Just in time, I got the debris cleared off the asparagus bed today. See the new white shoot just breaking the soil in the center of the picture? If I'd waited another two weeks, I'd have broken this shoot and others off as I snipped away at the mass of brown asparagus ferns, delaying our first freshness of the new year. Mrs. ProfessorRoush likes her asparagus carried straight in from the garden, sprinkled with oil and Parmesan cheese, and then broiled. I like it however she wants to fix it, that first taste of soil and spring.
It has been too cold, at least on the weekends when I've been free, to do much of the spring work in my garden, and yet today it simply got too hot. The local weather app tells me that it is 92ºF here at 5:00 on Sunday afternoon and ProfessorRoush is not yet conditioned to working in heat, so I lasted about half a day in the garden. I cleared the asparagus bed, replanted the strawberry bed, put some gladiolus bulbs down, and moved a half dozen fragrant sweet pea plants from their cozy inside surroundings to the cruel world. I was just starting to cut down some ornamental grasses when the warmth and a rising wind forced me back indoors. The rest of the week is cooler, thankfully, back to springtime instead of summer. On the plus side, the temperatures for the next 10 days range from highs of 53º to 73º and lows from 57º to 37º, so hopefully, this 'Jane' Magnolia flower, just opening up today, won't get damaged and the rest of the 8' shrub should bloom without a hassle.
Since I've shown you 'Jane', I should give you a followup on my poor Magnolia stellata, bouncing back from the 20º arctic blast of last week. Yes, the crinkled brown blooms distract from the newer perfect blush-white petals, but there are enough of the latter to waft the damp musky scent around its vicinity. The fragrances of these two Magnolias are quite different, 'Star' gifting me with the scent of Mesozoic swamp, a deep and thick odor that is not quite sweet but not unpleasant, and 'Jane' emitting a light and definitely sweet fragrance with just the slightest hint of cinnamon. Of the two, I'm drawn more to earthy 'Star', for some reason that likely rests in my animal brain more than my intellect. 'Jane' is just too....sweet....to entice me for another sniff. 'Star' says "hey there, Sailor, wanna sit on the sofa and mess around?", while 'Jane' says "I think I'd like to go get some ice cream tonight."
I was excited today to see that the Martin scouts have returned! This year, I have been ashamed to say, I never even took down the houses for winter, but now I'm glad they are already up, two weeks before the April 1st date that I usually bring them out of the barn.