April 15, 2016

The Bright Side of a Yo-Yo Spring

chionodoxa 2

I concede there are garden benefits to spring snow and cool temperatures. The snow protects the plants when nighttime temperatures plummet, and cool temperatures help the blooms last longer.

While changeable weather ... from cold to warm and back again ... can be tough on the constitution, it also encourages plant growth and then holds the blooms.

Our forecast here (Southern Wisconsin, USDA zone 5) heading into mid-spring looks warm, which pleases me. In the meantime, many of the early spring-blooming bulbs and plants are still going strong, concurrently with spring ephemerals beginning to emerge. That makes for quite a show!

I'm linking this post to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens and Foliage Follow-Up at Digging.

Most of my Crocuses and Snowdrops are done, but some spring bloomers are still with us. Here are a few as they looked a couple of days ago:

c. tommasinianus
Crocus tommasinianus

aconite
Eranthis hyemalis

scilla
Scilla siberica

tete-a-tete
Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete'

c. sieberi
Crocus sieberi

muscari
Muscari armeniacum

galanthus
Galanthus nivalis

chionodoxa 1
Chionodoxa forbesii

hyacinth
Hyacinthus orientalis

The Hellebores have been blooming for weeks now:

hellebore 2
Helleborus x hybridus

hellebore 1
Helleborus x hybridus

I did cover them before the recent ice storm, and when nighttime temperatures dipped below 30F/-1C.

Some spring plants are starting or about to bloom, including Vinca and Clematis:

vinca
Vinca minor

nelly moser
Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

I didn't cover these guys during the cold nights, but they don't appear to have any damage.

You might wonder why I allow these next two plants to grow in my garden:

white avens
Geum canadense

White Avens (Geum canadense) forms hitchhiking seedheads after flowering, so they're often considered nuisance plants. But I like the early rosettes, and the flowers attract butterflies. White Avens grows along the edge of our woods, in an area with little foot traffic.

urtica dioica
Urtica dioica

Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) also grows in the woods. It's one of only a few host plants for the Red Admiral butterfly.

Several more "desirable" native plants are showing their attractive foliage, including:

bluebells
Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells and

virginia waterleaf
Hydrophyllum virginianum

Virginia Waterleaf.

mayapple
Podophyllum peltatum

The Mayapples will soon form tiny umbrellas in their colony on the side of the hill. This photo series shows the stages before the foliage unfurls.

Other plants with interesting foliage: 

rhubarb
Rheum rhabarbarum

Rhubarb is growing fast. These two photos were taken about a week apart, during cold weather. When the heat hits during the next few days, this plant will really take off.

lycoris and hemerocallis
Lycoris squamigera

The foliage of Surprise Lilies (Lycoris squamigera) makes an early spring appearance. The foliage will fade and decompose during the summer, and the blooms will shoot up out of nowhere in late summer.

lamprocapnos
Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Some of the Bleeding Hearts look a bit tattered after recent nighttime freezes, but they'll be fine.

digitalis
Digitalis hybrida 'Camelot Lavendar'

And the Foxglove, which formed its rosette in December, will be spiking up with its tall flowers soon.

How about you? What's blooming, about to bloom, and emerging in your garden? Head on over to May Dreams Gardens and Digging to learn about other blooming plants and fab foliage in gardens around the world.

bee

75 comments:

  1. Wow, Beth...you have SO much diversity in your garden...just incredible! I have a few things growing in the borders right now, amongst the overgrowth - but spring is generally the least active time. I'm giving all of my borders an overhaul this year, however - just ordered 15 yards of mulch! - but at this stage, it's more to get them under control than anything else. The fun bit will be in the next year or two once I start to add to what's left and I know your garden and blog will be a big source of inspiration - bring on the spring colour!

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    1. Thank you, Margaret! You are so kind. Your produce gardening is an inspiration to me, if I ever have a sunny garden again. ;-) The bed containing all the spring bulbs has been a work in progress. I've had Hellebores there for more than a decade, but I recently added Epimediums and most of the "Woodland Mix" bulbs I received from Colorblends. That was a wonderful Fling perk! The bed has always looked nice in summer, but it needed an early spring contingent of color. The plants in the woods are courtesy Mother Nature--I rarely adjust that part of the property. The area in the middle is a combo of plants that were here when we moved in and others I've added. Yes, bring on the spring color! Cheers!

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  2. It has actually been a nice spring for the flowers --it's always disappointing when spring warms up so fast that the flowers fade in a day or so.

    Do you have to fight garlic mustard in your woods? We've had trouble encouraging native woodland plants because the only way to deal with an invasion is to mow or wack so the garlic mustard can't go to seed. No matter how hard we try, seeds blow in from neighboring areas and we have to fight it every spring.

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    1. I agree--totally! This warmer weather feels great, but sadly many of the flowers shown in this post are now fading or gone. :( Regarding Garlic Mustard--yes! It's a huge problem here and at our cottage near Montello, Wis. We have to pull it every spring (and summer and fall). I try to pull it up by the roots when I can. I'm trying a new technique of sowing other seeds wherever I pull up the Garlic Mustard. Wild Columbine seems to compete well with it. Yes, I feel your pain--it's a never-ending challenge! The only good thing: Garlic Mustard tastes great in hummus and salads! ;-)

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  3. The last photo - Magnificent!

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    1. Thank you, Lea. I took that one with my iPhone! That bee was one of the first native bees of the season in my garden. The honeybees are very active now, and I'm starting to see bumblebees and other native bees. :)

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  4. Your photography of your wonderful garden just takes my breath away. Gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you, Dorothy! You are kind. Sometimes the light is good. And even on sunny days, the dappled light of a partially shaded garden can be helpful for photography. Happy spring!

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  5. I agree re the photography, it's very good. You've a varied selection of blooms there Beth and so much pretty new foliage.

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    1. Thanks, Angie. I found a great spot for the early blooming bulbs, and I hope they'll naturalize over time in that area. The other plants are just coming on, and it's so fun to find new ones emerging every day!

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  6. Lovely photographs Beth. All your April blooms are long gone here. All the emerging foliage is very exciting.

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    1. Thank you, Chloris. They are fading now here, too. It's nice to feel comfortable out in the garden without a jacket, but warm weather means the end of the early flowering bulbs. Now I'm watching for native spring ephemerals. :)

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  7. Your photos are just stunning, Beth. It's hard to pick favorites, but tge Hellebores and Virgina bluebells are hard to beat. You and I (and the pollinators) must be the only ones who like White avens.:)

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    1. Thanks, Tina. I have a thing for Hellebores, even though I only have three plants. They amaze me with their hardiness and beauty! I planted the Virginia Bluebells from seed the autumn before last. I still don't see any buds or blooms, but apparently it can take several years from seed. I hope they'll eventually naturalize in that area. I'm not crazy about White Avens, but it's way back in the woods, and the butterflies like it. :)

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  8. Love your "firsts and your post title is perfect . . .
    Soooo pretty, your post has inspired me to go outdoors and catch some pics!
    Happy springtime weekend!

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. It's been a crazy spring, hasn't it?! Happy springtime! Wow, what a beautiful weekend!

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  9. I too think spring will be a little longer this year. So many beautiful flowers and foliage! My Mayapples are just starting to come up. I just love seeing the plants emerging from the leaves in the woods!

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    1. A patch of Mayapples is a special thing, isn't it Indie?! They seem so prehistoric. I noticed today that their umbrellas are pushing up and some are opening. Such a miracle. :)

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  10. the Eranthis is yellow perfection!

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    1. I know--I've fallen in love with them. I planted the bulbs last fall, and they came up nicely. So this is my first year with them in my garden. The early pollinators really like them, too. :)

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  11. We are running about 10-15 degrees below normal here, but still well safe of frosts and freezes. This cool weather does allow many blossoms to stick around longer than they would otherwise. Happy GBBD to you!

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    1. Sounds like our weather is similar now. All of a sudden we're launching full speed ahead into late spring. No freezes in the forecast. Unfortunately, all the spring flowering bulbs are fading. Happy GBBD to you, too!

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  12. Your clematis sure looks happy. I keep forgetting that bleeding heart has a new name and one that does not trip easily off my tongue.

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    1. Yes, the Clematises are growing on the south-facing corners of the house. During the winter they get intense sun, so they start pretty early from the sun and warmth of the house. When the Oak trees leaf out, they're in shade for the summer. I don't like the new Bleeding Heart name, and it sounds like I'm in good company. ;-)

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  13. You have a lot going on in your April garden, Beth. I love the blue of your Scilla sibericaur and of your muscari -- I have the latter, need to get scilla. Stunning photographs. P. x

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    1. Yes, it's colorful right now. Some of the spring-flowering bulbs are fading now with summer-like weather, but they've been so enjoyable. This is my first year with the Scilla. I found a really good spot for them. :)

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  14. Your garden is far ahead of us in WNY. Spring is stalled for us. I bet we jump right into summer with barely a spring. At least today was warm and sunny, just not sure that will hold.

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    1. Interesting. Well, I would guess some of the warmth we're getting now will be on its way to you during the next few days. Wow, it's like summer today! Yes, everything's happening fast now.

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  15. Always a joy when I visit your blog. Wisconsin Springs ;-)
    Carla

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    1. Thank you, Carla! Back at you! Yes, springtime is, er ... interesting here, isn't it? ;-)

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  16. I haven't seen surprise lilies since we moved from the Midwest 5 years ago! That just brought back some fond memories. :) It looks like you're probably a few weeks behind us (Eastern Washington state) as far as blooms. I love balmy spring weather, but I wasn't too sad when it cooled off again and rained this week. My tulips have been holding out with the cooler weather.

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    1. Surprise Lilies are nifty! Amazing how the foliage disappears all summer, and the flowers come up out of nowhere! It's been cool until the past few days, and now the forecast is for mild weather for foreseeable future. So, it looks like we've turned the corner. Yay.

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  17. Isn't it fun watching everything emerging. Such a sense of excitement. You sure have a lot of blooms for the cold spring. Happy GBBD.

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    1. Yes, it is! It never gets boring, does it, Lisa?! Everything started emerging and blooming during a few warm days in late March/early April. Then, we got cold and the blooms seemed to like the "fridge effect." Happy GBBD to you!

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  18. Lovely photos, same here Spring is all over the place. But it has met the flowers have lasted longer and doing well.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. Yes, the cooler weather after a little warm-up keeps the blooms going a little longer. Now we're into warmer weather for the foreseeable forecast. Yay! Fun in the garden!

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  19. Oh, so much goodness here....let me start with the beginning!

    I had NO idea that the change in temperatures (and sudden snow) are actually good in protecting the tender shoots. Hey, I'm a native Californian living in Minnesota now! But then there's the miraculous and wise cycle of the growing stage. These temps and changes interact with this living thing, to allow it to adapt, struggle and then? TO GROW. Hmmmm, a metaphor for the human experience.

    Now....your muscari. LOVE! We are not quite there yet up here in The Twin Cities, but yesterday to my surprise on my way home from work, I saw the white magnolia trees lifting their arms in joy. Bright white has come not in the form of snow but of tender life. Oh the joys of living in the midwest! Thank you for visiting!

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    1. Hi Anita: Will the change isn't really good to protect the shoots, but if it isn't too cold, the blooms will last longer--kind of like a refrigerator. I enjoy Muscari, too. They're so delicate and yet sturdy. Love the Magnolias, too. Enjoy the great spring weather!

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  20. It seems to me that hellebores have lasted a lot longer this year. I put it down to some lower temperatures here too. I have some that are still opening new buds. Not that I'm complaining!

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    1. Yes, I have a few opening new buds, too, at the same time others are going to seed. It's been an interesting year for the Hellebores. Love 'em! :)

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  21. Thanks for the ID of White Avens. It's been a mystery presence in a few spots here, and now I know what it is. I remember once grabbing hold of a stem of stinging nettle - ouch! There is a plant called False Nettle that doesn't have stingers but is a host for Red Admirals. The culinary herb rue is also a host.

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    1. It took me a while to ID it, too. The rosette is pretty, but the mature plant looks totally different. I didn't realize Rue was a Red Admiral host. That's one they didn't mention on the Butterflies and Moths of N.A. site. Good to know!

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  22. Nice to see all the color! I saw my first pasque flowers last Wednesday, at about 8000 ft; now they're covered in snow. But we're happy to have the moisture.

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    1. Oh, Pasque Flowers are so soft-looking and graceful. Yes, I'm glad we had some late snow and plenty of rain in March and early April. Now that we're warming up, it's feeling a little dry around here.

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  23. Lovely to see your garden at this stage Beth, and thanks for reminding me about surprise lilies, I want to include some in my new garden! We are having yo-yo spring over here too and I am fed up of having to drag my seedlings in and out of the shed to protect them at night. This evening it was yet again in with them all as tonight it will be a minimum of 1-2 C degrees. That’s cold for late April! I am ready for some warm weather :-)

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    1. Thanks, Helene. Yes, that is cold -- especially for you in London! We seem to have turned the corner, and spring is in full swing. In fact, we've had summer-like temperatures for the past few days. This post is so out of date now. ;-) Re: Surprise Lilies, yes they're fun. I'll bet they would find a very happy place in your garden.

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  24. Your photos are beautiful, Beth, especially the last one. The bee looks deliriously happy with all that pollen! Thanks for identifying the Geum for me--I have some of that in my garden, and I always pull it out, thinking it a noxious weed. The downside is that I think I pulled out two new 'Prairie Smoke' geums by mistake:( It certainly has been a yo-yo spring here, too. I never covered anything up on the cold nights, and so far everything looks ok, but only time will tell. Looking forward to some warm days this week to play in the garden!

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    1. Thank you, Rose. It's funny: That last photo was taken with my iPhone. It seems to work well in bright light, but not well at all when the light is low. Gosh, it's warm now. No complaints from me, but this post seems like weeks ago! You're welcome regarding the Geum. I only recently realized that was the rosette of the plant I see later in the summer. It's interesting how much the appearance changes. Enjoy the spring days ahead!

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  25. You have such a wonderful selection of plants in your garden. I'm so glad that you share you photographs, thoughts, and experiences with us on this blog.

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    1. Thank you, Tim! That's so kind of you. I enjoy your blog very much, too. It's a joy to compare notes with gardeners in similar and very different parts of the world. :)

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  26. Your flowers look lovely, despite the low temperatures, Beth. I have wild Geum too which is pesky but I love the developed varieties that are blooming early and were in my post a week ago. I also have stinging nettle and other native plants that have healthy uses.

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    1. Hi Hannah: Good to hear that some others allow White Avens to grow on their property. Mine isn't really in my garden, but in the wild area at the edge of the woods. The butterflies really like to hang out there! Same thing with Stinging Nettle: I don't like it much, but it's in a wild area, and it's food for Red Admiral caterpillars. :)

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  27. The Crocus here at the lake started to bloom on Friday - yeah yeah - maybe Spring has finally arrived! Jack

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    1. Our seasons are shifted about two weeks: You get spring about two weeks later than I do, and winter starts happening here about two weeks before it hits the lake area. Enjoy the spring blooms now!

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  28. I recognize the foliage of Geum avens but I've never seen it in flower. Or maybe I just didn't realize it was the same plant since the rosette seems to have quite different leaves than the leaves on the flowering stems. I think you are actually ahead of me. None of my clematis show signs of life yet.

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    1. Yes, the rosette is totally different on White Avens than the mature plant. In fact, I didn't realize they were the same plant until recently. Interesting: You have Bloodroot blooming before mine has even emerged, but my Clematises are about ready to bloom. I think it's because they're on the south-facing side of the house, so they stay warm all winter. My Bloodroot is in the woods. Microclimates are fascinating.

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  29. I love your photos Beth, i didn't read all the texts as i don't know most of them anyway. I also am envious for the plenty of comments coming here unlike mine where only a very few of you see. I wonder if that is because there are not much people looking at tropical plants or less tropical bloggers, or maybe they only visit me because i visited them, LOL!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea. Oh gosh, I love to look at tropical plants--especially in their native habitats. I think what's happening right now is people are so busy in the temperate zones with all the garden chores. I know I'm seriously behind on visiting blogs and Facebook, etc. So much to do! I especially love to visit your blog in the winter when it's soooo cold here! Thanks for visiting!

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  30. Happy spring! You have presented some great close-ups, and I really enjoyed seeing what is blooming for you. Interesting that my foxgloves, so much farther south than yours, are barely ahead, just now sending up its tall flower spikes, which should begin opening soon.

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    1. Hi Deb: Happy spring to you! Yes, that is interesting about the Foxgloves. In fact, I noticed today--less than a week since this post--that my Foxglove plant is starting to spike now! Wow, things are happening fast now. El Nino got things going early, I guess.

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  31. Hi Beth, I enjoyed seeing your blooms and foliage. Your Virginia bluebells look good. I think they should be blooming by next year, from the looks of them. I am wondering if white avens is what I have some of across the street. Your nettles are a different kind than what grows here in SE Nebraska. Ours are stinging nettles. Are yours also called that? I just went to a nettle gnosh last night, where we made different kinds of food with them. I got mine from the gal who hosted it, and made up a rice pasta salad. I rarely do things with friends, so it was a lot of fun for me.

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    1. Hi Sue: Thanks for the info about the Virginia Bluebells. I just love them, and I hope they'll naturalize in the area where I planted them. Yes, the Common Nettle is also called Stinging Nettle. I've heard that they're edible, but I'm a little apprehensive to try them. Plus, I wouldn't want to displace any Red Admiral eggs. But I suppose a person could examine the plants carefully first before picking them. Rice pasta salad--sounds tasty!

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  32. Replies
    1. Thank you, Endah! Most of these blooming plants are done for the season now. All of a sudden, spring is in full swing!

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  33. Love these pics! Just beautiful!! We have fields of bluebells here. I love that you leave the 'weedy' natives in your woodland. The pollinators don't consider them weeds at all!

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    1. Thank you, Tammy! I noticed the Bluebells blooming all around town today. I planted the seeds a couple of years ago--maybe next year I'll have blooms. They're so beautiful!

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  34. It's so exciting discovering new blooms that fill the days with bright colors!

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    1. That is so true, Lula. And this time of year, there are new blooms every day! :)

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  35. Spring is the most beautiful season for me. I love spring flowers in the garden and plants in lwsie. With me already overblown some of shown flowers. I hope that now there will be a cold night, and everything will continue to flourish beautifully. Regards.

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    1. Yes, it's nice when the weather cools a little (but not too much) when these colorful spring flowers are blooming. Most of the flowers in this post are finished blooming now--spring is moving quickly ... too quickly.

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  36. Love seeing stuff starting to bloom. Won't be long before we see tulips and iris! :)

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    1. Yep, and I'm just catching up on replies to comments the tulips are beginning to bloom. It should be pretty colorful around here next week as the temps warm. :)

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  37. A beautiful spring bloom day in your garden. Love the way some of the earlier blooms are overlapping with some later bloomers.

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    1. It was! Most of early bloomers are done now. Darn, they don't last long enough! Spring is incredible, isn't it?!

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  38. Finally catching up....I adore what your early spring looked like....as ours slowly moves along I am enjoying each bloom.

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