Thursday, March 31, 2016


How many million Aprils came
before I ever knew
how white a cherry bough could be,
a bed of squills, how blue 

And many a dancing April
when life is done with me,
will lift the blue flame of the flower
and the white flame of the tree 

Oh burn me with your beauty then,
oh hurt me tree and flower,
lest in the end death try to take
even this glistening hour..."
-  Sara TeasdaleBlue Squills, 1920

Spring flowers of my Korean pear tree

Although Spring comes on the calendar March 21 it has been Spring-like here in the Piedmont, N.C. off and on since February.  How joyful it is to see Prunus Mume, or Japanese Apricot, blooming  in late January , daffodils in late February, azaleas, in early March and Pear trees , dogwood, magnolias and cherries in late March. To me this is the land of eternal Spring. Bluebirds are busy building their nests in the boxes I put up, colorful Cardinals visit the feeders I installed for them. I am amused by the tiny little lizards that dart to and fro among the boulders they love in the garden. Frogs and turtles visit the little inground pool of water and butterflies and bees are out and about the few early flowers in search of nectar.

Having endured more than 40 Chicago winters I no longer think in terms of when Spring will come.  Soon summer and its heat will arrive but then we had some pretty hot and humid summers in Chicago as well. Like the plants we have learned to endure and thrive.  

Azalea blooming in the boulder garden.

This last month of March I planted evergreen Viburnum, azaleas, dogwood,cross vine ,  wildflower seeds, vegetables, contorted filbert, hostas, ferns and a moss garden.   Walking around the garden I was surprised and delighted to find things emerging that I planted last year and thought was dead.  

April is the month that marks the end of the freeze/frost date on the 15th and when gardening here begins in earnest.  I look forward to continuing my plantings in the woodland , roadside, boulder , herb and vegetable garden.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by. 
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here."
-  Author Unknown

This first day of March is warm and sunny with a high of 70 degrees. I planted cool season vegetables in the Kitchen garden a few days ago -broccoli, kale, carrots, and red sweet onions.  Today I was bold enough to plant two tomatoes but will be prepared to cover them in case of a late frost/freeze.  

Signs of Spring are everywhere -daffodils, red budded leaves of maples, Okami cherries, hellebores, veronicas, and forsythia are blooming.   The blue birds are busy building nests in the many boxes I have for them.

I couldn't believe my luck when I visited the garden center and found the Kousa augustata, aka Evergreen dogwood , that I had been looking for a long time.  Naturally I bought and planted it.  The photo above depicts how it will look when its fully mature. It will have great fall color and bright red fruits as well.

I also purchased and planted my favorite viburnum plicatum ' mariessi ' in my back garden.  I have one in the front as well.

I had 6 yards of compost/topsoil delivered and have been busy spreading it about the beds in back.  I have one area that is so low it collects a lot of rainfall so I'm building it up into a raised bed where I will install the ornamental kitchen garden. As I was turning the wheelbarrow around I backed up and tripped over a stump .  I hit the ground hard, taking the brunt of the fall on the back of my head and shoulder.  I barely missed hitting a huge stone.  I feel lucky to be alive and shudder to think that it could've been much worse.   I iced my muscles and took some pain meds and fortunately I wasn't stiff or sore the next day.  Thank you Jesus ! He was certainly looking out for me.

While I realize our last frost date here is April 15 and we could still get some cold weather we have been so lucky this year to have Spring-like days that allow gardening.  

I have many tasks planned for this month in the garden.  One is to make a grape arbor for the sunniest part of my backyard .  It will also be a shady nook in which to sit and enjoy the garden.   

I am looking forward to Spring !

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