The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

April Observations: The Winds of … April?


April entered the ring like a lion – roaring , huffing and more than puffing. The winds were gale force of the likes of hurricanes, no exaggeration, 30+ mph! The rustic arbor that designates the Potager, a structure that has withstood blizzards and weather of all sorts for the past three years, even succumbed. My spirits crumpled at the sight.


The winds ravaged on for days. The back door needed to be latched at all times or else it was swinging big band time. More shingles hit the fan. Winter? Well, that was mild. I even considered moving, again! A nice zone 6 perhaps? A little bit of “seasoning” but none of this [beep] #*!.

Then, “A” sunny day. A little warmer temperatures. Another sunny day. A shower or two – this is April after all – but it was a long, trying-the-patience wait in line.

With my “contractor’s” help, we hauled up the arbor to standing. We can rebuild. We have the technology. We have the capability to build our first bionic arbor! And here it stands for another sunny day with vampire stakes to prevent any hurricane, gale force winds from knocking ‘er down again.


The birds are out in full force as well. Their chorus is so welcome. Birds I have hated in the past I now make my peace with – house sparrows, starlings, grackles. The house sparrows are building nests in our unfinished porch gables – okay for now but not next year little birdies. The starlings have kindly pointed out a rotten area in our workshop/garage and have set up house in what humorously appears to be the gutter. Thank you, we will be patching that up this Fall. I am actually enjoying the male’s evening rant – a run down of odd sounds including a duck quack. His sound mimics really are interesting, and entertaining. This is the first year I have observed grackles gathering nest materials and wonder if they do indeed have a nest nearby. They are very intolerant of the “three amigos” – a small band of crows that have taken advantage of the blue jays’ peanut bar.

A robin, a bird I have always been fond of, has decided to take the next ride in our canoe.


I am always excited when a new bird visits the Violet Fern garden. I looked out from the workshop while “bagging and tagging” – all part of the job, to see an Eastern Towhee! It made my day. Here is a short video (taken through the window) of the Towhee. He is beneath a bird feeder filled with black oil sunflower seed. (I watched him scratch up leaves in Towhee two-step style a little later in the day.) He is in a new part of the garden under construction, Hosta Row. It is also where our canoe is stored and the nesting robin … delays, delays.

And so this month of alternate personalities – March? April? – leaves us “like a lamb” – warm, mild and sunny.


The Mayapples a friend of mine dug up for me last year are just opening – we are back on track in May.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

8 thoughts on “April Observations: The Winds of … April?

  1. Although we had similar weather down here, I think you had it worse. We had snow April 2nd and it was chilly until recently…now we are in the 70s and the garden is racing although I suspect it will cool down by Mother’s Day weekend as it always does. Love the towhee and I am glad you could save that gorgeous arbor. My bluebird houses are occupied and tons of birds hanging out in the garden.

    • Donna we had snow also in April but this morning is absolutely beautiful! Glad you are finally receiving some nice weather, too. I envy your bluebirds!

  2. Your rustic arbor is beautiful…and I’m glad to hear that things have calmed down there! This has been a very unusual spring for us here in the South, too.

    • Thank you Rosemary. The trumpet vine is just now leafing out on the arbor. I was worried it would be damaged after the blow down, but the trunk was ok. It sounds as if this is a unusual spring just about everywhere! Hope everything grows well in spite of it. I’m sure things are happening in your Potager!

  3. A towhee, how cool! We used to seem them frequently when we lived in Maryland but have only seen one once a couple of years ago here in MN. I am very confused (too) about the weather this spring. I think as of yesterday, we have turned the corner and have but snow blizzards behind us. I wonder if this is a long-term pattern, if so it is going to be interesting to see the adaptation or uncoupling of wildlife-plant associations.


    • I can’t believe a Towhee hasn’t visited your beautiful native gardens so far. I’m sure one will show up soon! What bird wouldn’t want to stop in at your place? I hope the snow passed you by – I think I would go crazy. Frankly, I don’t see any kind of pattern in the weather! It must be on a 50 year cycle or more. I will say it has been a beautiful spring in spite of the weather. I was so sad to read about the stolen Bloodroot from your park!

  4. Pingback: May Observations: Two Steps Back | The Violet Fern

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