The Garden Worm blog Digging up the best dirt on gardening!

February 26, 2010

Snow – woo-hoo!

Filed under: Creatures,Miscellaneous,Winter — Judy @ 10:27 pm

Well, folks, we finally got some of the intense snow that the rest of the country has been experiencing this winter. About time, I say, because I was feeling sort of left out. Sure, we’ve had a reasonable amount, but there is nothing like a good snowstorm to make things right. We shoveled a couple of times, as we prefer to do, but this morning we had to break out the snowblower so you know this was serious stuff. When all was over, we ended up with about 20 inches for this storm. Not a real “snowpocalypse,” or a “snowicane,” since we are used to such stuff in this area.

The Carolina wren has been hanging out under our deck lately. He is so cute with his little upright tail! I haven’t been able to get a good picture of him at the feeder because he bobs around so much, but here are his footprints in the snow.

Bird tracks in the snow

Carolina wren snow tracks

What says winter better than snow on an Eastern white pine and a white birch?

White birch and pine with snow

The snow has just about obliterated the Van Houtte spirea (Spirea x vanhouttei) echoing the beautiful white blooms that will come late in the Spring.

Snowy spirea

The flakes were huge and fluffy. What a scene looking out over the yard!

Snowy yard

And, after it was all over, the moon came out!

Snowy moon

February 24, 2010

Mendon Ponds Park

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Parks,Winter — Judy @ 5:56 pm

Yesterday’s trip to Mendon Ponds Park to do a little cross country skiing was a good thing. Although the day was gray and foggy, the previous night’s fresh layer of snow made for great skiing. One can always find interesting things to look at out there and you really should take a camera, but a cell phone set to black and white mode sometimes is handy to have.

Foggy Mendon Ponds

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest Monroe County Park with 2,500 acres of woodlands, ponds, wetlands and glacially created landforms. In 1969, it was named to the National Registry of Natural Landmarks due to its geologic history and presence of kettles (including a well-studied kettle hole known as the “Devil’s Bathtub”), eskers, a floating sphagnum moss peat bog, and kames. This park is definitely one to visit any time of the year – 21 miles of trails for hiking, skiing, horseback riding, and birdwatching (feed the chickadees, nuthatches, and tufted titmice along the Birdsong Trail!).

My favorite trail for XC skiing is the Quaker Pond Trail, a 2.7 mile loop of fairly easy terrain through decidous and conifer woods, and over a wooden bridge through the rushes at the pond outlet where you might catch a glimpse of the beaver lodges. There are other trails like the East Esker Trail that are great for harder-core skiing, but this trail lets you shrug off those worrisome cares and observe your surroundings without sliding into a ravine!

Quaker Pond outlet

At the Quaker Pond outlet

Yesterday’s adventure saw deer crossing my path not 20 feet in front of me, numerous birds chipping and calling, and lots of prints in the snow. Some I recognized, some I didn’t.

The first is a member of the dog family (dog, wolf, fox, coyote) and it’s probably a domestic dog since this is a walking trail too, but the front print has elongated middle toes. One can always hope that it is something more exotic! The second one I have absolutely no clue on. Voles make tunnels under the snow, but the center trail is not that wide. Maybe it is just a fallen branch print and not a critter at all! The next one is definitely a deer print, of which there were many, crisscrossing the entire trail.

Next time, I will have to remember to bring my camera for the colors of Mendon are many – and the camera has a bigger battery and takes better pictures than the cell phone!

February 11, 2010

This and that

Filed under: Creatures,Miscellaneous,Shows and Tours — Judy @ 4:15 pm

Reminder that tomorrow the Great Backyard Bird Count begins. Be a good citizen and count your birds! Link is in the sidebar or read more about it here. I’ve also added a few more bird pictures to the Winter Birds slideshow or open it from the slideshow link in the sidebar. The little Carolina wren and the Red-bellied woodpecker are new and I’ll add more pictures periodically. And here are the results of the bird picture quiz: there are nine cardinals (5 papas, 4 mamas), three house sparrows, and one tufted titmouse. Did you find them all?

Fern peeking out of the snow

The plant and seed catalogs have been arriving almost daily since before Christmas with all their enticing pictures! Hard to get motivated to order anything when there is still snow on the ground, but looking at the catalogs and seeing what is new out there in the gardening world nudges one in the right direction.

I have been hearing reports from my sister in Texas that they are cleaning up from unusual frost damage and things are starting to pop out of the ground. She volunteers at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens and according to their website, they have Alyssum, Camellias (Camellia sasanqua cultivars), Creeping phlox/thrift (Phlox subulata), Drummond red maple (Acer rubrum var. drummondii), Flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.), Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei), Narcissus, Pansies, Paperwhite Narcissus, Saucer magnolia (Magnolia x soulangiana), Winter daphne (Daphne odora), Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), Witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) blooming in January and February.

We’re not even close to that, but pretty soon it will be time for GardenScape 2010. This is an excellent annual event featuring landscaping and nursery professionals in and around the Rochester area. In its 19th year, there are display gardens, a marketplace, seminars, and other special events that visitors can experience. Mark your calendars for March 11th to 14th!

Hakone grass in winter

And finally, a note on the creatures of the garden other than the birds. The snow is full of tracks now. The deer herd rambles around munching everything in sight and we have a fox that makes nightly forays looking for, I suspect, innocent bunnies. Seeing the always-maddening squirrels completely foiled from discovering the birdfeeder with our soda bottle device makes me gleeful! And my own boot prints and ski tracks as I wander around just enjoying the fresh air. I wish I could identify all the tracks, but there are so many now that we need a fresh covering of snow to erase the old ones. Or, maybe not.

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