April 21, 2020

Sweet Spring Vase With Tulips and Hellebores

Yesterday I put together this vase of spring flowers for a friend's birthday.  Due to social distancing, I set it on her doorstep and stepped far back before she could come to the door.  After being stuck mostly at home for over a month, she seemed especially happy to receive a visit and flowers on her special day.  I was especially happy to finally have my garden producing enough flowers for arrangements.

The double tulip at center is 'Verona,' and it should open wider over the next few days to become an even better focal point for this softly colored design.  In this arrangement I also used dormant contorted filbert branches (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') and greenery from my German ivy houseplant (Senecio mikanioides).

Double white Mt. Tacoma tulips are still green in this photo, but they'll soon unfurl and fluff out to white.  'Valerie Finnis' muscari add a touch of sky blue and Korean spice viburnum buds add a bit of coral-peach.

'Molly's White' hellebore flowers are greenish white with touches of pale pink on the back.  I planted three of this type of hellebore last spring.  The plants are still small, but this hybrid is supposed to be especially vigorous, so I'm looking forward to enjoying large floral displays from them in coming years.

'Pink Tea Cup' hellebores and 'Salmon Impression' tulips round out the floral list.  Flowers don't fix problems, but they often make things better somehow.  I hope these sweet little flowers cheer up your day!

April 3, 2020

A Touch of Spring Green

This week we had snow, sleet, hail and a mild earthquake in addition to the pandemic.  It's like the biblical plagues are returning.  We're expecting the frogs and locusts to show up soon, but somehow green leaves are still emerging from the ground.

My sister sent photos of the cherry trees flowering in Virginia, but my Kwanzan cherry tree isn't even close to flowering.  There are cheerful signs of life around its base, though.

The roses and Fine Line buckthorn shrubs have yet to leaf out, but cute short bulbs are blooming in the west garden.  The robins have been enjoying the bird bath as we watch from the kitchen window.

The back garden is mostly bare, but the boxwood shrubs are newly trimmed and look pretty good to me.  I had fun using my electric hedge trimmers.

Here is the same area from the opposite perspective.  I've been sitting on the bench in my heavy winter coat to enjoy the view.

The main sunny bed is filling with bulb and perennial foliage.  The two Boulder Blue fescue grasses at the bottom of the photo were planted last summer, and they looked nice throughout the winter.

The stay at home order has given me extra time for tidying up the garden on days when the weather is decent.  I use it as a reward for myself for surviving home school with my youngest son, who is not excited to be learning with Mom.  I'm thankful my three older kids are pretty independent about doing their schoolwork.

Today I used my electric leaf blower to clear the path.  The moss is finally growing nearly everywhere.  So much is out my control right now, but it makes me happy to keep the path clean.

We still have enough cloudy days that it's always exciting to see the sun.  If it hits 50 degrees F and the sun is out, the backyard traps enough heat to make it pleasant to be outside in a sweatshirt.  But we haven't had many of those day in the past week.

The forecast is showing that we might hit 60 degrees next week, which will make life better.  My husband helped me dig up my two struggling Lady of Shallot roses and replant them in the large pots at the base of the swing set.  Hopefully they'll do better without the tree root competition they faced in their last position.

I'm looking forward to seeing my James Galway and Claire Austin climbing roses fill out the obelisks this season.  We just need to stop dropping into the 20's at night and then the roses can get growing.

I'm feeling especially grateful for the peace and hope of a spring garden as we face so many uncertainties.  Best wishes to everyone who is impacted by the pandemic right now.