My Blog Journal


purple and yellow spring crocus
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My Spring Garden Awakens…

Winter is finally – officially! – over, and Spring has arrived, wearing a mantle of crocuses and daffodils.

white daffodils

Even though clumps of daffodils expand, and eventually double or triple in size, I still plant 12-15 additional bulbs every fall.

I also added allium bulbs last year, and I’ve been impatient to see how their purple globes mix with my assorted spring/summer flowers.

There are a couple patches of the garden that look pretty sparse in spring, although later in the season they are stuffed with annuals, so it becomes difficult to dig through the mature plants in order to plant bulbs in autumn.

yellow daffodils, grape hyacinths, violas

In early spring, my garden is petite and tender. All the flowers are blooming near ground-level, so one must sit on the sidewalk to really enjoy them up close.

Even my catmint and Bleeding Hearts are behaving themselves ….for now. The catmint is just starting out upon its yearly journey, a tireless crusade to conquer as much ground as possible.

catmint groundcover

Speaking of the Bleeding Heart ~

The piece we divided in 2014 is still growing well, even though I could have sworn that I accidentally destroyed the main root system last summer, when I was digging in that area.

It has come back this spring, fuller than ever. A monster indeed ~ a zombie plant!

Bleeding Heart offshoot

The original Bleeding Heart has multiplied itself ~ the hussy! I found SIX offshoots several feet away from the mother plant. I’ve left two of them, and transplanted the other four.

I’m not sure what I’ll do once they all grow to enormous sizes. The original plant was 5’x7′ last year.

The worst thing about Bleeding Hearts are the gaping holes left behind when they go dormant. They produce such a deep shade, barely anything survives growing beneath them. Even the catmint struggled to find sun!

coneflower foliage in spring

I’ve started moving plants into the backyard, because I’m running out of space in the 16’x20′ front garden. In a few years, my backyard will be overflowing too!

Last year, I counted 24 separate coneflower plants! I grew them from seed, and they were pretty demure the first year. By the second year, however, my garden was overrun with giant 6′ tall stalks of coneflowers. :P

I left the stems attached over the winter, so I could find them again in spring, when I figured they would easier to move. A few weeks ago, I added little blank address labels to mark which clumps were to be transplanted to the backyard.

transplanting coneflowers

It’s cheesy, I realize, but I don’t often have enough time to get all my gardening chores done in one day…. so the labels serve as a reminder.

Aside from the daffodils, the short-lived stars of my garden have been my hyacinths. I can’t get enough of these beauties!

spring hyacinths

I planted 10 of them around the birdbath, and their strong scent travels on every spring breeze. It is one reason I am anxious to open my windows as soon as temperatures permit! I’ve already decided to plant another dozen or so for next year, maybe expanding them to circle the wishing well, too. :)

hyacinths surrounding birdbath

Beside the hyacinths, my Jacob’s Ladder plants are starting to leaf out, and should bloom in the next month. I love the dainty fern-like texture of the leaves, and wish they would self-sew like other gardeners insist they do. I have had the same two clumps for three years, and will try my luck with dividing them myself.

Jacob's ladder new spring growth

The pink almond shrub is beginning to flower, but I noticed that three main branches aren’t producing leaves this year. I’m afraid the crazy blizzard we suffered in February, with the heavy snow and ice, probably damaged my poor plant.

flowering pink almond bush

The offshoots are budding though. Hopefully, with some pruning, it can survive…. but it will have a lackluster display this year.

armeria ballerina lilac flowers

A new experimental addition to the garden this spring is Armeria (Ballerina Lilac), commonly called thrift or “sea pink”. I planted a couple of these in my sunny garden spot, where the coreopsis and zinnias will be blooming a bit later in the season.

Sunny locations are premium real estate in my front yard, since most of the garden falls under the shadow of the house. I’ve transplanted most of my sun-loving plants to the front corner, or the backyard (which gets afternoon sun).

On my wish-list are more shade tolerant “woodland” plants, like tall phlox and astilbe. The shady area of my garden has organic, moist soil due to decomposing wood and fallen leaves, mimicking a forest under-story. So I’ve had to adapt my original gardening plans with “woodland” in mind. I planted three bare-rooted ferns (which will hopefully grow ~ I’ve had mixed luck with bare roots in the past), some columbines, and spotted dead nettle.

grape hyacinths, columbines, spotted dead nettle

Yes, I know dead nettle spreads and can be invasive. Haha! I also grow mint without boundaries, so… what can I say? I am attracted to aggressively beautiful plants. ;)

Lately, people have been remarking that I must have some kind of magical green thumbs. Haha! Honestly, I have failed more times than I have succeeded at growing plants (both outdoors and indoors). I kill most indoor plants, except for spider plants!

purple columbines and grape hyacinths

My beautiful garden is akin to a gladiator ring, where the strongest plants win, and the weak ones are killed off.

I try to understand the needs of each plant, and move them to better locations if they are struggling, but I don’t have enough time or patience to nurture delicate varieties. My garden was born of trials and many errors, and continues to be an experimental playground, where I explore which plants work together best under challenging conditions… not least of which is my sporadic attention to them.

In my opinion, the prettiest gardens are the wild ones, left to grow by themselves! ;)

pink creeping phlox flowers

Tara Fly

About Tara Fly

A Crazy Cat Lady ... who divides her time between painting portraits of cats dressed in period costumes, watching BBC mini-series, growing weeds and wildflowers, and baking pumpkin pies seasoned with cat hair. Would you like some fur-flavoured coffee?

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