April 26, 2024

Woodland Awakenings

Viola spp.
Violets (Viola spp.)

The native plant growing season has begun, and many old friends await in the "wild" area of our property. This is the time of year to delight in new discoveries and welcome reunions. It seems appropriate to celebrate these woodland wildflowers, and the trees that protect them, on this Arbor Day.

Some ephemerals and wildflowers are blooming, while many more will burst forth in the days ahead. Here are just a few fun finds during the past few days:
Trillium recurvatum
Prairie Trillium (T. recurvatum)

Trillium erectum
Red Trillium (T. erectum)

Trillium grandiflorum
Great White Trillium (T. grandiflorum)

Mertensia virginica
Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Polygonatum biflorum
Smooth Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum biflorum)

Podophyllum peltatum
Mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum)

Allium tricoccum
 Ramps (Allium tricoccum)

Hydrophyllum virginianum
Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Enemion biternatum
False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum)

Asarum canadense
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Anemone quinquefolia
Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia)

Arisaema triphyllum
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

This is a special portion of the lot that we leave to nature. We don't plant or plan it (with the exception of a few Virginia Bluebells I planted several years ago). We simply remove invasive species--Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Creeping Bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides), and a few others--and let it be.

More reawakenings will greet us in the days ahead. It's always a treasured, magical portion of the growing season.

April 15, 2024

One of Each Daffodil in a Vase

bouquet 1

It's time for In a Vase on Monday, and I thought it would be fun to combine one of each variety of Daffodil (Narcissus spp.) blooming in the garden. Daffodils of various types have been blooming here since early March, and they continue to put on a show. Most of these were from a Colorblends mix I planted years ago, and they continue to flourish. I'm not sure of the variety names, and I don't know if this mix is still available, but there are many mix options. Here they are in no particular order:

daff 1

daff 2

daff 7

daff 6

daff 5

daff 3

daff 4

Since I set those in the vase a few days ago, other slightly different ones have bloomed:

daff 8
Similar to one in the vase, but with orange and yellow petals in place of salmon.

daff 9
Similar to the dramatic, central flower in the vase, but with larger orange petals.

I can't be sure, but it seems like some of the original varieties have hybridized: There are just so many variations. Has this ever happened in your garden?

bouquet 2

It was fun to hunt for this combination. I'm linking in with Cathy's "In a Vase on Monday" meme, over at Rambling in the Garden: Head on over to see all the creative arrangements of beautiful plants!

April 07, 2024

Memories of the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden

T Mountain Laurel

In recent weeks, several Texan friends have mentioned, on their blogs and social media, that the Texas Mountain Laurels (Dermatophyllum secundiflorum; syn. Sophora secundiflora) were blooming. This reminded me of our time in the state last year. It also reminded me that I hadn't shared highlights from our visit to the San Antonio Japanese Tea Garden, which was a truly unique place!

T Mountain Laurel Tree

Several Texas Mountain Laurels were blooming outside the entrance, and we spent some quality time before and after our visit viewing, smelling, and enjoying them. The scent has been described as grape bubblegum, which I recall as being about right.

T Mountain Laurel Horse-Fly Carpenter Bee

The pollinators enjoyed them, too. I believe this is a horse-fly carpenter bee.

Rock Work 1

The tea garden, which is more than 100 years old, exceeded my expectations and was totally different than I expected. It's described as "magical" on the San Antonio Parks web site, and that seems about right. My photos and words don't do it justice: It's one of those places you have to visit to get the full effect. There's so much beautiful rock and stone work everywhere you look, and the layout is so unique.

Rock Work 2

Built in the pit of a former limestone quarry and cement factory, it was shaped into a pavilion, walkways, arch bridges, pond surrounds, an island, and more.

Gardens 4

When we were there, beautiful annuals, along with resident perennials, were on display. These colorful Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) brightened the late February landscape.

Gardens 3

Various grasses, Prickly Pear cacti (Opuntia alta), and other native perennials framed the scene around the property.

Gardens 2

The rock work, mixed with beautiful plants and blooms was truly special.


Along with the giant, 60-foot waterfall, which made a dramatic statement.

Gardens 1

If/when you visit San Antonio, don't miss this special place. I'm sure it's beautiful and incredible any time of year.

To learn more about the history of the Japanese Tea Garden, and plans for its future, visit the San Antonio Parks Foundation and the San Antonio Parks & Recreation descriptions.

April 01, 2024

Frozen Flowers in Vases


As many bloggers in many locales have mentioned, we've had a seesaw of weather since February--back and forth between record warmth and bitter cold. This reveals (even more dramatically than in a "normal" season) how hardy the late winter/early spring bloomers can be.


A few days ago, I picked these flowers in the morning when the temps were much below freezing; they were sadly plopped to the ground. Soon after, in vases, they seemed happier. They're still going strong today.


This Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) is the anchor of the group.

Daff 1

The Daffodils (Narcissus) include large-cupped...

Daff 2

...and curly lace varieties.


When I picked it, this bloom was frozen in its partial unfurling.


About a day later, it was nearly fully open, bright, and perky.

With Lamp

They make a "welcome spring" statement in the family room--way up high where the cat and dog can't reach them. And our extended forecast is looking much better, too. :)

I'm linking in with Cathy's "In a Vase on Monday" meme, over at Rambling in the Garden. Head on over to see all the creative arrangements and beautiful combinations.

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!