Uncovering hidden growth

I spent most of yesterday cleaning away leaf litter and the remnants of last year’s garden. What started out as a chilly morning quickly moved to no-coat status courtesy of a bright, warming sun. I sawed — yes, sawed — down the dried plumes of Miscanthus and removed spent Sedum, Echinacea, and Rudbeckia stems that provided texture and height all winter.

Read More

The old stalwarts of spring

It’s that time of year when we start to find out what’s coming back in the garden. Tufts of new growth pop out from the crowns of perennials as they break their dormancy. The usual suspects were up as I walked the garden this morning. Narcissus, Geum, Iris, and Sedum. They’re the ones I’d expect this early — the old stalwarts of spring with tough foliage that can stand dips below freezing.

Read More

A sprig of spring

We woke to a snow globe of a day, wet flakes stirred into a frenzy by the trailing winds of the nefariously-named bomb cyclone. It made my decision to retire my winter coat for the season a bit short-sighted. On days like these, where the tease of spring is retracted by Jack Frost’s last gasps, it’s wonderful to come home and see the hope of a new season. The first vine of the Clematis starts I have growing on my kitchen sink has burst forth with a green only found in plants just born. This one is a C. jackmanii, so I think I’ll call it Jack Jack for now. Once its purple blooms grace the garden fence later this summer, I’ll give it a more regal name.

Our first inkling of spring

The march of the daffodils has begun. The length and warmth of days has slowly increased, enough to trigger the energy within the dormant bulbs to activate. I’ve lived long enough to not be surprised by the bright green tips emerging through winter’s brown, but each year I feel a joy as if I’ve never seen them before. An old friend, reincarnated, perhaps.

With less than two official weeks of winter left on the calendar, the daffodils’ arrival is the first sign of renewal. I haven’t yet added hellebore or witch hazel — the usual harbingers of winter’s end — in my new garden, so, for now, the trusty old daffodils will serve as our first inkling of spring.

Fall colors in the garden

IMG_6596

As we enter November, fall color is deep and plentiful after a week of cool, wet weather. Whether the sky is overcast grey or brilliant blue, the reds, oranges, and yellows pop. The weight of the rain brought many leaves to the ground, creating a carpet around and over our gardens. Perennials may be on their way into dormancy, but they’re refusing to go without one last show of gold.

Read More

Presence over time

IMG_9271It’s interesting how those of us in four-season climates talk about the plants in our gardens — in terms of how long they’ll last. Annuals come and go in one growing season. Perennials come back every year, but mostly lie dormant below the ground in winter. Trees and shrubs — we think of them as the bones, the stalwart foundation, that last for years, perhaps a lifetime. We cherish them for their presence over time, rather than their value in the moment.

We do the same for people, don’t we? Read More