of spring up in Canada, Paul? -Beth

  3. I loved seeing your crocus, Beth! I don't have any bloomers yet - my main gardens (backyard) are north of the house so there is still even some snow and ice there - plus a great deal of mud! This weather is amazing and we are enjoying walking the dog and biking....and soon, gardening. We have a lot of dead foliage to cut back but it is way too wet/muddy to be walking in the gardens. Soon, though. Heading south for a few days shortly. :)
    Hugs, Beth

    1. Hi Beth, I bet you'll have your crocuses next week -- mine weren't even up five days ago. I've been avoiding the larger beds and cutting back only the drier ones -- you're right, the muddy ones should indeed be ignored as long as possible. I wish you warm, enjoyable days south of here, and more warm days upon your return. Thanks for reading! -Beth

  4. I need that switch to flip here as we still have 2 ft of snow in the garden....

    1. Oh, I hope your warm temperatures are just around the corner, Donna. I'm sure you could use a bit of spring. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! Thanks for reading -Beth