Spring Loaded


We have waited.

Fall happened, the leaves fell and the days became dark. Then came winter with its chills and more time tucked inside.

Why is it we always think of spring in the middle of winter? One nice day and everyone starts talking. The first sign of spring. Is cabin fever so bad by then the we’re grasping at any sign of the outside world being open to us again? For me, it really makes winter drag on to always be thinking that it is about to be over.

So, yeah, it’s springtime. We’ve had some hot days, so, of course now everyone is saying summer might already be here.  I have to remind myself that this is what we do. We talk about the weather.

and then

The first rush of blossoms start when the days are still cold. It seems crazy. Somebody should tell them that it can still be cold and stormy. Obviously their resilience belies an appearance that is so soft and open.

The light can shine right through them.

Then one day, they’re gone.

That’s alright though. There is so much more still coming on in the garden. It’s as if every year winter’s dormancy makes me forget that this is just the beginning. The plants will grow and bloom through the summer and into the fall. When the time is right, all of the flowers will have had their time in the sun.


I’ve been so busy working in other gardens that I’ve actually already missed some of my own flowers. I saw them in passing. I’d be grabbing my tools in the morning and think, “The Koran Spice viburnum is starting to flower! I need to spend some time with it when I get home.” Then after work I’d be too cold and tired and sit in a hot bath instead.

One whiff was all I had.

Even though I missed the Korean Spice, I now have deciduous azaleas blooming, and wow, their perfume is really filling up the whole backyard.

Rosy Lights Azalea Northern Lights Azalea Pink and Sweet Azalea

I’ll use any excuse to get out there. “Do the kitchen scraps need to go to the worm bin? What about the garbage? I’ll hang that laundry for you.” I’ve really become so helpful! The family is starting to get suspicious though. Especially when I don’t come back in, but instead, tap at the window to see if someone can pass me a drink and my sunglasses. A good time to stop and smell the flowers.

A Shot of Green

Just when you can’t stop smelling the flowers, there is something else going on out there.

Here are some pictures I took in Rikki Ducornet’s garden. It’s one of my favorites. Ferns and Sweet Woodruff help to make this shade garden a place of green delights!

Ferns line the walkway. Iris, sweet woodruff and shadows cast from a cherry tree. A newly planted Japanese Aralia taking the spotlight.

From ground covers and perennials to the bushes and trees, just about everything has leafed out and all of the new greens are a feast for the eyes. There are so many shades of bright green right now. Even the conifers have put on new growth that gives even these prickly plants a soft, two-toned appearance.

A few of my favorite spring greens from my own garden.

Fern and epimedium Weeping hemlock Pine Bird’s Nest spruce The way the wind waves

This last Tuesday, the winds came through Admiralty Inlet and blew most of the day and into the night. I’m not sure, but the reports seem to say the wind gusts were between 30-50 mph. I was pretty worried about my kids. They both work at night and walk and ride bikes to get home. The danger? The trees! The wind does it’s own pruning job on these giants of the plant world. If there’s a problem, rot or poor structure, the wind can expose the weakness and take down large limbs or even entire trees.

The next day at work, I noticed the trees that were most affected by the winds were the deciduous trees.  The Evergreen trees had already been getting blown and broken during the winter storms but, the deciduous trees’ new surface area (leaves) increased the force felt from the wind. One large, triple-trunk plum tree had split and fallen. I hadn’t even noticed it at first and almost walked into it as it lay across the path!

 Other plants had some of their leaves and flowers blown off. It was kind of a strange effect. A bed of irises, just starting to bloom, covered by a blanket of new maple leaves.

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