A light, steady rain has been soaking Central Illinois for most of the afternoon today, casting a gray pall over our town. This round of precipitation that is escorting winter away has saturated the thawing ground, creating puddles and mud throughout our home landscape.
It is the type of day where curling up with a good book may seem more appealing than traipsing around in the garden, but my curiosity surrounding the minute, daily changes in our landscape propelled me outside with my camera in hand. I don’t often get weekday opportunities to spend time in our landscape, and I’m motivated this year to document our garden in words and images. Avoiding rain drops can be a challenge, when one smudge on a camera lens can ruin an entire session. But rain is an integral part of a garden’s life, forming a triumvirate of life support with the sun and soil, and bringing a unique beauty to the landscape.
Most of the smooth, horizontal branches of shrubs like this Cornus sericea (Red-Twig Dogwood) held tiny puddles of rain along their tops and burgeoning water droplets from their underside.
The rain is stimulating fast growth in the early Daffodils whose shoots break through and lift the mulch and soil that insulated them over winter.
Our witch hazel (Hammamelis vernalis) gets more beautiful each day as the flowers unfurl to their full size. Today, their rich color was enhanced in contrast to the witch hazel’s wet bark.
The rhizomes of Geranium (Cranesbill) in the northwest corner of the yard have begun to send up the bright red shoots that will eventually grow into a two-foot umbrella of foliage covered with lavender flowers.
Small florets of Sedum foliage have started to grow in between last year’s stems, forming swirled cups perfect for collecting rain water.
In an event that I will take as good hope for this year’s garden, our new Hellebore (Helleborus ‘Melody’) bloomed in its first year. I’ve never grown Hellebores before, but understand that they can be finicky bloomers, especially when young.
Between the water droplets suspended from twigs and branches to new shoots emerging from the saturated soil, there was plenty of beauty in today’s garden, as long as you were willing to dodge a few rain drops.