Spring: Is It Ever Gonna Get Here?


| 5/4/2011 12:16:55 PM


Tags: Spring, American Spicebush, Mayapples, Violets, Norway Maple, Marsh Marigolds, Common Mullein, Cindy Murphy,

CindyMurphyBlog.jpgGRIT  blogs have been alive with spring posts lately.  Stories of inspiration, poems, beautiful photos of beautiful plants, and lots of springtime projects.  It is spring, after-all! 

But to tell the truth, I haven’t been in much of a springtime mood.  I’ve never been an aficionado of spring, particularly early in the season.  Why is it twenty degrees and two feet of snow in December always feels warmer than forty degrees and rain in April?  It just takes me a while to warm up to spring … and this year, spring has taken its sweet old time coming.  Day after day of nonstop rain, and temperatures in the 30s and 40s prolonged my agony.  I knew things were happening out there – buds on the trees beginning to swell, the grass changing from tan to green, and perennials springing back to life – but I couldn’t bring myself to get out in the yard.  After coming home from work at the nursery cold, wet, and dirty, the last thing I wanted to do was remain cold, wet, and dirty working in my own gardens. 

Chionadoxa 

The chionadoxa, one of the earliest bulbs to bloom, was in full swing mid-April.  ‘Glory of the Snow,’ it’s called, and it seemed aptly named this year.  Soon after I noticed it flowering, I woke up one morning to this:  

MidApril Snow 

Though it melted quickly, it seemed spring would never arrive.  A few days later, driving down a country road, I saw a most welcomed sight after all this wintry weather.  In a spectacular display designed by Mother Nature, the entire understory of a swampy woods was lit by lemon-yellow flowers of American Spicebush (Lindera benzoin).  Beneath them, the ground was covered with darker yellow marsh marigolds.  There is nothing like nature to give inspiration.  The scene made me feel compelled to dive into working in the yard again … a nice batch of marsh marigolds had just arrived at the nursery, some of which I was sure would look lovely at home.  In the least, nature’s display prompted me to get out and see what’s going on in my gardens.    

Nadya
8/30/2011 3:18:14 AM

Our spring (& Summer) were also s-l-o-w on the uptake! Now it's been HOT ... & I'm working on fall plantings. That book sounds delightful! My mom always battled Mullein on the E side of the Oregon Cascades, & as a kid she had me pulling them or what she called "milkweed" (salsify - Tragopogon). Then along came my botanist (now X) hubby, telling us that BOTH those were 'really' herbs! & quite desirable! She said we were welcome to all we wanted! On that side of the mtns the species is yellow flowered. A Forest Service piece says: "According to a review by Clements and others, yellow salsify was introduced to North America as a garden plant in the early 1900s. Spread was likely from east to west, as this is was the pattern in the Pacific Northwest." I collected seed this year from a purple Salsify a few blocks from here, & also have a packet of seed ... little 'dandelion' fluffs. One of my NW garden books suggests a planting of carrots & salsify after garlic - so that's what I planted today. I have a lovely mullein from an herbalist friend (Greek? It's a variety that branches) & let several plants grow each year. I've been able to transplant some to the perimeters of my back yard, & one's in a pot in front. Stately.


Cindy Murphy
5/19/2011 4:52:00 AM

Thanks, Shannon and Stepper. Stepper, I never have tapped the maples, though I've often thought it'd be fun. A couple of nature centers here have sugaring days, and we've always meant to go, but something always seems to come up. It's one of those "maybe some day" things, but not high on the list of "must dos"....probably because neither Keith nor I like syrup.


Chris Davis
5/17/2011 6:37:42 PM

Wonderful pictures Cindy! You mentioned sugar maples - did you ever tap them for syrup? Alas, it's been a dry spring here. Only the weeds are growing well this year.





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