My father once told me that the intense green we see after a rain is an optical illusion, but I don’t care.  Our two days of cold rain have greened everything up beautifully.  Illusion or not, spring green is upon us.


Sensational is finally producing lots of blooms!

I’m most charmed this spring by the lilacs.  A hard prune last summer finally convinced Sensational to be, well, sensational.  Ever since I planted this bush it has given out only one or two blooms. But this spring, I have lots of nodding panicles of maroon and white blossoms.

Mme. LeMoine and Esther Staley have always done well in the Secret Garden and this year is no exception.

Mme. LeMoine lilac

Mme. LeMoine lilac

Lilacs are not native to North America, but have thrived here since early settlers brought them in the mid 1700’s.  George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both planted lilacs in their gardens.  Common lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) come from the Balkan area. Sensation is considered an outstanding cultivar and I’m so glad I had the presence of mind to plant it and the patience to wait for it to be sensational.

I have a concert tonight and have been baking cookies for the chorus.  Tomorrow is a designated garden day.  I have lots of annuals to plant.

Rose breasted grosbeak sitting in the rose of sharon.

Rose breasted grosbeak sitting in the rose of sharon.

Lots of migrating birds are coming through the gardens.  As I type this, a male rose breasted grosbeak is feasting at the feeder.  My neighbors, who were diligent about feeding the birds, have moved away and I am now seeing more varieties visting my feeders.  For years I struggled to tell the difference between a house finch and a purple finch.  And I think I struggled because purple finches rarely visited.  But all that has changed since my feeders are the only option.  I can’t go by color, I’ve discovered.  But the tail gives them away.  Purple finches have a deeply notched tail.  And as I get more and more familiar with them, I see other differences, too.

Pruple finch at the feeder.

Pruple finch at the feeder.

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