Wednesday With Words—Daffodils

The first daffodils began opening this week at pbmGarden. Their appearance reminded me of something I recorded a few years back, so the following is adapted from a previous post (Daffodils. February 15, 2013. https://pbmgarden.blog/2013/02/15/daffodils/)

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

I grew up inside a small town in the rural south, surrounded by fields of cotton, tobacco, corn and soybeans. Driving away from town with my family to visit relatives on Sundays, riding past these fields, nearly every house I would see for miles and miles at this time of year had a clump or two of dancing yellow daffodils, announcing spring.

As one would expect time has altered this bucolic landscape. Driving in the countryside nowadays past these old homesites, there is evidence of past lives. With owners having died out, many of these old homesteads now sit abandoned. Heirs perhaps found jobs elsewhere and live too far away to maintain the homes, yet they keep memories alive by holding onto the property. Or perhaps they await better offers from the developers.

Regardless, often the land sits idle. Even if the buildings are long gone, there almost always remains a towering oak tree beside where the house once stood, and nearby, a patch of daffodils.

One spring along a familiar stretch of road that my husband and I had travelled for many years, I pointed out to him just such an old homesite.

I had never known who once had lived there, but the cheerful daffodils blooming near the old drive were a sight I knew to expect and to watch for.

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

Viewed from a car window those flowers had greeted me annually for decades, as they must have welcomed home the family that once inhabited the property.  I haven’t travelled that road in a while, but that season I was not disappointed.

Intrigued, my husband wrote this poem.

Daffodils

Within this clearing rife with weeds,
No homely headstones stand askew,
But daffodils in patches tell
That here once worked a hand, a heart,
And there once stood a house, a home.

No headstones set this ground apart,
But daffodils in patches tell
Of heart and home as sure as bones.

(DVM, v.G, April 2007)

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

What flowers do you notice as markers of past existence?

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

Many Daffodils are beginning to show color around the garden, but only one sunny flower had ventured to open by the time I gathered items for today’s vase. On the other hand Hellebores have been making strong headway all week and I resigned myself to using them again this week. They worked out nicely in this late winter design.

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

Responding to some sunny, warm days, a large spirea in the western border soon will burst into blossom. I enlisted several of its branches to add shape and structure to the vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

A small florist’s frog inserted into a small black plastic dish keeps the materials in place. A white ceramic square serves as the vase.

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

Materials

Flowers
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Foliage
Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)
Vase
White ceramic square dish. Florist’s frog in black plastic cup

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

In A Vase On Monday – Branch And Bloom

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.

Fragrant Daphne

Early yesterday morning I caught my first whiff of Daphne odora.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Just beginning to flower, the three shrubs are planted along the front of the house near the driveway. They have grown in together and appear to be one large Daphne. One of the three is D. ‘Aureomarginata’.

The cold winter and heavy snows this year severely damaged the foliage and buds. From the street side they look terrible, but the portion that backs up to the porch was more protected and will make a nice, if limited, show. And the fragrance will certainly be enjoyed.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne) protected by the overhang and proximity to the porch

The temperature yesterday reached 81° Fahrenheit. Today’s high is predicted to be 41°. I do not talk to my plants but if I did I would encourage them to “Be strong and courageous!”

A Hellebore Surprise

This little beauty is from 2016, purchased when a friend and I attended a hellebore festival at Pine Knot Farms (PKF) in southern Virginia. This is the first time it has flowered. It was not in bloom when I brought it home so I am not quite positive about the name.  By process of elimination and studying the photos from that day, it seems to be Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’.

These 3 images are from yesterday afternoon.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’, PKF

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’, PKF

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’, PKF

These two photos are from this morning. The flower has opened a bit more.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’, PKF

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Apricot Blush’, PKF

Crocuses And A Spring-like Day

Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)

Taking a break from some weeding in the garden. Every square inch needs attention but it is great to be back outdoors again.

75° Fahrenheit.  Sunny. With cheery birds for company, a gentle breeze is making the chimes sing.

Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)

These crocuses were planted in Fall 2016, but I was not able to spend much time in the garden last year, so I do not remember them blooming in 2017—probably. At any rate they are brightening my week.

Columbine is coming up underneath. Since the garden was begun in 2001, it has spread itself all around.

Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)


Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)
Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)

Barbara Katz’s Garden—2017 Garden Bloggers Fling

Many attendees of the 2017 Gardens Bloggers Fling have reported eloquently about the gardens we visited in June in Washington, DC and surrounds. (See 2017 Capital Region Fling Overview). I managed to write about only a couple of the gardens after returning, but there are a few more I personally wanted to share with you.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

On one morning our first stop took us to a private garden in Maryland created by Barbara Katz. This garden visit was a highlight of the Fling. By way of introduction here is the official tour description:

“Landscape designer Barbara Katz is the owner of London Landscapes, LLC and the creator of this lushly planted hillside garden. The lot slopes 12 feet up to the property line near a 200 year old oak. A waterfall and small pond make use of the slope, attracting birds and wildlife. Filled with annuals and perennials, the garden has a strict color division with plants in tones of orange, white, and purple on one side and yellow, pink, blue, and maroon on the other.”

The day began auspiciously. Humidity and oppressive heat had dogged us the previous day, but then cleared out overnight, leaving the early hour air noticeably fresh.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Front View From the Drive

Upon our arrival Barbara greeted us warmly in her driveway and described how she came to own the property.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

As a landscape designer she had worked with clients on this garden for years. When she learned the clients were planning to move she found it difficult to leave the garden to destiny, and figured out a way to purchase the home. Barbara directed us to the left side entrance toward the hillside garden in back.

Side Garden

As the path was narrow we queued to enter. (I later circled back around to capture this image.) We happily inched our way along, stopping to admire beautiful plantings. Each step brought delight.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Other Flingers have written so well about the plantings, the color combinations, the hardscape and water features in the Katz garden. I simply will share some glimpses of the garden and my reaction.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

As I moved along what stood out to me was the sense of place, a feeling, the impact of being in a special setting.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Before ascending the steps I first traveled the base of the garden. New vignettes opened up with every step.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

This garden really spoke to me. As I explored the paths leading to, from and around the garden, I felt transformed, overcome by the beauty, appreciative of the vision and work that leads one to create such a space.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

After surveying the garden from below I worked my way up the stone steps alongside the waterfall.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

At the top of the garden I found this circular lawn perfectly satisfying. It seemed quite secluded. Just behind where I stood to take this picture there was a shady spot with a wooden bench. Across the way, a gazebo beckoned. I headed in that direction next.

At top of the garden lay a circular lawn on one side, a gazebo across the way.

Looking down from the gazebo side the steepness of the property is evident.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Notice the three empty chairs below on the left? I worked my way toward them.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

I settled on the edge of a seat. From this vantage point I could gaze up at the plantings. I could pause, admire and contemplate. The garden itself was a meditation.

Barbara Katz’s Garden- Bethesda, Maryland

Though surrounded by the din of 50 enthusiastic Flingers, the quiet force of the peaceful setting was more powerful. Human voices receded, even as sounds of birdsong and trickling water reverberated. I felt practically alone in the garden. Noticing. Breathing.  At ease.

This is a garden with a soul.

 

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling In The Garden invites us to share an arrangement using materials collected from our gardens.

Trying to beat the rain I entered the garden yesterday morning to scout for flowers for today’s vase and immediately was rewarded with the sight of a bright yellow crocus.

Crocus Species (Snow Crocus Mixture)

The crocus was left safely in place as hellebores were already my pick of the week.

Hellebores were blooming last winter by January 7, 2017. This year the first one opened February 6, 2018—a full month later.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

The winter has been much colder for longer periods of time so imagine my surprise it was seventy degrees F. by 10 a.m. With gray skies threatening I took advantage of the mild weather to trim away old leaves from the hellebores and clean up around some daffodils. Long way to go but finally I took that first step toward getting the garden ready for spring. Daffodils were flowering last year at least by February 8, but this year they are timid.

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

Back to the matter at hand, for the vase I cut all three hellebores that were open.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Husker Red Penstemon foliage hearts (think celery hearts) anchor the design and reflect the red hue of the hellebores. Other supporting material, recycled from an arrangement from a few weeks ago, are Beefsteak Begonia heart-shaped leaves and a pine branch.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Materials

Flowers
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)
Foliage
Begonia ‘Erythrophylla’ (Beefsteak Begonia)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Pine branch
Vase
Porcelain Ikebana vase, Georgetown Pottery, Maine. Triangle Ikebana Blue Wave (6.5 W x 6.5 L x 2H inches)

The overhead views were interesting.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Nearly as soon as I finished photographing the vase I knocked one of the flowers out, breaking the stem, so I decided to float it in a red flute. Beneath the glass is a poppy-themed placemat that just happened to be on the table. I love the way this image turned out.

In A Vase On Monday – Hellebores

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting and giving us an opportunity to share flower designs across the world. Visit her to discover what she and others found to place In A Vase On Monday.