It continues to be bizarrely mild here, as you can see from the nectarine blossoms. There are no bees around to pollinate it but luckily it doesn't need bees: it's self-fertile (no rude comments now). And speaking of bees, we've redoubled our watch on the Mason bee houses, because some of them look as though they've had some tunneling action going on. They are the first bee out in our yard. If you have a lot of fruit trees and shrubs I would definitely recommend getting yourself some Mason bee houses: they are solitary, mild-mannered and ferocious pollinators. Check out this website if you like persuasive statistics. And making a Mason bee house is the easiest thing in the world if you have some plywood and a table saw. Or a really clever Dremel.
Here is the peach tree, just starting its flowering season. This tree was sheltered by a couple of climbing roses, which seemed fine during the cold winter months but now, with spring starting, it's not so fine. I am pruning all the roses, as per this book, because I didn't last year and when I realized that I should have they were already branching out every which way, and it was too late already. This might sound odd, but pruning really goes against my grain. It just doesn't seem right to take perfectly good branches away from something. Then again, the last couple of years with lots of roses and a couple of old fruit trees (that have been heavily pollarded) have taught me that some things really DO do better with a good pruning. (it seems like there should be a really good joke there, doesn't it?)
The irises are done, the crocuses are just about over, and now the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are starting. It's all suddenly so YELLOW out there.
Oh, and wonder of wonders, remember me moaning on about my finicky fritillarias? Well, I eat my words, because looky what we have here. (do I sound like Yukon Cornelius yet?) Methinks I saw a fritillaria.
A pasque flower, soft and delicately purple. This is the miracle plant right now, because I yarded it up in the fall, intending to move it elsewhere, and I forgot all about it. So it sat, in a clump, under the rhododendron, until January when I was struck with horror by the sight of it sitting there so woefully. So I moved it over to where I had just planted some apothecary roses. I sat it on the dirt, in preparation for planting, and forgot all about it. Until today, when I noticed that it had suddenly bloomed. Despite my care. Poor pasque flower. Forgive me. I was not saving you for breakfast, I was planning on planting you. You are so sweet and so cold. (ack, stop it with the bad poetry allusions already!)
Some English primroses. Nice to see them undecimated by the slugs.
Finally, some Purple Sprouting Broccoli leaves. Gaze on them in all their unchewed glory. I've stuck them in the food processor with carrots, green onions, and mayo for a coleslaw; eaten them raw; and chopped them up in a stir-fry. All very good. We're not big on brassicas in this house but we all like these a lot.