Green things growing

O the green things growing, the green things growing,
The faint sweet smell of the green things growing!
       ~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (English poet)


Profuse rain and warm sunny days have turned the world green. Plants grew a foot overnight and the tender veil of new leaves in the spring woods was suddenly transformed into a verdant velvet curtain. O the green things growing indeed.


I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration . . . ~D. H. Lawrence

In a few weeks, flowers will fill the garden beds but for now, they are lush islands of leaves with a few sparks of floral color. Not all of the foliage is green though – deep reds, bright golds and warm bronzes have come into full leaf as well.

There are a few bright spots of contrasting colors as spring flowers give way to the early summer blooms of alliums and flowering shrubs. (Click on any photo to see a larger image)

Some of the perennials have begun to bloom, bridging the floral gap between spring and summer.

In a few days, the garden will change again as the roses and peonies and foxglove add their drama to the scene, but for now I will treasure the blessing of green things growing.

All photos and text ©2018 Lynn Emberg Purse (except where noted)

28 thoughts on “Green things growing

  1. I came over to rest a spell in your garden and get a little encouragement regarding my garden. The harsh winter destroyed so many of my established trees and bushes (9 gardenia bushes that used to be so intoxicating that they caused one to almost faint when passing by them, 4 out of 8 crepe myrtles that were 16 years old so harmed they look like a scene from out of the night of the living dead, 5 12-ft tall ligustrums stripped of all leaves and barren to the bone…). The South is not used to the type of winter we had last year. It’s as if my plants gave up the ghost. So, I’m visiting your garden to get inspired as I replace and redo my own. Sigh!

    • Oh, Eleanor, that is so distressing to hear! I hope your rest in my garden restored your spirit 🙂 I lost a few things because of our weird warm/cold swings but nothing like you are describing. The one thing I always keep in mind is that the loss of plants is an opportunity to try something new. It is more distressing to lose mature shrubs but once again, embrace the unwelcome change. Our crazy climate episodes make all of us rethink what will survive unexpected weather. Right now, my spouse and I are resting and recuperating after working outside in 90º weather in May!!!! We rarely hit 90º in August, let alone May, so it is strange and disturbing. All we can do is treat each season as it comes and roll with the changes. You are ALWAYS welcome to rest here a spell, my friend.

      • Wonderful words of wisdom–more than you will ever know. Turning 70 in a couple of weeks and am painfully aware that there is so little time and so many goals unaccomplished. It is causing me no small amount of anxiety. But all I can do is like you said: treat each season as it comes and roll with the changes. Thank you, my friend.

  2. I do so enjoy the peeks at your garden and the prose describing it! A very special place to have as a canvas and a retreat! Thanks, as always, for sharing!

  3. Beautiful relaxing greens. Thank you for sharing. Interestingly I too am very impressed by Sarah Price’s garden at Chelsea. The terracotta wall with such artistic planting with flowers in front looks so magical. She could win best in show with this masterpiece. We will see.

    • This is the time for green to shine, isn’t it? Richard, were you able to see her garden in person? I’ve been so impressed with the photos and videos I’ve seen online, such a painterly approach. I have a friend here who travels to Chelsea most years but I’ve never been, not fond of crowds.

  4. May arrives and WHOOSH! Everything changes. Your garden is gorgeous (I keep on saying this, but I can’t think of any other way to say it). I love the fresh greens of May, all the different shades from palest lime to deep emerald and almost black. Your flowers blend in so well, not a single jarring colour – you are a very artistic gardener. Which makes sense.

    • Whoosh is the perfect word, Jude! One of the reasons I love having the woods around the garden is that constant variation of green color. Not only is it beautiful, it adds so many dimensions of shadow and light. And yes, I’m an unrepentant colorist 🙂 Did you get to Chelsea this year? I’m fascinated by what I can see online of Sarah Price’s garden – oh those colors!

      • I live too far from London to go to Chelsea and it is not a cheap day out plus I’m not a fan of crowds and there are a lot there. I am happily absorbing it from the television coverage 😀

      • Me too, I can find posts on YouTube daily, so I enjoy it from afar. Still, we have nothing like it here in the U.S., although we have some good flower shows – nothing like Chelsea.

    • Hi Eliza, I hope that transformation has started in your garden too. I highly recommend ‘William Guinness’ – it is persistent, more so than most columbines, and very easy to grow from seed. One of my favorites!

  5. This is a special moment captured in your garden. I love all the textures and subtle tones. Aquilegia ‘William Guineas’ has been on my plant lust list for a while. I look forward to the roses and peonies.

  6. Wonderful quotes, and so much promise in all those different clumps of gorgeous foliage. That Clematis, wow, so big! The geraniums and geum are so sweetly innocent, and the columbine, bluebells and painted fern so elegant. I love the dark leaves of whatever it is that’s growing up on the gate and fence – the color of the Japanese maple, but it looks more vine-like. Yesterday I went to our local botanical garden, and their perennial border is full-out fabulous, with peonies, foxglove, irises, and so much more. Soon I’ll see those beauties here…

    • Lynn, those are Japanese maples by the gate – an upright ‘Bloodgood’ on the right and a weeping dissectum on the left – ‘Inobe Shidari’ I think. The peonies and foxglove are ready to pop out in the next few days – I imagine that the PNW gardens are a week or two ahead of us in bloom. Which botanical garden? Bellevue? I love that place!

      • A weeping Japanese maple – very cool! I don’t think I’ve seen those, and it had me puzzled because the leaves were so similar to the “regular” Japanese maple, but the shape wasn’t right. 😉
        I didn’t know you were familiar with Bellevue Botanical Garden – yes, that’s the one I go to regularly, but alas, not for long, as we’re moving out to the Olympic peninsula. There are far fewer resources of any kind there, including gardens, except of course, wild nature – that is abundant. And Heronswood is there! I’ll be able to go there, not so often as BBG, but more often than now (I’ve only been there once)! That will be great. Enjoy the weekend….I know you will!!

      • Love Bellevue BG, I’ve been there several times at different seasons. I’ve also been to Bainbridge Island to see private gardens as well as Bloedel Reserve – that place is magical. Heronswood is on Bainbridge; I was lucky to visit it twice when Hinkley owned it, but I heard that it has been restored now. Is that where you’re moving? I LOVE that place – lucky you 🙂

      • Close – not to Bainbridge. Heronswood is actually on the Kitsap peninsula, a piece of land that reaches into Puget Sound, not an island. But the geography in that area is complex, with many islands, peninsulas, bodies of water, etc. Believe it or not, Hinkley is working with a local tribe to restore the garden, and it’s beautiful. The tribe bought the land, that was a sticking point…there’s a foundation….Hinkley is the Director of the garden….I really haven’t grasped the whole story, I know it’s complicated, but suffice it so say, all is not lost. 🙂

  7. All is looking so beautiful, Lynn; thanks for the mini retreat! I so love azaleas. What pure loveliness. 🙂

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