11 reasons to smile: spuds, shoots, hellebores

narcissus up 3span class=”drop_cap”>SPRING TEASED ME FOR A WEEK and then promptly vanished, but I’m keeping an optimistic outlook (and my woollies on). Feeling a little battered by your own turn of meteorological events, or just the length of the to-do list? I’m glad to share my rose-colored glasses: 11 reasons to put on a happy face (which were the subject of Sunday’s email newsletter, in case you are not on the list):

THE SHEER ENERGY of Narcissus foliage (above) pushing through the ground another inch a day is joy incarnate. A confession: I lie down on the damp grass and watch. (Having leaves but no bloom on your daffodils? Here’s the deal, along with other secrets to bulb success.)

I GOT A NEW SEED-STARTING RIG, a tabletop version. I’ll show it to you in a few days, once I get it fired up and my Brussels sprouts and parsley are in gear. Promise.

dark helleboreHEAVENLY HELLEBORES are opening by the dozens, like the one below I just grabbed a shot of a few days ago (above). More to come on that as they reach peak…or look at last year’s.

INCOMING SPUDS, ANY DAY NOW: It won’t be long before the “seed potatoes,” as the tubers sold for planting are called, are in the mail, so I’ve turned my attention to prepping that area of the garden. Here’s how to grow spuds.

ASPARAGUS SEASON AHEAD: I just topdressed my old row with all-natural organic fertilizer and homemade compost, but if I didn’t already have this perennial vegetable I’d order some starts now. Which kind of asparagus and how to plant it.

THE TRACTOR SONG (my 2009 theme) could make anybody laugh. OK, it helps if you have a slightly off sense of humor (or have been drinking). I fire it up regularly. Care to sing along?

lettucesPEAS, LETTUCE, UPLAND CRESS AND ARUGULA are in the ground. (Is that one reason to smile, or four?) Soon I’ll have a colander-full, like the one above. Need help with how to grow salad?

INTOXICATING DAPHNE: One of my oldest shrubs, Daphne mezereum, just put out the perfume that forms the first whiff of spring here. Heaven.

SUNSHINE ON A CLOUDY DAY: Cornus mas, a shrub I like a whole lot better than forsythia (and the birds agree), is showing off in solid gold right now.

COMING UP: A MONTHLY BOOK GIVEAWAY. Yup. The response to the first one was so amazing–516 entries–that I already shopped online for some of my favorite vintage and new books of all time to use as prizes, along with some more copies of of my old book. Can’t wait.

ANDRE’S CROP OF SEED DOODLES: Anytime I need a lift, I turn to The Andre Archives.

SO, DID I CONVINCE YOU? Are you smiling yet? Thanks for being here, and don’t be shy: come speak up about what you need in the comments, or shout out questions on the Forum anytime. I’m here. And I’m having fun, even in the chilling, pouring rain.

  1. Bobster says:

    You had me smiling with the hedgehog high view of narcissus foliage pushing up into the sunshine!

    Thanks for the reminder that Spring really is on the way. Looking forward to the hellebore post! And yes, looking forward to an end to the rain here as well…maybe tomorrow.

  2. Bob Scherer says:

    Won’t be smiling until the rain stops. 5″ so far in current storm due to end tomorrow. Normally not so bad, but the land is saturated from the more than 15″ over the last 5 weeks. Trees have not started soaking up the water – the buds have not yet opened. Our river is only 25′ away from the back of the house but won’t rise above the bank into my garden. Everything is under puddles that have no place to drain to. I wish I could fast-forward to the 70degree weather forecast for Saturday. Life in southern Maine not so fun at the moment. Better times will come.

  3. Amy says:

    Smiling because the rain has stopped. Smiling because we may see sunshine this afternoon. Smiling because my favorite late daffodils are just getting ready to open. Smiling because Friday I’ll PLANT peas!!

  4. Gwelf says:

    Thanks for the good vibes! My garden plans were foiled last weekend, but I’m doing the happy dance today: three days of sunshine and temps in the mid- to high 60s. I’ve got my tools at the ready and can’t wait to get dirt under my nails (what’s left of them anyway)….

  5. Tedb says:

    Great shot of the hellebore! They are oh so photogenic. Spring here in the Upper Midwest has been early, warm and dry. Today is breezy and in the upper seventies – send some your rain over here!

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