First Coltsfoot of 2019
Saw these coltsfoot peeking through last fall’s leaves two days ago – a definite harbinger if spring arriving in NS. These were in a friend’s yard; no sign of any in their spot under the trees near my building. Next sign – forsythia in bloom – likely not for another 10 days.
Two nights ago my friend Marlene’s night blooming cereus was blooming again. It’s quite a spectacular site – the flower begins its display around eight in the evening, slowly opens over a couple of hours, around midnight it develops a wafting scent (to attracts the bats that pollinate the flower), by three in the morning it has begun to fade, and it’s finished blooming around dawn.
Night Blooming Cereus
I took this photo around 9:30. The flower isn’t fully open; the outer petals will expand further creating a flat disc around the cupping petals. But you can see the glory of the bloom even at this stage.
Here is a photo of the first time this cactus bloomed (I don’t have the exact year mid to late 1980s, likely) – just before it was fully open around midnight.
Orchid Cactus – Original
We spent that evening in the garden, sipping wine, watching the flower open. No bats, sadly, to pollinate it. I had enlargements of the photo printed to commemorate the occasion. I still have the print hanging in my home.
Today: I added a medium weight woven fusible interfacing (which doesn’t seem to have “fused” – oh well – I’ve stitched it at the edge and around the “finished” image lines), I finished stitching the water, added some darker thread strategically to the headland to give it more depth, did a bit of sewing in the sky, just enough to bring out some clouds.
On Deck 2
Now I need to plan out the windows (the decking is there – I’ll make it more plank-like with permanent markers and stitching with dark thread). The windows I have to think about, so that’s for tomorrow – I need to let that next step percolate and see what ideas emerge in the morning.
Yesterday I visited my friend Marlene – her Oriental Poppies were in glorious bloom (it hasn’t rained here for a few days although it’s raining today so I imagine I caught the flowers at just the right moment).
The petals just glowed! Simply wonderful. There are lots of buds still to open so she should have more flowers after today’s rain has knocked the petals off the present ones.
I tried, unsuccessfully, to grow oriental poppies both in the garden beds and in my container garden at the townhouse, not enough direct sunshine. I never got much of anything. Marlene’s have been growing in that same location at the front of her house forever – close to 50 years, I’d guess.
I’ve given up gardening altogether (except for a few phalaenopsis and an occasional amaryllis indoors) – my balcony faces north-east – right now I’m getting the sunrise coming in my living room windows and on my deck but the sun’s completely moved on by 10:00am – not enough direct sun for anything other than geraniums. I wanted to grow hibiscus – I brought two potted hibiscus with me when I moved into the apartment, but once on the balcony I stopped getting flowers – just not enough sunlight.
Yesterday it was gloriously sunny and the coltsfoot near the building just glowed. I forgot to photograph them – caught them today (which is overcast) so the flowers aren’t so bright.
Harbinger Of The New Season
I saw forsythia in bloom yesterday as well – I imagine the first flowers actually appeared just after the middle of April but I just didn’t notice the new vegetation – but there they were yesterday, May 5 – in all their glory.
They’re shouting – “It’s Spring in Nova Scotia!” They make me feel like singing.
I saw coltsfoot on May 2 in 2015, last year I first noticed some April 15 2017. There’s no doubt the season is advancing each year – the fact that I didn’t notice the first flowers (besides the crocus in gardens which is earliest of all) is because we don’t have flower gardens here at the apartment building unlike at my townhouse where we had garden beds everywhere so we gardeners were primed to be poking around for signs of spring life!
I got back to quilting the quilt today – filling in the designs where I inadvertently left spaces that were just a bit too big. I’ve just finished creating three new embroideries so I can fill in some smaller spaces – tomorrow, I hope to get to those. Then the quilting of the border. Once I establish the size for the embroidery for the sides and top/bottom that will go quickly using an endless hoop which allows me to embroider and just move the fabric along. And binding – a couple of hours and that will be done.
Well, I’m going to have at least one flower (maybe even two or three) on this stalk. A couple of the flower buds look like they might poop out but for sure, this one is going to open fully.
Amaryllis Stalk #3
I’ve never had three stalks on an amaryllis before. This one has certainly been special.
Oh, and the snow is all gone. Melted away this past weekend with rain and mild temperatures. That doesn’t mean we won’t have another storm before the end of April, but if there should be snow, it won’t last long!
I even noticed buds on the trees this morning while I was out and about.
A couple of weeks ago my physiotherapist handed me a Northcott charm pack with blue/turquoise fabrics – forty-two 5″ squares in 10 different coordinating colours. Not enough to make a quilt on it’s own. I went through my stash pulling out blues and turquoise fat quarters, half-yards, and scraps to cut another forty 5″ squares which would get me closer to what I’d need for a good-sized lap quilt. This quilt isn’t for me – she wants it to use in her new house.
Charm Pack with Quilt Backing Fabric
I thought about a lot of possibilities – finally decided to do a disappearing 9-patch. I didn’t want to invest a huge amount of time executing fine detail – setting up a 9-patch didn’t take long, cutting the blocks into quarters went quickly, arranging the resulting blocks is now my challenge. Because I didn’t think the blues/turquoises had enough life, I decided to use a golden yellow (with hints of blue) as an accent colour. I placed the yellow blocks at the centre of the 9-patch so they were all cut into quarters when I spliced the 9-patch blocks. Here is my current layout:
Disappearing 9-Patch using Charm Pack
Not big enough for a good size lap quilt – so far just a 5×7 array. The question I’m deliberating right now is whether to extend the quilt with a narrow border in light blue along with a wide dark border (I actually bought a second charm pack, in case I didn’t have enough for the quilt center – I could use the charm pack squares to piece an intermediate 2.5″ border then finish with a wider dark border). Or, I could add sashing between blocks/rows and space out these elements – but what colour to use for sashing?
I have to keep thinking about this – not sure what to do, yet.
Oh, and I came across some appropriate backing fabric for half-price so I picked it up.
As I was leaving the physiotherapist’s office Tuesday, I noticed the additions to the tree in her yard. I think there’s a pottery studio in the garage – used by the previous owner – these faces bits of the potter’s work (top face missing it’s left eye).
Amaryllis 2 2018
I got a second amaryllis for Christmas – so far the first stalk has completely bloomed. There’s a second stalk well on the way and I think I’m seeing a possible third stalk peeking out….
Amaryllis 2 2018
Crazy weather – it snowed last night, then turned to rain, then the temperature dropped well below freezing leaving black ice patches. I haven’t been out yet today, but just about to venture forth.
Here is the Amaryllis for this year (2017) – now fully in bloom (with a fifth flower still to come, it looks like). I picked up this bulb mid-November at the Superstore where I do most of my grocery shopping. I decided on a pale one for a change (I have mostly bought red ones). I love watching the flower stalk appear and grow so quickly and then the flowers begin opening – one by one.
No second flower stalk from this bulb, it seems. Oh well, this one has lovely, happy blooms. I’ll enjoy them for the next week before they begin fading and then out it will go. I’ve never had any luck getting flowers for a second year.
And then I opened my Christmas bag of stuff from a friend yesterday and guess what – another amaryllis – this one a red/white blend. I can see the stalk already peeping out just the tiniest bit – another thing to look forward to.
OK, so I was wrong. Last year the coltsfoot didn’t appear, at least I didn’t see any, until April 27. On the way back from Peggy’s Cove, I saw a small stretch of coltsfoot along the highway. Must have been a spot sheltered from the wind and the ground had warmed enough to encourage the growth.
I saw a lone coltsfoot flower near the fence in my former neighbour’s back yard area this afternoon.
The crocuses I planted 20 years ago were peeking through the dead hosta debris – also much earlier than last year.
So I guess you could say it’s spring in Nova Scotia after all.
I’ve heard nothing but griping about winter for the past week. I’m not among the gripers. That’s because I’ve been keeping records for 30+ years on the first appearance of Forsythia and Coltsfoot in Halifax.
We’re still in the grips of winter – two snow storms in the past ten days. Strong winds, freezing rain. I understand that the time has changed and the calendar has passed March 21 but guess what — we can expect at least another month of “winter” here!
First Coltsfoot – April 27 2016
When I started keeping track more than 30 years ago, the first Forsythia – those bright yellow shrub flowers, the first we see in spring in Halifax didn’t show up until close to the 20 of May – the earliest I recorded Forsythia up to 1992 was May 16. From 1997 to last year that date slowly shifted – from May 12 to around May 2. In 2015 I recorded some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on May 2. Last year I actually saw some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on April 27. That’s still a month to go.
First Dandelions – May 31 2016
We can’t expect to see Dandelions in bloom until around May 24 in Nova Scotia.
So there’s no point in griping – enjoy what sunshine we’re getting. Be sure to put on a warm jacket. The calendar may say “spring” but Spring won’t arrive in Nova Scotia until the very END of April – even with the changing climate.
My amaryllis last year was a serious disappointment – one flower stalk which began fading before it was full opened. I look forward to a couple of weeks pleasure from this one (2016) – two sturdy stalks, each with four blooms. A bit of spring in the midst of winter!