A real whiff of Spring

Today I had a true and real whiff of Spring. As I was teaching son about somethings in my shade garden, and revelling in the appearance of a regular, my very first bloomer of the year has started peeking out from between the protective soft pink covers of the Cornelian Cherry or Yellow twig leaf dogwood. My almost ten year old tree is about 14 foot or so tall, the damage to the ends of every branch is more evident now since the death and departure of the 17 year locusts and females that apparently sliced many thousands of twig ends to lay their eggs into.
The winter winds and cold and heavy rains have weakened the more severely sliced ends and they have broken off in the winds and such. But today as I was giving oldest son a lession in Hellebore's and how four seasonal they truely are, I checked on the progress of the Cornelian cherry.
She hasn't let me down. I could already see sulphur yellow peeking thru the slits of the covering, and it cheered me so much. That inspired me to check out the Diane witch hazel. So far no sign of bud break. Back over at the NSSG and to inspect buds deep in the stems of older, crone Hellebore leave, the younger, but developing matrons of last year's leaf growth, and the newborn, young maiden's that from between their folds of stems and young, tender leaves, are rising green pods of promise and blossoms.
Like some crazed thing, I took son to the place up front along the driveway near the opening to the side yard where I've shoved in an older Lady Jane and a much younger Lady Jane in between a pink saucer magnolia, a Forsythia that has shown me which water sprouts to cut out NOW, Autumn Jazz Viburnum that has deep red buds tight against the twigs, and deep green vinca everywhere the eye wanders. It's scary how much there really is. It's almost daunting and overwhelming. I stood back, with my back against the chain link fence and looked past the crammed up hedge and saw my madness come full circle and the idea's I'm going for. It started to come together as I looked thru the tangle of twigs and buds just waiting to show themselves.
It was a real whiff of Spring today. I found raspberry colored pointy buds on dead looking tan stems of tree Peony that Mary Emma gave me. "we're alive!!!" they all but shouted up at me. The one is hidden by the dead stems of Blue Egnima salvia and if tomorrow holds out as promised, it will be perfect to prune and whack a bit of the dead foliage back. I checked on every one I have tucked in and they all have tell tale silly little pointy red buds along dried up tan stems.
It seems every bulb is up around the gardens here in Faerie Holler. Son thought the green spikes and tongues were indications of previous plantings. I reminded him that there were newcomers to the shade bed. That this time last year, the bed only wrapped around the black cherry tree half way around and ended up tight against the trunk and roots on the eastern and northern side.
I had opened up the back of the tree, taken bags of soil and built up a bed as deep as the rest of the area and tucked in a staggering number of bulbs, perennials that had almost cooked I had purchased in a fit of sticky 50c pots.
Smagol has done his part. A hole where who knows resided, has been plugged by the Encore azalea when I came across the damage a short while back. Lots of wire has been laid down, and today, Sugar reminded me that she, too digs.........in the ONE place in the BBQ pit/fountain garden where there was no wire, she successfully dug a foot deep hole and disrupted several bulbs. I tenderly tucked them back, chastised her severely and hunted down another piece of wire to place over the exposed spot.
On my way under the deck, I came across Smagol's diggings in the pathway thru the mulch that has started breaking down into black compost. I can't lay wire down in the pathways. That would be too trying and extensive. I have to introduce him to the woods but for the summer residence of poison ivies and oaks, and I know if I get him too used to sniffing around down there he'll show me my folly when I pet him and my resistance to poison ivy ends.
To keep getting my Forest Farm nursery catalog, I have spotted a grand black twig dogwood named Kesselringii, and a fine red twig one with deep variegation of pinks, cream, white, lime green called "Cream Cracker ' and a gold and rose one called "Gouchaultii' that I want to purchase.
The Heronswood nursery catalog that I have read so far has yielded up an interesting variegated Kerria Japonica and a hydrangea macrophylla 'Mandschurica' that has glossy black stems with vivid pink to pinkish white flower heads and light green foliage. I want it for the ebony colored stems and that it will like my woods, and the variegated Japonica will replace the common one I lost that I had brought from Nashville 13 years ago :(
An interesting Weigelia called 'Jitsuko's Gold' with golden foliage with rose red flowers that transition to soft pinkish white as they age. considerings of a climing Monkshood, and a non-vining herbaceous Clematis integrifolia called 'Alionushka' that has wide petaled pink lilac bells throughout summer on 5 foot stems loving full sun........and another one calle Clematis recto SERIOUS BLACK emerging deep midnight purple only slightly fading to a deep midnight purplish green overtones with bright white flowers later on are also on the Heronswood list of wants. I have to use restraint. I am not getting a lot of perennials or shrubs or trees this year but pulling, weeding, thinning, and cleaning up more than anything else.
More than anything, the black twig dogwood to place near the yellow twig at the back of the woods box, and the Cream Cracker which apparently has red purple stems in winter, the black stemmed Hydrangea, the japonica and if I can and they still have them, the Weigelia.
The catalogs are making me nuts, and my gardens are reminding me they are already bursting with hope and the ever approaching spring. I was able to tenderly part the baby leaves of Hellebore's today and show son the fat little buds that were pushing thru the soil like pouty little heads. Soon enough I will catch a stray glancing shot of color as crocus start popping their little colors out at me. The Lady Jane magnolia I have built retainer blocks up to a depth of three is beckoning for me to plug in a few overplanted perennial and bulb containers I have scattered everywhere. And I have things setting bloom stems inside despite the carnage and death of the cacti and a few succulents. Just allows me to switch around pots later one <g>
thanks for letting me share these rambles and updates with you. madgardener up on the ridge, back in Faerie Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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As I type this it's -7 and we're awaiting 1.5 feet of snow. 18-24 hour storm, windgusts of over 35 MPH, Blizzard conditions. Spring seems so far off! :::sigh::: I'm a snow lover, but I love Spring even more!
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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On 1/22/05 6:09 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

I know just how you feel!
Cheryl
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for all of us within 495. And I'm not going to be able to take advantage of it with my cross country skis cuz I have to get ready for a trip to Denver on Monday (work trip, not pleasure). I can imagine what'll be going on at Logan. Oh well!
As I type this the juncos have flown in outside and are trying to stock up. I've got to go out, fill the feeders, put up more suet and give my little feathered friends an assist for the storm. I can't imagine how they make it out there, it's so cold. But that's life.
Thankfully while it's so frigid out we've got a good blanket of snow (and more to come!) to keep the gardens tucked in. Although right before this we were flirting with 60. I don't think we're going to have much heaving this winter, though.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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On 1/22/05 10:41 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

I just returned from a quick, semi emergency run to MarketBasket. (DS has a head cold and sore throat. It was fun counting the number of carts with booze in them. The accumulation is now up to 10-20 inches. Some how I don't think I'll be headed to hockey in the AM.
Cheryl
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