Today was a lot colder than yesterday. I thought it was supposed to be a mild day but it was pretty chilly. I have uncovered my vegetable garden, and tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be in the 70′s but then Wednesday may call for a recovering–it looks pretty nippy.
Today Katie and I took Emily with us to see the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra do the soundtrack for the Wizard of Oz at Robinson Center. I decided to do this somewhat late in the game so the only 3 seats together were front row center! We were up close and personal with the film–and saw much more detail than ever before. It was truly a great performance, but I do have a bit of a crick in my neck:) We went early to get a good parking space and ate lunch at the Capital Hotel beforehand. We had a nice meal. The planter boxes outside are full of hellebores in full bloom. I will have to pay attention to see what they have in them during the other seasons. We also passed by some covered planters at other buildings where tulips were emerging and their pansies looked great. I wish mine looked as good.
We dropped Emily off (and by the way, Holly is doing very well and looks great) and I got home in time to finish up some columns and look at the week ahead. It is a full week traveling across the state. Tomorrow is Pine Bluff for their MG monthly meeting that got canceled the week before for snow.
It was a beautiful springlike day today in Union County and the Master Gardeners event was very well attended. A crowd of 150 or more showed up to buy garden items and learn about what to do in their gardens and how to choose roses.
Then it was an easy drive home. I got everything unloaded and decided to see what damage the recent storm had brought to my garden. Luckily, the spinach made it through great. The garden I covered fared well also, and I have some small broccoli that I could use soon.
There is definitely clean up and pruning chores in my future, but not today.
Here are your mystery plants revealed:
Mystery Plant A – is Iris pseudacorus or yellow flag. It is a beautiful plant that can grow in or near water gardens, but beware, if it is happy, it can be too happy. Plant with caution, or with definite boundries.
Mystery Plant B is Scilla peruviana, or the Portuguese squill. It is supposedly hardy through zone 7 if protected. I saw it sold last year at some of the big box stores in full bloom, but more for temporary color. It is beautiful, but I have never known anyone to have it come back and bloom in Arkansas–if you have, let me know.
Mystery Plant C – is a yucca. Yucca aloifolia ‘Marginata’ (Golden Spanish Dagger) While I am not a fan of yucca, I do think this one is somewhat attractive with its variegated foliage. I have also not seen as much leaf spot on this one as some of the commnon green varieties. It will get large over time, so plant it where you don’t have to mess with it, since it does have sharp edges. Full sun and dry conditions.
Today I truly was traveling Arkansas. I thought I had been all over the state, but I traveled new roads today. It was a great day for a drive, clear blue skies and mild temperatures. I left Mena and actually participated in a conference call for 30 minutes while I drove. Unbelievably I didn’t lose service even once. I went from Mena to DeQueen to Nashville to Hope to Camden to El Dorado. Before I got to Hope I passed through Old Washington State Park where we will be sending our pre-conference tour. Their daffodils are looking quite nice. Their daffodil festival is next weekend. Some of their staff were pulling a “Tom Sawyer”
getting ready for next weeks festivities.
Then it was back on the road until Camden. Today and tomorrow is the annual Camden Daffodil festival. While I didn’t make it downtown to the events, I did make it two of the gardens. First stop was Thera Lou Adams. She has 4 acres planted in thousands of daffodils and interesting plants. We walked her trails and saw so many interesting types of daffodils
After digging up some treasures to bring home, it was off to the Daniels place. This is where the whole concept of the daffodil festival got started. The late Roxanne and Dennis Daniels started with a small planting of bulbs and now the huge estate is covered in bulbs and a large Japanese garden as well. Tours still are ongoing–narrated by Dennis.
I am here to do their Dirt Friends garden seminar tomorrow morning. 9:00 a.m. – Noon at the College Avenue Church of Christ, 1817 N. College Avenue, El Dorado. Come join us. After I checked in and admired my views from my 2 balconies! I then met up with Barbie and Charlotte at one of their main projects the South Arkansas Arboretum.
Did you know this arboretum is a state park? And it gets no funding from the parks department. The MGs have done amazing things here. Each time I come it gets better and better. They had many plants in bloom, but also quite a bit of winter damage as well.
They should be quite proud of their accomplishments.
Tonight I had a great meal with Barbie and got back to the room and tweaked my talk for tomorrow and added some of the photos I took today. Now I am off to bed for another full day tomorrow.
This morning was a flurry of activity trying to get things done before leaving town. I felt like I was meeting myself coming and going. I finally got everything done, loaded the car and hit the road. The sun was shining and it was rather pleasant outside. There was still a lot of winter precip on the deck and in the yard but it was melting fast. The further south I drove, the less signs of any winter weather. By the time I made it to Mena there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and no signs of snow or ice and actually mild temperatures. It is a pretty bleak landscape driving this week–with very little color. Unlike last week where there were daffodils blooming and flowering quince and spirea, I saw virtually no color, nor is there much to see in town. A few pansies, but everyone is talking about how late this spring is and hoping for a quick recovery from this recent storm.
I stopped in at the county office and got to meet Carla’s 6 week old puppy Tucker. He is soooo cute! I got to take him outside and he just kind of wandered around. He has a small balloon that he likes to carry around inside. It is a good thing I am not around places giving away puppies very often, or I would have even more dogs than I do now. Outside the office, they are setting up their two garden kits at the office for demonstration gardens this summer. If you are working on your gardens, please send me pictures.
Tonight we had a planning session with the Polk County Master Gardeners to revitalize their program. We had done a survey with them on what were the issues and tonight was a session to come up with a strategic plan of action. We brought in Mark Peterson and Kim Magee from our Community and Economic Development department to help. Overall it was an excellent meeting. The four key areas they are working on are better meetings, projects, recruitment and communication/marketing. We broke into 4 small groups to work on a plan and then came back together to discuss what each group came up with.
At the end of the meeting Betty showed me a new free app for the iPhone/iPad called duolingo. It allows you to pick a language and do interactive learning units. I have loaded it and started on the first unit–and so far failed! I am going to learn French! I am going to France this year and next, so I better hurry if I am going to make it by this April. So far I have passed the speaking part, but the writing has not been my strong suit–le, lu, un une?! I think I can now ask if you are a boy or a girl!
The roads had a few slick spots this morning and the edges were covered in rims of snow/sleet, but although it was a bit slower than normal, there were no problems getting to work today. We were busy working on the new website and powerpoints, and columns. I ran a few errands at lunch and as I was exiting the interstate all the accumulation of ice/sleet/snow on the top of my car slid down and covered my windshield, leaving me only a partial opening to see to drive. I could not use the wipers, since it was covering them. Luckily I was less than a half mile from my office and made it in and removed the rest of the gunk. I thought I had done a good job of clearing the windows, but didn’t consider the top of the car!
, winter jasmine and others are zapped. There are hopefully still viable buds that can come on and open, but it has definitely impacted our color. I guess we could call this a new shade of orange?! The pansies that were just rebounding are still frozen, but the slow release of moisture may actually help them recover. Once the slush is gone and we have milder days this weekend, consider giving them a shot of fertilizer and they should bounce back. My daffodils are doing fine and so are the sedums and the oregano . The lavendar is about as happy as the rosemary has been all winter. . I haven’t even looked at the newly planted vegetables as the open gardens are still covered in an inch of sleet and the other one has it’s plastic covering and I don’t want to open it. My rain gauge has over 2 inches of sleet and as of today it is slowly melting and so far has given me .20 inches of rain. The one positive note is that we are getting a slow, steady supply of moisture that we truly did need.
Tomorrow I head to Mena for their monthly MG meeting in the evening. Then it is on to El Dorado via Camden on Friday and the Union County Master Gardeners’ Dirt Friends Festival on Saturday. The seminar is Saturday at the College Avenue Church of Christ, 1817 North College Avenue from 9:00 a.m. – noon. Besides my talk, they also have Mike Shoup, owner of The Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, TX, During the event, a mini “trade show” will be available to all attendees. $10 registration fee. Come join us!
I got another bonus day today. I can’t imagine how I am going to reschedule all that I have missed, but I made great use of my free day. I did write some columns to get ahead and of course did email–I am lost if I don’t have access to email practically 24/7, but then Katie and I got a lot accomplished at home. I am sure many of you are like me and have a spice cabinet or two that are loaded with bottles and jars and quite a jumble of stuff. We tackled it today and were amazed at what we found. I cook a lot and sometimes recipes call for obscure spices or herbs and you buy a jar and use a pinch and then you have another jar that takes up space. We took everything out and discarded over 50% of it. I hate to admit this, but we found one jar that expired in 1987–the year before Katie was born. SO that means I actually moved the expired jar with me when we moved to this house!
I tend to use a lot of fresh herbs in cooking, so really don’t use as many of the canned ones as I used to. They say the dried ones really expire–or lose flavor in about 6 months to a year. I had a lot that were older than that. We also found 5 bottles of peppercorns and 3 of red pepper flakes, so I think we are good on those for awhile. The cabinet looks great. I now need to replenish a few things like baking powder and baking soda that were old, but for the most part I am good to go. After all the cleaning and reorganizing, we also did quite a bit of cooking.
The temperature finally hit 32 by noon and the melting began. The roads are almost clear in my neighborhood with still some wet spots that have now refrozen. Reports from neighbors say to beware of black ice, but I am hoping by tomorrow morning we should have clear sailing. Arkansas has now made the national news two days in a row for bad weather! The National Guard was called in for NE Arkansas with many stranded motorists.
While the roads are clearing, the yards are still pretty covered in ice and/or snow depending on where you are. Look at these daffodils from Mt. Home They are actually in better shape than many down here. Since they were still fairly short and not blooming they will have taken this weather just fine. Mine were about the same so should be in good shape, but many were in full bloom and have been plastered to the ground now for two days. Some may bounce back, while others may stay bent over–time will tell. South Arkansas did not have as much weather, so I am hoping the Camden daffodils are in good shape for this weekends daffodil festival. I plan to pop in on my drive from Mena to El Dorado on Friday.
It is back to the office tomorrow. No more playing around at home.
Well it happened! We got over an inch of ice/sleet. Today it was 16 when I got up and it only got to 25 in my yard, and officially 27. It was a record low high for this date and tomorrow morning is supposed to be even worse.
I spent the day inside piddling. I did email and a little writing, but basically I felt like I was playing hookey. I cooked, cleaned and watched the food network. It was kind of nice. I walked only a few feet outside the house, but I can already see damage. The camellia japonica had quite a few open blooms and many more showing color. They are brown. The daffodils at my neighbors were in full bloom and are now laying on the ground. I hope the Camden daffodils were not affected since their festival is this weekend.
I am glad I had not pruned any damage off. The loropetalum has burned tips and some of the taller branches are leaning a bit. I have not pruned roses yet, but I know many people had pruned theirs and are now worried. Everyone needs to wait and see what happens. While we normally recommend pruning by late February this is such a late spring and now even later and probably more setbacks.
Let’s hope this is the last of the winter weather, but even the national news is calling this the winter that will never end, so who knows.