More pics! Please! How's the milk and wine crinum?
Confetti is scattered everywhere. The party favors are lying about,
heavy with the spring rain from yesterday and last night. The fairies had
quit a shing ding last night in true celebration of Spring come sincere.
The pear tree and black cherry tree have blown all their blossoms in
celebration of the spring season. It looks for all the world like confetti.
The colors right now are yellows, creams and deep reddish purples. The most
impressive showing right now are the redbuds AND the white dogwoods. The
first to show up for the woods celebration were the redbuds. First a tease
of pinkish purple all along the roadside and highways and filtering into the
woods where the first tentative green was starting to show from the early
leaves. Then two days of way too warm temperatures and the gates were flung
open and every branch and stem and trunk was decked out in the tiny pea like
blossoms on every tree in the whole area. The visuals as I drove to and
from work was almost enough to cause me to crash into something as the huge
swaths of color were smeared everywhere.
Redbuds aren't red. But they are a more pinkish purple that isn't
unpleasant. I don't think we could actually stand it if they really WERE
red! LOL Right after I noticed the huge displays of every redbud
everywhere (and this includes seedling trees, so the display is staggering)
I started to see the whitish green of the unfurling dogwood bracts. The
woods and yards are filled with them.
Usually the redbuds are winding down when the dogwoods start making their
appearances, but this year has been an unusual one. Both trees are blooming
at the same time, with the redbuds just a couple of weeks ahead of the
Miz Mary's trees were hasty to make the first full bloom showing in
competition with the ones below her in her cousin's front yard tucked in
amongst the huge forsythia's. Their front line plantings are ancient
forsythia's, a stray, young redbud that I have had to stop and take her
picture was so incredible last week, dogwoods planted alternately.. At the
base of their old mailbox, a struggling Chinese almond was blooming until
the pounding rains and now are sad and forlorn twigs with wet and fading
pink crape paper blossoms. But they have the first iris to bloom. Because
it has a prime spot up front of everything at the very edge of their huge
yard and fronting the dead end road, the heat encourages the rhizome to
produce earlier than it normally would. The deep shocking royal purple and
white falls were noticeable when I drove up the dead end road yesterday.
The only earlier iris was a stray planting of a bright blue Dutch iris that
someone planted near a wall that faces a very sheltered western exposure
across from the post office in town. I say sheltered because the post
office is built on a rising hilltop with the access road cutting thru, and
the house with the retaining wall around it is over 200 years old.
Apparently someone had tucked in Dutch irises and one clump has managed to
survive. I've noticed this grassy clump every year and it's never grown
much bigger because the paved road literally runs inches next to it.
Everywhere the leaves are bulking out, and one day later, with soaking cold
rains, the dogwoods everywhere are whitening up and dazzling. Woods
literally light up with these trees, and this is the time I long to be back
in Nashville where the oldest dogwood trees are not just white ones, but
dark pink ones that are huge with hundred's of blossoms. The pink ones
around Dandridge despite her being the second oldest town in Tennessee
aren't nearly as old as the plantings in Nashville. But I welcome the sight
of these pink varieties because most of the oldest and largest trees are the
There is a mixed one in front of an old rock faced house as you leave town
heading towards where I live that is obviously a cross between a white and a
pink. The bracts are like someone washed them in with red laundry and they
got a bleeding of color on their petals. They're not white, but slightly
and very noticeable. The sight of all of them lifts my heart up more as I
see yards and the woods bright with their snowy appearances.
My son never noticed that a house on 25-70 going towards the interstate
ramp that we take to get him to work in East Knoxville was surrounded by
white dogwoods until today as we passed by it once again. We do this all
the time, but unless you're paying attention and know your trees, you'd just
think the huge corner yard had trees surrounding the perimeters of it. You
wouldn't know until spring or fall that every thick tree is an old dogwood.
Most of these trees are at least a foot thick, some smaller and some a bit
larger stretching to almost two foot in thickness.
I am always amazed by this display every spring from all the flowers. Today
son even had the opportunity to see the woods behind this house were filled
with dogwoods blooming and remarked that the people who had built the house
must have cleared out trees in the center of the property and left as many
as they could. (obvious to gardeners, not so much to those who don't have
this passion). I can see my making him slow down and notice the things
blooming around him is having a positive effect, and I'm pleased to see that
he's starting to absorb some of this. This is in hopes one day when I am no
longer here that he sees these things and remembers our conversations and
has good memories from the shared moments.
Spring has turned into a spectacular celebration though, with colors and
blooming everywhere. My money plants are blooming already, the dark
red-purple flowers already swaying in the winds where they have sown
themselves on my north slope and apparently this year in my front gardens.
I left them when I discovered them. I'll regret this when they seed, but
it's nice to see the spikes rising up in the green ocean that is my front
beds. I also see that Dames Rockets have sown too many plants in all sorts
of places, but these flowers will be welcome as well, and if I don't want
them to throw their daughters somewhere else, I can just clip off the spent
flowers before they make their seed pods that house thousands of fine seeds.
I went outside this morning to see what else had risen out of the cold soils
and was either blooming or reappearing. White Cheerfulness narcissus,
their deep luscious smelling flowers that are gathered up in tufts of cream
with light orange at the base in teasing glimpses. A yellow, multi-stemmed
daff that has deep yellow, tiny outer petals, and deeper orange-yellow short
cups in threes and fours on one stem that are so fragrant, I plucked three
of them that were lying with their faces against the cold soil in one bed
from the pounding rains and weight of the drops on their petals. A peach
cupped one was snapped as well since it had pushed it's blossom stem under a
board I'd laid across the corner of the bed to sit and plant last fall and
never removed it. The flower appeared rather unexpectedly today and I
realized why and lifted the board and broke the flower off to take inside
and enjoy up close.
Black tulips I spent extra for large bulbs weren't. They are clean yellow
and huge. I am not thrilled, but they're so healthy and unexpected, I
decided to enjoy them and will watch to see if they return as strongly next
spring and if not, will lift them up and remove them. The white edged
leaves and flower buds of the other ones, however that I thought would be
green and white, aren't. They were a total shock too. One I really like.
Once the buds appeared, they went from swirls of green and white outer
markings, blushing up to a soft skin pink and green and when I looked again,
they had plumped up, become true tulip blossoms and the petals are WHITE
with brushings of flaming red! Wow!! I LOVE these. But will they return as
strong next year? I will spread granular food around them once they shed
their petals and I pinch off the seed to let the leaves feed the bulb in
hopes they return just as hardy. I can't remember their
names..................apparently this last fall's tulips were
mislabeled.......sigh.........I love surprises, but at the cost of the
larger bulbs, I wish they had been what I thought they were. (particularly
the Nigra bulbs)
Then there are the odd ones that I know I never planted at all. Or at least
the fairies erased the memory of planting them. A white one with purple
edging and swirls of the same purple inside the cupped petals under the
Vitex tree. Orange, lily petaled ones with three shades of orange and
slight blushing of green inside. Red ones with two shades of red.
Then there are the definite spring sign. When they did this I have no idea,
but my lilac is blooming.........and the smaller lilac of the three I had
planted altogether in one tub and then tucked them all in one hole, I think
it's Grant that is blooming.......but there it was today, one blossom on the
top of a stem that is only four foot tall.
The older lilac isn't as impressive as it was and has shown me that it's
intent on colonizing the raised bed it's planted next to. I have discovered
three shoots up in the middle of the bed. I can't have that...........my
pruners will do that in in no time.
Amsonia montanaii has blue-green shoots that look like fat asparagus shoving
past the spent dry, tan stems of last years growth. Three places it's
planted! Two of those places I'd just tucked them in and hoped they'd
survived and they not only survived but like where I plugged them. Then
there's the lilies that are shoving thru the already thickening foliage.
Like rising paper trees, or silly party favors, I see lily sign.
And the daylilies.........when did they bulk up so much? One day they're
just little shoots of green, and now they're clumps of leaves. And any day
I expect to see shoots with buds of my old irises that have survived the
The biggest surprise today was as I was dragging son down the slope to show
him the candy striped tree peony blossom in the "tomato" flower bed, I saw
the water move in the holding trough of the BBQ garden fountain, and it was
a frog!!!! WOO HOO!!!!! Now I have to clean out the bottom quickly of the
debris of the pawlonia tree's leaves from winter and flush the water once
before they start making tadpoles.
There are more signs of return in the BBQ pit fountain garden, too. No sign
of the awesome Iris bucharica, which I adored. I will order some from Dutch
Gardens this fall for sure. Cynthiana tulips on slender stems of yellow and
red wave at me in the quarter barrel beside the water pump spigot. Vinca is
determined to break my heart. Every clump has no less that three blue eyed
blossoms staring up at me, asking to love them. The ground is so rich from
the mulch I laid in the paths that every plant is happy and already making
MORE insidious strings to trip me up on.
Zebra grass, striped grass, Maiden grass, Heavy Metal, Ornamental oat grass
and the Miscanthus are all greening under the haircut I gave them. I should
have whacked the damaged ends of the crape myrtles before spring though,
every stem the 17 year locust female sliced to pieces to lay her eggs are
bending with the newer growth. High winds thin out the ends of the larger
trees they did the same thing to and I find ends of the pin oaks with leaves
intact everywhere. My Cornelian cherry is now totally leafed out but all
the stems bend before the new growth shoots out six inches or more.
The Diane witch hazel refused to bloom, and is now making
leaves...........sigh........but the Loripedilum out front is loaded with
magenta strings, and I went to check out the other one, Pizzazz against the
fence and it too had clusters of magenta red string like blossoms. More
party favors. And the Diablo ninebark that Pam (gardengal) sent me two
years ago is going just crazy.
Every Viburnum I planted last year has returned for me and I'm excited to
see what kind of flowers they have to share with me. Autumn Jazz is making
flower tops already, all the spirea are leafed out and suspiciously looking
pregnant with flowers. And we have sign of fig leaf!!!!!! If I want to be
able to reach the fruit this year, I will have to prune the branches back
The single Kerria japonica is budding, but it's double cousin, Flora Pleno
has already started in other people's yards. I'm jealous, but my own
remaining shoot of the double is slowly gaining strength and will bloom for
me maybe next year.
Then there is the butchered trunk of the pink butterfly bush by the nook
window. Today I discovered thick shoots rising up at the base of the trunk
and I knew the bush and fairies had forgiven me for the butcher job.
Fallopia shoots have gone from a faded blood reddish pink to creamy eerie
looking spikes that are already over three foot tall. Under them,
variegated Solomon seal is up and making little dangle flower buds. The
black cherry tree is a flower garden with Grace Ward, tulips, Bev's tater's
(woods hyacinths) hosta shoots up, toad lily shoots, perennial begonias
breaking ground, allium shoots popping up now, astilbe ferns, Japanese
painted ferns, the epimedium is loaded with yellow fairy flowers. The moss
fern is back.................it's an eye full.
Everywhere I am blown away by the not only return of Spring but the literal
celebration. The birds are loud and raucous. Songs full of lusty nights
and eggs to be laid. Fledglings to raise. Wild turkeys block the driveway
as arrogant hens stroll past the van as I try to go to work or take son and
they're stuffing up on cracked corn that Miz Mary has spread out on every
rock around her yard and driveway.
Her dogwoods make you weep with their beauty, and once again, her candy tuft
and purple phlox is a glorious blanket around the base of the three dogwoods
that are blooming, and tucked in the sea of white foam and purple haze are
red tulips, purple tulips, orange tulips and at the base of every tree are
two or three azaela's that are budding out and will be open by tomorrow.
I already have the Spice Viburnum spent on it's two flower clusters, but
they make up for the quickness of their fragrant flowers that made me cry
with the smell of them by making FOUR stems on the ends of each branch. The
variegated hydrangea is sending out leaves, the other one has returned and
is making a flower head already, and the Encore hydrangea is showing leaf
The old fashioned bridal bouquet spirea is now making "bouquets" and will be
blooming soon, but the button spirea is still flowering out front.
Heuchera's are now up and making new mottled leaves, and all those species
tulips I tucked into the hens and chicks peace rock garden are not only up,
but there are Tarda and red Princess species tulips tucked in tight with
bursting at the seams semps. In textures that put a quilt to shame. Thank
you Micki for the babies. I even see the green Orstachys are sending out
threads with little babies on the ends.
So much...............Hellebore are done and are greening up and setting
seeds. Sorbaria is ferning out and showing it's moving all over the NSSG
area. The new Glory Bower that Miz Virginia's son didn't come and dig up
that grew out of the middle of the St. John's Wort bush (Hypericon) is now
thicker and healthier than it's mama up top of the little garden and soon
I'll notice leaf sign. Oh well, now I have two of them............And
leaves of the fall Japanese anemone are already up.
Everywhere I see where I'd forgotten the bleeding hearts. In the Vitex bed,
under the grape vine with the returning Jackmanii clematis in two places, in
the aisles of the black cherry garden.
Sedums in every pot are bulked up and bursting with life. Returning
Commander Hayes, the death of an ice plant, not sure which one, the yellow
or the pink, but the other one is back and happy to crank out teeny leaves
along the stems of the old plant. Yarrow ferns which I suspect aren't the
pastel but are the white.
Phlox shoots up and shoving at the daylilies. If I part the "hair" of the
foliage out front, I might find the first shoots of Egnima salvia. I hope
so. Star flowers popping up everywhere. White and perky. Tree peonies are
bud tight, one appears to be a pink one! It didn't bother last year. Woods
hyacinths everywhere. I had no idea. And wild onions. This will be the
year to remove them. And the silly shoots of the allium bulgaricum shedding
their skin to reveal the dangles of young flowers.
The return of the almost agave looking leaves of the Christophii allium. The
blossom will be most impressive when it arrives. Soon there won't be any
spaces I can see to tuck anything in and I still have a gaillardia to plant
that I got last week. I never have them return for me.
Polluxx has become a junkie. He's discovered the bottomless galvanized tub
full of returning catnip. And apparently it seeded in a lava planter. I
caught him licking something with this stoned look about him and when I
crushed the leaves inside the planter, it was catnip. And I have feverfew!
I want every plant I see.
Before I quit my job, I want to return to the seed store in Knoxville and
get another red salvia plant to grow, only this time I will feed it Ironite
and it will quadruple it's size. And apparently Mary Emma forgot about
buying 100 strawberry plants.........now where to put
that's it before everyone's eyes fall outa their heads from the words.
Thanks for letting me start this ramble. There will be more up the road as
things bloom and happen.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in Faerie Holler, overlooking English
Mountain which is now greening up and you can SEE the white dogwoods
everywhere, with Douglas Lake shining blue underneath, in Eastern Tennessee,
zone 7, Sunset zone 36
Then I walk down the sidewalk and glance over to the sea of rising silver
and green variegated leaves of the yellow archangel lamium and see laughing
yellow clams mouths. Everywhere. The blooms of the Lamium are hilarious!