This is one of my lazy columns. No research, no checking facts, just a walk around my garden to catch up with all that is going on.
The unusually warm spell in March followed by the expected March and April cold and frost has affected quite a few plants. My three treasured Endless Summer hydrangea, as well as the two butterfly bushes, started to leaf out much earlier than usual, and then were nipped by killing frosts.
I am sure they will recover from this when seasonal warm weather sets in, but they are not pretty to look at right now.
I have my long-planned blue glass tree completed. I have been saving blue glass bottles and even bought a bottle of wine based on the color of the bottle and not the quality of the product inside.
I was planning to impale the bottles on a tall branch with short clipped side branches like the ones I had seen in magazines.
I was not happy with the result, so I tried some different placements. I have settled happily on one of my lilacs as a host tree. The blue glass twinkles joyfully among the fresh green leaves and the lavender flowers. I may even have to develop a taste for cheap wine to expand my collection of bottles.
And now my grandson, Tom, told me he has found some beer in blue bottles - 24 coming up!
Last summer, the Maximilian sunflower under the kitchen window grew to more than 12 feet tall, and correspondingly heavy, and was difficult to attach to stakes strong enough to keep it upright. It ended up sprawling all over.
This year, I have a length of fence donated by neighbor, Gene, and erected by son, Pat, a couple of feet out from the house wall.
If I keep up with its growth this year and tie the main stems to the trellised fence, it should be a wall of gold by summer's end.
I highly recommend this plant where some height is needed. Mine is 3 years old and has dozens of starts in a patch about 4 feet long already up. It is the only perennial sunflower I have found.
I grow annual sunflowers from mixed seeds I have saved all along that side of the house, and it all makes a good show.
The vegetable garden is ready for crops, I just need patience. The raspberry canes are growing well. They are Heritage everbearings that came from the garden of the Kuebler sisters many years ago and always bear well. I have to share with not only hungry birds but also hungry great-grandchildren who make a detour when they are entering the house.
I am sure Noah and Owen will teach their sister, Sophia, the delights of raspberries now that she is walking.
The asparagus has started producing much earlier than usual this year, and my small patch has already given me several meals.
The only crop I actually have planted this spring is the Sugar Ann peas, and they are a couple of inches high already. What a heavenly lunch to look forward to - asparagus, sugar peas and poached eggs.
Now, if I only had room for chickens.
Every morning brings something new to see at this time. One clump of peonies has buds already, while the other still is unfolding its reddish shoots. The hostas and a lot of other perennials are growing well and, as the tulips and daffodils fade, there are plenty of other flowers coming along.
Which reminds me of a hint passed on from my sister; be sure to deadhead only the blossoms of daffodils. The stalks are important in the photo synthesis process.