Returning to Our Regular Programming

I'm back! Sorry I've been MIA for a couple of weeks. Some of this...some of that...and, well, you know. That's life, right?

Let's see...where were we? Ah yes. Winter was holding us captive.

Winston chilling out in the Rose Garden
Yeah...still is in a way, even though the calendar has rolled over to Spring. Well, Mother Nature did NOT get the memo because we had snow flurries on Tuesday. March Madness is not just for basketball! (Sadly, my Tigers did not make it out of the first weekend of NCAA tournament play again this year. Sigh. And that's all I'm going to say about that.)

Here are some more frozen photos to chill you out: be sure to click on the windmill one (below) to get the full, freezy effect! It was actually spinning when I took the shot!

Thomas in the Way Back
"Don't think I'll sit in those chairs!"
Icicles on the Windmill

Actually, here at Casa 3917, March is marching on, bringing on the buds regardless of the temps. First came the tiny, ground-hugging crocus...yellow ones, followed by purples and whites. Severe weather is nothing for them...but how they survived being trampled several times daily by the dogs, I'll never know. Impressive.

Winston in the Way Back
surrounded by King Alfred Daffodils
Now, our daffodils are blooming all over the property (as you see in the picture of the Rondel, right), making me smile whenever I look out a window. Some of you may remember when we moved here 5 years ago (can you believe it has been that long? Neither can I!), I was saddened to learn that the previous owners were apparently not daffy fans, since there wasn't a blooming one on the place. Never mind...I've fixed that little problem by planting over 500 bulbs (so far!). And now we are reaping the rewards...everywhere we look! Big, bold, bright yellow King Alfreds...delicate, fragrant Tahitis...frilly Rip van Winkles and Golden Ducats...beautiful white Ice Follies...and many I don't know the names of because they were in those two big mixed bags o' 90 bulbs each. They are all out there...and I bring countless ones inside weekly.

And, let's not forget the almost overpoweringly-fragrant hyacinths...deep purples (my personal faves), light "blues," pinks, white, "reds." You name it...they are apparently defying the catalogs that say: "may not return in Zone 7 or higher without digging and chilling." The Blue Star ones that I bought on sale in January of 2011, way past the time to plant them...and planted them anyway, some at the mailbox, some in the back yard next at Hyacynth Bucket's feet...and next to the yet-to-be-built-shed? Yeah. They keep coming back, making me smile to see them...and making me smirk to know that together, the bulbs and I, we beat the odds. A gardener's delight!

Next up in the Show of Blooms will be the iris, both the delicate-looking Dutch Iris (which come from bulbs) and the more rugged Bearded or "German" iris (that grow from rhizomes). Both varieties are preparing to astound us again this year, for I see the sword-like "leaves" coming up through the ground, most often right next to the daffodils. Since you should leave daffy leaves alone after they finish their bloom cycle and allow them to yellow naturally in order to feed the bulbs for next year's show, I have tried to interplant daffodils, iris, and (the next in the succession) daylilies, in order to hide the unsightly yellowing process.

And, in the middle of all this actual gardening, I've been working on several Master Gardening projects. The volunteer opportunities are endless! My latest was doing some revisions for the Speakers Bureau Totally Tomatoes PowerPoint presentation...then previewing those for the other speakers who were giving the presentation across Guilford County...and then giving the presentation last Sunday at the Greensboro Arboretum. Tomatoes? I know, I's too early to plant them...but not too early to talk about growing them!

So, winter weather or no...gardening has been front-and-center. And you can read more about that topic over on our garden blog, Gardening with the Giants. Click here to go there.

I'm guessing you have figured out by now that I've been off my bike more than on. Yes, folks, I'm still biking to Disneyland...just not as much or as often as I was. I made it to Kentucky...and then weather intervened (3 days without power...and my stationary bike has a vital electronic component in keeping up with my mileage, etc.), followed by garden intervention, both here and out at the Extension's Demo Garden/Rose Garden...and oh in general. Some were real reasons creating real time constraints...some were/are just plain excuses.

Well, no more of that silliness. I'm back in the saddle(seat) yet again, and I'll do my next post on my ride tomorrow. I'll also get my Twitter feed up to date this afternoon following my ride...which will hopefully follow my annual visit to the eye doctor, which will be followed by a stop at the grocery shop. And probably a run to the bank...the post office...the cleaners...

See? There it goes again. Life in general...interfering...just like at your house...


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