Here I wander in April

Here I wander in April
Cold, grey-headed; and still to my heart
Spring comes with a bound, Spring the deliverer,
Spring, song-leader in woods, chorally resonant . . . ~Robert Louis Stevenson

True, it is the last day of April as I write this, but in my wanderings I have watched spring come with a bound to lead the garden in song.

In March, there was little hint of what was to come.

Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps. ~Charlotte Bronte

Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness. ~Mary Oliver

First the hellebores

and the native bloodroot bloomed . . .

followed by daffodils of every color. (click on any photo to see a full-size image)

The native Ostrich ferns unfurled (Matteuccia struthiopteris), showing off their fractal geometry

as well as creating a textured backdrop for the summer snowflakes.

Pixie is joyously exploring the new smells and sounds of the woods and guards her domain with diligence and grace.

A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing. ~Mary Oliver

I planted tulips last fall, for the first time in years, and am reveling in their color along with the thousands of our native wild violets that run through the garden beds.

but the biggest show is in the “Grape and Lemonade” bed – full of tulips, daffodils, and forget-me-nots.

I’m continuing to explore making garden videos – I want to share how it feels to move through the garden rather than merely look at it.  

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are enjoying the unfolding of the new season as color and light change and make magic in the world.

Come with me into the woods where spring is
advancing, as it does, no matter what,
not being singular or particular, but one
of the forever gifts, and certainly visible.  ~Mary Oliver

All photos, text, and video ©2023 by Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved except where noted.

33 thoughts on “Here I wander in April

  1. Hi Lynn, Happy Spring! I’m glad you included the photo from March – wow, what a perfect illustration of the lines in that poem. I’m happy to see the Bloodroot, an old favorite. And the daffs, they’re wonderful. 🙂 That’s a great Mary Oliver quote about dogs, especially nice juxtaposed with the photo of Pixie, looking off into the distance…or sniffing off into the distance? 😉
    I love the tuli[ps you chose, gorgeous varieties, and so artfully blended into the borders!
    The video is one to melt into… the music’s use of dissonance here and there keeps it interesting…I love the bees, the sky, and Pixie’s wanderings. We enter the gate at different times, nicely done. 🙂 And oh, the Tufted titmouse singing “Peter, Peter, Peter” in the background makes me long to be back east, just long enough to hear that again. I miss all the birdsongs I grew up with. Thank you.
    Spring is a forever gift, as Oliver said, isn’t it? And we’re lucky to be here to experience another one. May your flowers bloom beautifully and may the weeds stay under control. 🙂

    • Lynn, it is always a joy to have you stop by and comment. Your keen eye (and ear) and attention to details makes every post worthwhile to me. I love the song of the Tufted Titmouse here, it’s quite insistent. The birdsong grows more diverse each year as I extend the native plantings and attract a wider palette of pollinators – often I don’t see the birds but I track them on the Merlin app which identifies them through their songs.

      I hope you are having a wonderful spring in the PNW; May has greened up the garden and filled in the gaps in the tree canopy – I love this time of year!

      • Yes, it’s been beautiful here – a long, cool early spring allowed everything to bloom prolifically. Now we’re in an unusual heat wave but these days, unusual is the new normal, right?
        I use the Merlin app, too and I have to tell you what happened the other day – I woke up to the sound of a White-throated sparrow singing, something I’m very familiar with from back east. They apparently can be here in small numbers in winter or could migrate through from California to northern Canada to breed but I haven’t heard that wonderful song in years. I was thrilled and used the app just for fun. It repeatedly insisted that the singer was a Golden-crowned kinglet. Really, it wasn’t! I do like the app but we need to keep our brains going, too, because AI isn’t always right. 😉 (But that’s great about increasing the pollinators and bird species around your property!).

      • I’ve had that experience with the app too, Lynn! Even if I think I know what I’m listening to, I double check the songs and calls of the birds that the app lists and compare them to what I’m hearing. So far, it has been about 90% right but not always. Still, invaluable to have. 🙂

  2. Glad to see Tulip Princess Irene showing off her beauty. She’s one of our favourites here. Thanks for the video and the good quotes, Lynn. As with you, spring is ‘all in a rush with richness’ here.

    • Princess Irene is one of my favorites too – the color is so gorgeous and it shrugs off any weather. I’m looking forward to catching up with your garden – spring is such an exciting time in the garden.

  3. Your tulips are nice addition! Where I live (Alberta) my tulips are the most colourful and consistent blooms. I planted them nearly 30 years ago and they just keep multiplying and blooming!

    • Thanks Margy, I forgot how much color they add to the garden. I’m impressed that yours have perennialized so well, they last maybe 2-3 years here in our heavy clay but are worth it. I may try to dig and store them this year and replant in the fall.

      • The bulbs are undoubtedly ones that can withstand extreme cold in winter! I have Darwins, Parrots and Triumphs among others. Narcissus does well too, as does Iris germanica. The most invasive bulb turned out to be small size Grape Hyacinths. I pull them out by the hundreds every few years. because they get so thick. (I started with about 10 bulbs 25 years ago…)

      • So funny, it must be the difference in our soils because the grape hyacinth, which I love, rarely increases and often disappears. I think the chipmunks eat them too. The daffodils are the most reliable, they like our soil and multiply like crazy, and the deer leave them alone.

    • Thanks, Kate. I haven’t planted tulips for a while, they don’t perennialize here very well in our heavy clay, but they sure do look beautiful and last a very long time. And the color – worth it! I can’t wait to see your spring garden.

  4. Joyeux printemps! It comes as such a relief to northerners.

    You did a good job sprinkling appropriate quotations; we don’t think of Robert Louis Stevenson in connection with spring (or at least I don’t).

  5. Congratulations on your spring video Lyn, I enjoyed watching it very much, particular with the music and the poetry. Reading Mary Oliver’s poetry is like visiting an old friend. Best wishes and enjoy your beautiful spring …

  6. Beautiful immersion in spring, Lynn! Thank you for sharing all the delicate and light-sparked sweetness your garden offers this time of year. The colors are so heart-easing after a long gray stretch of winter. I think you’re becoming a most skilled videographer, too. 💕

    • Thank you for your lovely comments, Kitty. So true about the welcome color after a long winter – I feel like I am feasting my eyes every day on the growing green of the woods and the flowers coming in and out of bloom. I’m starting to be happier with my video efforts, it is so much fun and shows the garden in a new way – I continue to progress 🙂

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