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
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
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
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
Sméagol 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 Sméagol'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
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
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