From Snow To A Snake

April 20, 2014

Happy Easter everyone!  It is a beautiful day here in Northern Illinois!  A great day to kick back, get out the lawn chair and take a nap in the sun…

Garden 04 20 14 033

The garden this time of year is bright yellow with daffodils and everything is starting to green up.  The dragon’s blood sedum is red this time of year and the red leaves of the ‘profusion’ crab apple are opening up.  The bumble bees and butterflies are visiting.

Garden 04 20 14 007

But when we woke up last Tuesday morning, April 15th, this is what it looked like.  The snow did not last long though, and soon we were back to the green color.  I think I have put the plastic hoop away for good now…

Garden 04 20 14 018

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I planted some collards, along with some other plants.  This robin kept track of me and followed me around looking in holes I dug.  It may be a little early to plant, but collards are pretty hardy and they were very cheap, so why not! The green onions are ready to eat.

Garden 04 20 14 042

I divided my chives and put half under my American plum trees, which are just starting to leaf out.   I also planted a hellebore under these little trees.  Here is my theory.  Last year the plums were attacked by a lot of little bugs.  If I put some smelly plants and more variety below these shrubs and leave the lawn a little high while the trees are blossoming then the bugs will get more confused or have more places to explore.  The predators will also have more places to hide out.  Basically, biodiversity to solve the gardens problems.

Garden 04 20 14 020

I got my daughter outside to enjoy the day and she snapped a picture of me planting some mums.  It was a hot day, but I was covered up, afraid of sunburn, since I was out many hours.  You can see that the hicksii yew shrubs got a little burnt over the winter.  Luckily it was not too bad.

Garden 04 20 14 011

After trimming some old overgrown thyme I noticed a snake moving and went to get my camera.

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Here is a close up of the head.  My daughter and I guessed it was between 12 and 15 inches long.

Garden 04 20 14 013

Here you can see the skin pattern a little.  Looking on Google I am guessing that this is a DeKay’s brown snake.  Any snake experts want to tell me if I am on track or not?  They apparently spend a lot of time underground and eat earthworms and slugs.  We have plenty of both of those.  I enjoyed seeing this little guy and glad he has a home in my yard.

Previous postings:  I noticed that when people first visit my blog they often open the link for “Purchase Pre-Planned Garden,” which I posted many years ago.  I wanted to say that only about half of the plants I ordered in that package garden lasted past the first year.  The lavender, sea holly, and the yellow butterfly weed did not survive.  I substituted with other plants.

Food – We are eating several cups of baby kale and greens every day from the plants that made it through the winter.

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11 Responses to “From Snow To A Snake”

  1. Eily Nash said

    I shared your post with my husband and it was hugely interesting viewing your lovely garden. My the snake was scary! X

  2. osolynden said

    Looking lovely back in the state I was raised in. In the southwest now for a long time and the 6 foot rattle snakes still freak me out. I try to remember they were here first….

  3. Grower said

    Great pictures of the snake. We’re only a little farther north so this is a preview of things to come.

    • Thank you! I usually only see the snakes once or twice a year, but maybe they are multiplying. I have found them in the compost pile, the ornamental grass, and I have seen little snake skins.

  4. Doug said

    How did you prepare the kale for the winter? I am amazed they survived this year!

    • Look back at some of my earlier posts listed at the bottom of the blog. I planted the kale in late July or early August with other winter vegetables. We put the plastic hoop over it around the end of November or early December. They looked pretty brown after several months under the plastic and snow, but once the weather warmed up the roots were strong and started producing tender leaves again. The kale did better than the other vegetables.

  5. bittster said

    Nice to hear you’re harvesting and planting again. The snake pictures came out good, usually the snake is far gone before I can take a picture of anything!

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