The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

April Observations: April Shivers Bring May Withers


I am in SOCKS and SLIPPERS, brewing a nice cup of HOT tea … April was cold – not as cold as the Winter mind you, but still dampening cold. Yeah sure it showered, and showered, and is still showering – rain running in rivulets off the roof as I write this. A cold, wet Spring means blooms go empty. The pollinators are sheltering. May will wither away!

April Showers

April Showers

I have seen a few-far-and-in-between Bumblebees. I saw a hairy little bee (I didn’t ID) and placed it upon a rock to warm in the sun on one of those rare enlightened days. My husband came across, in the workshop, what I am identifying as a Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae that has expanded its range to the East.

Western Conifer Seed Bug?

Western Conifer Seed Bug?

The little gnat things that appear every Spring have emerged and so I hope for the warm weather to follow. The best I can gather (as I have stumped quite a few local folks when asking what the name of these little winged creatures might be) is that these gnat-like things are a type of midge of the family Chironomidae and most of them, once flying, seem to end up in cobwebs. I observed a House Sparrow picking them off a web in my Pin Oak just the other day – the new, local snack bar? They also cling to Mojo’s fur, fleece, my hair. They are everywhere, forming mini dancing swarms over shrubbery – annoying to walk through on sidewalks – but I am hoping this means the hummingbirds will arrive soon. Although it is still chilly and blooms may be withering, there are bugs, there are midges – there is sustenance! I have refilled my feeders, even though they were still full – nothing but fresh sugar water for my cold, little birds.

I bought a rain gauge gadget on impulse – not very like me but I’m glad to have it. I emptied it yesterday – 1.5 inches of rain. Here’s what we have received today.

Since yesterday ...

Since yesterday …


I bought it so that when I water the Potager I can be sure I am watering enough. I am a stingy plant waterer but I really want those fresh veggies and herbs to thrive! So now I can be sure the Potager receives about an inch of water per week, maybe more depending on average daily temperatures. I daresay I have this week covered.

My rocky path into the Woodland Edge which I categorize in my mind as a mini dry stream bed, is now a stream in reality.

My new "wet" stream bed

My new “wet” stream bed

And so I continue to wait for Spring, warmth, sunshine, the garden to dry out enough to work in. Meanwhile I sing row, row, row your boat – a shovel can become an oar in a pinch. Shiver, shiver, wither, wither.


Author: Kathy Sturr

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

4 thoughts on “April Observations: April Shivers Bring May Withers

  1. I have only seen a few bees,but dry weather will be coming your way soon. We have a sunny today and yesterday was beautiful! Rain is coming our way, but I know we are sending warmer + sunnier weather your way for a few days next week…it seems we get what you get next:-) I use to find those bugs on our squash, so I always assumed there were grown up squash bugs. Are they in the same family? I sure hope to hear a buzzing soon!

    • Robbie it has been beautiful here but I have been working other gardens instead of my own! I know that there is a family of bugs called the true bugs and that they have an x pattern on their backs (unlike beetles which have a straight line) which I learned in my Master Gardening class. It is unusual for an adult squash bug to come indoors and they do not overwinter. I haven’t seen many more bees but maybe after this sunny (but still cool) spell. I hope.

  2. Oh, geez, I needed to proof read that…long week:-(….meant we get the weather you get a few days later…so sun is coming your way. Assumed those were grown up squash bugs?

  3. All I can say is blech! They are predicting a colder summer due to snow cover in Canada and an El Nino. There are a few pollinators but not many with the cold and wet…but the birds are finding lots of worms and insects to eat. Time for a warmer spring.

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