May 30, 2016

Lessons in Awe and Wonder


On a royal-blue-sky day in late May, a House Wren trills its energetic song of joy. Cottonwood seeds float their fluff on the afternoon breeze, sparkling as they capture the dappled sun/shade filtering through the Oak canopy.

A familiar Black-Capped Chickadee lands on a branch above the pond--an arm's length from where I sit. A blonde Eastern Gray Squirrel scolds me from a crook of the Redbud tree, while a young child's voice in the distance calls happily for "Daddy!"


In the front garden, three healthy American Robin chicks have just left their nest, the same day a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird now sits atop a new nest of avian wonder.

All these tiny "miracles" and many more prompt my quiet prayer of thanksgiving for the beautiful gifts I'm witnessing. And then a butterfly--an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail--flutters across the field of vision, as if on cue from the director of a feature film, at the perfect timing for full effect.


This spring has been a season of yo-yo weather and a whirlwind of personal and professional challenge and accomplishment. It was a busy gardening season, ushering in great promise for the months ahead. But these brief moments of garden reflection are the big payoff. They can't be learned in a textbook, nor earned through heavy labor. They're free and available for all of us, if we only take a little time to notice.

These are my moments of awe and wonder. They leave me breathless and filled with great joy.


How about you? Did you learn new lessons or experience moments of wonder this season? Welcome to the "Garden Lessons Learned" meme. To join in, simply write a post or share one you've already written about lessons you've learned during the past season. Then share your links or simple observations in the comments. I'll keep this post up for a few days, and it will be available always under the Lessons Learned tab at the top of this blog.

I'll share your "lessons" posts on the PlantPostings Facebook Page closer to the solstice.

Happy summer to friends in the Northern Hemisphere, and happy winter to those in the Southern Hemisphere!

May 23, 2016

Perfume in a Vase on Monday

tulips 1

I'm squeaking by with a post for Cathy's "In a Vase on Monday" meme at Rambling in the Garden. This vase with yellow tulips was created almost two weeks ago, but I never got my act together to post it.

tulips 2

Long story, but these two tulips were the only ones that bloomed this year--the rabbits ate the rest.

lily of valley 2

So ... fast forward two weeks, and the Lilies of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) are still blooming. Personally, I prefer them free of other flowers--in a simple vase surrounded by a few snippings of their own foliage.

lily of valley 1

This is what they look like on the shelf in the powder room where they "live."

lily of valley 3

The scent stirs memories of a very pure-scented perfume with a certain French name (roughly translates in English to lily of the valley of the woods) that was a favorite during my teenage years. It's like having perfume in a vase.

For more arrangements on Monday, visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

May 15, 2016

A Freezing Cold Bloom Day


As I wrote this post, the meteorologists were saying we might break a record for the overnight low temperature--potentially down to 30F/-1C before daybreak. It has me wondering what the garden will look like in the morning. A frost might be expected this time of year, but not a freeze. I'm preparing myself for brown ferns and wilted flowers.

So, I covered a few plants with pots and bags and tarps, but it's impossible to cover a 1/4-acre plot.

Before the freeze, a few of the plants blooming in my USDA zone 5 garden included:

red trillium
Red Trillium (T. erectum)

Great White Trillium (T. grandiflorum)

Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris)

Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma)

Barrenwort (Epimedium x warleyense)

Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

'Little Henry' Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

bleeding heart
Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

lily of valley
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

I'm hoping the weather people will be wrong ... or the fact that we're on a hill and just a few blocks from the lake will mean it won't freeze here. Interestingly, we're in for a major warm-up next weekend.


In any case, it will be a few days before these tender annuals will be released to the cruel, brutal outside world.

What's blooming in your garden? Check out other Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens.

* * * * * * * *

An update: The Euphorbias looked a little wonky this morning, and the Lilac blooms are droopy. Otherwise, the plants look fine. I did spray the central garden bed and the Clematis vines before dark, which may have helped a bit. Also, I think our location--near the top of a glacial drumlin and near a lake--might protect us somewhat from late spring and early autumn frosts and freezes. Happily, the plants I watered and then covered look better this morning than they did before I covered them.

Now I'm breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to a great growing season ahead. Best wishes for everyone else's gardens, too!

May 11, 2016

Tree Following: The Mystery Buckeye Unfurls

Buckeye Collage

My little potted Buckeye tree (Aesculus spp.) unfurled quickly over the course of a few days in mid-April, and now it continues to grow. Here's a rough video, using unedited still shots from the past few weeks.

Click here for more information about the mystery Buckeye. For more "tree following" posts from around the world, visit The Squirrelbasket.