The garden in early May

Spring is such a busy time for gardeners, and not much is spent at a computer. Therefore, I have some catching up to do.
A lot has happened over the last weeks. We finally finished pruning all the roses in mid April. Last weekend, All roses were also fed with special organic rose fertilizer. To fortify the rest of the garden, we got a delivery of compost from the City of New York. This is wonderful, since we cannot possibly make enough compost for the entire garden ourselves, even though we will have two composters soon. We got a grant to purchase a second one!

Meanwhile, the crab apple tree and the red and pink tree peonies bloomed spectacularly. As usual, it rained on them, so by now the show is likely over (but visit soon and you’ll see the yellow tree peony in bloom. It is a little later).

The crab apple was most beautiful on Easter weekend. The tree peonies looked their best a week later.

We actually got quite a bit of rain and the temperature jumped between chilly and almost too hot. But what else can we expect from April?

On Easter Sunday, it was hot enough to need a bath!

In mid April, we resumed our usual open hours, that is, the gate is unlocked in the morning and closed at night on all nice days. On weekend afternoons, a garden member is in attendance to answer questions and chat with our visitors.

There is no spring without tulips. Here are some of our beauties. The one on the top right is the kind for which people sold entire estates during the tulip craze in the 17th century. Today, these tulips are affordable. In case you wonder: The white stripes are caused by a virus.

Earlier this year, I had reported that our bees had survived the winter. But we were fooled! The bees that we saw flying in and out of the hive were robbers from a different colony who came to steal the honey from our hives. This was a disappointment. We were hardly the only beekeepers who lost their colonies this winter. Supposedly, wildly fluctuating temperatures together with the almost unavoidable mite infestation was particularly hard on honey bees this winter.
However, last weekend, we got two new queens, each with a small royal court of a few hundred workers. They were placed into our two hives. This weekend, our beekeepers checked whether they had settled in all right. Things look good in the white hive.

Both hives have new tenants. The white plastic box that Sara removes from the hive in the middle photo contained the queen and her workers. This is how bees are shipped across the country (by mail!) and this is how Sara and Barbara transported them on the subway to our garden. Over the last week, the queen had moved from the plastic box into the hive.

We are also seeing other insects in the garden: large bumble bee queens looking for a nest site, and the first butterflies. It is amazing how fast everything is changing now. Pretty soon, all the roses will be blooming. Our Rose walk will begin on May 18!

A painted lady. This butterfly overwinters far south as adults. This is why it looks a little beaten up and not as brilliantly colored as when it first came out of its pupa.