Another storm of the century! It seems that the weather folks get off on scaring the heck out of everybody with their forecasts. I think they get paid by the descriptive word. It was a big snowfall, no doubt but the high winds never materialized and we got towards the low end of predictions. Most important – no power outages. An inconvenience but not a disaster.

On the bright side the snow will act as an insulating blanket providing protection and then moisture to newly planted plants. Not that we are having drought conditions but this type of snow really replenishes the aquifers. Real benefits from the storm. Did anyone see the full moon? It was spectacular Saturday night with all the snow.

Late Summer perennials

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ combined with pink Aster


What will September bring? By most standards we have experienced a mild Summer. No drought and no extended periods of high temperatures. Gardens and lawns are very much appreciative and growth has continued uninterrupted. Asters, Helianthus, Jo Pye Weed, Crepe Myrtles and Toad Lilies – all blooming or coming into bloom as I write this. Proof that late Summer has plenty of color to offer gardeners. So far mother nature has cooperated by giving us timely rain. Remember though that plants can still use about an inch of water per week so don’t forget to water if the rains did not soak your neighborhood.

We are entering the window to work on our lawns here in late August. Depending on your lawns’ needs, that may be as simple as aeration and seeding or even a total restoration. If it’s the latter make sure to get your herbicide down now as the area being killed off will need a little recovery time before proceeding ahead with seeding.




I have a late season nesting of Wrens in a little ceramic house that hangs at the edge of my deck with the pond being just a few feet away. You can see the Wisteria that provides cover as the parents zoom in and out of their little house. It’s fun to watch and listen to them as they chatter away as the parents perform housecleaning and feeding chores. I don’t have any idea how many chicks there are but they are noisy when they are hungry. It sounds like a good healthy nest full. Here’s to successful fledging.


Winter magic 02

A little snow to add to the effect!

The big snow

The big snow


A frozen waterfall

It’s so easy to love having water in your yard. The enjoyment to be had by the constant run of critters to water (as I sit here writing this I hear a crack of ice and a splash and I look up and see a neighborhood cat dragging himself out of the water and up over the rocks and I assume home – a little cold and wet but none the worse for wear) that you have supplied for them, the beautiful fish you have in your pond and the changing of the seasons in the garden that is your pond. I see a lot of ponds that are shut down in Winter which is a shame as Winter provides some magical moments with the ever changing ice sculptures that appear and disappear in your pond as the day progresses. Snow is another element that adds come and go beauty to your pond. As long as water is moving in your pond it is safe for the fish as oxygen is exchanging and it is safe for the pond itself. Moving water keeps an open area in any ice thus relieving pressure against the sidewalls. This last part is important only if you have a pond that is based on a concrete foundation. Even the strongest reinforced concrete is no match for the force created as the surface of your pond freezes and exerts outward pressure. This is where having a pond heater comes in handy. I have a simple thermostatically controlled heater that is economical to run and simply heats the space around the heater itself just enough to leave a hole in the ice layer. I don’t even use mine unless there is a power outage and the surface starts to freeze. Then when the power is restored, I just drop it on top of the ice and within an hour or so it has melted its’ way through the ice leaving an opening. A wise $30 investment. In the Baltimore Washington metropolitan area we are just as likely to get a 50 degree day as there is to be ice. So when a thaw comes right after a series of 20 degree days and the ice melts and the Robins suddenly appear, you know Spring is on the way. Reality intrudes though with tomorrow’s forecast of 4-8 inches of snow. Ahh well, Spring will surely come!

Spring is coming!

Spring is coming!