8-10 dill (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
4 orange milkweed (host plant for monarchs)
A big patch of zinnia seeds (nectar)
Red salvia annuals (nectar)
Parsley (host plant for swallowtails, plus herb for us)
Cilantro (herb for us)
Jalapeño (pepper for us)
Basil (herb for us)
It doesn’t look like much for now, which is why I wanted to photograph it, as a before picture. The wire cages are to keep the rabbits away from the milkweed seedlings. The’ve eaten fresh milkweed in the past, and I don’t want them eating these seeds I’ve carefully cultivated for 10 weeks.
I saw motion outside my office window this morning, and when I walked over to look out, I saw bunnies dart every which way across the grass, chase each other up the flower bed hill, across the gravel right outside my floor level window, through the fence slats to the neighbor’s yard, and back down the grassy hill again. There were four or five of them, and they chased each other for at least an hour. I used my phone to take photos through my office window. I apparently also took this 1 second video, which was a total accident when I touched the wrong button on my phone, but the rabbits were so active, I happened to capture one on video during my fumble.
The grass is the lush, vibrant green that only appears in spring. Pears and cherries and magnolias bloom all over town. Tulips pop in bright colors in the landscaping of public places: medians, libraries, the aquatic center.
In our garden, the redbud is covered in fuchsia buds and the dogwood flowers bloom green before they brighten to white. The leaves of perennials begin to emerge from beneath the fresh mulch. The blades of ornamental grasses come in tender and emerald green. The forsythia and daffodils are done in our garden — I cut back the forsythia this weekend — but violets and periwinkles blossom at the top of the hill. The salvia forms buds that should open in a few weeks. Besides the trees, the primary flowers right now are the ones in our flower baskets; that will change soon though.
The weather this weekend was glorious, and I celebrated in the garden. I hate fertilizing, so I did that first to get it out of the way. Then I played with plants. I divided black eyed Susans that were encroaching on other plants, and I moved the divided clumps to the back bed where they can spread as much as they want. I sowed zinnia, cosmos, and blanketflower seeds, and I finished filling our raised bed. When I was finished with all of that, I tied on a handmade mask my friend Pam made, drove over to our local nursery during a time of day I thought it wouldn’t be crowded, and picked out a new bird bath.
It was warm enough today that I was able to take my laptop outside and work from the garden. Before I settled down with my afternoon coffee and the rest of the day’s work, I took a walk around the garden to check on what’s coming in and what’s blooming.
The sun shone bright today and the temperature reached 80℉. I saw multiple butterflies skitter through the garden: a swallowtail, a monarch, a cabbage butterfly, and an American Painted Lady that actually stopped for a drink.
The salvia and a couple of other herbs are blooming now — rosemary and thyme — while everything else begins to bud. This is always an exciting time that makes me walk the garden and check on everything’s progress every day.
I spent yesterday watching five rabbits run and play in our neighbor’s yard. The previous owners of the house had a raised bed above their pool’s retaining wall that had corn in it one year, and has tulips and daffodils every March and April.
After the tulips come and go, the neighbor’s bed is overgrown for the rest of the year until it dies back again in winter. Right now it’s filled with dandelions and other high weedy plants perfect for hiding bunnies. They jumped and chased and sped through the grass and between fence slats, never stopping to nibble on anything.
Then, this morning, two of them calmly nibbled their way through my echinacea. It’s fine, the echinacea is established and will come back. If they eat it down too much before it’s able to grow tough bitter leaves they don’t want, I’ll put some fencing up. I feed the caterpillars and the birds, why not the bunnies too? They’re fun to watch.
This is the time of year where I walk the garden every day to see what shoots are emerging from the ground, what’s about to blossom, and what’s already in bloom. I also like to admire the garden overall with all it’s tidy mulch I spent a week spreading.