In the spring, I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain
It is typical March weather – one moment full of sunshine and flowers, the next filled with snow. A few days ago, the early morning sun on a mild day lit up the glowing green of moss and the soft colorful blooms emerging everywhere. The forsythia was finally in full-tilt bloom, the Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) was covered in tiny gold bubbles, and the Japanese weeping cherry was about to burst into flower. I spent a peaceful afternoon in the garden, cleaning up beds, pruning shrubs, and listening to the lively bird song coming from the woods.
Weeping cherry buds
Helleborus foetidus in the light
Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’
Helleborus orientalis in morning sun
Moss with leaf shadow
Forsythia in full bloom
Daffodil ‘Verdant Meadow’
By evening, fierce winds brought winter’s return and by the next morning, wet snow clung to every branch and twig, transforming spring into a sparkling white wonderland.
Lower garden in snowy garb
Cornelian cherry flowers
Forsythia in snow
Snowy pines by the gate
The snow was wet and heavy and bright blue skies warm with sunshine threatened its demise and a quick return to spring.
Forsythia blossoms in snow
Snow and sun at the gate
But that was not to be. Within a few hours, the north wind swept through once more, creating a white out effect as it whipped the loose snow into milky clouds and froze thin layers to branches.
Today, it is bitterly cold and the world outside the window is bleak once more. In a week or so, March winds will carry spring back again, an event I eagerly await. What is March weather like in your part of the world?
The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size. ~Gertrude S. Wister
Winter comes and goes these days. February has embraced all of the seasons in a few short weeks, from bitter winter to balmy summer. Earlier in the month, January’s snow melted into the ground and a thick fog rose overnight, transforming the woodland into a mysterious world of gray and black.
Later, the sun appeared and burned away the blanket of fog, revealing the bold architecture of oak trees stark against a bright blue sky. (Click on any photo to enlarge)
Bench in fog
Sun touching the foggy garden
Oak trees against February sky
Temperatures continued to warm last week until many early flowers burst into full bloom while shrubs and trees began to swell with buds and leaves. The black and white and gray of winter was suddenly sparked with color.
Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’
Tommy crocus (Crocus tommasinianus)
White forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum)
More hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) flowers open each day, a few weeks earlier than usual. Many have self-seeded and spread under trees and shrubs; a few are named varieties. A favorite is the almost black double flowered ‘Onyx Odyssey’. The unusual green flowers and uniquely patterned foliage of the fetid hellebore (Helleborus foetidus) punctuate the edge of the woodlands.
Clump of rose hellebores
Leaf pattern of of Helleborus foetidus
Green flower of Helleborus foetidus
Petal backs of rose hellebore
The temperatures have plunged once again and gardeners can only hope that the early growth won’t be damaged by the return of winter. But the anticipation of spring has begun. (Click on any photo for a full size version; all photos ©2017 Lynn Emberg Purse)
Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle … a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream. ~ Barbara Winkler
It is always exciting to open the door and go out into the garden for the first time on any day.
- Marion Cran
In spite of chilly temperatures and a bout of sleet this morning, the garden is a visual feast of colors and texture. A thousand shades of green grace the trees as new leaves emerge each day while frequent rain has transformed the grass into an emerald carpet. Every day a new flower opens and lays its color and form against the growing tapestry of garden and woodland. Late spring, perhaps like no other season, is a study of contrasts in the garden.
Some plants are quiet and delicate, with color-kissed blossoms floating among clouds of feathery foliage.
Siberian iris ‘Strawberry Social’
Geranium ‘Joan Baker’
Beauty bush (Kolkwitzia)
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Album’
Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’
Camassia leichtlinii caerulea and forget-me-nots
Lower garden in May
Other plants are bold and vibrant, with strong shapes and colors in flower and leaf, or both, from the lollipops of Allium to the dangling hearts of Lamprocapnos spectabilis.
The steps in May
Hillside in May
Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’
View from the hill
Clematis ‘Asao’ buds opening
Azalea by the front gate
Aquilegia vulgaris ‘William Guinness’
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and Euphorbia griffithii
Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ with extra floret
Allium, Euphorbia griffithii, Spirea
Herb circle in May
The elusive wood thrush has returned and begins each morning with its distinctive fluted song that continues from dawn to dusk. (You can listen to its song in The Woodthrush Sings). A pair of mourning doves has appropriated one of my deck planters as a nesting spot; Angel is gently but endlessly curious about them – I won’t plant there until the babies fledge. My garden will be on a large garden tour this June, so I’ve been busy planting and pruning, creating a new pollinator garden (more about that in the next post) and enjoying every moment spent outdoors.
For the first time, I am joining in the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme sponsored by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. It is a great place to visit the 15th of each month as garden bloggers post what’s blooming in their gardens. I hope all of you are enjoying the beauty of spring as it gracefully pirouettes into summer. (All photos ©2016 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)
It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought. ~James Douglas
It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart. ~Rilke
Even though we have had light snow all day on this vernal equinox, the garden is unfolding into spring. Bloom started with the snowdrops at the end of January, followed by tommy crocus. Last week Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ added its deep purple notes to the pink and purple flowers of hellebores. Forsythia began blooming yesterday, along with the delicate golden flowers of Lindera benzoin, the host plant for spicebush swallowtail butterflies. Every day brings another bloom, spring is truly here.
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
Spicebush (LIndera benzoin)
Hellebore ‘Onyx Odyssey’
Blush pink hellebore
Glory of the snow
Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’
Pink glory of the snow
Pulmonaria ‘Bertram Anderson’
Sedums and lemon thyme
March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb. (old proverb)
The month of March has carried the winter banner forward – snow, a bit of rain, and more snow. Bitter temperatures come and go – at least the garden is covered by a deep layer of snow, tucked in safely for the season. For most of us in North America, the winter has been long and difficult and I, at least, long for the return of spring.
The garden is asleep, as witnessed by Zelda peering out from her wintry cap. (here is Zelda in warmer times) Snow whiteouts have become common, spectacular and ghost-like. The world is gray and white and brown but I am dreaming of color. To satisfy my need for the hues and vibrancy of the garden, I have begun spending the first hour of each day watching YouTube garden videos. They remind me that the garden season is not so far away and I am inspired to plant seeds, propagate plants, and dream of the days to come.
I am looking forward to the “out like a lamb” part of March. Warmer weather is predicted next week, so perhaps spring really is at hand. In the meantime, winter, however unwelcome, is still a beautiful season. (All images ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)
The March wind roars like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver as he passes by.
When winds are soft, and the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb, then spring is here. ~Anonymous