Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Signs of Spring at long last!

After days of snow, rain and freezing temperatures we were treated to a little spring weather yesterday. 

Would the old gardener, who used to live up the street, be pleased to know that the snowdrops he first planted more than ten years ago come back in greater numbers each spring? 

I think he would.

The blue scilla that he planted alongside the snowdrops are blooming to 
the delight of the bees.

Sunny yellow Winter Aconite or Eranthis hyemalis dot the lawn of what was his front garden.

In my own garden, the snowdrops are much more humble in number. 

Planted just last fall, these Galanthus elwesii are larger than common snowdrops and have two leaves that wrap around the stem of each bloom stock. The markings on the flowers are also slightly different from the snowdrops in the opening pictures.

In late fall, we constructed a temporary cold frame that snaps into place overtop of my raised herb garden. 

The sides of the cold frame fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. They can be removed in spring and the raised planting bed easily restored.

To save money and because the wood of the cold frame was above ground level, we used cheap pine boards for the construction of the cold frame. 

In a mad rush last fall, we fashioned a cover for the cold frame using a sheet of clear plastic and some old windows that a neighbour kindly lent us for the winter. As luck would have it, the four old windows fit together perfectly to cover the frame.

The simple cold frame has opened up many new possibilities. 

For instance, in the past years the tiny plants that cover the shallow surface of my birdbath container plantings (see lower left) would have perished in winter's wild mood swings. Each spring, I have had to replace the plants with new ones.

This year, I have had the luxury of being able to store the tops to the two birdbaths inside the relative warmth of the cold frame. As you can see, they have come through this long, drawn out winter just fine and are even springing back to life.

The cold frame has also made it possible to easily start seeds for the first time. 

To mark my seedings I have seen using a combination of plain old coffee stir sticks and little decorative flower plant markers I made myself.

I picked up a box of wooden craft shapes ($3) and used outdoor glue to attach them to the wooden stir sticks ($1). 

I lightly drew a circle in the centre of each flower shape with pencil. 

Then, around the circumference of each flower centre and down the stir-stick-stem I wrote the plant name with a fine permanent marker. Finally, I erased the pencil line guide. 

Violá, cute little plant markers!


  1. So much prettiness! The last snow is just melting away in my garden, everything looks pretty boring to tell the truth. :-)

  2. Love your plant labels, very pretty and much better than using cut up margerine tubs! So glad your bees have arrived and found your beautiful scillas, ours have arrived too, they are buzzing everywhere at last.

  3. All of your flowers are just beautiful and I love your plant markers...so creative and cute!! Is the picture of the garden actually your garden? It is just breathtaking...LOVE it!

    1. Hi Christy, The picture with the garden hose is the pea gravel pathway that leads to the main part of the back garden.

  4. I love your plant markers! So clever and so cute. What a delight it is to see the photos of the bees--it's spring here, too, but I still haven't seen any bees. They're probably hiding out with their umbrellas somewhere:) Thanks for linking back to the previous story on the old gardener; I don't think I had read that post. It's nice to see his legacy is still carrying on in the snowdrops and scilla.

  5. I've also been enjoying the crocus, snowdrops, and squill. Don't have winter aconite, though. Very cheerful!

  6. You're a bit ahead of us, but we are expecting a little bit of warmth over the next couple of days, so hopefully....
    You photographs, as always, are beautiful, Jennifer.

  7. Happy Spring! Amazingly enough some of my plants make it through the winter, despite being on an urban balcony. You'd think the winter dust would choke them if the cold didn't. It's magic walking the dog and seeing the little green nubs and earliest bulbs (like your lovely snowdrops) starting to poke through the dirt. Another summer ahead when I will garden vicariously through you and your sister-gardening-bloggers! Now get digging!

  8. I love the plant markers and the pictures of your flowers are fantastic...Happy Spring! I have not seen pollinators yet but I bet they have been around. I love the cold frame too!!!

  9. Love your little plant markers! They are so cute! And I love the pictures of the bees on the little blooms. I bet they are happy that spring is finally showing itself, too. Somehow I missed your post about the old gardener, so I had to go back and read it. It reminded me of my great-grandmother's garden. Even though she's been gone since 1980, and no one there to take care of her garden, all of her bulbs and many of her flowers still continue to bloom and live on.

  10. Oh my!!!! Your plant markers are out of this world awesome!!! How perfect are these! And your cold frame rocks! Your garden is a dream to me! I mean Gosh...it is just such a piece of heaven on Earth! So with I was closer so I could walk through and take it all in!!! Cheers friend! Great post and so glad you are getting some nice weather...I think we are all ready for the warmer days!

  11. It looks so vernal there! we have rain today, so let's hope the rest of the snow will melt... Lovely flowers and pictures of them, Jennifer!

  12. So lovely with all the spring bulbs. I also have lots of snowdrops, eranthis and crocus. Nice to see a bee buzzing. I´m sure they are longing for flowers too.

  13. Love seeing all the bees on your blooms! Such a hopeful sign. Your plant markers are fabulous! Your cold frame is brilliant. We have been thinking about adding some to our raised beds but have yet to do it. Maybe this winter. Happy Spring!

  14. I am so impressed with those adorable plant markers. You should sell them. And what amazing photos of the bees in the flowers! The little guy going for the blue scilla is the winner.

  15. So many things in this post to comment about - the neighbour's yard (we've all had one that inspires us), the cold frame (which you've inspired me to make) and your cute flower markers (which make me want to get out the glue gun).

    And the shots of your garden.....oh my! it is stunning!!

  16. It is so welcome!! I am certainly ready for the blooms to come on. Your Snowdrops are just so pretty and dainty looking. I do not know why I have never planted any. Back to the list. LOL!

  17. Oh what a beautiful set of pics, I especially love the ones of the bee.

    Your markers are sooo cute! Here's to spring, better late than never.xxxxx

  18. The idea of the plantlabels is so pretty! Beautiful snowdrop pictures too.
    Wish you a happy spring gardening.

  19. Love the snowdrops in the Header, Jennifer. Do you have bees already? I have seen flies and wasps - no bees yet.
    Love the cold frame. Am growing some perennials form seed but they are still in the basement. Time to set up my little plastic cold frame soon!
    Thanks for the fabulous photos.

  20. How great to see gardens are coming to life again all over the world! How I would love a raised bed with cold frame like you're describing here. I always wanted a raised bed (or two;)) but now I think I want a raised bed with cold frame. Great for some early sowing and for keeping plants over winter. I absolutely LOVE your DIY plant markers!!! I will have to look for some of those wooden shape thingies. Don't know where I will find something like that over here. Thanks for sharing this fun and beautiful idea!

  21. I really enjoyed your snowdrops because mine are gone. I have been thinking of building a cold frame to house winter salad greens. My kale and arugula overwintered outside even though it was so cold.

  22. Lovely to see the flowers. Envy the cold frame !

  23. Jennifer, you're very creative, I love your flowers markers!
    The blue scilla is beautiful, great shot with bee!

  24. Jennifer. Thanks for visiting my blog. What a delightful set of spring pictures. Your photography skills really show, super shots of the bee.
    I have a new cold frame this year not as large as yours but it certainly made a difference. Great idea for plant labels!

  25. The moment you have been waiting for - goodbye snow hello sun. Great that you put the cold frame to such good use. Your spring flowers are delightful.

  26. Jennifer girl I think we share the same type of snow drops and same numbers of them ? LOL .. wow ! you are so prepared with that cold frame and all the markers etc .. I am still kicking myself for not getting my markers done when I planted all those hellebore .. BIG sigh!
    Maybe I will get some identified this Spring and finally have them named properly ? (the newer ones .. I know what yours is girl ! LOL)
    Joy ;-)

  27. I am glad you are starting to see the first blooms of spring, but I hope that white dust on your cold frame hasn't interfered too much.

  28. How nice for you to have the cold frame. Love those plant markers...very clever.
    I would think a previous owner would be thrilled to know that plants they planted years ago are returning in multitudes.


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