Thursday, March 20

Maybe It Really IS the Start of Spring?


First thing this morning, a cheerful voice on the radio prounounced that today is, "At long last, the first day of spring!"

I couldn't help but roll my eyes as I thought grumpily that hearing her chirp the words wasn't enough to make them true. Had she not noticed the fresh new blanket of snow that snuck in overnight and added an inch of white to my entire neighborhood? I had to scrape my car this morning before driving to work, after all.

After spending most of the day inside my hermetically sealed (or so it feels sometimes) office, I headed back to my car.

Lost in thought about things that need to get done tomorrow, I was halfway home before I noticed that the world around me was brown and grey. The sunshine had melted away the snow!

When I pulled back into my driveway, I noticed that small areas of snow still remained around the base of the bergenia (above) and there were larger piles yet near the mouth of the driveway. But as I bent down to count the flower buds on my 'Ivory Prince' hellebores, I found a bonus:
Tulip foliage!

I nosed around the front garden some more, finding fat buds on the oakleaf hydrangea, new reddish foliage at the tips of the euphorbias, and lots of deadleafing needed on my heucheras and foxgloves.

Near the 'Peach Flambe' heuchera, I found a few extra surprises... lilttle tufts of green that I would assume were resurrected crocuses if I didn't know that they had all died off or been uprooted by the resident chipmunk last season. (Perhaps he missed a few after all?)

The backyard was not as thrilling as the front yard, however. The driveway garden bed is in the shadow of dense beach tree branches in the morning, and then is shaded by the neighbor's house this early in the spring. It's still sporting a blanket of snow... so there was no way to check whether my daffodils are coming up there or not.

The winter aconites, snowdrops and grape hyacinths are so far no-shows as well, but I was encouraged to see new yellow-edged foliage on the stolen variegated iris.

And then... I found this. A beautiful hellebore--one of the hardy 'Pine Knot Strain' plants that survived no less than 4 moves in the past three years! It's not fully open yet, but when I tipped its face up toward the light it made me smile. Maybe it really is the start of spring after all.

25 comments:

Carol said...

That lovely white hellebore is proof positive that it is Spring. Soon enough that gray and brown landscape will be green and green. Just wait!

Carol, May Deams Gardens

Leslie said...

I can remember that feeling...when spring finally seems like it will win out over winter...and it didn't always happen by the first day of spring. Which brings up a question...we always had "spring coats" way back then...do people there still use that phrase/have coats for the spring? Just a memory that popped into my head with the vivid description of your disappearing (hopefully!) snow.

Frances, said...

Your signs sure look like spring has begun, and bravo to the hellebore, they dislike being moved so it has been said , and yours still has the umph to bloom amid ice. Hooray!
Frances at Faire Garden

Layanee said...

Kim: When I see bergenia I now think of you! I noticed mine the other day and I will post a picture! Never as lush as yours! I should probably try them in another place! Have you reconsidered 'Spring Fling'!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Isn't it fun to find those first real signs of spring!!! So glad you had something cheering you after you got home from work. Love that hellebore. Happy Spring!

Entangled said...

Congrats on the hellebore flower! You've given me hope for moving mine. I planted them too close to some rhododendrons and I was hesitant to move them now that they've finally started to put on a good show.

It's so encouraging to find new growth just when you're sure nothing is ever going to grow again.

lisa said...

Congrats on your spring! I'm starting to see the brown earth again as the snow melts, so I mine's not far behind...yay!

Kerri said...

Yah for the signs of spring at last Kim! The Hellebore is a treasure! While it's still frigid here, with a cold wind and snow flurries blowing sideways this morning, the promise of spring is there in the garden, if we look closely.
And the sun has just come out!
Happy spring, and a very happy Easter to you!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

It's that time of year when you have to look carefully at the garden everyday because of all the growth going on. Or at least it was here until this morning. I think it's going to be a while yet before any of my Hellebores bloom. Glad to see yours are starting.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Carol, I guess they were at least giggling under all that snow, eh? *grin*

Leslie, I used to have a "spring coat" when I was a kid (in the late 70s and early 80s) and then I just had a "jacket" by the time I was in high school in the early 90s. I wear the same one fall and spring, when I wear one, so maybe that doesn't count? (Most times, a heavy sweatshirt will suffice for me!)

Frances, I have heard that as well. I think that mine were so young/little during the first few moves that I didn't have so much trouble with them. The one I transplanted this past summer (yes, during the drought, not a good idea) looks a little rougher than the others but is sprouting up green!

Layanee, that makes me smile, that you think of me when you see bergenia! :) Mine aren't so lush, though... you should see the one over at the "Weed Whackin' Wenches" blog. Theirs are gorgeous.

I SO wish I could go to the Spring Fling. You have no idea how much I want to!

Lisa, it was definitely a nice surprise after such a long winter--and a long day at work! Happy Spring. :)

Entangled, you're so right--and I needed that encouragement. Btw, see my long-winded note to Frances above on moving hellebores. :) That said, if you want to move them, I say go for it, even if they're a bit older than mine!

lisa, WOW. If you're seeing brown earth again up there in the arctic--er, Wisconsin--it really can't be to far off! ;) teehee.

Kerri, I was so wishing for you and your bird photography skills yesterday! I saw two bluejays, 2 robins, many mourning doves and sparrows, and TWO red-winged blackbirds at my feeder! (Okay, so the robins were just hanging out near the feeder, pecking at the ground. But still.) Needless to say, I didn't manage to capture any of them on digital "film." *sigh*

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, my Spring is officially on hold now, too, as the whole world is again dusted with white. Every time I look at the news they up tonight's snow total by an inch or so, so I'm not going to look again until Monday! lol.

Ki said...

Spring is here! Rejoice. Amazing what an uplift one flower can bring. Your hellebore is beautiful.

Benjamin Vogt said...

I just cut down most of the stuff this week here in NE, and good thing, too--I found spring everywhere coming up like zombie fingers in a cemetary! All was right in the world (for a brief and fragile moment).

Meagan said...

Snow was back tonight. In spades. Bleah.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

The crocuses are coming! Hang in there, it won't be long now.

Pam/Digging said...

Yea! I'm glad the advent of spring brought you some real spring action in your garden and even a flower. I love those beautiful hellebores.

Kathy said...

Lots of deadleafing to do around here, too. The first encouraging signs of spring sure don't come soon enough, do they?

Cottage Magpie said...

Yay, Spring! I love that hellebore picture. I've got things sprouting up all over and I just can't wait for more!
~Angela :-)

Dawn said...

My Grandmother always said the hellebore knows. Spring can't be too far away. Fingers crossed for you.

Here's one of my favorite sayings about Spring:

"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." ~Henry Van Dyke

Sending Warm Thoughts,
Dawn

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ki, you're right... it IS amazing what an uplight one flower can give. It's carried me right through Friday's 8 inches of snow, in fact! :)

Benjamin Vogt, that's such a great mental image--"I found spring everywhere coming up like zombie fingers in a cemetery!"

Meagan, yeah. And we got more than you, even!

Robin, thank you. You're right, just a little bit longer... :)

Pam/Digging, we're still WAY behind you! lol.

Kathy, it really doesn't seem like "work" to deadleaf when it's the first time you can get outside in the garden each spring, does it?! *grin*

Cottage Magpie, I can't wait to see more of your pictures, too! And when this latest round of snow melts, maybe I'll have things "sprouting up all over," as well. :)

Dawn, you must come from a long line of gardeners. One of my grandmas used to maintain a huge veggie garden with my grandpa, and the other always had her "pretties" in beds in the front yard, but neither of them would have any clue what a hellebore was. :)

I like that quote... and then again, I don't like it. Because as I sit here and look out at the snow in my backyard, I realize that Mr. Van Dyke is definitely correct! lol.

chuck b. said...

Looks like spring to me! I can't quite wrap my mind around the idea of foxgloves coming back from snow cover. Just seems really counterintuitive to me.

Kylee said...

Awww, Kim! Lucky you! I think I see some flower buds on the various hellebores here, but I can't be sure yet. For one thing, it's still too wet for me to get really close to them to see better.
Beautiful bloom!
We were just talking yesterday about what a difference a couple of weeks makes at this time of year. It won't be long now!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

chuck b., I can understand that seeming counterintuitive. I think that it only works because my soil is so fast-draining where they are (on a slope, in sandy soil) that they bounce back once the snow cover is gone. In my old house with its heavy clay soil, they probably would have drowned!

kris said...

Hi Kim - lucky you to have things coming up in the gardens! Thanks for sharing - I think I'll be living vicariously through other bloggers for awhile. :)

Annie in Austin said...

"The hellebore knows" ...what a cool saying. Your hellebore knows you need spring soon, Kim - and all those little green beginnings do look hopeful.

Maybe your chipmunks ate half of the crocuses and moved the others around? The squirrels used to do that in IL. They'd detach and replant the new cormlets made by the original corms, giving them space to grow faster.
Good grief! Does this mean squirrels are good for something?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

albertapostcards said...

Goodness, you're so far advanced in spring but I have truly enjoyed how you've taken us through ... many of these are spring wonders I dearly wait for with great anticipation. Thank you.

Diane

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