Not the Usual Start to the Season...

First things first – Hello, my friends.  Hope that you are all well physically and hanging in there emotionally.  I was supposed to come out of “hibernation”, so to speak, at the end of March.  But, to be honest, my writing mojo had left the building...for obvious reasons.

Hanging from an upstairs window: 
A big colourful Thank You to health care workers & first responders

And here we are.  Needless to say, it’s not where I expected to be at the beginning of May 2020.  And the most unbelievable bit is that it’s almost certainly not where YOU expected to be either.  And by “you” I mean every single one of you, regardless of which city, country or continent you happen to live in.  That, to me, is mind-blowing.

And how about the “edible gardening” resurgence?  Who could have predicted that many seed houses would actually have to temporarily shut down their websites due to overwhelming demand and that seeds (for those lucky enough to place an order before the “sold out” shingle was hung), would take weeks to arrive?  I certainly didn’t see it coming, but when it did, all I can say is that I was thankful that I had placed an order with Baker Creek Seeds before they too were forced to halt webstore orders in late April.

They are back up now, but the pickings are much slimmer than normal – for example, out of 28 lettuce varieties, 19 are sold out.  The good news?  Nine varieties to choose from is still MUCH better than you would normally find at the local hardware store.

Other than groceries, I haven’t left the house for 6 weeks now & I wish that I could say I’ve been making good use of that time in the garden.  Unfortunately, our weather did not cooperate AT ALL, especially in April.  We had one of the coldest Aprils that I can remember.   And, after a beautiful week of very pleasant weather last week (my aching muscles will attest to the fact that I took full advantage), we are now back to cold, windy and just downright miserable.

And let’s not forget the record breaking low temperatures & on-again off-again flurries yesterday - the day before our average last frost date.  I suppose that's why the word "average" is a necessary part of that phrase.  Ugh.

I have a few trays of seedlings under the lights and a couple more are on my kitchen table, waiting for the temps to warm up today so that they can continue to harden off.

And now for a bit of good news - the bulbs that I planted last year have been giving us some much needed smile therapy.

Iris reticulata 'Joyce'

Puschkinia var. libanotica

Anemone blanda, mixed & Scilla
(in a planter as I'm concerned about possible invasiveness...)

Hyacinthus 'Carnegie'

Narcissus 'Replete'

I also have a ton of yellow daffs coming up in the west border.  I do recall planting some a couple of years ago, but I thought there were only a few clumps.  I did, however, plant 2 varieties of white daff bulbs last year & neither have made an appearance.  I'm wondering if the bulbs were mislabeled & I ended up with the yellow ones instead.  Either that or the white daffs are simply a bit slower.

Mystery daffs in the west border - I may have planted these a couple of years ago
and forgot all about them OR there was a labeling error on the white narcissus
that I purchased & planted last year.  I'm holding out hope that it's the former.

While there was a bit of angst last fall over squirrel shenanigans in the beds where I planted the bulbs, most seem to have fared well and I have been enjoying a progression of blooms in various parts of the garden for about a month now.

The cold start to the season has meant that things are moving slowly but a couple of new perennials are making an appearance.

Pulmonaria 'Silver Bouquet'

While Hellebore 'Sandy Shores' has started to bloom,
the dozen or so other hellebores are only just starting to leaf out...

I planted a lot of perennials and shrubs in 2019 so I'm very much looking forward to seeing them fill out this year.

I’ll make sure to keep you posted 😊


  1. You may be off to a much later start that you expected but your blooms speak of the hope of better gardening days ahead, Margaret. The weather has been crazy here too, albeit in a very different way. Our rainy season took a hiatus from late December through March, only thankfully returning with a steady series of storms in early April. On the heels of the last rain, we got our first heatwave in April, followed by another one last week. We've been in lockdown mode since March 20th and, like you, my outings were largely confined to grocery shopping - and trips to a veterinary clinic for my cat's chemotherapy treatments. (I had to sit in the car in the vet's parking lot.) My local garden center was open for curbside pickups and I was able to arrange one of those. It's now open for in-store shopping (with appropriate precautions) and I did a quick spin there a week ago. I've spent most of my time working in my own garden, which has been a nice escape. Hopefully, once the polar vortex is done with you, you'll be enjoying time in yours as well!

    1. It feels as if, by the time we see some warmer temps, it will literally be summer....we had another snowfall this morning!

      All garden centres here were allowed to open on May 1st, but I would prefer not to have the plants sitting around until I can actually plant them so have delayed going. It's on the list for this week as we are supposed to get better weather in a few days...fingers crossed!

  2. It's certainly not the start to the year that any of us expected. We've just been informed that our garden centres can reopen this week, if they're able to show they can comply with social distancing measures. We've had some gorgeous weather here, it's turned a little cooler this week but it's been a glorious spring. Our gardens have been well used whilst we've been stuck at home.

    1. I'm really looking forward to visiting the garden centre this week - the one I go to is all outdoors & they do have measures in place, including a "don't touch it unless you are going to buy it" policy. This would have been the perfect year to really get things going in the garden early - hopefully the cold spell is short lived and we have some nice weather before the heat of summer hits.

  3. I didn’t realise the rainbow symbol was used in other countries too. Allotments only our site are certainly looking more cared for this year.

  4. What a strange spring on so many fronts. Your blooms are gorgeous!

  5. Hi Margaret! It has surely been the strangest spring of my lifetime, and everybody else's, apparently. However, the weather will surely warm eventually. And in the meantime, you're getting lots of beautiful blooms from your bulbs. I love that Iris reticulata! Take care.

    1. The Iris is a favourite so far. I planted a lot of summer flowering bulbs too - can't wait to see those comes up :)

  6. Welcome back Margaret! Glad you and your family are well. Your garden looks great! I have been trying to find the good in this crazy time. The increased interest in gardening and home cooking is a definite positive. The weather has been cooler here and I have been gardening like a mad women. It is such a stress reliever. I am thankful that our garden nurseries have been open here as they are considered essential. So lots of plant shopping still happening.

    1. Hi Karin! I'm thoroughly enjoying rediscovering my cookbooks - the last time I made this many new-to-me recipes, the kids weren't even born yet. I'm hoping to get some plants this coming week, once this latest bout of cold, wet weather subsides.


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