The nicest time in my garden can be the early hours between 6 and 8 a.m., when the sun is peeking around, seeking entry past rooftops and fence posts.
Yesterday, heading down the back steps with a cup of coffee in hand I intend to sit on the black Lutyens bench in front of the meditation circle for a few moments of reflection.
Before I even sit something catches my gaze and of course, I must look.
Satisfied, I continue toward the meditation circle and take a seat. Birds calling and chimes singing are the sounds I notice and sometimes for an instant, there is complete silence.
Pretty soon though I spot a mocking weed that must be plucked right away. There, that takes care of that impetuous intruder! Oops, another one.
Ah, too many weeds to worry about just now, so I relax and take another sip of coffee. But soon I am up wandering around with the camera, exploring each new bloom that has appeared since the previous day.
Now the coffee cup is abandoned. Like the honeybees pausing for nectar at each opportunity, I float round the borders, inhaling rose and peony and iris, and retracing my steps.
I carefully tread lightly into the back of the northern border for a closer inspection, then swing the camera back out across the garden.
Delighting at form, color and wet grass underfoot I recognize the transience of this peaceful moment, and can hardly bear it.
Last Thursday’s delivery included 7 cubic yards of double-shredded hardwood mulch and 4 cubic yards of compost blended with topsoil (50-50 blend). I should have ordered plain compost. The compost blend was a mistake and I ended up giving away much of it to a neighbor.
With trepidation I hired assistance this year to help me weed and distribute the mulch. Although I know there were a few victims, such as the Solomon’s Seal I had just recently spotted popping up, but mostly I am pleased and relieved to have this job done.
April has been a gorgeous and floriferous month. I want to invite you along as I make note of some particular enjoyments from my little spring garden.
When featuring white Dutch Iris in a Monday vase on March 28 I mentioned I thought I had planted blues ones this year but could not remember where. Happy to report they are found and blooming this week, not all blue, but rather a mixed collection that is delightful.
To add further to the confusion, I displayed these leaves as part of April’s foliage day. At the time I thought they were alliums. The mystery now is where did I place the alliums.
Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has given a rewarding show this spring and often I feel the columbine in its midst makes a charming companion.
Unfortunately, this native Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is becoming unmanageable, drifting to all corners of the garden. I will cut it all back this week but seedlings are everywhere.
With this year’s nice gentle spring, Coreopsis has bloomed well. Although I often see it recommended for summer, it generally stops blooming here when it gets too hot or maybe it is too dry. Then it resumes briefly in autumn.
Nearby, Verbena bonariensis is shooting upwards next to Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft), one of my favorite white flowered plants.
Peonies are ever so close to blooming, 3 in one border and 1 in another. A third border hosts a peony purchased last year that already was in flower. Its foliage looks healthy but does not promise blooms this year.
Foxglove have been difficult to establish in my garden, but I keep trying. I added 3 new plants in early spring, Digitalis Foxlight ‘Ruby Glow’ PPAF (Ruby Glow Foxglove).
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ was featured in this week’s vase. It grows outside the main enclosed garden at the top of the southern side path and deserves another look.
This morning my attention soon drifted away from the clematis to the spires of Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke’ across the path.
Yesterday I just saw two huge yellow Baptisia ‘Carolina Moonlight’ at the N. C. Botanical Garden in full bloom. My own baptisia seems minor by comparison and must really not be in a good spot. It is supposed to be very easy to grow. Nevertheless I enjoyed discovering these blossoms today.
Verbena bonariensis growing in the side path opened just this week.
This yellow bearded iris is a pass-along from my long-ago neighbor Henrietta. Many of the irises in my current garden came from her.
Flowers on this white Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) began opening last week.
A late-flowering Narcissus showed up this week, but I have not been able to find the tag. I would like to believe these are the one transplanted from my family home about three years ago, but I also bought some similar bulbs after those did not appear the first year.
Iris germanica ‘Immortality’ is beautiful this spring. Here it is growing near Clematis ‘Niobe’.
The grass needs cutting every few days, but that is not happening on schedule. Maybe today it will though before some predicted showers. The meditation circle is on the list for a good clipping and cleanup. Thyme has happily adapted to the center of the labyrinth and beyond, overtaking some of the pavers. The pansies took a while to bulk up after winter. They soon will be replaced with angelonia for summer.
Edging the border just before the labyrinth begins is a nice stand of saliva, Meadow Sage ‘May Night’. This is where the lady bug in the top image was hanging out. (Tradescantia is popping up everywhere too).
At the northeast gate the path is blue with blooms of Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper). There is a lot of sedum mixed with it.
Plenty of tasks await the gardener today but I have been taking time to enjoy the birds, chimes, fragrances and blossoms swaying on gentle breezes. Thanks for visiting.
It is time again for Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.
The dogwood for now is green. There were only a handful of flowers this spring—the most disappointing dogwood display ever. I keep threatening to remove the poor performer but inertia keeps it safe for now.
Below, this this early morning scene highlights the fresh green iris foliage which is very strong and healthy this year. Beside them, in the foreground on the right, green-gray catmint is filling out and up. Looking beyond irises, just beyond the meditation circle, a large circle of daffodil foliage is dying back slowly. Narcissus are wonderful in early spring, but I pay the price of planting them in the middle of the lawn by having to watch the leaves yellow and wilt.
Further back are five evergreens, Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper). They were planted to add some height and privacy to the garden. Because I worked around some existing plants, they are not necessarily situated in the most effective way, but they do help with privacy.
At left behind the fence the neighbors’ red maple is gorgeous this year. Back inside the fence the tall trees in the right back corner are Cupressus arizonica ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress) awash in the early morning sun that has yet to reach the rest of the garden. And the large shrub on the right is Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea). It is sending out suckers everywhere and needs a severe pruning, my intended task for this morning.
Lots of plants are bringing great promise. Not all, but many, of these early plants have lovely silvery foliage, such as Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion) and, in the background, overly abundant Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear). Echinacea are maturing, with a few already forming flowers.
Last fall the garden was overgrown when I was trying to plant allium. I just cleared a spot and stuck all the bulbs together. That pretty much sums up my gardening style. I have been reading this spring about suggestions for underplanting alliums to hide their foliage, so lesson learned.
Here are a few more images to wrap up this April foliage highlight.
Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. Read her foliage update and see more links to foliage perspectives from many parts of the world.
The 22nd of each month is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD) hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides.
Spring arrived officially this week and today’s photos, taken March 19, reveal the season is well underway. I thought Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Heart’ was lost after last summer’s extreme heat so was happy to see these brightly-patterned leaves.
What a pleasure to discover the fresh leaves of emerging plants or watch the evergreen ones recover from the harsh conditions of winter. Here are a few glimpses of the late March foliage.
Thanks to Christina at Garden of the Hesperides for hosting. (She may be away this month.)
At the end of April the garden is a mix of maturity and possibility, old friends and new.