Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tulip Time in Town

I'm a big fan of the Tulip Festival in Holland Michigan, and as a matter of fact, I'll be traveling there next week! But I discovered that I might not always have to travel so far to see a wonderful tulip display. Turns out that one of my usual local spots does up their tulips in almost the same way.

As a member of Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus Ohio, I often visit during the winter so that I can soak up a little false summer when all is cold and gray outside. In the early spring, they also have a butterfly display which I thoroughly enjoy. But somehow I never managed to visit during tulip season until this very year. That was a big mistake on my part!

It was actually a very gloomy day when I visited, but it didn't matter one bit. The tulips were so colorful that it was like having sunshine on the ground.

I did pop in to see the butterflies, but for once, my love of butterflies took a back seat to the tulips. I took a few hasty pictures, then wandered back outside.

Blue Morpho-closed 
Blue Morpho-open
Even the courtyards were packed with tulips. It was so lovely, everywhere I looked.

Perhaps this was a good way to get mentally prepared for the beauty that is the Tulip Time Festival in Holland Michigan. If you haven't been to it, you should. But you can always substitute the Franklin Park Conservatory here in Columbus, because it's pretty good too! One thing though, don't be surprised if you see more tulips here after I visit Holland...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Sweetness of April

Don't you just love April? It may even be your favorite month. Here in central Ohio, April is really the first month that you can count on some warmth. There will likely be chilly days too, but by month's end, the days trend to more and more pleasant. But one of the best parts of April is the way that nature's colors return after the dreary winter.

It's almost like a carnival, with sherbet colored flowers, and deep green grass everywhere you look. There should be a vivid green crayon labeled April Grass, don't you think?

Even though we had a spot of snow a few weeks ago, for the most part, it actually worked to our advantage. The chilly air kept my tulips blooming much longer than usual. About every week, a new variety begins to bloom, with only one type still left to open.

Luckily, that snow is long gone, and the days are pleasant and warm. I've done a good bit of gardening already, but since our frost free date is still a few weeks out, there's a limit to what I can accomplish till then.

The cool season veggies are coming along nicely, except for the sugar snap peas. I must have gotten a bad batch of seeds, because they did not come up. I think I still have time to get them in before the hot weather arrives. We planted radishes, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, green onions, and carrots, along with the peas.

In a few weeks, it will be time to plant annuals and warm weather veggies. That's one of my favorite parts of gardening season. Until then, I'm enjoying the spring flowers in all their glory. There's just something about the colors of spring that can make your heart soar. Sweetness, there's just no other way to describe it.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Ups and Downs of Spring

Like so much of the country, our winter was fairly mild, allowing spring to arrive a few weeks early. I've been busy enjoying the spring bulbs as they pop up everywhere.

My favorite bulbs are tulips. Surprised? Aren't tulips everyone's favorite? However, my fondness for tulips has a specific reason. I grew up somewhat near Holland Michigan, and as a young girl, my parents took me there to see the tulip festival. My mother swears that I was quite popular that day, with my wooden shoes and Dutch hat, but she may be a little biased.

I still make occasional trips up to Holland to see the tulips with my old friend Marlene. Our favorite thing to do is go to the tulip farm, where you can wander around picking out your favorites for purchase. In the fall, they ship the bulbs to you for planting. These are the tulips that I picked out there with my dear friend. This makes them extra special to me.

Flowering trees are a also a spring favorite. The early warmth made the pear trees pop out quickly this year. There were a few others in bloom, but most other flowering trees have been held in limbo by an ugly cold spell that's been lingering for a few days. And for the record, I know about the bad reputation of ornamental pear trees. This one is in my easement, and was planted there by the city. It's not really under my control, so I just enjoy its beauty. Hopefully they'll be replaced by a better choice in the future.

Now I know we're still a few weeks out from our frost free date, so I shouldn't be so surprised that it turned cold. But the warmth we've already enjoyed really tricked us into thinking that winter was over. Ha! It's been chilly for days, and we've even had snow. That's a four letter word this time of year. Luckily it didn't stick for long.

My spring flowers have been fine with it so far. The tulips drooped a bit on the coldest morning, but they popped right back up. It's supposed to get warmer this week. Thank goodness! April snow is quite disheartening. The only bright spot to the cold is that it keeps the flowers in a kind of suspended animation. The blooms have lasted much longer than they usually do.

Easter was a perfect and pleasant spring day though, warm and sunny, with blooming trees everywhere. As a garden geek, I generally put some type of garden treat into the Easter package I send to my grandchildren. I always include sunflower seeds, and this year, I added these cute little pots I found at Target, with grass seed included. Well, I just had to buy one for myself. And I even gave it a haircut. The silly thing makes me smile, and think of my grands at the same time.

What's spring like where you live?