Tags Posts tagged with "Spring"

Spring

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There was few downcast faces even when the weather was overcast May 4 as the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted their first annual Sound Beach Spring Festival and Street Fair.

Parents could walk around and visit the many vendors and stalls while kids could get their faces painted, jump around in bouncy castles or pet the calves, Woody and Buzz, provided by Wading River-based Bakewicz Farms. The Sound Beach Civic Association hosted its own scavenger hunt for stuffed animals to win prizes like a four pack to a Theatre Three kids show and tickets to Movieland Cinemas in Coram. Meanwhile the chamber of commerce hosted a “cake walk,” raffle, sponsored by Rocky Point’s Tilda’s Bakery, where people had the chance to snack on a decadent treat from the renowned local bakery.

Muddy ground was covered in the footprints of young children as hundreds gathered for the annual Fling into Spring carnival at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai April 12-14. Kids, along with their parents, got the full carnival experience as they slid, spun, raced and even flew on weekend rides. The money raised from the event helps nonprofit Heritage Trust fund other events throughout the year.

All photos by Kyle Barr

Depending on the variety, irises bloom late spring to midsummer. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Autumn is the time to plant your new spring flowering bulbs. They can be planted up until the ground freezes, usually in December. Buy the best quality you can afford and you will be rewarded with a great garden next spring.

Snowdrops. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Snowdrops. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• Don’t overlook the tiny bulbs. They’re not as showy as tulips and daffodils but are ideal in small areas and rock gardens. Crocuses, of course, come to mind, but I have windflowers in my garden coming back for decades. Other small bulbs include the super early white snowdrops, just four to six inches high, and anemone with their daisy-like flowers. There are also tiny varieties of the standards. ‘Lilac Wonder’ is a miniature tulip, lilac and bright yellow in color. ‘Pipit Daffodil,’ another miniature, is white and pale yellow. A unique, and small, daffodil is ‘Golden Bells,’ which produces a dozen or more flowers from each bulb. It’s just six to eight inches high and blooms in late spring to early summer.

• If you’re looking for very fragrant flowers, consider hyacinth. Although, like most spring flowers, the bloom is short-lived, their perfume is exquisite. ‘Gipsy Queen’ is a soft apricot color, ‘Jan Bos’ is a carmine-red, and ‘Woodstock’ is maroon. Some daffodils are also very fragrant. Check the package or the catalog description.

Daffodils. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Daffodils. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• If you do go with daffodils and tulips, consider at least some of the more unique ones. ‘Mount Hood’ is a daffodil that has gigantic white flowers, and ‘Green Eyes,’ also a white flower, has a green cup. ‘Exotic Mystery’ is almost completely a pale green while ‘Riot’ has reddish-pink cups. Among the tulips there are double flowers, a wide range of colors and even stripped ones. ‘Ice Cream’ is a really unique tulip. It has white center petals, surrounded by deep pink and green ones. It’s really exquisite. ‘Strawberry Ice Cream’ resembles a peony flower, in deep pink and green.

• Try some new (to you) and unusual bulbs. For example, ‘Candy Cane’ sorrel (oxalis) has white flowers tinged in red. They bloom in spring and even into summer. Another really unusual flower is the dragon flower. The bloom is maroon with a spathe that grows up to three feet. This is a big one and really unusual.

Tulips. Photo by Ellen Barcel
Tulips. Photo by Ellen Barcel

• Remember that certain bulbs are very attractive to squirrels, particularly tulips. There are several ways of handling this problem. One is to surround the tulip bulbs with daffodils. Squirrels don’t like daffodils and will generally stay away from them and the tulips they surround. A second way of dealing with this problem is to plant the tulip bulbs in wire cages. A third possibility, one I heard a planter recommend, is to overplant, that is, plant many more, possibly up to 25 percent more, bulbs than required. That way, the squirrels get some and some survive to grow in the spring.

• If you miss this planting window and the ground is frozen, there are several things you can do. The usual recommendation is to put the bulbs in the fridge until the ground thaws enough to plant them. You could also try planting them in pots and storing the pots in an unheated garage.

• The bulbs you plant this autumn will produce gorgeous flowers next spring. This is based on the professional growers’ treatment of the bulbs. They’ve grown them under ideal conditions, watered and fertilized them. To have them flourish in future years there are several things you need to do. One is to leave the green leaves on the bulbs after the blooms have faded. This is providing food for next year. You also need to add some fertilizer, again to help the bulbs for the following seasons. Make sure you water them in times of drought, even though by midsummer the leaves will have disappeared.

• Because spring bulbs basically disappear from the landscape by midsummer, they are ideal for beds where you intend to plant annuals. Plant the annual seeds in spring and by the time the bulbs have bloomed and faded, the annuals will have started to thrive.

• While you’re planting your spring flowering bulbs, consider also planting lilies, daylilies, peonies and hostas. All are perennials and will reward you next growing season.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

By Bob Lipinski

Spring fever — everyone (at least in New York) has it after a long, dreary and cold winter, punctuated by snow, ice, shortened days and the doldrums of being cooped up indoors, trying to keep warm. I’ve had my fill of stodgy winter vegetables, not being able to go outdoors and feel the warmth of the sun on my face and patiently waiting to put on short-sleeve shirts.

We need a Spring Fever Tonic to fill us with song, frivolity and a change of scenery (no, not a trip to Tahiti).

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” — Robin Williams

A plethora of young, fresh, fruity wines, with lively acidity and perhaps some dancing bubbles to tantalize and awaken your taste buds and spirit, comes to mind. Keep the oak-aged chardonnay and big, full-bodied cabernet sauvignon wines for cold weather.

During the winter months, I secretly began to write down beverages I would drink and recommend when cold weather finally ended. I want to share that list with you.

glass-flowerswNV Ferrari Brut — Trento, Italy
Pale yellow color with a refreshing, light aroma of citrus and some bread dough. It’s quite dry with overtones of green apple, lemon and pears. Great with fried calamari!

NV Lamberti Prosecco — Veneto, Italy
Very aromatic and fruity with classic flavors of apple, peach and citrus. Also present are hints of chamomile and ginger — delicious. Try it with some panettone.

2014 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay — Sonoma, California
I have been a fan of this wine for many years, and it continues with this bottling, bouquet and flavor of peaches, lemon, vanilla and hints of butter. Grab some cold lobster salad.

2013 Fazi Battaglia Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi — Marches, Italy
An intensely perfumed aroma of apples, honeysuckle, lime, oranges and peach with a bitter almond aftertaste. Serve it with spaghetti alla carbonara.

2013 Bodegas Arzuaga “Crianza” — Ribera del Duero, Spain
Ruby-colored with a full bouquet and flavor of blackberries, coffee, chocolate and brown spices. It’s perfect with some black beans and rice.

2013 Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Noir “Director’s” — Sonoma, California
Cherry-colored with a strong bouquet of cranberry, raspberry, cola and spices. It’s medium-bodied with dry flowers and berries, and even more berries. Serve this beauty with a piece of grilled salmon.

NV Standing Stone Vineyards “Smokehouse Red” — Lake Seneca, Finger Lakes, New York
Lovely ruby color and so full of spices, cherry-chocolate and cinnamon. It’s dry, with mouth-filling flavors and a hint of smoke in the aftertaste. Pulled pork anyone?

Bob Lipinski, a local author, has written 10 books, including “101: Everything You Need to Know about Vodka, Gin, Rum & Tequila” and “Italian Wine & Cheese Made Simple” (available on Amazon.com). He conducts training seminars on wine, spirits and food and is available for speaking engagements. He can be reached at www.boblipinski.com or boblipinski2009@hotmail.com.

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A fairy house (Bayport Flower House). Photo by Heidi Sutton

The Town of Brookhaven’s annual Home & Garden Show welcomed spring early last weekend. More than 1,400 people visited the event at the Holtsville Ecology Site that featured over 30 local vendors offering a plethora of home improvement ideas. In addition, free adult educational workshops and hands-on classes for children were offered.

Pansies in a variety of colors (Bloomin Haus). Photo by Heidi Sutton
Pansies in a variety of colors (Bloomin Haus). Photo by Heidi Sutton

The event will continue on March 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and March 20 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 per adult, children 16 and under are free. For more information, call 631-758-9664, ext. 18.

Adult workshops, Saturday, March 19
11:30 a.m. — Guide Dog Foundation/America’s VetDogs with Susan Stevens, Certified Health Coach
1 p.m. — Tree Care & Organic Options for the Homeowner by Evan Dackow of Jolly Green
2:30 p.m. — Composting by Mike DesGaines of  TOB Dept of Waste Management
4 p.m. — Dahlias, the Bloom With Many Faces by Joe Lysik and Joe Bonomo
5:30 p.m. —  Caring for Your Houseplants by April Perry, Ecology Staff

Kids Workshops, Saturday, March 19
Noon to 1:30 p.m. — Recycled Birdfeeder Activity by Nicole Pocchiare of TOB Dept of Waste Management
1:30 to 3 p.m. — Water Conservation Craft by Molly Hastings — Environmental Educator/Park Ranger, TOB

Adult workshops, Sunday, March 20
11:30 a.m. — Hydrangeas on Long Island by Judy Ogden, Ogden’s Design & Plantings Inc.
1 p.m. — Herbs in the Kitchen by Anne Marie O’Neil,  President of HALI
2:30 p.m. — The Carmen’s River: An Amazing Natural Beauty by John Cardone, author and photographer
4 p.m. — TBA

Kids Workshops, Sunday, March 20
Noon to 1:30 p.m. — Gardening Fun With Kids by Kelly Smith, Ecology Site horticulturist
1:30 to 3 p.m. — Gardening Fun With Kids by Rosa Goncalves, Ecology Site horticulturist

Please note: Kid’s classes while supplies last and adult workshops subject to change.

Holtsville Hal, his handler Greg Drossel and Master of Ceremonies Wayne Carrington make their way onstage to cheers and applause on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

To the delight of about 100 people in attendance on Tuesday, it was announced that famed Brookhaven groundhog Holtsville Hal did not see his shadow, indicating spring would come early this year.

Excited Holtsville Hal fans collected streamers as a keepsake from Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski
Excited Holtsville Hal fans collected streamers as a keepsake from Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

Hal made his yearly Groundhog Day appearance at Brookhaven Town’s Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology center at about 7:30 a.m., before a crowd with fresh memories of being walloped with more than 2 feet of snow in a recent blizzard.

Tradition says that if Hal — or, as he’s known in the Town of Brookhaven as a throwback to the classic Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” the Great Prognosticator of Prognosticators — sees his shadow when he wakes from hibernation on Groundhog Day, the community is in for six more weeks of winter.

“As I stood by my burrow and looked to the ground, there was no shadow for me to be found,” Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) read from a large scroll as Hal was presented to the mass of onlookers. “So kids and their families, put away your sleds and snow blowers.” There were raucous cheers.

Holtsville Hal is presented to a group of young onlookers on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski
Holtsville Hal is presented to a group of young onlookers on Groundhog Day. Photo by Alex Petroski

Holtsville Hal was handled by Greg Drossel as he posed for photos with Master of Ceremonies Wayne Carrington, Councilmen Neil Foley (R) and Dan Panico (R) and Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D), members of the Holtsville Fire Department and many others. He even posed for a selfie with one young admirer.

Last year, Hal also predicted an early spring. This year he might be right, if only just for Tuesday, as those who woke up early to attend the event were treated to a mild, sunny morning by the time the groundhog made his much-anticipated appearance.

With the viewers in good spirits, Carrington reminded the crowd to donate whatever they could to the ecology center to support its programs.

This version corrects the spelling of Councilwoman Valerie Cartright’s name.

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By Leah Dunaief

Who would have believed it? After the grueling winter we have all lived through, it is spring — finally, certainly, surely, unarguably spring. The relief, the excitement, the miracle of this annual rebirth is here. So I am suggesting that we live in the moment, at least for a few moments, and plan to enjoy our surroundings.

How do we celebrate the season? Here are some of my suggestions.

For starters, go outside and breathe deep breaths that won’t freeze your windpipes. Unless you are in the middle of traffic, you can smell the fresh earth.

Look up at the limbs of the trees. There are beautiful, symmetrical buds readying themselves to burst into bloom. Look under tucked away places, like the eves of your house. You might see birds building a nest to receive and shelter their young. Listen to those birds singing. They are bustling with activity as they serenade those who listen. Note the forsythia contributing bright yellow to the edges of driveways and roads, bolstered by smiling daffodils at ground level. The usual cast of characters is also pushing its way into our field of vision: crocus, hyacinths and any number of weeds that aren’t paid to blossom but do so to join the riot of color.

The weather this weekend sounds pretty nice, so get out those garden tools, but leave time to wander over to a beach and enjoy the views of calm water and the early distant sailboats. Bring The New York Times or your laptop and have breakfast on the sand Sunday morning. Get on your bike, take a long walk through the ’hood and chat with neighbors you haven’t seen in months. No, they weren’t away for the winter, they were just hibernating in their homes.

If you wish, write and tell us what your particular rituals are for welcoming the season. In the meantime, let’s celebrate: Oh, Happy Spring!

Children were delighted by tricks and treats at the Brookhaven parks department’s Spring Happening in Centereach on April 7.

The spring celebration featured a show by magician James Amore, along with crafts, games and face painting. In addition, some talented kids paraded their best spring hats for the special occasion. Claire Wagner, 7, of Sound Beach, whose hat featured New York City’s Empire State Building, took home the best hat award.