Happy Spring!

I simply cannot believe the outstanding weather we have been experiencing since Phil saw his shadow.  I wonder if that prognosticator has a clue?  The past 2 weeks have brought record setting temps to the ‘burgh, which made the first day of Spring rather anti-climatic.  Not that I’m complaining, but as my favorite day of the year approached, I did not find myself in my usual state of countdown.  In fact, my DD sort of sprung the news on me one day last week.  I had to look at the calendar to make sure she was correct . . . and of course, she was!

You should see the beautiful blooming trees – a ride to the office has turned into such a breathtaking view.  Flowering trees line the streets of Homestead; these same trees line the parking lot at Kennywood.  Weeping Cherry trees are in full bloom all over my neighborhood.  My crabapple is going to be fantastic this year.  And I hope I didn’t trim the buds from my white azaleas…
The daffodils and crocus are up, I’m waiting patiently for tulips.  I spotted 3 bunnies in the yard last night, and for some reason, they enjoy those tulips.  Time to find the chicken wire cages to protect them.  I usually have lilacs around Mother’s Day, but I doubt they are still around for May.  At this rate, I wonder exactly what flowers will be blooming come May.

Groundhog Day 2012

Punxatawny Phil has seen his shadow – which means we will have 6 more weeks of winter.  But how bad is that this year?  I’ve really enjoyed the mild temps and lack of snow – I wish winter was this mild in Pittsburgh every year!

However, these mild temps will surely lead to a rather buggy spring.  I’m not sure where they hide or where they live, but when the thermometer hit 60 on Monday, we found 6 stinkbugs in my daughter’s room.  Just makes me wonder what this spring will bring – no doubt we will be hearing news of mosquitos and West NileVirus.  And I hear the bat population has taken a hit.  They eat thousands of bugs each night.  So, just a warning now, mosquito netting and Off spray will be necessity items come May.

But that’s just MY prediction!

My garden window

A few years ago, I had a garden window installed in our family room.  It’s eastern exposure is less than ideal, as the morning sun is pretty intense there.  I applied a UV film, which really cut back on the scorching of the plants that were in the window, but it still gets too much direct light.

I’ve decided that my next winter garden project will be to get the right kind of plants in there that can thrive.  I want that window to be a showcase in the family room, not just a toss off pile of former dish gardens!

Garden Window - Before

The window currently contains a mother-in-law’s tongue (that is actually doing very well there), an African violet (that truly does not belong there), a shamrock plant that struggles, numerous peace lilies, a hanging spider plant, a Christmas cactus that refuses to bloom, and a cyclamen that looks like it’s on its last leg.  I’m sure these plants would do so much better in indirect light.

So I’m wondering if it’s possible to create more shade in that window.  I need to find some sort of plant that loves direct light and can grow tall enough to produce an umbrella affect for the tender plants it will protect.  I’m thinking of a vining plant, preferably a flowering one.  Maybe a clematis?  Never thought of trying one indoors.  Hmmm.  Any suggestions?

Another problem in that window (especially in the winter), is the temperature.  The windows aren’t drafty, but it still gets pretty chilly in there.  I think the nature of the window, jutting out from the room into the outdoors, is just going to be chilly.  And now I’m thinking I should probably get some heating pads in there.  And a tray of pebbles with water for moisture wouldn’t hurt either!

OK – I’ve got some homework to do!

Ice in the trees

Mid-January in Pittsburgh.  Hardly seems like the time or place to start thinking about gardening.  But a girl can dream! 

I’m actually listening to ice pellets hitting the windows at this moment.  It’s only 28 degrees out there, and the ice on the grass will soon be covered by the estimated 2-4 inches of snow.  The gardener in me often wonders why I live here – we don’t get much sunshine – in the US, second only to Seattle for cloud covered days.  I really believe the dreary majority of days helps me truly appreciate the sun when it does appear.  That’s what I keep telling myself . . .

Thank you, Lord, for this beautiful day – for this ice storm that is surely creating crystal encapsulated trees that the snow will cling to.  I can’t wait to see your magnificent work in the morning light!