An April Day

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day. ~ Robert Frost

bentdafWPSpring has arrived with great hesitation, or perhaps I only greet it this way. Warm days abruptly end in snow or frost, pouring rain soaks the ground and triggers green growth which is then stopped short by another deep freeze. I’ve never witnessed such extreme disruption in the garden. Although many of the early daffodil blooms hang to the ground in surrender, other growing things, especially ones native to this area, are coping with the dramatic and abrupt changes and reveal their beauty to the eye.  I must admit to a deep uneasiness – will this scenario continue in the future as we grapple with climate change? How will the creatures who depend on pollen and other garden foods at crucial times cope or even survive? Here’s what the National Wildlife Federation has to say about gardening for climate change and the problems that changing bloom times create between pollinators and the plants they depend on.

AprGrdnarchWPNevertheless, each day brings new growth and beauty. The hellebores continue to spring back after the worst conditions and a few sleepyheads are just beginning to bloom now. Bird song is a constant soundtrack to my journeys through the garden and a pair of robins follow me around as I expose the earth while digging up dandelion roots. The first blooms on the weeping cherry that survived sudden sub-zero temperatures are nuzzled by a native bee desperate for spring pollen. Tiny wind anemones and grape hyacinth bloom amid the warm rock walls. Foliage in shades of green and red rises up from the ground, displacing the last of the fallen oak leaves that blanketed the beds all winter. Now is the time for cleaning up the garden, trimming roses and shrubs, and planting seeds indoors in anticipation of summer. Prolific rains have created vernal pools and streams through the woods and spring peepers have been singing their high chweeps of courtship on warmer evenings.

Shades of pink and rose – click on any photo to see a larger image or trigger the slide show (all photos ©Lynn Emberg Purse 2017, All Rights Reserved).

Spring blooms in white, yellow, and purple.

But days even earlier than these in April have a charm, – even days that seem raw and rainy . . . There is a fascination in walking through these bare early woods, – there is such a pause of preparation, winter’s work is so cleanly and thoroughly done. Everything is taken down and put away . . . All else is bare, but prophetic: buds everywhere, the whole splendor of the coming summer concentrated in those hard little knobs on every bough . . . ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “April Days,” 1861

A special thanks to The Quote Garden for a seemingly endless source of literary inspiration.

16 thoughts on “An April Day

  1. Sweet quotes, both of them….I share your concern, though we are less prone to extremes in weather here, so it doesn’t seem as urgent as it would if I lived where you do, or back on the east coast. It’s always a pleasure to open your photos and view them one by one – thank you Lynn, looking forward to more, many more!

    • Lynn, your visits here are always a treat. As the garden gets into gear and the semester comes to a close, I expect that I will be posting more; I’m already looking forward to this week’s Easter break, which will be spent outside in the garden – where else?

  2. Your spring flowers look wonderful, despite the troublesome changes in our climate, Lynn. I hope the entire season will give you blooms, peace, and joy. Every year, I find myself replacing plants that don’t thrive with closer-to native varieties. I’ll read the link at NWF; thanks for that. And thanks for the peek at your beautiful blossoms!

    • Kitty, I hope your garden is starting to awaken as well. I’m doing the same as you regarding the native plants. They seem to handle the vagaries of weather more easily and support so many more pollinators – win win 🙂 Enjoy the new season and the wonderful abundance of light!

  3. Your Rose Quartz hellebore is so pretty. I wonder if I can get that here? I shall also have to look out for the Geranium Espresso – what colour are the flowers? And what is a spicebush? Looks a bit like a witch hazel, but I’m not so sure. My hellebores (I only have the white one) are long finished as too the daffs and hyacinths. Currently tulips are being their flamboyant selves and April so far has been charming. I’m sure it will all change for the holiday weekend! Lovely to see your garden and I do hope the weather settles down for you soon!

    • Jude, the Espresso geranium flowers are a soft clear mauve; the foliage stays dark for a while and then goes more green after the flowering is done. A very easy grower. Spicebush is Lindera benzoin, which is a shrub native to the U.S. It flowers a week or two after the Forsythia and is the sole food source for spicebush swallowtail butterflies; since I planted some of these, my butterfly population has increased greatly.

      Lucky you to be in the tulip phase; I have one about to bloom but the rest are just leaves a few inches tall so far. Enjoy the holiday weekend coming up; I’ll have to stop by and see what is blooming in your garden 🙂

      • Thanks for the information Lynn, I shall look out for the Espresso geranium. The spicebush swallowtail butterfly sounds divine, I’m not sure we get swallowtails over here, I have never seen one. Always good to plant things that attract the wildlife. Unfortunately most of my plants seem to attract slugs and snails… 😉

  4. Lynn, meeting you was a great gift to me. And, even though it has been what seems like eons since I have had the pleasure of your company, you continue to fill my spirit. Your shared verse and beautiful pictures remind me not only of the joys of nature, but even more, the joys and gift of you. Blessings!

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