The day had started out as perfect a spring day as anyone could hope. I got
up and looked out the bedroom window that faces the southern beds and the
tickling of the fairies was evident everywhere. Daylilies were no longer
tufts of green "hair". They were now long enough to arch over and if
straightened out, the leaves would now measure more than a foot long.
Narcissus that bloomed last week are now setting seeds, pregnant and bulging
at the necks, and others are popping up thru the thick leaves of emerging
Everywhere I could see the hands of fairies at work during the cool nights
while I slept with two very warm dogs. Bits of blue peeked out from under
leaves as I saw the Henbit and Creeping Charlie fairy had sown more than
enough seeds to fill in the bare spaces.
Squire wanted me to meet him at the Interstate exit and have breakfast as he
was passing thru to Ohio, so I looked for some shorts and grabbed up a short
sleeve blouse without thinking. Yesterday's high of 76o would be passed
today without a problem or hitch.
The routines slid into place like old friends. Let the girlz out, and open
the kitchen door to let in the morning light. Then down the hallway to my
nook and download the comic's and e-mail from friends and spammers. Then
wash my face and call the dogs as I brushed the long hair and rebraided it
and decided on a new tan and white, wide brim flowered hat.
Rose picked up on my going immediately and grunted at me with that "awwww?"
sound she makes when she realizes I'm going somewhere and she's probably
There was no time to take a leisurely wander around outside with Squire
waiting for me, so I let Rose open the screen door for me and Sugar darted
out immediately and almost knocked Rose off her feet as she pushed past her
with all her youth and vigor. Straight to the car they both went, but Rose
being wiser, watched me as I checked to see if I'd remembered to unlock the
passenger door before choosing her entrance. I hadn't. So I walked around
the back of the car and Rose ambled over to the drivers back door and she
sat and waited for me to open the back door of my car for her to get in.
Sugar had to be called as she was being the puppy she is and getting the
springs loosened up in her legs.
The ride to meet up with Squire was a good one. Bright spring
morning....blue skies, dawgs hanging out of each back window like kids who
claim one on either side. Major happiness when they smell the diesel at the
truckstop when I pick him up, with Rose yodeling when she spots him and
Sugar picking up on the signal and adding her own distinctive whine and yowl
to the uproar. I egg it on by doing a falsetto and saying "There's
DADDDDDDY!!!!" stirring up Rose even more so that when he gets to the
passenger side, she's wild to greet him, grunting and garbling and talking
to him, both hers and Sugar's "night-sticks" (tails) thumping so much I fear
for holes knocked in the inside doors. Rose's tail goes side to side,
Sugar's goes in a circle with wild tip twitching. It's hilarious to witness.
He greets the dawgs, says hello to me and we go have breakfast and the girls
settle down. Daddy's home, and they're in the car riding around. It's a dogs
life........Sugar takes her spot on the back seat and Rose slips into the
front passenger when Squire gets out. Getting Rose to get back into the back
is hard because of her arthritis and she milks it. Cajoling is routine.
Once we returned home, I let them both out and took in the crisp and sunny
morning with an eager eye. There were fairy makings everywhere. Run a quick
errand for Squire and drop off some important papers at the school he used
to work at where he's stopped on his way out, and then back to the ridge to
have my one day off the way I want it.
The first thing that you see if you're looking at the front of the house
just off the driveway, are the little tiers of yellow that look like
mouths. That's as close to the way the neat little blossoms look on the
yellow archangel Lamium that I can describe to you all. It's not the
Herman's Pride, which has a finer detail to the leaf, but the more silvery
variety. The one 4 inch pot had been coaxed and nurtured by little hands
until now it pops up everywhere. And unlike the vinca, doesn't try to rope
you to the ground.
The last two very warm days has encouraged every little vine to lift upwards
into a spire of flowers that rise in little whorls, 3, five and seven high.
were so many of them, I was compelled to see if every patch of them was
blooming. Darned near every one was. And as a soft accompaniment, the
darker green, shiny leaves of the Vinca major with the incredible blue
morning glory flowers were tucked everywhere in fantastic contrast. I love
and hate them so much. And as many as I've dug up, they persist and laugh at
me, tended by mischievous fairy hands to defy every removal of them.
The spells that the fairy folk wove on me shows it's hand. Everywhere I must
have tucked in these ground covers. What on earth was I thinking? It grabs
and takes hold and sprawls everywhere. Soon it will no longer be Fairy
Holler, it will be Vinca ridge............<g> Right now, it's beauty
endears me to it, yet I know if I let one clump survive, it will reward me
with producing tendrils that will try for Olympic lengths to settle and
multiply. Possibly strangle me in my slumber one night..........there is a
dark green clump of it under the Zebra grasses dotted with lots and lots of
sky blue "eyes" as you drive into the holler. I still need to cut the Zebra
grasses back from last year......sigh
The many pots I have planted bulbs and perennials are now revealing
themselves. The pot with the sedums and the Marilyn tulips are robust. The
tulips are almost past their prime as they shine up from the pot in full
southwestern exposure next to the driveway and sidewalk. Looking down you
see the black cross markings deep in the almost papery thin petals. Soon
they will each drop off, leaving a fertilized central piece to be pinched by
to allow the fat, white edged leaves to feed the bulbs inside the pot for
next years hopeful arrival. Every year I am amazed that they return for me,
so I give the pot a little granular food in hopes this helps.
Spikes of Camassia are shoving against the leaves of later narcissus. And
now that I look closer at them, I see that the bloom spikes are rising up
between the longer leaves, looking like huge asparagus tips. They haven't
spread for me, and I want more. I'm reluctant to lift them, fearful they
will resent disturbing and leave altogether. I am happy for the few I have.
The blue stars are so wide and happy when they burst open.
Ghostly white bones of the one remaining Caryopteris shows little silvery
gray nubbins indicating life in the bleached twigs. I have persistently
cracked off spent brown and tan stems for the last two months as I wandered
past the beds in eager anticipitation of spring showings. The only things
left are the last rods of the Blue Enigma salvia. I leave those to remind me
of their magnificence so that when they do make their appearance I can
breath a sigh of relief when they come back. They didn't read the book and
don't know they're a tender perennial here. The raised bed helps a lot with
their return, but this winter we had cold temperatures.
Searching thru the browns at the soil level, I notice just past the drying
tan stems, shoots of fuzzy green. I look closer.....Enigma is back!! Woo
HOO!! Alright! So I bend precariously over the too wide bed and gently
break the stems completely down at the base. I tend to toss stems into the
driveway and later rake them up and deposit them in the compost pile once
I've driven over them a couple of times. Works wonderfully since I don't
have a shredder <g>
No signs of little blush triangles to indicate monarda, so that means I'll
have to replace it this year. But in two other places, I find little clumps
of it. I just seem to have lost Mrs. Bradshaw, the dark red. She'll be easy
to find. Usually everyone carries the red. The more I look, though, the
more little colonies of triangles I find. I might not have tromping hordes
of them, but I apparently have little surviving wads of them. And yarrow
Commander Hay sempervivum has started bulking up and I start to see where I
tucked semps in everywhere last summer in a mad frenzy. The spagatti
strainer pot hanging on the bent rebar is exploding. The fairies have been
at the steroids. This thing is enormous! Behind, around, above and next to
me the sounds of birds singing praises of each other as they build nests in
their hidden places cuts thru my intense observations. I'm like a child
turned loose in a candy store with a twenty dollar bill and all the two for
a penny candy I can buy. Everywhere there's something newly awakened, and
growing at warp speed.
the single kerria japonica has snuck stems through the loose soil and one
that has decided to pop out between the timbers and downspout that need
replacing is actually blooming. a bright buttery yellow. The wisteria the
kerria lives under is now long dead and brittle, I manage to get up under
the bulky trellis and snap off another old stem, but the sweet autumn
greening up nicely over some debris from last year's vining, and I see signs
of a forgotten clematis I tucked in on the opposite side as a lark just
greening up. I can't wait to see if it sets a few flowers.
And speaking of Sweet Autumn Clematis, apparently there was a seed that was
viable from where it first was planted to have been nurtured this winter by
a little imp, because I have a quite healthy vine of it that is bursting
thru the eastern end of the front beds needing to be transplanted before it
smothers the plants living there. I wouldn't mind so much but it would
scramble over the Korean spirea, which is everywhere, and up the lilies
which I have been babying, and the old fashioned house leek sedums, and I
don't want to risk losing the lilies and sedums. The spirea could use a
covering, but not this way.
Thinking of clematis, I also remember seeing a slender vine greening up
under the Vitex bush, and wondered if a little root that I got from Garden's
Alive! sent me six of that I believed were dead but planted them anyway. I
used to do that with Michigan Bulb stuff. The little roots would come
looking all pathetic, but sometimes I got a surprise. There is still a
clump of blood red, pointy tulips that I remember getting 15-16 years ago
when their ads ran in the Sunday papers, and it was pennies.
The clump from what a friend tells me who still cuts thru my old street and
passes my house tells me the people who live there seem to be infected with
gardening diseases (<G>), and in the spring there is a rather impressive
clump of blood red tulips that have three flowers on each stem out front
just off the porch. It makes me smile to think there might be a tulip that
defies where it's living and continues to grow and establish given time.
That's why I
plant bulbs alot of the time.
My own dark red tulips that resemble these I left behind are planted under
the black cherry tree. And there appears to be some softer red ones that I
got from Mary Emma a few years ago that have once again returned for me down
in one of the woods gardens.
There are so many things to check out......Oriental poppies have ferned up
substantially in thick clumps in the four places where I've plugged them.
The transplanted clump I got from Mary Emma a few weeks ago when I dug up
those tree peonies have gotten over their shock of being loosened from their
soil and have made the transition from her yard to my ridge fairly well.
Purple greets my eyes as I notice there are money plants popped up from
somewhere. I never noticed them quietly girthing up last year. The fairies
have been busy behind my back while I was working last year. The closest
lunaria plants I have are down on the north side of the house, not all the
way up here on the top of the ridge on the southwestern side. Amazing. And
spurge everywhere. How ignorant was I to bring three little pieces of spurge
from the hospital where I cleaned the outside years ago because I thought
they were kind of neat. Now I have it in drifts that defy the imagination.
As I make my way eastward towards the NSSG and the black cherry tree, I take
notice of what else has shown up. Those silly little paper trees, my
oriental lilies are rising up thru the tangle of seedlings, shoots and
clumps of perennials. Irises are past the pointy tongue stage now and are
green swords slicing thru the foliage that is already there. Tangles of
greens. Vinca green, spurge greens, iris greens, fuzzy greens of salvia's,
loosestrife, Helianthus, Heliopsis, Lamiums, Swamp sunflower seedling greens
everywhere, daylilies in masses.
Clumps of things like burgundy leafed Gaura's, Tequila sunrise coreopsis,
tiny ferny leaves of Moonbeam coreopsis, spikes of Eye of the Tiger Dutch
irises. Whorls of Hosta's in variegated colorations of creams, limes,
yellow's and various shades of their own greens. Twisted shoots of
variegated Solomon's Seal, curled up leaves of Toad Lilies pushing the dark
soils aside. Freckled blush hearts of Epimediums and above them, teeny
little funny flowers on wispy thin stems. Yellow and looking like tiny
lanterns with points.
Now the Suffolk, Virginia "taters" are starting to send out light blue
bells. The woods hyacinths that Pottingshed brought me from where she lives
and that people have grown for generations in her older neighborhood.
Little perfect soft blue with blue stripe Pushkinnia's I plugged into pots
everywhere. Perfect combinations with Plum pudding Heuchera leaves, and
Fall Magic Heuchera's.
Tiny perfect dark pink red flowers of the phlox I planted into a pot to hang
over the lip. Not too many, but just enough to set off the soft pink and
cream of the smaller returning Angelique tulip. Next year she won't bloom at
all. I'll have to replace that bulb with a newer one.
Bamboo like fleshy shoots of pink and flesh colored Knotweed are shoving
thru the NSSG soil,and return of the Bear's Breeches. Maybe this year it
will grow more than three leaves and bloom a small spike for me.
I am flipping and flopping all over the place in my investigations. Walking
all over the upper area where I have worked to plant every crevice and crack
around the house.
Behind the house on the first solid ledge, darkening pinks of the patch of
money plants are cranking up nicely under the black walnut tree. The bed
beneath it is filling up with bronze ajuga that has swarms of blue soldiers
marching thru the western end of it. On the upper portion of the box, the
pips of Lilies of the Valley are unfurling, and there are returning clumps
of Geums in colors I have forgotten that I bought several pots of for $1
When I brought them home, I randomly plugged them into the tomato/perennial
boxes, and tucked the last four plants into the black walnut box. I figured
if they survived the environment of the walnut's roots, it would be a good
The Camassia's were already bulking up and I could see signs of blue peaking
out from the green sheath that held the petals tightly against the stamen's
and pistils inside. Waiting to be tickled by fairy fingers.
And everywhere leaves pushing thru woody stems at all sorts of odd places.
The Harlequin Glory Bower looks dead and barren, the Sorbaria already
leafing out with ferny fronds, and as I look closer, I see little tightly
packed nubbins. One day the fig stems that rise from the cut trunk of years
past (boy was that a mistake to cut the tree that closely to the soil) were
just pushing out of the hollow sounding branches, and the next, fiddle
shaped leaves are starting to emerge all fresh and bright green.
Five clumps of green and white arrow shaped Arum leaves in various places
east to west were the first indications that spring was indeed on it's way.
Now that she's definitely toying with our emotions with this dogwood winter,
things are starting to accelerate.
Beyond me on the northward hollow that is the majority of my backyard and
land, the pasture just behind and beyond the chainlink fence is once again
showing white petals thru the trunks of the trees. I have none of my own,
but behind me, white wild dogwoods in the tens flower the weedy pasture and
acres of my neighbor's land that wraps around me. I sit in an island of
The last images I caught from my eye was the little foxglove like blossoms
opening up on the Pawlonia tree. I had to take a drive and do some errands,
and as I loaded up the dogs once more for a ride, I drove leisurely thru the
winding roads and observed. Wild turkey hens scurried across the road at a
slow pace, never glancing back at me in my car as they did their funny
little turkey trot into the patch of hillside woods on the western side of
Wine road. As I looked into the woods depths, the whiteness of the dogwoods
was starting to show past the soft green of the opening bracts. And
everywhere the redbuds were filling the roadsides and woods with that
awesome soft lavender rose color.
It's not always that the redbuds and dogwoods bloom together. It's unusual.
Usually the redbuds bloom first and then the dogwoods behind them. Next
will be the honey locust trees and lastly the blackberries in the fields and
fence rows. Once we get past those cold snaps (locust winter and blackberry
winter) it will be burgeoning into summer before I know it.
Rose settles down in her seat, and Sugar sticks her nose out of the window
behind me and smells and tastes the airs as we ride casually down the
backroads to town. The frogs have quieted down now, their appetites
satiated with tadpole makings, and the pairs of ducks that have claimed
every cow pond between here and the next town thru all those winding roads
have settled into sitting on their clutch of eggs.
Soon the chicory will brighten the sides of the roads, the daylilies will
flame up from the ditches and gulleys, and the mayapples will fill the
floors of the woods along the roads I travel each day to work.
I was going to cut down my three apple trees this year to clear the east
side yard and had every intention of doing it until I saw them blooming.
Despite that the best tree split sometime unbeknownst to me, it's loaded
with blossoms. As are the other two. I can't do it. So I guess I am destined
to just cut the many saplings that have sprung up, and whack at the thick
ropes of honeysuckle that threaten to strangle the split apple tree. Maybe
a few at a time and I will at least clear a walkable path into the side yard
for later conquering of fairy flowerbeds.
The image you get now as you come thru the gates of Fairy Holler are my old
lavender lilac just about to burst with blossoms, and a matching purple pink
of the Lennii and Lady Jane magnolia I planted next to the forsythia I kept
and the triple lilac's I plugged into the hole once I got that other
forsythia out of the way with the Zebrina's standing sentinel in great
phalanxes along-side the driveway waiting to rise up and offer huge amounts
of striped flowers to the bees. It's good to see another spring up here, my
ninth one here at this house and ridge...........
Thanks for the time to share a bit of ramble and walk up here in fairy
holler. It's been too long. I hope everyone is having a good Spring. I'll
talk to you later as the fairies waken more of my babies from their slumbers
in the soil.
madgardener up on the perfect Spring rainy ridge, back in Fairy Holler,
overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36