February in the Garden, and a MINI event

It has been a warmer than usual winter so far, with a few cold days here and there. We usually have two snows in a winter, but there hasn’t been a single day of snow this year so far. It makes me concerned that we will get a late freeze that will damage the local apple crop. Anyway, the warming afternoons have woken up some bulbs. I first noticed these coming up around the dormant lemon tree that is in a pot. The pot was in the Carolina room to protect it from freezing. I actually don’t remember what these are. They could be crocus or daffodils. They need more sunlight, so I moved the pot to the veranda so it could get direct sun. Maybe they will bloom.

From the veranda, I noticed the daffodil bed has sprung to life, too. These seemed to come up overnight! I know it took longer, but I just didn’t see them until now. Some already have flower buds.

That brought me to take a look at the iris beds. Every year, I say I am going to rake out the leaves before they sprout, and every year I forget. So, each year, after they are tall and refusing to bloom is when I have to clean them out by hand, and I usually wait too late. This year, with the warm days, I got moving. The rhizomes have to be exposed to light and air for the irises to bloom. The bed was inches thick with leaves.

Looking closer, oh crap on a cracker! They are already putting up leaves. I need to do this now, it cannot wait another day.

Using a wide-tine flexible rake, I pulled out all the leaves and debris. This wasn’t difficult as the little leaves were just coming up.

Looking closer, I was a bit surprised at the size of the rhizomes. They are huge now.

I hope I have uncovered them soon enough for the irises to bloom nicely, but we will see. There is a lot more green here than I realized at first.

My Sweet Babboo came out to help clean up the debris, while I turned my attention to the second bed. Once again, it was thick with leaves. The entire length of the tines is buried in leaves! I needed to dig out several inches to get to the irises.

Wow, that is a big pile of debris for such a small bed! It comes from living on the edge of a deciduous forest. There were a lot of green shoots here, too. We’ll see in a couple of months if I did this soon enough to get a better flower show this year.

Look who is back! I am pretty sure this is Oliver (or more likely, Olivia), mainly based on behavior. S/he showed up with a smaller squirrel (possibly offspring) and made it clear that a peanut butter sandwich was needed. I am happy s/he is still around, I’ve seen a hawk here a lot and I was a bit worried about him/her.

They both got fed, and the smaller one went to the retaining wall to eat in peace. It has the white tufts behind the ears, while Oliver doesn’t. Could it have mated with the white squirrel I see now and then? The amount of white on this one’s tail and ears tends to support that theory.

There has not been a lot of car club activity lately, winter is a quiet time for all of them. The MINI club did meet for dinner at a local Japanese restaurant, and you can see how we turned out. Everyone seemed excited to have something to do, and see friends again. For many of us, it has been two months since we saw each other last.

We got caught in traffic, so were the last to arrive. But that allowed us to park in the end spot, which is My Sweet Babboo’s favorite space anyway. It did mean shooting the photo into the sun to get our car which isn’t the best.

You know I love me some sushi! This was a Yami Roll with shrimp tempura inside, and salmon, tuna, yellowtail and avocado on top with special oyster sauce drizzle and sesame seeds.

This is a Dragon Yellowtail Roll. It has spicy tuna inside, with yellowtail and avocado on top garnished with orange tobiko, a type of caviar. These are just beautiful in presentation with vibrant color.

Now, for all of you who do not like or want to eat raw fish, here is what My Sweet Babboo had. He won’t eat raw fish or shellfish, and he doesn’t like nori, the seaweed wrapper that most sushi uses. So his was a cooked shrimp tempura with fresh lettuce, and asparagus, and the smaller roll on the left was avocado, both in soy paper. Sushi just means rolled with rice, not necessarily raw. The rice can be rolled by itself or encased in a sheet of something, usually nori, but can also be sheets of cucumber or soy paper.

Those of us that quilt see quilt patterns everywhere, don’t we? This was in the bathroom at the restaurant. Looks like a bunch of nine-patches with sashing in a lovely watered green.

Back home, more chores remain outside, and I need to get to them before spring. The hydrangea needs to be cut back in late winter. The Shasta daisy needs a hard pruning this year in early spring as it has sprawled out a bit too much and needs a lot of staking to keep the blooms upright. But with the warmer winter, I am just as confused as the plants as to when exactly that might be. My trusty Farmers’ Almanac says the best days to prune in February are 10-11 and 15-17. So, I’ll shoot for those days as my late winter pruning days, then consult the almanac again for March as an early spring pruning time. When I picked it up from the table next to my chair, I noticed I’d marked a few pages with sticky notes. Thank goodness I looked, as I just have enough time left to enter the Blueberry Contest before the deadline. So I got my recipe together, went online and entered. There are cash prizes, wish me luck!

In the kitchen, my orchid seems to be progressing. I spritz it daily, and I have high hopes for a flower this year. It seems like it is working on two, and maybe three. That would be a banner year if it does more than one.

The amaryllis is making progress as well. There are now two leaves growing. A flower spike is weeks away, and I have high hopes for it.

The garden is calling. Now I am eager to get some seeds started in the basement, and maybe this year I’ll finally get a forsythia planted. I’ve wanted a couple of those for years now, and it seems I always miss the planting time.

Are you making plans for your garden?


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19 thoughts on “February in the Garden, and a MINI event

  1. Julie

    All those adorable Mini faces smiling out at the restaurant parking lot! Not a fan of raw fish but I enjoy vegetarian sushi. My local grocery store has a sushi station, that’s mighty convenient.

  2. clara macuirles

    I love reading your post…. Can’t help but wonder how you have such lovely plants outside. I cannot plant anything because the deer feast on it all. In the fall we bought 2 hydrangeas that was suppose to be deer resistant…….NOT. made me sew mad, I love hydrangeas and thought, being deer resistant we could enjoy them…..they come right up to the house and help themselves, they drink out of the bird bath. I think that the deer believer we are on the property. Nonetheless it is sew frustrating. But I love to view your beautiful yard and only dream of one.

  3. thanks for mentioning the iris’s – each year I tell myself to dig up iris’s and put them closer to the surface and to rake out others in the very earliest of spring over and over again so they are exposed and then I forget – last year I had some blooms but not as many – in one are I get back wash out from rain and they get covered by pine needles and leaves – I need to walk over to them today and see how many it is

  4. Rita C.

    Good luck on your contest entry! Although we are few weeks behind you, I am seeing growth all around me. I’m not sure I’m ready for the work that’s ahead, but ready or not…..

  5. slmrn1

    Thank you for your post today. It was so nice to sit and read for a few minutes and enjoy your garden. We just cleaned the patio this morning and trimmed plants anticipating the warmth of spring to arrive and watch everything blossom and bloom. Good luck on your entry into the blueberry contest.

  6. Sue H

    We’re in for a couple of warm-ish days. Thanks for the reminder to clean out the iris bed. I’ve noticed quite a few of my bulbs coming up too but no buds yet thankfully. I’m sure we’ll have a few more days really cold again. My 3′ tall amaryllis flowers are all dying off now. Once the stalk starts to crumple I guess I’ll cut it down. It’ll go outside when the weather warms up some and then until fall. I’ve currently got 2 orchid stalks blooming on one plant! The older stalk has 2 blooms, the lower younger stalk has 4 blooms and a 5th starting to open. I sure hope yours blooms soon. They are so lovely.

  7. Joan Sheppard

    Chicago weather is a teeter totter – sub zero to 40° in 24 hours! I just started a charity baby quilt and your “window” is going to be it. Didn’t want just plain blocks and the shadow box is so easy and “showy”. Dinner looks wonderful. And to be back with friends! Delightful! Love that you can get such great photos of the furry friends. Thanks

  8. Love seeing your green sprouting things – it gives me hope for spring! We still have snow on the ground here, but I sometimes see bulbs sprouting by the end of the month if it warms up. Your mini outing for dinner sounds fun, and the meals look yummy!

  9. It’s so exciting when the bulbs start popping up each year. We’ve had such a wet year so it will be interesting to see how they overwintered. Those yellowtail rolls look really yummy, and so pretty.

  10. Thanks for all the garden and plant photos and info! We don’t dare do anything outside yet here. We did have a warm day last week, it was 45 for about 2 hours, but still below freezing at night! Typically, last possible freeze is mid May!

  11. Wow — you’ve been a busy woman, even though it might not have been what you planned to be busy about! I always worry when I see bulb sprouts a little too early because of the frost. I know you are farther south than I but still, it gets cold. So glad Oliver is back and the juvenile has a glorious tail! Your Japanese night out looks so delish! It’s been ages since I’ve had restaurant Japanese food and I’m longing for some!

  12. charliedisante

    Your irises must have said “yay” when you gave them some sun. I hve some hyacinths peaking out and a few gladiola leaves. (I’m just outside of Lillington) We were given some irises to put in. Not sure when I should plant them.

    My guess on your green shoots in the pot is daffodils. The crocuses usually push blossoms up with the first leaves. –if memory serves right—


  13. Olivia or Oliver, that is the question! I didn’t get my irises cleaned up last fall, so I need to get out there early this year and clean them up. I am going to dig some while they are blooming, so I know what colors I have. They have mashed in together so I don’t know which is which!

  14. Mary L. Crawford

    So interesting on your weather this year. Finally…we get to say we‘ve had a lot of snow this year. It’s work but oh so beautiful! We need moisture as ponds and rivers drying up. Today is in the 40s so lotsa melting. We needed this to prevent drastic flooding. Rain and snow predicted along with highs of 18. That means more ice!
    No signs of garden life here but your irises look very thick and crowded. If no blooms, you may need to thin and replant this summer. Seems like every 3-4 years they need a thinning here.
    Your little cars 🚗 look so fun.

  15. Patricia Evans

    I don’t mulch the irises. Mine have green shoots just above the rhizomes all winter (in western NY). They’re pretty tough, but they do need a sunny location and the rhizomes sticking up above the soil. I did see daffodils blooming along I-95 in Virginia on mt drive down to FL two weeks ago which seemed a little earlier than usual.

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