A Monocromatic World

I’m hearing from friends in Virginia who are waxing poetic about the glories of springtime in the Commonwealth. I don’t blame them. It’s easy to gush over Virginia’s blooming bulbs, flowers, flowering trees, and woody shrubs that come alive with color, but hearing about all this makes me a little homesick. Having a lifetime of Virginia springtime memories, I believe there’s no lovelier place for the season of rebirth. This weekend in Gloucester, citizens will celebrate the daffodil at The 26th Annual Daffodil Festival and visit with Brent and Becky Heath of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, and discover why Gloucester is thought of as the daffodil hub in America.

Brent and Becky's Bulbs

Alas, while they are basking in color, I’m still living in a monochromatic world in New England. The grass is shades of brown, the trees are bare, the horizon often blends with the overcast sky. For a quick color fix, my daughter and I visited a well-known local nursery to see what we could see and see what there was to buy.

Ahhhh…. yellow! Plenty of yellow and green.

There were plenty of yellow daffodils, some tulips, a bit of crocus, some dahlia and pansies, and indoor plants, but the greenhouse was totally empty and the outdoor shrubs area was vacant. “It’s too early for planting,” they told us. Shoppers were moseying about, buying seeds, pansies, compost so clearly gardeners are gearing up for the season.

Our little outing was the perfect remedy for me, a color starved gardener just waiting for spring. It was just the ticket for this other gardener I met.  She was enthralled with the potted Iron Cross Shamrock (Oxalis deppei) and she bought it and thought maybe I should have a shamrock, too. Looking closer at her bonnet, I spied a few more shamrocks as adornment. Definitely Irish…. and still celebrating a bit of St. Paddy’s. How fabulous!

How to Rid a Fish Pond of a Snake in One Easy Step

Yesterday I leaned over the pond to adjust the water fountain as I always do, lost my footing and in a flash I hit the water creating a pond-sized tsunami that blanketed the flower bed.  As I fought to regain my footing in the midst of lily pads, I spotted our resident water snake bolt like a rocket from the pond and quickly escape to safety across the yard.  This was a moronic way to solve the snake problem but, hey, I think I scared it enough that it won’t be back.

This harmless 16” snake took up residence about a month ago.  Very timid, it always would disappear into rocks when I approached and my glimpses were fleeting.  But I saw enough to identify it as an Eastern Garter snake, a common snake in the area that can adapt to a variety of habitats including fish ponds.  They mainly eat earthworms but will feed on amphibians and fish.  I tried a variety of ways to catch it including nets, flushing it from the rocks with a hose, but it outfoxed me every time… until now.

Wipe that smile off!

I was relieved that mister gardener did not witness my humiliating misadventure but as I climbed from the pond, I noticed Big Bullfrog just watching me.  Is that a grin on his face?

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester