A large frog rests on a bed of moss at one of my backyard ponds

Finally, it appears that Spring has sprung! The deciduous trees have a slight green tinge at the tops, and bulbs are up and blooming. The grass is greener. The birds are starting to build nests. The fish are moving around in my ponds. Yes, I think that Spring has arrived here in Northern Virginia!

Daffodils blooming profusely even with the harsh winter season

Daffodils blooming profusely even with the harsh winter season

Over the weekend, I saw a few frogs basking in the 70 degree sunshine. Below is the “master” frog who lives in one of my backyard ponds. It’s funny how the frogs just know that I’m not going to hurt them and watch me without moving. This one seemed to be oblivious to my presence as I was removing the pond mesh from the ponds.

A large frog rests on a bed of moss at one of my backyard ponds

A large frog rests on a bed of moss at one of my backyard ponds

If you have an outdoor pond, you might want to refer to my earlier posting about How to Ready a Pond for Spring.

It’s quite amazing how the landscape has “greened” in just the few days that we have experience warmer weather. My gorgeous deep pink Cherokee Brave dogwood which was moved from the shady backyard last Spring, is now in full bloom. It wasn’t getting enough sun under the tree canopy. Two other Cherokee Brave dogwoods will be moved in the next few weeks to the front yard where it’s far more sunny. They have no blooms this year in the shady backyard. Be careful when your garden center personnel tell you that an understory tree such as a dogwood will take “large canopy tree shade.” The understory tree may grow, but it might not flower without much sunlight.

A Cherokee Brave Dogwood blooms in my front property

A Cherokee Brave Dogwood blooms in my front property

And here’s a close-up of this gorgeous Cherokee Brave dogwood bloom!

My favorite dogwood has deep pink flowers -- the Cherokee Brave dogwood

My favorite dogwood has deep pink flowers — the Cherokee Brave dogwood

I just love surprises. Found this little violet that is happily growing in between the stones and bricks in one of my patios.

A little violet volunteer popped up in my patio

A little violet volunteer popped up in my patio

One of the first azaleas to bloom in my landscape is a lavender colored one. It’s also deciduous which means it loses its leaves in the winter. I always know that Spring has arrived when this azalea blooms.

My lavender-colored deciduous azalea is one of the first to bloom in my garden.  Luckily, I have five of them!!

My lavender-colored deciduous azalea is one of the first to bloom in my garden. Luckily, I have five of them!!

My front bed has been taken over by some lovely deep green vinca. The vinca has gorgeous lavender-colored flowers which offset its green leaves. The daffodils in my front bed are flowering well this year.

Daffodils and periwinkle vinca bloom in my front garden.  The spirea is coming along nicely with its chartreuse leaves.

Daffodils and periwinkle vinca bloom in my front garden. The spirea is coming along nicely with its chartreuse leaves.

One of my favorite woodsy ground covers is the may apple. The may apples have very large leaves that might appear as intimidating plants in the Alice in Wonderland story or other childhood fable. I love them. The may apples have large white blooms underneath their leaves on the stems. The flowers will fade into a green fruit that gives the may apple its name!

Mayapples are coming up in my fenced back yard.  They will have white flowers soon, and their apple-like fruit will set.

Mayapples are coming up in my fenced back yard. They will have white flowers soon, and their apple-like fruit will set.

Has Spring Sprung in your garden? Leave me a comment and let me know what’s blooming at your home.

Another view of the completed slate walk project from my second level deck.

Just completed my latest garden project: the Slate Walkway Project! Reused some slate pieces from a previous garden project that I removed recently. Built a nice walkway in an area that was a muddy mess! Voila!

The Slate Walkway and the extension of the Gravel Path.  The slate will be set in a bluestone dust base.

The Slate Walkway and the extension of the Gravel Path. The slate will be set in a bluestone dust base.

Take a look at the installation process on the Slate Walkway Project page underneath the Garden Projects tab.

And as always, leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

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This winter has been pretty harsh here in Virginia. We’ve had quite a bit of snow and cold weather which really isn’t normal for our area. I keep seeing small signs that Spring is coming soon. But Where IS Spring, Mother Nature???

This past week, we had temperatures ranging from a high of 70 degrees to a low of 20 degrees. I chose one of the warmer days to replace the pump in my front pond. The manufacturer, Tetra Pond, sent me a whole new pump and filter system when I’d asked for just a few connection pieces that had broken over the winter. Talk about great customer service!

The pump that I received is larger with a bit more power. That’s a good thing, considering my little waterfall is running at a much quicker pace now. However, that new pump required a trip to Home Depot to find slightly larger tubing to fit.

As I was replacing the pump, I woke up this little leopard frog that had been overwintering in the pond with three goldfish.

A little leopard frog in my front pond!

A little leopard frog in my front pond!

A couple of days later, the temperatures dropped to highs of 30 degrees and lows in the 20s with wind chills in the teens. And Mother Nature brought along some strong winds with the front that passed through.

Yesterday brought warmer temperatures and a special surprise! My crocuses were up and blooming. Based on my Gardening Journal entries from last year, we are about 2.5 weeks behind the 2013 growing season.

Pretty crocuses in bloom in my backyard.

Pretty crocuses in bloom in my backyard.

The backyard ponds are going gangbusters. The pumps were left on all winter, which allowed the birds to “bathe” in the waterfalls. I’ve found that leaving the pumps on during the winter will result in a much healthier pond environment. Yesterday, a bullfrog was croaking, pleased that the weather was warmer. The mesh is still on the ponds and I will usually wait until late April or early May to remove it — usually after the Spring flowers have dropped from the trees.

Several of my de-icers stopped working — all the same brand. I don’t recommend those ones. They’re black with a hole in the middle. I do recommend the green ones that look like a flying saucer.

I DON’T recommend this one if you will use it for more than one winter season:

I DO recommend this one as my three have lasted several years each. It’s a higher wattage than the black one, but seems to work better:

I’m working on a new “walkway” project in the backyard. We have a muddy area that won’t grow grass or much of anything other than moss as it’s underneath a tall oak tree canopy.

My newest gardening project: A Slate Path

My newest gardening project: A Slate Path

In order to reuse materials, I pulled up some slate squares from an unused and awkward walkway path that’s been overgrown by pachysandra. I’ll use some bluestone dust as a base in the back for this new slate path.

Just laying out the stones and will add a bluestone dust base to complete the project

Just laying out the stones and will add a bluestone dust base to complete the project

And I will add some other slate pieces here and there to complete the look. We’ll add some more gray and red gravel in the empty dirt area to tie in with the existing gravel pathways for a consistent look. Now for the weather to cooperate!

This new slate path, when completed, will offer an alternative to a muddy area

This new slate path, when completed, will offer an alternative to a muddy area

Tonight, we’re expecting a few inches of snow. I usually like the snow, as it’s pretty…yet we’re all tired of it by now.

So, Mother Nature, where IS Spring?

What’s going on in YOUR garden? Leave me a comment!