This is their idea of a lawn-care service. I’ve been trying to get rid of all the grass that grows in the flower beds, so perhaps they didn’t understand that I wanted the grass in the lawn.
As gardeners, these guys stink! Actually, they’re after the white grubs, which are just under the surface. I don’t mind the grubs; although they eat the grass roots, I haven’t noticed much damage as our lawn isn’t all that manicured so the damage isn’t all that apparent and they bring lots of robins to feed on them.
On a prettier note, the Hepatica are out. For latin scholars, the name is from the latin for liver on the rather dubious grounds that the leaves have three lobes like a human liver. I remember the word from a piece of anatomical trivia which I have remembered for years for no apparent reason: the hepatic portal vein is the only one in our bodies which does not flow into the heart. It flows into (you guessed it) the liver, carrying nutrients from the gut to our chemical processing factory.
It lives in woodland and that’s where you will find it here, in our hardwood copse between the house and the driveway. That’s where all our trilliums will be in a couple of weeks. They are peeking out already.
We have deep red ones, and white ones. This must be a red because they come out first and you can see the flower bud already in the picture.
The title is from Walter De La Mare’s poem “Sleeping Beauty”. Somehow a bud shows more promise than a seed because you can see so much more. Here are some April buds from my garden.
First is on a hazel and shows, at the very tip, the rather inconspicuous male flower. The pollen is wind-blown as the flowers are out before there are enough insects to pollinate.
The female flower has to be bigger, to have a chance of capturing the pollen. It is the familiar catkin:
This hazel is one of the twisted witch hazels. I’ve never had nuts on it. I learned about the male flowers from Mrs. E. “Ma” Hazelwood, my biology teacher at Canon Slade school. This is appropriate because of her name and I’d just like to mention what a great teacher she was with a love of nature which infected all her pupils. I would not have spotted them myself because they are so small, although they are brighter red when first out but are just these few threads. Now I am passing it on to you.
Next is a wild plum. You can see the tiny flower buds. These will be the first trees in flower in this neighbourhood.
You can also see the flowers on the crab apples, but these will be a little longer to open:
The hyacinths are coming too. I have some beautiful red ones. Unfortunately, it looks like the frost got the one in the back; the top set of florets are bad.
One of the brighter signs of spring is the marsh marigold. We have a lot on the river banks so I borrowed one for the pond; the size of the buds says we have only about a week to wait:
All this promise of spring to come is all very well but we need a few actual flowers. All my early daffodils are face-down in the dirt because we had a hard frost which made the stems stiff and a strong wind which snapped them. At least we have the Chionodoxa, or “Glory of the Snow”, as the crocuses are over with except for a few stragglers. Lots more daffodils about to open, though.