Monday, March 16, 2009

An-Ti-Ci-Pation!

Don't get too excited just yet ... these are photos from last Spring (early and mid-April), previews of coming attractions if you will ... but I'm cautiously optimistic that the real show may start sometime this week. We have a real warm up forecast for this week, with temperatures up into the low 70s for Monday, the 60s and 50s for the rest of the week, and as long as there's ample sunshine, this should encourage our early spring bulbs to start performing. At least I hope so! Our basket of bulbs has long since faded and the couple of clumps of snowdrops we currently have just aren't enough yet! I'm more than ready to start shooting my Crocus close ups, Mr. DeMille.....

This first shot is one of our ever dwindling, but lovely, dwarf Iris ... years ago we planted about 20 of these in various spots in the garden and though they are reputed to be hardy to our zone, they have gradually disappeared over the years, much to our disappointment. They are truly a Spring Ephemeral, because when they do show up and bloom, they rarely last much more than a week before vanishing. I wonder if the two that showed up last year out back (by the snowdrop clumps featured previously) will return this year ... I hope so, but given their history at Casa IVG, that's far from a sure thing. They certainly are beautiful aren't they? We'd like to try more of them, but given their track record, we wonder whether they are worth the effort and expense ... there seem to be certain plants that just refuse to grow for us (Hardy Cyclamens for example!), but if you've been successful with these Dwarf Iris, please let us in on the secret, because we'd love to have them around in masses!


This Giant Dutch Crocus ('Pickwick') should look familiar ... it's the same variety that came planted in the bulb basket we got for Valentine's Day and I shot these as they were beginning to open last April 13. We have small groupings of this variety sprinkled about in the front garden, mixed in with other varieties ... in the coming weeks, I hope to be able to capture lots of "bouquets" to share with my readers as the Spring show really gets into gear around here. We're hoping this year will be especially colorful with all the (300) new crocus Fernymoss planted last fall, along with the other new bulbs and of course, our old reliables. We're hoping for a miraculous resurrection of our tulip stock, but that may just be wishful thinking, given how few returned last year, but where we lost over a hundred tulips, other gardeners lost masses of Daffodils and ours were unfazed, so we hope they have been busy naturalizing and will be back bigger and better than ever!

I don't recall exactly what this variety of Crocus is called, but it's one of the snow crocus mix we've planted twice (in 2005 and 2008), and for want of a better name, I just call them "Butter Crocus" because they have such a luscious buttery color to them. So far they've been excellent little naturalizers and this particular clump has grown from a single bulb planted back in 2005, so I'm anxious to see how many friends they bring back with them this year ... I have these planted in several spots with other colored Crocus and they look great in with some of the purple or tricolored ones, and as you can see here, they look lovely all by themselves as well!

Now I can definitively identify this particular Giant Dutch Crocus, it's "Jeanne d'Arc" and despite its simplicity, I think it's a really pretty flower ... the only thing I could criticize is that they seem particularly delicate and often succumb to high winds by losing their petals much more easily than the other Giant Crocus, so when they bloom, you have to really enjoy them while you can. Given the often gusty and even violent winds we get in March and April, they are often the first victims of weather events. But they are lovely additions to Crocus plantings and look especially striking mixed in with the purple and golden varieties ... again, we have these scattered here and there out front so look forward to seeing more of them as Spring progresses ... provided it arrives on time!

As I was perusing the archives preparing this post, I ran across this shot that I thought I'd throw in just for fun ... these are the initial shoots of one of our more unusual plants we have in the Woodland Garden. For regular readers, this will probably be obvious, but I'll just call it a "mystery plant" for now, in case there are any uninitiated viewers of this plant still out there. Of particular note is the multiple shoots coming up around the base of this plant, and I think we counted at least 5 that came up and leafed out last season, so we're wondering if we'll get multiple blooms from them this year, and if we do, wow that will be spectacular! If you already know what this plant is, I'm sure you're just as excited at that possibility as we are! In any case, we'll all know sometime in June, around the time the peonies bloom....

And now for the puppy portion of this post! Hanna had quite the active weekend that started with her first visit to the vet late Friday afternoon ... we had thought that she was completely up to date on her vaccinations, but found out that she needed a couple of boosters and a heartworm test, so we had those done while she got her first exam from Dr. B. Her overall exam was excellent and she's in excellent health, which was a relief to hear from Dr. B. We also had her vaccinated for bordatella ("kennel cough") as a precaution since she had suffered a bout of that while we were waiting to adopt her, and Dr. B said that smaller breeds like her were particularly susceptible to kennel cough, so she had her first dose and goes back in two weeks for the second dose, after which she'll be totally up to date. Everyone at the clinic thought she was a charming little pup and quite spirited (she was quite vocal about some of the other dogs coming and going in the office, which embarrassed us a bit!), but she cooperated quite well and made a positive impression I think....
Today Hanna got to make another trip to Petco which she thoroughly enjoyed because she got to peruse the toy aisles, and though she didn't get to pick this new one out herself, she has been really having fun with it since we got home. We've realized that we have to get the toughest rubber toys for her because otherwise she just destroys regular squeaky toys way too fast and the tough stuff is what suits her at this point where she still wants to chew on things. Fortunately, she does limit her chewing to her own toys and not other things, but we really have to pick out things that she can really abuse without too much damage. As you can see, this "spiny bone" has little pockets for hiding treats, so of course we had to try those out with her tonight ... as with her Kongs, it only took her about 15-20 miinutes to get the treats out ... she has an uncanny way of figuring out these puzzles quickly and getting to the goodies, but even after getting the treats she spent most of the evening playing with her new toy as you can see in these two shots. So she now adds this to her two Kongs and the "tickle bone" she plays with daily, along with the "invincible chain" we use to play tug of war with her, but have to take away when done because she tries to demolish it and eat it ... good for play time, but it goes up when we're done so she's not ingesting bits of rubber. This little dog has some powerful jaws!

We also got her a crate today ... regretfully, I must say, but when the few times we've had to leave her alone, she has gotten into trouble by herself, so for her own good (and ours) we got a crate to put her in when we can't take her with us or I have to be gone during the day. I have to go to work meetings a few times a month and am gone for several hours and last week when I was gone for about 3 hours, she made quite a mess of the house by spreading potting soil (from some dead plants) all over the downstairs and chewing up a cardboard box ... that was the final test for trust (she failed), so today we got a crate we have set up in the dining room and so far she seems fine with going in and out of it ... we'll see how she reacts when we have to put her in it when we can't take her with us ... hopefully when she's a bit older and wiser, we won't have to resort to this tactic. But it's clear that she's familiar with being crated before, so she may not object too much ... we'll find out! Such are puppy challenges and as easy as Hanna has been so far, we realize that we still have to work with her on establishing trust when we're gone... it all goes along with having a terrier (mix) and if I were to recount some of Pepa's early exploits, they'd far eclipse what Hanna has pulled so far ...but then, she turned out so very well, so it's just a matter of getting through the 'ornery' phase, and Hanna is doing very well so far! I'd say give her a year or so and we should be able to skip the crate ... but we'll see! In any case, she's here to stay. She's been such a great addition to the family, we couldn't see not having her around ... we just have to accommodate the puppy phases! And for anyone who has ever had a terrier, this probably sounds familiar ... Pepa was a holy terror the first year or so and Hanna has yet to equal those exploits, so we're confident she'll be fine in the long run ...after all, she was Pepa approved (in my dream) so I'm not going to worry about it!

24 comments:

FARfetched said...

I think the secret to keeping irises is to mow them down later in the summer… at least here, they come right back up as soon as the ground warms up. Maybe you need to take a soil sample into the extension office; could be some essential nutrient missing.

I buzzed the garden section of Home Despot over the weekend, they already have tomato plants! Even here, that's jumping the gun… Any time in the next week or so is seed-starting day, but a late frost is always possible. Better yet, Tractor Supply Co. has blueberry plants, so I'm gonna grab about 5-10 of them and set them out.

Crates are good. A lot of critters will adopt them as a sleeping area. Sprite, one of our cats, sleeps in a crate regularly and pulls the door closed behind him (not latched though). We loaned the crate out yesterday, so I'm not sure what he'll do.

FARfetched said...

Oops, double-post.

Roses and Lilacs said...

The iris is lovely and so is the crocus. I have some dwarf iris but not like yours.

Good luck with your crate training. I never was able to train my BC to the crate.
Marnie

CONEFLOWER said...

Crate training can be a real blessing. Hope Hanna accepts it since she is as old as she is and knows the joys of house freedom. Hopefully she'll recall her old crate.

Having shared housing with several cairn terriers, I know the terrier mentality. Actually they are very bright and will take to training exceptionally well. You just have to make sure they're not busy doing something else at the time. Like.... "come!" "Sure, sure, just a minute, I'm busy"

I have tulips up but not enough to show buds yet. Some of my new daffies are up about 2 inches. So I have to content myself with watching my indoor seedlings and those tulips. I've put out some outdoor seed now too.

I love watching for the growy things!!!

boran2 said...

I love seeing some flowers here! Good to see some crocus. Our crocus are now shows this year, unless I've missed them somehow.

I remember the mystery plant. I'm looking forward to another show this year.

Hanna looks adorable in those shots. I'm glad that she is doing well.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi FAR,
No need to mow these Irises... they disappear promptly after blooming because they only get about 3-4" high! Unlike the bearded and Siberian Iris, the foliage doesn't last. I think they're just not very long lived or else just don't like our garden!

We haven't seen any plants for sale yet, but probably won't show up until sometime next month ... we could still get snow and it wouldn't be unusual. We had a St. Pat's Day blizzard four years ago...

Good luck with the blueberries... we planted a bush several years ago and between the rabbits eating it (we had to put a cage with chicken wire around it to save it) and the birds getting the few berries, we've not had great luck with it.

The crate really is only for those times we can't take Hanna with us, just to keep her out of trouble until she gets older and more trustworthy around the house. She goes in and out no problem, because she was used to one where she was fostered previously.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Do you have the tiny dwarf iris? If so, what's your secret? Maybe it was just the variety we planted (they were Martha Stewart bulbs, lol) or they're just not very hardy?

We don't really need the crate for training as Hanna is fully house trained already ... it's just to keep her out of mischief when we can't take her with us ... she's so agile (like a cat!) that she can get up anywhere she wants!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
Hanna has already been in and out of the crate quite a few times and should accept it because she was crated part of the time at her foster home (especially when she had the kennel cough).

Oh, we know the terrier mentality too! Pepa was a classic terrier and yes, they are so smart, too smart for their own good sometimes! LOL, I know that "hey I'm busy, hang on there" mentality ... it can be frustrating at times but it's also part of their charm, don't you think?

I hope we see tulips this year after the big loss the past 2 years... no daffs yet though, but the first crocus appeared today!

We bought some ornamental Indian corn and Blue corn yesterday to plant along with our sweet corn ... just hope the squirrels leave it alone!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Glad you don't mind some of the archival shots ... the real ones from this year are on their way! Saw the first crocus today and the snowdrops are doing quite nicely still....

I thought you'd remember the mystery plant, hehe. We hope for multiple blooms this year, wouldn't that be cool?

Hanna is really enjoying that new rubber bone and carried it around with her all day/night today!

CONEFLOWER said...

G'Morning! Be careful of the ornamental blue and Indian corn. I think they cross pollinate back and forth with the sweet corn at least that's what Park Seed says. Of course you could end up with some really pretty "roasting ears". LOL

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
That's a good point about the different kinds of corn ... we hadn't thought of that yet. I think we'll probably just put some fair distance between them or else maybe do the ornamental stuff out front... that would be a real change of pace!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

There's nothing wrong with crating a puppy for a few hours. It keeps her safe when you can't watch her. My mutt was hard on the chew toys like Hanna. She enjoyed the chocolate Nylabone (do they still make them?) and the beef-scented Gummabone.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MMD,
I know there's no harm in crating her, we just feel bad about having to do it, but once she's totally trustworthy we won't need to. I should check out those scented toys, I did see some at Petco last weekend and thought about it, but we got that weird bone that you can stuff with treats instead. She is really loving it and looks so funny parading around with it sticking out of her mouth like a cigar!

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