by Leslie Cox; Saturday; May 2, 2020

What is the first thing…or almost the first thing…gardeners talk about when they get together? The weather, of course. No rain, too much rain. Too cold, too hot. Too windy. We never seem to be satisfied. Or maybe we are overly optimistic.

I put away my turtleneck sweaters earlier in April but have brought them back out again. Been wearing them all week. My toque too. But after laying out all of the complaints, I must say we have been treated to some spectacular displays. Check out this rainbow. Never seen one like it before…and we are treated to a lot of rainbows over the farms behind our garden.

But truthfully, the cooler temperatures and cloud cover have been a blessing for our two azalea shrubs. Sawfly pest numbers continue to be down and the ones who are flying have reduced reaction times to approaching danger. Means I have been able to hand-catch some of them. My tally is currently at about two dozen and all of them have been placed in a container and put in the freezer. I am now looking at individual specimens under my microscope to determine male to female ratio and other pertinent features. So far, the tally has been all females but I have only worked through six of the specimens. You would think there should be at least one male in the bunch, wouldn’t you?

But with garden chores needing attention, I will be working on this sawfly project for a few days yet in my “spare” time.

One other event of note in our garden this week was a young robin who ventured into our greenhouse and could not get himself out again. Fearing his frantic attempts to escape through one of the window panes would result in him being injured, I embarked on a robin-rescue mission.

The short story version is: I managed to scoop the robin up in my hands, took him outside and held him in the palm of my hand until he flew away to join his agitated parents. But, he did sit in my hand for at least five minutes before flying away which made the robin rescue a totally wonderful experience…and the highlight of the whole week.

Life in the garden is good.