Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:00 am

Ed, I think you should stay bundled up. That's awful that you have to up at night. It is so much colder here at night. When I have to let the dog in or out I catch the air and it is so freezing. But it has been in the high 40s when I walk the dog and I still wear a big insulated coat I bought from Lands' End last winter. Today I read that the warm spell is supposed to end today with the possibility of snow.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:03 am

It's supppsed to Warm up again on Wednesday.

Today: A chance of snow showers, mainly before 4pm. Cloudy, with a high near 36. North wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. North wind between 9 and 14 mph.

Sunday: A slight chance of snow showers after 1pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 28. Northwest wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. West wind between 6 and 13 mph.

Monday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 37. West wind between 7 and 14 mph.

Monday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 24.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 40.

Tuesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 24.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44.

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 27.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 45.

Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29.

Friday: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Chance of precipitation is 30%.


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:15 am

What was I talking about! In my first post I had the sunset time a whole hour wrong for December. In December it set at 4:50!

Vera, I live 46 miles north of Manhattan. It is still somewhat country with cows and farms but there has been so much growth from when I moved up here in 1985. New houses. I am treated like an old-timer in the shops and by service people. The new house moms pick their kids up at school in high heels and makeup.

When I first moved up here there were about 3 intrepid commuters who took the diesel train into Manhattan for a 2 hour trip. Now the electric train gets there in 1 1/2 hours and there are more than a hundred commuters. When I need to get to the city I drive. Without traffic it talkes just under 1 1/2 hours.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:26 am

Alright! Let's try to get this right! From today's paper (Saturday):

Sunrise: 6:56
Sunset: 5:25

It is slightly snowing outside. You can hardly see it. Too cold to go our with the dog today. High 39 (not awful. Someone with more stamina would go out today).

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:51 pm

^

The inevitable has happened and I'm coming down with a cold. This is really very annoying because I have six days leave from Tuesday and I'd hoped to complete the opus magnum. The last thing I need at this stage is a bad cold.

Two of the four gateline staff at Aldgate have already booked off sick. Anwar appears to have winter vomiting sickness, while Basil (mysteriously) has been hiccuping for two days straight:

- Train to Victoria? (hic). Platform One (hic) Nine Minutes (hic).

The Accident & Emergency Dept. at the Royal London Hospital has prescribed tablets which make it dangerous to drive or operate machinery. They cause drowsiness too- but that would be nothing unusual as far as Basil is concerned.

Management, naturally, are highly displeased. Perhaps I should book off sick too? That would really set the cat amongst the pigeons.


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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:07 pm

Sunrise: 6.30
Sunset: 7.30

It's noon right now, and the temperature is 37 celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).
The peculiar thing is that it was FOGGY this morning. Very strange.

Constance, there were two days last week where I didn't walk the dog at 6.30pm because it was just tooo hot.
Eddie...I hope the cold is a minor one.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Guest on Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:13 pm

Shreddie Mercury wrote:
blue moon wrote:
Paladin wrote:No, we don't walk on our sides...we walk on THE side...OF THE ROAD, where the sidewalks are
...ahh. Thanks for the clarification paladin.
...so is a sidewinder an old-fashioned watch?



(a sidewinder is also a snake...I know)

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:45 am

Digested read: Gardening at Longmeadow by Monty Don

John Crace

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 18 March 2012 17.59 GMT


All-weather guy ? Monty Don. Illustration: Matt Blease

I first saw this garden on a dank autumnal day in 1991. It was piled high with rubble and weeds, and there was nothing to suggest that one day it would be filled with lustily growing plants, or that two million women from the shires would tune in to Gardeners' World each Friday to swoon at me running my fingers, scored with decades of Herefordshire loam, through my tangled, wayward curls.


Gardening at Longmeadow
by Monty Don

Every year, I have an almost tangible sense of renewal in January. I can feel the light seeping back into the Jewel Garden as the snowdrops emerge and the days stretch out, longer minute by minute. But generally speaking, there's sod all going on, so I'll fill up the chapter with some stuff about cavolo nero and leeks.

February is my favourite month of the year and, if I listen carefully when I wake, I can hear the faint chattering of birds that heralds the first sounds of spring. On some days, I even like to sit outside and lean against a tree moodily while my photograph is taken. But beware! February can still be very cold, and it's vital to keep your tenderest plants well-wrapped in their fleeces. Otherwise, there's still next to nothing going on, but I can do a bit of digging if I'm bored.

As I get older, March has become my favourite month as there is a real sense of vibrant growth in the air. The stigmata on the trees are beginning to heal from their annual pruning – a necessary task that causes me far more pain than them – and I can start planting my cheerful bedding in the greenhouse. It's also the time of year when my favourite flower of all appears: the gentle primrose, a plant as common and as humble as myself.

On reflection, April is my favourite month. It is a time of intense activity, and I feel possessed by the garden. The longer evenings, warmed by the first genuine heat of the sun, are an ideal time to get my Jewel Garden, Coppice, Courtyard, Soft Fruit Garden, Walled Garden, Vegetable Garden and Writing Garden in order. Not to mention give the cricket pitch its first mow of the year. I guess some of you won't be quite so busy.

There can be no more jubilant time in the calendar than May. Everything is bursting with life. Alliums, aquilegias ... I could go on through the plant alphabet. So I will. June and July are also months of intense joy, months that answer the questions that the rest of the year poses. Not least: "What shall I do with all the creepy-crawlies that are eating all my plants?" I cannot condone killing aphids. They have as much right to life as any of us. Much better to join them in group therapy and work out a way we can share all the bounties nature has to offer.

I have come to appreciate August and September for their subtlety. Many gardeners think there is not much going on at these times, but a closer relationship with your lawn and a chance to smell the wild comfrey can be far more rewarding than a fortnight in your villa in Tuscany. Which is why I haven't taken a summer holiday for years.

October, November and December used to fill me with dread. I could physically feel the closing-in of winter, a sense of impending horticultural anti-matter, but since I've been on Gardeners' World, I've realised that things aren't so bleak and that it's never quite as dark outside as you think it is if you get the garden lighting right. And there's lots to do, like picking the rotten apples off the ground and sweeping up leaves. Best of all, it's a time to think ahead, to plan what I'm going to do with all the cash I've made from people buying this book as a Christmas present.

Digested read, digested: Quietly flows the Don.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  felix on Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:11 am

^ Oh dear! Sad Crace not a Monty fan, then? confused Sleep Oh dear oh lor oh dear Shocked cat

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Post  Doc Watson on Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:51 pm

It is autumn here and spring and summer vegetables are finishing up.

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Constance on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:01 pm

March 20. Today is the first day of spring. Vernal Equinox. The sun rises and sets here at 7. We took Ginseng to the groomer to have her winter coat taken off and now she looks great. I have two flowering shrubs in my front yard that are in bloom--purple flowers--but the deer ate the flowers off one. We see the deer outside in the misty morning about 6:30.


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Post  Constance on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:04 pm

Today is the day you can make an egg stand up straight. I might do it this afternoon with Julia. One year I took pictures and posted them at expectingrain. If I remember how to post a picture I will.

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Post  eddie on Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:45 am

Spring begins with Botticelli

How do you paint spring – and did Botticelli do it best?

Jonathan Jones

guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 March 2012 18.11 GMT


La Primavera (ca 1482), by Sandro Botticelli. Photograph: George Tatge/Alinari Archives/Corbis

Titles of old paintings tend to be modern inventions, coined by galleries or popular culture. Hans Holbein did not call his picture of two French Renaissance gents The Ambassadors. But very early in its history, Sandro Botticelli's depiction of the goddess Venus, raising her hand in blessing over a gathering of mythological followers, acquired the name it bears today: La Primavera. It's a lovely word, the Italian for spring – and there's a good chance this is what Botticelli called it when he first unveiled it to the Medicis in 1481.

I have to confess a bias when it comes to this painting: my daughter is named after it. And why not? It was a proper girl's name in Renaissance Italy, meaning rebirth, youth, beauty, life, everything Botticelli's spring is about.

It is also the perfect painting to herald the start of spring. Over the next few weeks, I will be choosing an artwork a day to celebrate the season on the Guardian's art and design site, beginning with Botticelli. There will be images of violence as well as joy: traditionally, armies fought their campaigns in the spring, so battle paintings tend to be set in May and June. And there will be Jeff Koons: all the floral silliness of spring is celebrated in his giant Puppy, sculpted from topiary and flowers.

Who does the season best? Monet and the impressionists captured spring's effervescent changes acutely. Van Gogh's paintings of fruit trees in blossom contain a desperate passion that is pure Vincent. William Blake, too, earns a place, for his picture of Chaucer's pilgrims heading out on a spring day, when April's sweet showers have ended the drought of March.

Botticelli's Primavera was one of the first large-scale European paintings to tell a story that was not Christian, replacing the agony of Easter with a pagan rite. The very idea of art as a pleasure, and not a sermon, began in this meadow. The painting teems with life: the myriad shades of the flowers in the dark grass have been analysed by botanists, who identified 200 accurately depicted plants. Blue-skinned Zephyrus, spirit of the wind, chases Chloris, who transforms into Flora in her flowering dress, while the Three Graces dance, Mercury waves a wand and Cupid gets ready to fire an arrow.

The goddess of love stands at the centre, crowned by radiating foliage against the blue sky. This is the season of Venus, when flowers bud and birds sing. In the world Botticelli inhabited, everyone lived close to nature whether they wanted to or not and the season of natural renewal was seen as a time for lovers and courtship. In Florence, young men cut down flowering boughs and pinned them to the doors of women they loved. (Botticelli's friend Poliziano even wrote a Renaissance pop song about spring lovers: "Welcome spring/ Which wants a guy to fall in love/ And you, girls/ Come to the fresh cool shade/ Of the green growing trees.")

The miracle of Botticelli's painting is that it translates all this life-renewing joy into colours and figures. The cool shade of the green trees sets off pale limbs, blond hair, gauzes and bright robes gliding over the carpet of flowers. The season is at once warmed by the sun and cooled by breezes. It is an image of life unstoppable.

Spring has since become a very self-conscious part of European culture, a great cliche of rebirth for modernists to mock. TS Eliot shuddered at spring in The Waste Land ("April is the cruellest month") and Stravinsky shocked ballet audiences with his Rite of Spring. In the end, perhaps the most remarkable thing about Botticelli's painting is its power to transcend cliche, all the pretty daffodils and the sentimentality, remaining remote, powerful and pagan. Watch out: Venus is rising.

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Post  Constance on Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:53 pm

Elisabeth tells me that TODAY the 21st is the Vernal Equinox, not yesterday. But yesterday was the first day of
Spring? Anyway, today should be egg-balancing day, if anyone wants to try it.

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Post  Guest on Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:07 am

It is officially spring here too...

...but this is what we have:



^and that's one of the two sparrows that lives in my balcony

here it is on the roof of his house:


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Post  Constance on Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:14 pm

Enjoyed the pictures. The birds look cold, brrrrr. So you have snow? The warmth today is supposed to be record-breaking, as high as 80. Very unseasonable. Julia has been wearing shorts to school every day this week.

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Post  eddie on Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:33 am

Spring sunshine here in London this week. No better remedy for the winter blues.

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Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:51 am

^^

Yes, hoorah.

Hey Vera, love your little sparrow, I see it's a male. Is the other one female?

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 23, 2012 1:53 am

How do you tell if one is male or female?

The other looks slimmer

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Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:29 am



This should give you an idea, The female is not quite as colourful and doesn't have the dark bits around the face. Hope you have a pair, you may get some chicks?

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:24 am

I'll pay attention to those details...
if they were planning to get chicks that would be lovely cat

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:01 am

Well the main nesting season is April -August so not long to wait.

They have that lovely little nesting box so I wouldn't be suprised.

Apparently pairs stay together for life (that's nice), however if a partner dies they usually hitch up with another within days Very Happy

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:04 pm


Steve Bell

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Re: Spring in the air! Time to think about the garden.

Post  eddie on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:00 am

Natural talent: Claude Monet's Le Printemps

Jonathan Jones is taking us through his favourite seasonal artworks. Today it's the turn of Monet, with an 1886 study of sitters amid greenery that prefigures the poetic reverie of the water lily paintings

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 March 2012 10.00 BST



No one has ever absorbed the light of nature so ecstatically and released it back on to canvas in such an expressive way as Monet. The genius of impressionism seems to have been possessed by the seasonal goddess Flora herself in this scintillating explosion of the chromatic joy of spring. The garden is his own, at Giverny, and here you can already see him enjoying the kind of heightened, poetic reverie that was to lead him to the abstract light, darkened with memories, of his water lily paintings

Photographer: Andrew Norman/The Fitzwilliam Museum

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Post  eddie on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:04 am

Route masters: William Blake's Chaucers Canterbury Pilgrims

Spring has sprung, and Jonathan Jones is choosing his favourite artworks that depict the new season. Today it's the turn of William Blake's famed engraving of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales crew

guardian.co.uk, Monday 26 March 2012 13.55 BST



'Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote / The droghte of March hath perced to the roote ...' The first lines of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales make this 14th-century cycle of travellers’ tales a poem of spring. When the world comes alive, folk long to go on pilgrimages. In William Blake’s Romantic portrayal, the pilgrims, who have all met at the Tabard inn in Southwark, ride out into the countryside, each one of them acutely characterised by Chaucer. Blake makes it a serious moment for such a funny book

Photographer: Public Domain

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