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Spring Is Finally Here!

Jun 9, 2021All, Garden

Spring is finally here! It seemed like this was going to be the year with NO spring. I remember a year when my mom told me Michigan had virtually no summer. That was the gloomy thought that entered my mind about this spring. But Joy! It happened! So I thought I would show you some of the pleasures of springtime in our garden; things that make us glad to be alive!
Several years ago, when my sister and brother-in-law came for a springtime visit, we did our usual garden center tour. My sister is a gardener and her husband, while not quite as enthusiastic as she is, does enjoy those visits. We found this star magnolia when it was only about 3’ tall, and they gave it to us as a gift to remember our good times. On the years when it blooms and frost doesn’t kill the blossums, it is a very welcome early sign of spring. The next photo is the redbud, Rising Sun, that shades our granddaughter’s fairy garden. It is only a couple of years old but already so pretty. I think the next tree is a tulip magnolia. It also has only been in the garden for a couple of years; this is the first time it has really flowered.
Isn’t this dogwood beautiful? It is called Summer Gold, I think, and only gets 8’ to 10’ tall. It is the only one like it that we have seen, and too pretty to pass up. Hellebores, or lenten roses as they are called, are always welcome; they show up in the middle of winter, just when our spirits need lifting the most. These, and our star magnolia are the very earliest signs of spring on our property. I am not sure of all the varieties here. There is a helleborus festival I think in Virginia, that we have always wanted to attend. The bright yellow flower in the helleborus photo is a reblooming very small iris, that is shown in the next photo. Amazingly, it has bloomed in every month of the year at various times. It isn’t spectacular but it is what I call “a small joy.”
We are Dutch and so, of course, we have to have tulips! We only have a few varieties, but they are one of my very favorite flowers. Narcissus are also a favorite flower; they bloom reliably with no effort on my part; what more can a gardener ask?? And, of course the pretty blue flowers are ajuga, a variety called Chocolate Chip. The leaves and flowers are smaller than other varieties. They are invasive and I do need to keep removing them from my path. But their springtime show is something I look forward to all winter, so I don’t mind the extra work.
This is a closeup of my path; it needs a little “spring cleaning”, but I wanted to show you the ice plant, which is just beginning to bloom. This is my third year’s experience with ice plant and, unfortunately it seems to be a rather short lived plant. It is so pretty, though, that it may be worth replacing when necessary. In a future blog I will show it more fully in bloom. The next photo is of our back yard path. I just can’t say enough good about Irish moss. It keeps it’s bright color, even during the winter. In the summer heat, we keep it watered. And we do need to patch holes that squirrels dig (grrr), but other than that, no special care needed. It does try to grow into other areas but really minimally invasive and very easily controlled. The small tree here is a Full Moon Japanese maple, slow growing and striking fall color. The last photo here is our back yard retaining wall and more ajuga; just so attractive!

Final thought: With the possible exception of the dead of winter, all the seasons of a garden bring joy. But there is nothing that gladdens the heart as much as the soft breezes, warm sunshine and beauty of a garden in early spring.