Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Warm Summer Day in April

I took these photos on a walkabout around the farm yesterday (April 3).  It was warm and more like summer than an early spring day commonly experienced in these parts.  This is what I saw.

The Autumn Olives are blooming and they look just beautiful.  While cleverly hidden before because most were not mature enough to bloom, they do indeed stand out with their radiant cream colored blossoms against the gray green foliage.  Perhaps they stand out like red flags. 

Autumn Olives, whose home is Asia, were originally introduced in this country in 1830.  Their purposes were as ornamentals (which usually means in gardening circles), as wildlife habitat and as erosion control.  Trouble is that introductions of flora and fauna whose homes are elsewhere often spells disaster for native habitats.  Such species are not at home in their regular habitats where a system of checks and balances evolved over time.  Without that system of controls, they can and often do become invasive weeds, knowing no bounds.

Autumn Olive does produce a wonderful berry in the late fall.  Its soft brilliant red is beautiful on the fall landscape.  Birds love them.  We humans are known to graze them on the landscape too.  Birds move the seeds freely about inadvertently planting even more trees.  There is a spot east of Kirksville where Autumn Olives have nearly choked out all native vegetation. With that comes the loss of flora and fauna who call this place their home.  What were we thinking?  Are we thinking?

I am hopeful that many of these shrubby trees will be removed before the berry season.  I do note that the Missouri Department of Conservation states that "cutting alone should be avoided because it can lead to a thicker, denser stand."

 The circle path on the farm is really greening up.
My elderly Aunt Ruthie sent a basket of tulips to my elderly Mother when she was in the nursing home.  When the flowers were spent, I brought them home and planted them in the garden.  The tulips are blooming while the 2 sisters are now passed.  It makes me smile to see them in our garden as they herald the spring and the beauty that life can bring.
We let lettuce go to seed.  Some folks would say that we are not tidy gardeners.  Well, our beloved teacher and mentor, Mother Nature, is not very tidy either.  It seems in the natural order of things.  She planted those seeds so that we might enjoy lettuce this spring.  Again, I smile.
Just before we sold Mother's house, we gathered violet plantings from the yard.  They were all over.  Mother was not sure where they came from but she did connect them with her Grandmother Matilda Waibel Brenz.  Again, I smile.  I think gardens are seeds for smiles.

Finally, we are getting rhubarb to grow.  We brought this healthy plant down with us from up north when we moved.
 The Garlic in their fluffy beds is quite happy.
We have selectively groomed garden beds.  Not all of them are done.  This little area is just waiting for quiet contemplation and shared companionship over tea.  That's Dad's gooseberry bush on the left.  We moved from their house when Mom was still at home.
The lilacs are blooming in profusion.  It surely is at peak.  The fragrance wraps the house in love.  I took some pictures of the lilacs and wouldn't you know there was a Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly who wanted to be featured too?  I had no idea the butterfly was there.

It is supposed to be colder tonight and tomorrow night.  I wonder how this will affect the plants and all the living organisms. This evening, we walked about the gardens and yard to wrap our hearts of love around these beautiful things.

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