Spring?

Last Sunday was fantastic.  There was sunshine and warmth, and coffee on the porch, and then here was a nice stroll to look at plants.  Then there was more looking and some sitting and then a little more looking.  I believe things were actually growing as I watched and that’s a nice change from the chilly standstill that the last few days have had us at… and the snow… but nearly all of that melted when the warmer weather rolled in.  Eventually I even did a little work!

garden hellebores

This spring has been good for the hellebores… except I probably have too many and I probably have even more seedlings coming along so I probably should open up a few new spots and not plant other things there since I’m opening them up for future hellebore seedlings…  

I’ve been a little down on the garden due to gloomy weather and construction debris, but just a couple hours of short sleeve gardening with spring flowers opening had me flying high again.  My weedy, disheveled potager with a few tulips close to opening had me imagining the grandeur of Keukenhof right here in my own backyard, but now the reality of another gloomy day has brought me back down to earth.  I think it will be nice enough, but things could still use a bit of work here.

anemone x lipsiensis

Anemone x lipsiensis is a cute little spring bloomer.  I bought a little root the same year a friend gave me a piece and I assumed they’d be the same thing but they’re not.  Now I need to decide if the smaller, paler clone on the left is different enough from the one on the right to bother separating.  

I think a breakthrough was finally making a move on the poor little boxwood hedge which was upended when construction fill had to be shuttled from the foundation hole to the low spot in the back of the yard.  My jelly ‘topsoil’ was squeezed to the side by the weight of the backhoe, and when it squished over it took the hedge with it.  Part of me wanted to rip it out and rethink things but then the other part decided it would be worth digging out and straightening up.  So… the hedge along the potager will be dug and returned to its upright position.

boxwood hedge

My sad and abused boxwood hedge.  All winter it’s been nearly pushed over and I’ve been back and forth on what to do.

The hedge across from it is a different story.  It’s also riding a wave of squishy topsoil and I think that wave is about to crash.

boxwood hedge

The even sadder and more abused neighboring boxwood hedge.  Maybe it’s time to say goodbye.

Come to think of it I’m not all that happy with the swingset in the middle of the yard anymore either.  The kids don’t use it all that much and when they do they’re not toddlers I need to keep an eye on, rather they’re teens who wouldn’t mind hiding with their friends somewhere off to the side.  Hmmmm.  And don’t even get me started on the trampoline.

garden pond

Construction has not been kind to the pond.  It’s a muddy mess which fills with runoff, but the waterlily is returning and I see duckweed bits floating about so all is not dead.

Maybe changes are afoot.  It’s not surprising that poorly planned projects of five and ten years ago need updating, and the sad truth will be that their replacements will likely be just as hasty and poorly planned.  Obviously I’m one of those people who needs to learn everything the hard way.

build stone wall

A pile of rocks might as well become a wall so as to not look so much like a pile of save-them-somewhere rocks.

Don’t think that my whole beautiful weekend was filled with the joys of stone moving and hedge lifting, there was also the fun moment when a small jackhammer showed up so that “if I wanted to start taking out the concrete patio section and digging out new basement stairs” I could.  Lucky me!

double daffodil mertensis bluebell

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) can be floppy and messy and rapidly die down when the weather gets warm, but I’m determined to get a few settled into the garden.    

So even when my day of rest was topped off with three hours of jack hammering and digging I still thought it was a fantastic weekend.  The weather was beautiful and I even snuck in a quick hike and garden center run with the daughter.  She got it into her head to trim Grandma’s spiral evergreens, pull weeds, and also wanted to plant a few flowers, so needless to say I was thrilled to hear her speaking my language and found the time to look at plants with her 😉

daffodil jetfire

‘Jetfire’ is a nice little daffodil that looks all yellow most years… until a cold spring comes our way.  Then the trumpet burns orange just like it likely does every year in more reliably dismal climates.

All this is still a lot of raw construction talk and torn up earth, so hopefully the next batch of photos will be more pleasing and flowerful.  I think it will be.  The daffodils are beginning and with tulips right behind them I’ll be thrilled, even if the sun is lost and gloomy weather returns.  You can’t hold spring back forever.

daffodil tweety bird

This year the yellow trumpet daffodil ‘Tweety Bird’ holds the record for longest bloom.  A full month after first opening, it still looks exceptional, and it doesn’t hurt that this small trumpet flower form might be my very favorite daffodil form.

daffodil high society

‘High Society’ just barely missed the bulldozer blade.  It’s such a highly regarded, good grower, and I can’t think of a single reason to justify my luke-warm opinion of this plant. 

Hope the garden did well for you this weekend.  I feel recharged and can’t wait to get back out there, especially if it’s heavier on the sit and look side than it is jack hammering and stone hauling 😉

Have a great week!

16 comments on “Spring?

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You do have a massive mess to clean up. I don’t envy you too much on that count. I do think it is wonderful that your daughter is taking an interest in your gardening. Even if she veers away a few years I bet she will come around when she gets her own garden to create in. At least that is what happened with my daughter and son. They aren’t as fanatic as I but they have their own niche and enjoy their gardens. You should give ‘High Society’ its due since it didn’t flinch at the bulldozer.
    Happy stacking, planting, cleaning and digging…

    • bittster says:

      Yes 🙂 I practically ran for the car keys when she said she wanted to get flowers to plant for grandma. I also had to wonder if she was next door gardening because things are a little too ‘intense’ here, even though I thought I kind of gave them free range in the yard.
      Yeah it will be some work cleaning up, but the bigger problem will be the other projects which come up. I’d like to re-grade the whole side of the house now, and I’m also thinking the pond is now in a bad spot… Ugh…

  2. Jack hammering? I thought you paid the contractor to do that!

  3. Pauline says:

    I think its going to be a while before everything is back to normal, thank goodness you have lots of lovely flowers to enjoy that survived all the machinery working near them!

  4. Paddy Tobin says:

    The plants wish to continue performing as normal despite the work on site. It will be good to have it finished so you can have your garden back.

    • bittster says:

      Yes, it’s not just the ripped up soil, it’s the presence of people working while all I want to do is sit around and stare at a daffodil bloom… and then stare at another and contemplate which is nicer and which can be moved and which I should order more of… all that stuff which is serious work, yet sometimes can look just like warm-day time wasting!

  5. Every time I look at your construction project I get more nervous about what the streets guys will do when they redo our street. And then there’s the new gas line etc. But your Hellebores look gorgeous, esp. those doubles. You are much further along than we are. My plants are at least a week behind last year. Last two nights I covered things with low temp forecast but looks like that’s over at least for a while. Sun keeps going in and out here this morning and I need it and warmer temps to lure me outdoors.

    • bittster says:

      I wish I could give you some optimism regarding all the street-work, but… -on the plus side digging extra holes and excessive trenches is expensive, and they will likely avoid it, and sometimes you can be amazed by how they surgically open the earth and pop in a line, but sometimes you can also be scared by the mayhem. It will work out I’m sure, and at least you have a sort of solid start and end date. I might still be picking up wood scraps and roof shingles long after things there are finished.
      Your recent lows will be here tonight. My fingers are crossed it won’t dip below freezing, but even if it does most things should be fine. I think the buds on the wisteria are already toast, I blame a few frigid spells in March for that.

  6. Nice in spite of the construction mess! I’m looking forward to seeing it IRL! My Jetfires always have orange trumpets–a “benefit” of living here in the Highlands, perhaps? I need to move them, though, because they’re short and located right behind the blocks in the terrace wall, so can’t be seen well from the street. (I’ve been saying that for at least four years now; will this be the year it gets done?) I have illusions of Keukenhof grandeur every fall when I plant my 90 tulip bulbs in the fenced in vegetable garden, LOL! Seems like I’ll have to look for some Tweetybird bulbs this fall! Such great endurance!

    • bittster says:

      You’re probably going to be underwhelmed to see it, I might have been a little too excited abut sunshine and warmth and optimistic tulips on the day I said you needed to see it! Hopefully a few plants and cuttings will make up for any garden disappointments!
      I can’t even get started on how many things have been waiting years to be moved. Walking around the garden this time of year is half excitement over the return of old friends and half regret over the things you didn’t get around to last year. Fortunately the excitement nearly always wins 😉
      I can’t wait to see your tulips, you always have the most exciting surprises. I also might have to take you up on the throw-aways this year, I think I’d like to expand my flock even more for next spring!

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Jackhammering? Oh, my, you are a jack of all trades, aren’t you? ;D
    Your cool attitude towards the construction debacle continues to impress me no end.
    It feels like a gift from the gods when a child expresses interest in gardening, doesn’t it? I remember dropping what I was doing and grabbing the car keys when my then 3 year old asked to plant a tree. Said tree is now 40′ tall and holds a fond memory in its branches.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, apparently anybody with half a pulse can jackhammer. Maybe not well, but eventually things fall apart and the same person who broke it up gets to haul away all the concrete chunks. I’ll be ready for swimsuit season in no time!
      What a nice story. I hope someday they remember the day we planted flowers and they want to do it in again their own garden 🙂

  8. Cathy says:

    I wonder how long the construction will take… will you have some peace and quiet by the summer? Using a jackhammer sounds horrible – noisy, dusty and heavy work. But the array of spring flowers is definitely a nice distraction and you seem to be taking it all in your stride. I hope the hedge recovers. Have you heard of the moth that has destroyed box trees and hedges across Europe? That yellow anemone is really sweet, and your hellebores are set on taking over by the looks of things!

  9. pbmgarden says:

    It’s always a treat to see what you’ve been up to Frank and it’s always many times more interesting than I could come up with. What great fun the garden outing must have been with your daughter leading the way! Happy Spring!

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