April showers bring May flowers…or so we hope. It rains more in Virginia than it did on Long Island. We’ve had a month of several days of strong rains, followed by warm sunshine. The plants thrive in this weather and I’m glad we aren’t tapping the wellwater to irrigate them.
Last Thursday after some business in Farmville, John and I went to B&M nursery and garden center. Eagerly I combed through their plant selection, feeling right at home and flashing back to my days working at Martin Viette Nurseries. I found an excellent selection of houseplants and statuary and we already have our eye on several purchases. We then found roses at Rose’s discount store in town, and I planted my rose garden this weekend. Two ‘Sonia’ grandifloras and one ‘Bonica’ shrub rose were added to the two ‘Blaze’ red climbers, the twig from the rose bush in Huntington, and the rosa rugosas. The Blaze bareroot roses don’t look good; I am losing hope that they will survive. Sonia, Bonica, and the rugosas look fine though and the rugosas have a bit of leaf peeking out.
The dogwood cuttings we planted last fall finally bloomed today! John found the first red flower. Three of the four appear to be leafing out. I had such a strong urge to say, “I told you so!” Just last Saturday he wanted to dig them up; he was convinced they were dead. My intuition told me they just needed more time than the already estabished trees, and I was right. Maybe there’s hope left for some of the other trees.
All of the orchard trees leafed out with the exception of one cherry. Some look more vigorous than others, but most appear to be setting down roots in the field.
Herbs plants purchased last week as well as herbs started from seed will go into the kitchen garden starting this weekend. I really want to build a raised bed under the kitchen windows, but not sure how it will look. We’ll see.
Spring is so evident now throughout the farm! The fields are turning green, and some of the trees have started to bud. Throughout the area we are seeing daffodils blooming near old silos, and young calves frisking about. We laughed ourselves silly over the cattle across the street as a tiny new baby decided he was going to entice the other cattle to play…he chased them, head-butted the youngsters, and generally made a complete nuissance of himself with the herd. We’ve never seen cattle at play before, but like all children, they DO play!
It’s a rainy, cold March day after a period of beautiful sunshine and bright 60 degree weather. I’m really enjoying Virginia’s spring – it’s a long, soft spring, unlike the “on/off” of New York weather. In New York, it can go from cold and wet 40 degree weather to 80 and sunny in a matter of just two weeks, and feel like there is no spring. Here, the spring feels soft, long and gentle, like the autumn was. I will like this weather if this is the usual!
I’ve been working like crazy on the perennial garden. It is a huge tract of land between the edge of the woods and the driveway that we left bare. Originally we thought we would plant wildflowers there. I don’t know how it morphed into a perennial garden, but now it has become a formal garden, with paths and walkways and edging. I’ve been collecting rocks from all over the property and using them to edge the driveway and the garden. Over the winter I ordered a ton of plants – peony garden, shade gardens, a hummingbird garden collection, and about two dozens various perennials, including poppies, climbing roses, and many more. I am feeling the pressure as the emails start to come in announcing that the plants are on their way. We picked up two truckloads of horse manure from Arabians Destiny, a wonderful Arabian horse farm here in Virgina, and now I am working that into the soil too, hoping against hope that some of it will break down into this sandy clay soil before the plants arrive. We have to purchase two arbors, one for each entrance into the garden, and a nice bench. I also want to get a solar fountain and more. But all of this is going to have to be one day at a time. I think that my garden is going to be my lifelong project!
I have so many ideas and wishes for this farm….we put in the orchard, and John has started planning the chicken coop. I would love to have this farm producing vegetables, fruit, and chickens for meat and eggs, and perhaps some sheep or goats for meat and fiber. My sister Ann has said that if I raise sheep she will take the wool, as she has always wanted to spin and weave on her own, and knowing her she will use it! I wish I could be outside working on the farm every day. Even as a little girl, I wanted to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air as much as possible. I just love rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty in the garden. My body feels like a truck ran over it from lifting rocks all week, but I’ve got to imagine that this is a better “full body workout” than if I did my videos in front of the TV in the basement. And from my office, the view that is shaping up from the perennial garden is spectacular!
But now back to work….to pay for the solar powered fountain I want to buy too…
Welcome to Seven Oaks…pull up a chair near the fire….let me pour you a cup of coffee. If the cat starts to annoy you, just put her on the floor. She assumes that as soon as anyone sits in that chair in front of the fireplace, it’s an invitation to snuggle in, but I know not everyone is a cat lover like I am.
Writer, gardener, compassionate lifestyle advocate. If you can't be brilliant, odd will do.