The plants have no idea of the virus that looms over us. They are simply carrying on, pushing onward and upward. Their presence, the delight they bring, is helping to calm our souls, give us something other than hand washing and mask wearing ( we are doing both!) and ‘mission accomplished’ trips to the store from being, always, in the very forefront of our minds. The woodland landscape here at the nursery is filled with bird chatter and bee activity and new blooms and texture. A feast. A bounty. A world enchanted. Here are a few quick snaps of plants catching our eye at the moment…be well and safe dear friends!
Once the nursery season is officially over, we wait for the temperatures to be consistently cold in order to cover plants in the retail and stock area. This is somewhat tricky on account of the fluctuating weather we may experience in the fall here in Maine. Many of the plants we over-winter are lined up and then covered in a specially designed winter ‘blanket’. Our ideal is to have the plants freeze and remain frozen, it’s the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw that we’re most concerned about.Our mission is to protect the roots of the plants. Because some of the plants will remain in their pots and not in the ground, the roots are vulnerable and susceptible to damage if left without protection. Therefore, more care and consideration is needed. Our annual ‘covering of the pots’ truly marks the end of our growing season, the last big chore in the nursery. Of course, we also have a tremendous amount of plants that are over-wintered in growing beds, these don’t require any extra defense and will rely on the earth (and hopefully good snow cover) to protect them. A patch-work of fall-related chores here at Fernwood as we welcome the winter season…we’ve processed this year’s supply of meat birds, the root vegetables are snug in the root cellar, and the firewood is (almost) all stacked in the woodshed. Hip Hip Hooray!
Oh, and bread making! Regardless of the season, there is breadmaking!
Do you ever look at your blog posts or lack of and panic? I do. I calculate the time between posts and think “oh my, I’m letting you all down”. I’ve lost touch. Nothing to say. No time to write. Here I go, rushing out the door again! Then, all of a sudden, I come to my senses and realize who I’m dealing with. Friendly people. Gardeners. Farmers. Storytellers. Crafters. Writers. What am I worried about? Silly me. It does make sense that during this last push to have the nursery ready for opening day ( May 3rd!!), I’d more likely be out in the greenhouse potting plants or tidying the nursery rows after a fierce winter than be sitting at the computer crafting words. You understand, don’t you?
Well, how about a sincere howdy to you all and a quick photo of a plant we propagate at the nursery and one that shares a fickle nature with our Maine springtime. It’s in bloom now, a slow-growing fella, and one that is persnickety in the way of propagation. Helleborus thibetanus hails from China and is unlike most other Hellebores because it holds its flowers above the foliage and face outward, once they are fully developed. It’s the earliest to bloom here at Fernwood (Helleborus niger being the next one to bloom). The flowers are generally bell-shaped with pointed petals, white at first then transitioning to a rosy pink to green as the flowers age. We’ve propagated this plant with relative success, though the numbers we have for sale are limited. A lovely rarity that we continue to work with.
Well, excuse me as I rush out the door once again. The sheep are awaiting breakfast, the greenhouse benches need clearing to accommodate more plants, and there are still a few rows to uncover in the nursery ( the snow just now melting!). May 3rd, our opening day, is really just around the corner, isn’t it? Oh, my! See you soon!
There is still snow on the ground (you think?). Our nights are still rather cold. Daytime temperatures are vacillating between giving into spring and keeping a determined hold on winter. Fickle.
I feel anxious during the month of March. On one hand, we are kept at bay from the chores we know are creeping upon us, the cold and snow make many advances impossible.Yet, still, we have to stay in step with time, moving forward regardless of weather variables. Peppers, leeks, onions, herbs, and eggplant need to be sown early in order to have a long growing season out in front of them. We stoke the wood fire, then run out to make sure the greenhouse is not getting too warm. We make another pot of soup using the stored winter squash but crave fresh greens. Long johns? No long johns? Pull the taps on the maple trees or leave them for another week or so? Like I said, this all makes me anxious. One foot is still firmly planted in winter and the other is stretching out looking for the warm, squishy ground of spring. I like my months to be well defined, and yet, I should know by now, the month of March doesn’t play very fair. March is fickle. March is indecisive. March is wishy washy. I have no choice but to muddle through. Today we worked again in the greenhouse potting up some Hepaticas, Shortia uniflora, and Erythronium japonicum. They had been putting on too much growth in their winter storage and so we decided to pot them up. There are others of these same plants, tucked undercover and still dormant, showing no signs of growth.They will remain until the snow is gone and we uncover the nursery rows for the season.
In the meantime, I will work through my restlessness and be grateful for all the good and wonderful things that make up our days….a little of this and a little of that among the tug of seasons.