Thursday, April 30, 2009

Springtime Hypervigilance

Weeping Cherry Blossoms

Some people would call us addicts. We move through the gardens searching for a new bloom, checking the soil for new green tips crawling up toward the sun. We seem to always be looking for our next "fix," the moment when we spot that perfect assurance that spring is alive and well and is living in OUR gardens! Eyes move across stems and branches, always exploring, noting changes from yesterday. We scan our colorful landscape hunting for the new bloom or a bud which might have burst open in the morning light. We are often surprised at the magic which can happen between the darkening night sky and the morning's first light.

We were sorry to learn that our extremely cold and snowy winter brought the loss of a few of our plants and shrubs. We lost a tea olive we had planted in memory of my uncle. It was his favorite plant, a lovely evergreen with fragrant blooms several times a year. An escallonia, another evergreen, may return in time. It was lovely last year, huge and full and filled with pink blooms all season. Now it is reduced to bare stems with 3-4 leaves. One of our treasured George Tabor azaleas lost most of her leaves. We will pamper her back to health as one pampers a sick child. We ordered her and her siblings from Georgia and spent many, pretty pennies on them. Almost all of our purple wall flowers were killed. Two of our heavenly bamboo shrubs were significantly damaged, but both should survive. One daphne odoro is dead; the other, healthy and covered with blooms until recently, always fills the late winter air with exotic scents. One immediately begins to search the gardens to find the host of the intoxicating fragrance.

We are seeing the lilies rise up and begin to show their buds. The alliums are growing tall and making huge bulbous buds which will open into my husband's favorite early summer blooms. Tiny leaves are now showing on multiple perennial stems which always look like dead twigs until spring removes the mask of winter. The columbines are up and full - their blooms will follow soon. Some early blooming azaleas are in bud now. The viburnums are bursting forth in clumps of white buds which will open within the week. Candytuft is covering the bank in small, white blooms, but its companion, lithodora, which always dots that white blanket with tiny, blue blooms, was almost killed back by a late spring snowfall. Now it looks dead. It is beginning to show tints of green amidst the gray/black hue of its clumps, but we don't expect much show of bloom from it.

Right now in bloom we have tulips and daffodils; purple heather; blue and purple reticulata irises which are on their way out; white candytuft; pink, purple, sage green, and white hellebores; early blooming rhododendrons; the chartreuse green and red blooms of euphorbias; pink and white bleeding hearts; and yellow and white bucharica irises. The hyacinths are about gone, and despite the fertilizing we do some have become too frail in bloom to keep. These will be replaced. I have no photos yet of a huge clump of purple/magenta tulips which are now in bloom. When I remember that we need a few photos of these magnificent trophies which opened recently it is either dark or raining. When it is light and sunny I am too distracted to think of it. There will be many other photos of our gardens so it will be added later.

Here are a few photographs of our spring garden. We hope you enjoy them!

All photography is part of our private collection and cannot be copied or used in any manner without our explicit, written permission.

Click on each photograph to see the details of each image. You will find a spider happily enjoying the white narcissus in the last photograph.