Tag Archives: daffodil

In A Vase On Monday – Daffodils

In A Vase On Monday – Daffodils

Every Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

Last week I mentioned the first daffodils had begun opening in my garden and many more have opened since. I have been seeing them around town three or four weeks earlier. And on Friday I spotted a clump near the roadside that ignited my imagination. How many years I wondered have they survived encroachment from highway and utility crews, their appearance marking a place where once the land supported a family and a way of life.

Seeing the roadside patch of daffodils reminded to search back for an old post.  Hope you won’t mind that I decided to share with you again.

But first, today’s vase: a handful of Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ and a few N. ‘Tete-a-Tete’ placed into a favorite blue matte-finished ceramic jar. I love picking daffodils. There is immense satisfaction in reaching down to the bottom of each stem and snapping it as one would snap a green bean. It is impossible not to smile.

In A Vase On Monday – Daffodils

Materials
Flowers
Narcissus ‘King Alfred’
Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’
Container
Handmade ceramic lidded jar

In A Vase On Monday – Daffodils

Daffodils

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.

Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ (trumpet daffodil)

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, almost always there 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.

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)

Reprinted: (Daffodils. February 15, 2013. https://pbmgarden.blog/2013/02/15/daffodils/).

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’

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

In A Vase On Monday – Double Cream

In A Vase On Monday – Double Cream

Every Monday Cathy from Rambling In The Garden invites us to share a vase assembled from materials collected in our gardens.

Last week I included a creamy double-form hybrid hellebore that was just beginning to bloom. I revisited the no-name plant this week and found some fuller flowers. Without even planning an arrangement I photographed them in front of a large ceramic vase for today’s Monday offering. Although eventually I did float the blossoms in a small glass bowl and take pictures, these images better capture the green highlights against the ivory petals with their dancing, ruffled edges.

Helleborus x hybridus

Materials

Flowers
Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose). From PKF.
Container
Shallow glass dish and glass flower ring

Helleborus x hybridus

Last week the weather was sunny magnificence, with one day reaching 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are a few more blooms from the garden.  Daphne sat upon gentle breezes, making each pass by the font door a fragrant delight.

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

More hellebores…

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Helleborus x hybridus

Daffodils could wait no longer to begin spreading cheer.

Narcissus (Daffodil)

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.

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?

Spring Again

March 20, 2014.  In the tiny speck of Northern Hemisphere that I call home the vernal equinox occurs today at 12:57 P.M. EDT.

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth)

Blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures arrived on schedule to welcome the change of the season, although winter threatens to return next with a chance of snow.

After this week’s ice storm most of the daffodils remain bent over, some have broken stems, but at least one is reaching toward the sun this morning.

This Narcissus 'King Alfred' weathered the recent ice storm

This Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ weathered the recent ice storm

A couple of weeks ago a friend brought me some moss from her yard to add to the existing small bits of moss that have sprung up along one edge of the meditation circle. The new transplants appear to be doing fine, enjoying all the recent moisture.

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

Moss Edging Along Meditation Path

One of my favorite evergreen plants, Iberis sempervirens, is finally starting to bloom. This has almost completely died out in the mediation circle but there are a few patches elsewhere that have thrived for many years.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Happy Spring!

Crape Myrtle Glaze

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle). Photo:dvm

My husband captured the current state of a Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) this morning with this photo taken en route to retrieve the newspaper from the drive.

We had a light snow yesterday, tons of rain and awoke to everything bent towards the ground. This crape myrtle was blown over about 3 years ago during a summer thunderstorm, possibly a microburst. Despite being broken off at the base it is recovering pretty well, but has a long way to grow to match the stature of its mate just the other side of the walkway.

In the distance the bright yellow daffodils rest their heads against the earth.

In A Vase On Monday—Late Winter Blooms

Monday Vase

On this last Monday in February I am joining Cathy’s In A Vase On Monday challenge to arrange a container from plant materials found in one’s garden.

Today’s vase includes the first daffodils of the season.  These opened in my garden on February 21 and I cut them to bring indoors yesterday. Last year many daffodils were blooming on January 30, 2013, a full three weeks earlier. We had a warm, sunny weekend with temperatures in the high 60sF so more daffodils may be encourage to open this week.

Daffodil

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose) are in full bloom now and yesterday I took time to remove their large leaves so the flowers can be enjoyed more easily. There are lots of seedlings that have volunteered that I can use to make new hellebores plantings and share with friends.

Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

A simple glass vase holds today’s colorful flowers, which seem to need little more enhancement. I photographed the arrangement by the window where the cut glass lamp played with the light. A favorite dove sculpture that had belonged to my father-in-law completes the setting.

Monday Vase With Dove

My husband’s father died before my husband and I met, so I know little about him, but I admire his little white dove. He apparently subscribed to an art club that worked in the way many book clubs do—a sculpture of the month, I guess! This is the only example remaining from his collecting days that I know. It was fun to play with his dove and the flowers today.

Dove and Helleborus x hybridus (Lenten rose)

Thanks very much to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Visit her site to see her arrangement this week and see what other participants are placing  In A Vase On Monday.

Leaves of Grass and Daffodils

The snow ended two days ago and yesterday was blue-sky sunny and 60 degrees F.  The snow is melting on the roads and sidewalks, but hangs on in the grass and gardens. This morning it has been raining and the day is colder, 41°F.

For weeks, daffodils have been emerging in many spots around the garden and last week I saw one in the neighborhood in full bloom.  Now after this snow the daffodil leaves appear to be boldly rising.

Emerging Daffodils

Emerging Daffodils

Snowy View On Rainy Morning

Snowy View On Rainy Morning

To frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns,
With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.

from: Continuities. BOOK XXXIV. SANDS AT SEVENTY. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman. Project Gutenberg-tm

Dutch Iris And Other Blooms

My maternal grandmother grew rows and rows of flowers for cutting—Dutch Iris in spring and Gladioli in summer. When five or six years old I sometimes spent the night with her and every morning we would head out early in the morning to clip the flowers that were ready to be added to her large, tall vase.

I have only a couple of Dutch Iris, just enough to make me smile and be happy when they bloom. The warm temperatures of the last few days must be encouraging them. I first noticed their tall stems this weekend. By this morning buds suddenly were bulging and by late afternoon, a single flower had opened.

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris

Dutch Iris

Also Blooming

I added a few more Daffodil bulbs last fall, something I had planned to do for years and never quite got around to before.  These new Thalia Daffodils opened this week, in front of the Ilex crenatea ‘Drops of Gold.’

Thalia Daffodil

Thalia Daffodil

At the street end of the side garden a large patch of Emerald Blue Phlox is almost in full bloom.

Phlox subulata 'Emerald Blue' (Emerald Blue Phlox)

Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Blue’ (Emerald Blue Phlox)

Sunshine and Weeds

Today was ideal for being in the garden, even if the task at hand was to weed a long strip along the fence on the north side. It was sunny, temperatures in low sixties and peaceful—no mosquitoes, no air conditioners running yet and only one neighbor mowed his lawn.

There is nothing new blooming at this time, but the daffodils continue to add brightness and cheer.

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodil

Daffodil

Recently there have been some very windy days, sending drifts of lemony fragrance around the yard from the Daphne odora (Winter daphne) The Winter daphne has been blooming for weeks. Most of the flowers are browned, damaged by cold weather, but the delicious scent lingers.

Daphne odora  (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Progress in pulling weeds today was slow as I have injured my left hand and doctor’s orders are to rest it and not lift more than a few pounds. The hand seems to be improving, but slowly. I could not waste the beautiful day so I weeded with the other hand. This was highly inefficient but it allowed me to enjoy being in the garden, thinking garden thoughts.

One thing I contemplated is where are all the early spring plants I added last year? There is no sign that Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebell) will return—I think it should coming up by now. It was among a group of natives I added to the garden last March. From that group at least the three Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) and three Phlox divaricata (Eastern Blue Phlox) have survived.  Others which I believe likely did not make it are Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold), Geranium maculatum (Wild geranium), and Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot). There is no sign either of Polemonium ‘Bressingham Purple’ (Jacob’s Ladder), which was crushed by a neighbor’s broken pine tree mid-summer. I hoped somehow it was tough enough to rebound.

It is too early in the gardening season to be discouraged I think. Tomorrow should be another nice day for gardening. With plenty more weeds awaiting, there should be ample time to ponder the fate of these lost plants and to work out how to fill the void, yet again, left by their absence. Better still, perhaps the plants will turn up.

Daffodils

Daffodil

Around the mostly rural area dotted with small towns where I grew up, daffodils were ubiquitous. There were no impressively designed massive swaths or huge naturalized plantings, but almost every house had a clump or two of these dancing yellow flowers announcing spring.

Driving in the country nowadays past these old homesteads, many of them abandoned over time as owners died out and children moved elsewhere, one sees the evidence of past lives. Even if the buildings are long gone, there is almost always a towering oak tree near where the house once stood and nearby, a patch of daffodils.

One spring as we passed by a stretch of road we had travelled for many years, I pointed out to my husband just such an old homesite. I never knew who had lived there, but the cheerful daffodils blooming near the old drive was a sight I knew to expect and watch for.  Those flowers had greeted me annually, as they must have the family that once inhabited the property. 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)

Daffodil Patch

January Signals

The garden is waking up. Lenten roses opened mid-month and today, the first Daffodils. A nice clump of Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) brightens a spot near a walkway.

[Note: I learned yesterday Helleborus x hybridus is the acceptable way to refer to Lenten Rose, instead of the previously accepted term, Helleborus orientalis, which I have been using.]

Is It Desperation?

Daffodil Bud

Daffodil Bud

The third season of Downton Abby is now being aired in the U.S. and I enjoy following along. I laughed aloud at this conversation from Season 3, Episode 2 where Lady Edith Crawley is visiting her grandmother, Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. Edith has recently been jilted at the alter and her grandmother is pressing her to find something to do with her life.

Violet: You must keep busy.

Edith: What with? There’s nothing to do at the house, except when we entertain.

Violet: There must be something you can put your mind to.

Edith: Like what? Gardening?

Violet: Well—no. You can’t be as desperate as that.

Gardening out of desperation—one could do worse. What better place to spend time after having lost hope, despairing, than in a garden where the cycles of nature can be observed, can soothe and restore.

Daffodil

Daffodil

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” Thomas Jefferson to Charles W. Peale, August 20, 1811.

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – December 2012

It is time to join Christina‘s Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), a monthly tribute to foliage.

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ has been a rewarding addition to the garden this year and GBFD would not be complete without including it. The tips have deepened to a captivating, velvety red.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' (Spurge)

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’ (Spurge)

The leaves of this Wintergreen boxwood have taken on a bronze hue for winter.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

This bronzing effect is a normal coloration change for this shrub, but it seems more noticeable this year.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)-Detail

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)-Detail

The bluish-gray leaves of Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood) are unaffected so far by the cold.

Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (Wormwood)

Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

This Ilex crenatea ‘Drops of Gold’ (Japanese Holly) was planted in front of the house in October. It lost some of its gold leaves from the stem tips a few weeks ago, but the plant seems to have stabilized now. It formed attractive, black berries, but only a few.

Ilex crenatea 'Drops of Gold' (Japanese Holly)

Ilex crenatea ‘Drops of Gold’ (Japanese Holly)

Mounds of Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) catch late afternoon sunlight along the Southern side path.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

A pot of mixed sedum adds texture and interest to a corner just inside the garden gate.

Mixed Sedum

Mixed Sedum

Fern-like leaves of Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) offer surprisingly fresh greenery to the southwest corner.

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy)

Daffodils already are sending up leaves beneath the brittle canes of Lantana camara (Common lantana). The lantana will be pruned back hard in early spring.

Daffodil

Daffodil

This cheerful little mound of green is Iberis Sempervirens. Although Iberis died out in the meditation circle this summer, it is growing in several other spots around the garden. This one may be blooming soon.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

This potted geranium’s leaf is punctuated with tangerine edges and strongly outlined veins.

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Pelargonium (Geranium)

Thanks to Christina of Creating My Own Garden of the Hesperides for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) each month. Check out her foliage observations and those of other GBFD participants.

A Mild March Day

It is seventy-one this afternoon and the clouds move in and out.  Earlier, the sun was nice and warm and the several hours spent weeding this morning passed easily.

Suddenly the spiraea is covered in little white flowers, several weeks earlier than usual perhaps. This deciduous shrub is a long-time favorite.

Spiraea

Spiraea

Spiraea

Nearby a recently transplanted plant with two mottled, red leaves is reminiscent of a trout lily, but its identification is uncertain.

Perhaps a Trout Lily?

Three or four Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove) were visible all winter and are starting to grow.

Digitalis purpurea Foxglove

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy) never died back during the winter. The clumps could use division. Transplants from last year look healthy and strong.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Several new Phlox subulata added to the garden a few weeks ago have acclimated well. This one is ‘Purple Beauty.’

Phlox subulata 'Purple Beauty'

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose) continue to add color around several areas of the garden. I transplanted a few small seedlings to a shady spot near the back steps.

Helleborus orientalis (Lenten rose)

A row of ‘Chuck Hayes’ gardenias once formed a low hedge along the back border of the garden, but a couple years of drought killed off many. The five that remain look greener and healthier than usual this Spring.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

The daffodils are already finishing up their cheerful displays. This one is ‘Flower Carpet.’

Daffodil 'Flower Carpet'

Late Winter Garden Notes

Several clusters of cheery daffodils enliven the garden. Adding more spring bulbs, (especially daffodils which the deer resist) would be an easy improvement to make. Usually when it is time to order and plant bulbs I tend to be focused elsewhere. This is a reminder to myself to really do it this fall—plant more Spring bulbs.

By this time last year I had been very active in the garden, planning the garden renovation, pruning, tidying around the perennials, installing a hedge. I have logged many fewer hours this year. Although the need is strong, discipline is lacking. Garden tasks abound. There are weeds to pull, pruning and trimming chores and general cleanup to perform, as well as some paths to redesign, more screening plants to choose and a replacement to locate for the Arizona Cypress that died last year. Note to self: get busy on these projects.

Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion)

Actually two items can be checked off my task list this week. I planted six or seven Rose campions a thoughtful neighbor potted up and saved for me after I lamented that my magenta ones died out several years ago. The garden has many white ones thriving that were planted from seed, but I had missed the red. These three were placed near a lavender, spiderwort and irises.

Penstemon 'Huskers Red'

Another chore completed recently was to finally plant several perennials purchased a couple of weeks ago.  Five Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) were added to a front section of the western border.  Many things there had died out over the years, leaving behind mostly a sad area of mulch, so the phlox will add color in Spring and will be mostly evergreen.

Three Penstemons ‘Huskers Red’  went into the meditation circle at turn-around points. The purpose is to provide some visual guidance (and a physical barrier) to clarify where to step next along the labyrinth.

Camellia x `Coral Delight` (C. japonica x C. saluenensis)

The label that came with this Camellia ‘Coral Delight’ indicates flowers should appear December to February. Planted in 2006 on the north side of the house, it actually blooms around March 20th each year. So many plants are opening ahead of schedule this year, it will be interesting to see if that date will hold.

Perhaps a Trout Lily?

In late December I transplanted this mottled-leafed plant and its mossy accompaniment from its home under a beautiful tea camellia at my sister’s house.  Upon seeing it, the name Trout Lily came to mind, but so far I have not found a picture that matches these reddish leaves—trout lilies seem to have green leaves with a mottled pattern.  Time will tell if it will bloom so it can be identified.

Almanac And Plant Tour

With temperatures in the forties, yesterday a brief rain fell midday. Walking through the garden afterwards was pleasant as the sun peeked in and out.

Plants are changing quickly, full of hope and promise in this early growth period, as they prematurely signal spring’s arrival. Weekend weather forecasts call for a low of 20 degrees on Saturday, 17 on Sunday and 28 on Monday.

Before the chill arrives, here is a close-up look around the garden.

An Odd Mélange

Glimpse into my garden on this sunny 66-degree day, the first day of 2012, and you will see an odd mélange for this time of year. Keeping company with a rusty garden ornament that catches the sun, there are emerging daffodils, a budding Shasta Daisy, a crimson Dianthus and the silver-green, wooly textures of Lamb’s Ear. The warm weather will soon end and the garden will reconfigure itself–a new assortment will represent this place.

Transitions

In early spring first the lenten roses, then the daffodils and spirea dominated the garden. By mid-April the first bearded iris had opened. Now, three and a half weeks later, a few irises, along with the old-fashioned rose and the clematises, remain in bloom.  Take a quiet stroll around the perennial beds and it is easy to notice the garden again is in transition.

Verbena bonariensis

A verbena bonariensis is blooming and echinacea (purple coneflower) are beginning to open.

Several foxgloves are forming their complex flowers. Nearby an ‘Irish eyes’ rudbeckia already has reached two of its expected five feet.

The monarda (bee balm) also is tall and seems primed for a big display of red and fragrance.

A soft gray mound of artemisia accents the border and a perennial Dusty miller is creeping through the garden. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) will soon add its bright reddish-orange color to the blue palette that has predominated the garden in early spring.

Penstemon

The very tips of the white tubular flowers of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) are becoming visible.

These two penstemon are planted inside the meditation path forming a wall at one of the turnaround points.

Yarrow

One of the small pink yarrow is just beginning to open among the lamb’s ears. Rising only 10-15 inches, it has a lacy flower and a dark green, feathery-soft foliage.

Lavender will soon be adding its beautiful color and unique fragrance to several locations. The lavenders responded positively to severe pruning in February.

Lavender

A Garden Highlight

An exciting highlight is the single bloom on the peony recently added to the garden, Paeonia ‘Pink Parfait.’  Although its planting tag indicated a June bloom, it was ready yesterday without regard to the calendar, as was the gardener.

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Paeonia 'Pink Parfait'

Changes Bring Chores

As the focus transitions away from roses and irises there are many required tasks this week that will help keep the garden looking nice. The faded iris blooms and the bloom stalks need to trimmed back to tidy up, although the leaves need to remain for several months before being trimmed back to 6 inches in a fan shape. Is this the year the irises will finally get divided?

Rose Campion

The southern path is full of white rose campion, but none of the favored magenta-hued rose campion survived the winter.  Deadheading is a must if they are to continue to look attractive and to keep them from self-sowing so heavily.

The many Eastern Red Columbine is done for this year and needs to be cut back severely; it will maintain a nice green mound all summer.

Tradescantia is pretty now but needs to be thinned, as it has spread too widely. Many were sheared heavily ten days ago. The daylilies, the sweet peas–all overgrown.  The spirea finished its bloom weeks ago and should be pruned back hard to maintain its size. Other chores abound.  The fence installation was completed last week and paths to the gates need to be improved.

How to finish planting the meditation circle is still an interesting problem to solve, something to ponder while working on these maintenance tasks this week and contemplating transitions.

End-of-Winter Beginning-of-Spring Inventory

March 20, 2011. Today in this Northern Hemisphere town of Chapel Hill, N.C., the vernal equinox occurs at 6:21 pm.  This seems like a good time to inventory the garden.

The newly planted Blue Point Juniper hedge is doing well, but will not be providing much screening for several years.

Hyacinth

The earliest of the daffodils and the burgundy hyacinths are at the end of their bloom cycle. Iberis sempervirens (candytuft) and  Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) are opening slowly. Several sedums are emerging (the rabbits must be pleased).

Tradescantia (Spiderwort) is coming up in various spots and a few echinacea (Purple coneflower) have returned.

The first flower is open today on the White Flowering Dogwood, while ‘Flower Carpet’ Narcissus have been lovely for a week or more.

Coral Delight Camellia

A nice surprise in the garden today.

The spring-blooming camellia ‘Coral Delight’ popped out when I was not looking. I missed checking on it yesterday and today discovered several blossoms had opened wide.

Daylilies attract the deer so I am trying to pull out many of them.  I must hurry to finish the job before they grow any larger or they will be too tough to dig out. Some of the resulting space freed so far was used to transplant a few Shasta daisies.

Hellebore- Lenten Rose

Hellebore (Lenten Rose), which opened one month ago, continue to bloom profusely in their charming manner.

The newly planted Sweet William is doing well and the evergreen HeucheraPenstemon is recovering from the long winter. Digitalis Purpurea ‘Alba’ or ‘Camelot White’ (Foxglove) looks promising.

Small pink yarrow, tansy, lamb’s ears and rose campion (shown here), all rather aggressive growers, are coming back strong.

The old-fashioned spirea is the star in its section of the garden, brightening up the entire space of the western border.  (A pink saucer magnolia behind the spirea is a fortunate example of a borrowed view.)

Spirea

Nearby the Eastern Redbud competes for attention, deservedly so.

Redbud

Just one week ago the Jackmanii clematis had new leaves, but was still largely brown. Today it is lush with green.

Echinacea

Several black-eyed Susans echinacea (purple coneflower) seem pleased with their new location along the southern path. They were transplanted last year from an over-crowded spot where they did not have have enough sun.

Russian Sage and Bee Balm

Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage) is another transplant to this section of the garden; Monarda (Bee Balm) is just starting to emerge in this and several other sections of the garden.

Phlox subulata (Creeping Phlox) has been blooming all over town but started opening only today in this garden.

Creeping Phlox

Phlox divaricata (Woodland phlox) has been a favorite in this garden, but it has not bloomed well in several years.

Woodland phlox

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern Red Columbine) is quickly unfolding in several spots around the garden.

Eastern red columbine

Salvia (Meadow Sage) has started to form buds.

Meadow Sage

An iceberg rose should have been pruned earlier, but it is now getting its leaves. The deer find it delicious. There are several perky mounds of catmint. Sword-like leaves of these bearded iris seem to grow inches daily. The garden also has German, Japanese and Siberian iris and a couple of Dutch iris.

Catmint, Iceberg Rose and Iris

In some ways the garden appears bare but there are many other plants not even mentioned.  The inventory will have to be continued later.  One last thought for today though.

As I go about renovating this garden, I do recognize that improving the overall design and structure (or “bones) will make the garden more interesting year-round.  I have read that just having a collection of plants does not make a garden.  But at this time of year seeing my particular group of plants develop and mature provides immeasurable delight and satisfaction.  It is like having old friends come to visit.  And it feels like a garden.

March Surprises

Garden surprises abound today including two bitten off daffodils, which is highly unusual. Suspiciously, deer tracks abound as well.

Elsewhere the daffodils look lovely and seem not to mind that it was twenty-nine degrees last night.

Redbud

Artemesia shows new growth, as does the hydrangea and the clematis.

Iris gain height daily.

A heart-shaped leaf must be a redbud volunteer.

Near the front walk a few deep magenta hyacinths emerge from among the newly opening candytuft at the base of the crape myrtles.

Sunny and Daffodils

Fifty-one degrees on a beautiful, sunny day and cheerful displays of daffodils highlight the garden today.

Opening slightly later this year, they began to show a hint of color only three days ago and so far have weathered severe winds, rains and yesterday’s frost.