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 perennials.
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 invited.
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 laughing 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. There 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 ferns everywhere.
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 clematis is 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 last year.
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 thing.
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 sorts.
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