Sunday, 6 February 2011

This is not a snow story

Definite signs of life in the February garden:
poppy leaves, dwarf iris, grape hyacinth
witchhazel, viburnum, primrose
azalea buds, tulip shoots, snowdrops
(click on them twice to enlarge)

It's one of those bleakish, windy days despised by people with fine (ie, "difficult") hair.
Wintry and dull, still, but there are definitely signs of burgeoning green life in the garden.  This is the compensation for English winter, with its long string of gray days.  The damp earth, hardly ever frozen, is so fertile -- even in February.

For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I have been making all sorts of preparations for what is to come:
New passports and endless forms have been filled out for my oldest daughter's trip to Africa.
The house is being touched up for its launch on the spring housing market.
My youngest daughter has been prepped, for countless hours, for her scholarship exams this month.
And every day, sending out feelers about new jobs and work studies and a new house.

We're laying the groundwork, but time still has that suspended "waiting" quality to it.



I've been asking advice (from all and sundry) about how to keep the muntjac deer away from my tulips.
Our gardener suggested putting a radio set on a low volume into the beds.
Apparently the deer have keen hearing and shy away from human noise.

Do you think this will work?
(Sigmund is highly doubtful,
but that is his reflexive position on many questions.)

32 comments:

steven said...

hi bee! it's nice for my eyes and the mind behind them to see flowers and to know that somewhere the world is turning sufficiently to allow colour and plants back into it! i have a bush radio in my kitchen - black dial but the same model! steven

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

I so agree that new growth in the garden is the only thing that makes February acceptable!

Really hope the radio idea works, please tell us if it does as I have exactly the same problem and it is so disappointing. If it doesn't, how galling that the deer will have enjoyed a little light radio broadcasting to accompany their munching!! Fingers crossed.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I once had a client from Norway who placed thin slivers of bar soap in his flower bulb beds to keep away the deer. I have to say that it looked a little funny, and smelled really clean, but he swore it worked!

Dragonfly said...

I've managed a little potter about in the garden today... Planting some cheery polyanthus into the pots outside the back door. Spring is on its way!

rachel said...

Exams, house selling, job-seeking. All very exciting! And terrifying. Good luck with it all, and let us know what works with the deer, won't you. Maybe something will work for a tulip-wrecking cat too!

Marion Williams-Bennett said...

Depends on what is on the radio, I think!

Thank you so much for these images, this story! It's such a hopeful reminder that underneath the snow and cold there is much activity. The earth is getting ready for spring. I think I'll start to do the same!

Thanks again for this!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Bee

I wish you much luck with all that's new in your life and with the tulips.

Have a great week!!

Best
Tracy :)

Catalyst said...

Heavy metal (on the radio) ought to do it!

elizabeth said...

Feels as if changes are creeping up from the earth and all around........
can't give any help on the deer front but I'd be 'maddr'n a hornet' if my plants got munched.
The Barn is so lovely, you must find somewhere spectacularly splendid to replace it.
Was just looking at the giraffe with joy!
Only a week until Morocco.......

CashmereLibrarian said...

That's craziness. It will be another month and a half before we start to see any greenery here. Right now, it's all buried under a foot of snow, anyway. Sigh.

Sarah Laurence said...

Oh, Bee, I envy you your blooms. As much as I love a Maine winter, England wins top awards for spring. You seem to have a life full of springing demands too. Be sure to take time to enjoy all this beauty.

As for tulips, squirrels devour ours. Our neighbors have switched over to daffodils, which are toxic to wildlife so they keep away. Others resort to shotguns! I’m getting this vision of the deer wandering into your garden to listen to the wireless whilst snacking.

Lisa said...

That first greening up does wonders for my mood.

I would try the radio idea. It must be better than peeing in jars to sprinkle around the perimeter of the garden. It worked, but well....ewww.

slommler said...

Hope those pesky deer stay away for your gorgeous tulips!! Me...I fight the losing battle with the black gopher!! Sigh!! And endless task and he always wins. And you know what they say. If you can't beat them...fight dirty!! Ha!! I putting all my plants in containers of some sort or covering the root with mesh! That out to protect the plants this year. Take that you pesky rodent!!
Good luck
Hugs
SueAnn

Mac n' Janet said...

We use moth balls to keep the deer away and our neighbor uses slivers of Irish Spring soap.

Teresa O said...

Hello Bee...so many changes, so much to do, I wish all the luck and grace in the world as you move forward. As for the music...one summer a neighbor played music every night to keep the racoon from his sweet corn. It must have worked because they had a bumper crop. As for the genre...I have no idea.

elizabethm said...

What a lot you have going on there, quietly on the brew. I so agree about February. Things get better as the days get longer too.
Love the idea of the radio. I would play them Radio 5 - terrible stuff with all those ranting phone ins. If that doesn't deter deer, nothing will.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I love how you describe time in the winter as having a suspended, waiting quality to it. Very true!

Good luck on it all! Are you getting that city home you've wanted? Forgive my ignorance, but I've been out of the blogosphere for quite awhile.

Amanda said...

will love to know if the anti-deer radio works - i've tried everything to keep squirrels away from my tomatoes so maybe will give this a try.

sounds like you're in the midst of a lot of life transitions -- blessings as you go through that. don't forget to smell the roses (we here under snow for weeks yet to come will have to wait a while longer for that...)

Marcheline said...

Moth balls will work, but it's too hard to get their little pants down.

Lucy said...

Naughty Marcheline!

Is your mystery shrub daphnea?

Good luck with all the tasks ahead...

kristina said...

Just starting to see a few flowers here--two daffodils on the allotment this weekend. I'm so in love with your radio--far too nice to leave outside! How is your schedule looking for early March? K x

Tracy said...

Hello, Bee! Oh, these signs of spring are a sight for my winter-sore eyes! Over here in Norway, we are still knee-deep in snow and winter. Such sightings as there are weeks & weeks away yet...*sigh*... But seeing these gives me hope! The radio is a good idea. Maybe Mozart would work--it might keep away the deer, but the flowers might appreciate it. ;o) Happy Days... and thanks for stopping by!

Tess Kincaid said...

Cool radio!! I've not heard of the radio method, but I might give it a whirl. Our ground is still very much snow covered.

Downith said...

We get deer in our garden too. I used to think it was wonderful. Now I just hate the mess they make. My brother in law bought us some "Not tonight, Deer." which I thought was a fab name but it didn't work. Our neighbours tried hanging CDs from the trees...I think the only thing that works is deer fencing.

Dick said...

nsesithWow, things are pushing up faster south of the M25 than they are up here in the Hertfordshire tundra! We've got snowdrops but precious little else in the garden. We can't be that far behind, though, so I shall keep vigilant.

It would be a shame to expose that Bush portable to the elements. More economical to position a speaker on a long lead to a radio indoors. Then you could experiment with a variety of anti-muntjac broadcasts.

Kristen In London said...

Oh those wretched exams! You have all my empathy.

Linda said...

I am thrilled for you...signs of spring everywhere, isn't this the most lovely time of year? of course, i do not have snow so... maybe not quite for you but these flower prove it's on it's way! you sound unbelievably busy, too too much for me and i am glad those days have flown...tho i cannot believe how quickly they did fly!

now as for this problem :
how to keep the muntjac deer away from my tulips.
you might or might not believe this...but i will share with you because you have asked--consider yourself warned :) i live in deer country too, deer fence does not keep them out completely, wily creatures are they and what is said works best by the old-timers is urine, human urine will stand in for the tiger urine they really shy away from. i shall leave it at that.
xox

Alexandre FABBRI said...

You are going to Krakow? You have been to Krakow?

Emm said...

Heh. My hair is thick and there is a lot of it but I am not a fan of wind at all!

Where is your daughter going to in Africa??

Ann Marie said...

No advice here...my mom's garden is always victim to deer...she finally gave in, and has welcomed her new role as provider for the deer, her new favorite friends.

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Wow! So many big changes coming your way. I usually end up making myself sick during those unsettling days. Hope your radio works. No deer here...BUT we did have a Bobcat running in the parking lot. Right in north D. Huge, too.
Catherine

Christina said...

i am in love with that radio! ; )
xo