Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool?

I've never been terribly creative with developing my own April Fool's jokes.  I did see a cute one today on Renee's Garden Seeds  I won't ruin the fun except to say, "Wish!"

What's happening in our Illinois April from Jeff Lampe:

Flying squirrels, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, beavers, woodchucks, skunks, raccoons and moles have babies.  In the bird world:  wood ducks, Canada geese and doves lay eggs.  Other animals and birds are getting "in the mood":  American toads, wild turkeys, snipe, and prairie chickens.

Fishermen delight:  Carp, large mouth bass, white bass, walleye and muskellunge spawn.

Nature happenings:  Bats end hibernation, whitetail bucks grow antlers, and frogs call.  House wrens, swallows, ospreys, warblers, shorebirds and horned larks should be arriving our area.  We've had a large (and unusual for us) flock of red winged blackbirds roosting in our trees for several weeks. 

Speaking of courting/breeding - we have a male American Cardinal who's fighting for territory and showing his significant other whose the best mate.  Trouble is, it's his own image.  We've had a project in the garage and been parking the car outside.  Papa cardinal is sure that pretty fellow in the rear view mirror is his competition.

 My flowers are typically about a half a month later than town folks or even gardens an hour to our south.  This year, things are almost a month ahead of time.  The pretty little blue and white scillas have been blooming for over a week.  Expect to see Bloodroot and Dutchman's Britches blooming. 

A few weather facts from Anthony Peoples, meteorologist at WQAD:  
Record snow:  1997 with 13.3 inches (ouch!)
Record warmth:  1986 with 93 degrees (pant!)
Record cold:  1982 at 7 degrees (shiver!)
Record rain:  1973 with 11.3 inches (splash!)

Itching to be outside?  Good time to divide perennials (NOTspring blooming bulbs).  If you use chemicals:  Fertilize perennial beds, apply crabgrass prevention, and apply Preen to garden.  Cut down ornamental grasses, plant grass seed where it can touch the soil, fertilize trees and prune Rose of Sharon (blooms on new wood).  Remove mulch from roses and add new.  Uncover your roses if they have started to sprout but be ready to cover if weather turns too cold.  Fertilize roses (some use 3 in 1 fertilizer, fungus and insect control), heavily prune those that bloom on new growth.  Cut down ONLY those clematis that bloom on new growth. 

It's always a Spring time guess whether we are cleaning our flower beds too early.  Most perennials and bulbs will survive Spring freezing temperature.  A hard freezing rain/ice may damage buds beyond blooming for the year.  You may be able to scoot out and cover perennials prior to this ice but seldom can we effectively protect spring blooming trees and bushes.

April is a time to set aside a little bit of time (or a lot if your able) to simply enjoy all that's new in Spring.  Even if the nights get cold, the afternoon sun can be a great place to rest between jobs and be thankful for earth's renewal and beauty.  Give a little thought to those that are suffering the horrible effects of Japan's earthquake - perhaps a prayer.
“Much is required from those to whom much is given.”  - Luke 12:48

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