Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring blooms

Last fall, I bought some spring-flowering bulbs to plant. But our family experienced serious illness and an accident requiring surgery and rehabilitation, and planting the bulbs fell off the priority list. The bulbs remained in a cardboard box on my side porch throughout the winter, which was cold -- temperatures dropped as low as zero.

We were in Florida for December and January, and returned home to face more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. In March, I finally got around to opening the box of bulbs, with the intention of discarding them and recycling the box. To my amazement, many of the bulbs had sprouted! I planted many of them in a planter, and you can see in the above photo that they grew and are now beginning to bloom.

Among the blooms currently in our yard are Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), left. These lovely native perennials return to bloom each year, and then go dormant until the next spring. These were rescued from a site that was under development. If not transplanted, they would have been lost.

The beautiful blooms below are the Kwanzan cherry tree. The blooms last only a week at most, but are spectacular while they last.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough.
A.E. Housman (1859–1936)

Three of my four dogwood trees (Cornus florida) have pink blooms. They are just beginning to open:
Apple blossoms bring back special memories. My grandmother lived in Winchester, Virginia, and each year we went to her house for the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins from nearby states would also visit, and it became a family ritual and annual reunion. I have two apple trees, but the deer get all of the apples within reach. Still, the blossoms are lovely to see:
To everything there is a season. . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome sweet springtime

It has been quite a while--about six weeks -- since I've posted anything. Unfortunately, aging brings a number of challenges, many of them to our health. We've been inundated with medical tests and procedures, and more are expected. But spring reminds us that the long dark days pass eventually. This is my first dogwood blossom of 2009. I don't know if it has a cultivar name; the tree was here when we moved in. It's blooms are predominately white, and it has variegated leaves.

Each fall I try to plant more spring bulbs, such as the ones above and below. I have just about given up on tulips because their foliage and blooms gets eaten by critters--deer? rabbits? Daffodils (Narcissus), on the other hand, are ignored by wildlife and so are a safe bet to return year after year. The one above is called N. 'Decoy.'

This lovely daffodil is aptly named 'Spring Pride.'

I think this one is 'Cum Laude,' although the catalog picture showed a darker colored center.

I love the ones with pinkish centers. I think this one is 'Salome.' I need to do a better job recording where I plant stuff!

This one is actually quite small. It has a delightful fragrance and sometimes blooms in clusters. It is Narcissus 'Hillstar.

I hope spring where you are is just as beautiful.