Saturday (February 26th) I walked around Faerie Holler and discovered little pieces of stained glass here and there amongst the soft tans, browns and glossy green of the Vinca major. Purple that had a mother of pearl shimmer to it with a dot of yellow at the throat in the random crocus. Stark whites, rich, hot pink peeking out the edge of a black nursery pot from the Species tulip. Deep grape purple's with black spots and white throats and yellow fuzzy mini-beards on Iris reticulata's. Soft and sultry burgundies with kisses of greens and lime's from the Hellebores.
Sky blue with white mingled in like tiny clouds of the blue Iris reticulata's, little bouquets of teeny sulphur yellow flowers on the twig leaf dogwood (Cornus Mas or Cornelian Cherry), rich, buttery yellow's of the early daff's that just couldn't wait and the last two days of low 60's enticed them to spend their energies opening and showing off. I can almost hear their tautes, "we're the first ones!!".
In one pot, a wonderful surprise. The tri-colored Siberian crocus were open. I had forgotten I'd planted them in a cluster, their blue-purple, yellow and white colors weren't enough to make me grin like a lunatic, there was a small honey bee absolutely overjoyed and with fat little pollen pouches working each open blossom. It made my heart swell up with pride that she'd wakened and found my flowers to gather from so early in the season. So intent was she to take every grain of pollen she allowed me to snap a picture of her. (anyone wishing to share in this amazing gift, just holler and I'll JPG it to ya).
The spots of stained glass treasures were scattered about like a spilled box of bright, glistening crystal in delicate shapes. Mostly carved petals of crocus, but the bells of a few Hellebores were chiming a faint toll of eminent spring song. The white freckled faced one underneath the Vitex, who has evident signs of buds forming all along the branches. Tight buds all along seemingly spent stems of every variety of Hydrangea, kissed with plums and rose shades all furled and wrapped tight against the false protection of last years stems.
My Oak Leaf Hydrangea flaking and baring the inner colorations, and seeing that, as the bare stems rose thru the mounded rich soil I had replaced over the emerging crocus that I'd scattered two years ago, that either squirrels or Sméagol had disturbed, I walked towards the bare stems of the Diablo nine bark that Grdngal had sent me awhile back. The youth of the shrub was starting to take on the desired appearance of while they're called nine bark. Not quite as majestic as my Oak Leaf's stems, but given the same time, they'll do me proud during Winter's last days one day.
Everywhere I see mocking, shiny green leaves of the Vinca major that if not removed this year will be the undoing of any raised bed or pathway thru them. And I see Euphorbia poking it's little heads up all over as well, not sure if they're the common Spurge that I mistakenly brought back here years past that rewards me for my folly by a glorious green showing, or the "Snow on the Mountain" variety that Miz Mary shared with me last year....time will tell.
Down past the former tomato boxes that now struggles with perennials and the like, finger-like tendrils of leaves tightly clasped against brown stems of my beloved tree peonies that Mary Emma had me dig up are starting to show. With the massive excavation of Smeagol and his "mama", Sugar dawg in the east "tomato" bed, I find myself thinking of planting some of the potted residents in later on as my plans to clean out, pick up and clear is still top of this year's list.
I already started. I took loopers in hand yesterday and whacked every sapling the loppers could get a good bite or, bent two young trees southwards in a humorous attempt at seeing if I can shape the trees to grow bent. I'll cut them later, but it was fun. In the whacking frenzy yesterday, I discovered either three sour cherry saplings or three young black cherry trees growing along the property line where the apple tree is. I'll sacrifice the apple tree this year to free up the space, and keep one cherry tree for the shape she will provide. I might even wind up removing the cherry saplings, but you can actually SEE underneath the farther most apple tree that actually had the character that split in the middle now. As neat as it is, a bon fire needs to be built and the whole thing burnt, as honeysuckle vines are already two inches thick and twining thru the half dead reclining branches.
Back down towards the woods room, I discovered either wild raspberries or insidious blackberry canes had jumped into the midst of the "room", and after the soaking rains and a good pair of rose gloves, will rip them out of the soil and fling them into the pastures westward. I also found three water sprouts growing happily up from the Twisted Filbert or Harry Lauders Walking stick sapling. those will have to go.
I didn't check the Forest Pansy redbud or the Kousa dogwood, but I did go down the crowded pathway to see if the daff's that my son's girlfriend's mom sent me were up next to the fairy rock. Yes indeed, and the woods faeries have blessed me with tucking some ferns in the cracks of the boulder that sits solidly against the main wall of my lower woods. I'll have to find rootlets of other spring ephemerials to tuck in amongst and around the boulder to add to the subtle beauty. Near the side, a young dogwood had appeared and had I not recognized the bark and turn of the ends of the twigs, I'd pulled it up ten years ago. I hope my patience will one day be rewarded by some white blossoms on it.
Still no signs of my red witch hazel, Diane unfurling it's tight cluster of buds. I had to scratch the bark to assure myself it was alive and growing. It's just stubborn. The red and yellow Broom is all green and the thick stake I drove down into the middle of it and used to tie the inner trunks to give it support has greatly improved the structure of the whole bush.
I find crocus in the most amazing places. Where I know I never planted. A single pale yellow one like old china smiles up at me from a distance in the east facing box near the Mock Orange bush. Going to admire her beauty, I discover honeysuckle vines are attempting to strangle this bush and I make mental note to come back with pruners and gloves and rip it out after I cut and unwind it from the branches. To just pull it off will damage the stems of the Mock Orange and any buds it has formed for this year. That reminds me, and I check on the Deutzia that Brudder John has sent me. I see it's now well over three foot in height on some stems and branches and hopefully this year it will wow me with blossoms. It will be my first Deutzia. I'll take cuttings from the smaller branches for more shrubs. The same with my Diablo. I want a few more of those tucked into the woods to see if they'll live happily in semi shade.<g>
My search for those many little pieces of stained glass leads me up the steps of the kitchen deck to the many pots that still sit patiently out in the weather. A stray hint of blue and purple of a stunted hyacinth greets my eye, and I see little fat succulent buds of green of the matrona sedum that I potted up wakening, and one small tight bud of Purple Emperor or some dark sedum that is still struggling from the mis-shipment from Dutch Gardens. They're sending me true Purple Emperor sedums this spring in place of the two mistakes and one puny root that isn't quite dead but not totally alive either.
I must have poked bulbs in everywhere. I see little green shoots poking up thru almost every pot with exception to the large pot I reserve for the tomato's that live on the deck. This year, the seeds sent to me by a kind French man will be germinated by a friend at work who will take plants for starting the seeds and give me the remainder of the plants to tuck in where I can. I see many buckets of rich soil in my future, as I finally have seeds of Aunt Ruby's green and a new one to try called Gertie's Gold, and Black Prince, and all sorts of heirlooms to taste and try and then save seeds to for next year. How I wish I had the open, sunny land to plant every variety that David will start for me. The rest he doesn't start will be lovingly placed in a ziploc bag and stored in the fridge for next year's attempt and garden.
The final twinkling color reveals itself to me as a surprise. I had forgotten about tucking in the large crocus bulbs of the Dutch crocus that usually get planted in force pots. The huge things are rising up all purple and proud in the BBQ fountain garden against the retainer wall and poking thru the protective wire grid I had to lay down after the last digging that devistated me that Sugar STILL insists on regressive behavior. I keep telling her to go dig in the pasture or woods, and not my flowerbeds...............
The air has a wet, cold smell to it and I feel the chill of a front coming thru as I slip inside to download the pictures I took of a few treasures. There will be many, many more. I ended the moment with potting up bare root plants my friend, Dian in Oregon sent me as a birthday present into large nursery pots and rich soils to gather strength until late spring when I tuck them into their places along with the rest of the nursery pots that sit waiting patiently for me to plug them in somewhere.
I fill up the fiberglass window box with black soil and tuck in Amber Waves Heuchera, Sunspot Heuchera that hopefully will bulk up better (they were mere babies from Roots and Rhizomes), a stray sedum to fill a corner and cascade over later on, and some pink Zephyranthes that hopefully will be hardy enough to stave off the cold and flower this summer. if not, I plan to plug in fall Colchicums that I am determined to get this year along with hardy cyclamen and that will make the box a shady one to be placed in various spots around the "yard".
The beds under the black cherry tree are now bursting with green shoots of all the assorted bulbs I tucked into around her feet as I finished and raised up a bed all the way around it, and I'm seeing signs of buds on the variegated Pieris and hopefully returning buds of the Encore azalea. Time will tell, as I will as well.
Thanks for allowing me to share with you.
Madgardener, up on the ridge, back in Faerie Holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7?, Sunset zone 36 (there's talk of kicking us back a notch to 6b again................)