I can’t remember a cooler or wetter June than the one we are having right now. But, the garden loves it. Ok, so the hostas are suffering from edema. Yes, hostas can suffer from water retention. But everything else seems to enjoy this prelude into summer.
I just got back from England a few days ago, 24 hours before a local garden club visited my gardens. So, the day that I should have been recovering from jet lag, I was in the gardens getting everything ready. There were still annuals to plant and dog evidence to remove. This will be my first summer sharing the gardens with two standard poodles. I’m so grateful for my garden guy, Richard. He worked in the gardens twice when I was away and on the day the garden club visited. If it weren’t for him, the gardens would have not looked nearly so tidy. Note the new fence that challenged me to rethink some of the beds, and I’m quite pleased with that challenge.
As always, a thank you to May Dreams Gardens for celebrating a monthly accounting of what is blooming in gardens all over the world.
It’s April 15 and Michigan played a trick on us. The skies are oxygen blue and cloudless, but the garden is covered in four to six inches of heavy wet snow. It’s ok. Really. There isn’t much blooming yet, a few daffodils and a cute little weed that became my first garden activity of the year. That is, I started pulling it up.
The hellebores are eager to open. And they are welcome to do so any time they want. Often called Lenten Roses, this year my hellebores will be blooming during this last week of Lent. What I like about them, aside from their lovely flowers and evergreen foliage is that the flowers hang around for a long time. Their color fades over the season into something that looks a bit like a sculptor wrought them from thin sheets of balsa wood. Perhaps I’ll try drying them in the pages of a book. I gathered oodles of leaves last fall and planted them between the pages of favorite books. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, but it was comforting over the winter to look at the dried leaves whose colors had deepened and remember that sister leaves would shake free from our bitterly cold winter and start their warming dance again.
In January I adopted another standard poodle, Lucy. I hadn’t intended to double my allotment of poodles, but Lucy needed rescuing. I am sitting in my favorite chair as I write this and on the floor around me I see a teddy bear that has lost his eyes, a chew toy that has pockets for peanut butter and biscuits, a beef bone, a kong that just an hour ago was stuffed with kibble and peanut butter, a winter glove, and a paper towel tube. Bridget doesn’t really require toys. She has a favorite bear and a stuffed hedge hog, but she doesn’t chew them.
Lucy likes to chew. And chew. I’ve lost two Mac power cords, a whole bunch of pencils and pens, and the buttons off a favorite pair of leather gloves. Bridget is a mellow old girl. Lucy? Not so mellow. She loves to run and jump and because I don’t have a fenced in yard, she runs a jumps through the neighborhood. That will change, I hope, this week when a decorative aluminum fence will go in. But the real issue won’t be one of containment. It will be one of waste disposal. How will the promise of dog feces affect my gardens? I don’t know, but I will find out this week, I hope. And, I will be very glad when Lucy is safely behind a fence and away from the neighbors and a busy street.
In the meantime, the garden naps under a coverlet of rapidly melting snow. Soon it will wake up, stretch, and touch warmer days.
This view of the zinnias draws me in. I love all the color and the defiance of our ever lowering temperatures.
The mums were such a good idea! They add pops of color in an ever chilling and browning garden. But perhaps my favorite color belongs to the Limelight and Tardiva hydrangeas. Timing is critical here, but for several weeks, I get to pick as many “heads” of blooms as I can. Those blooms have started turning lovely shades of pink, and the color stays forever if you cut and bring them indoors. I’m running out of vases because I now have time to pick. And pick. And pick. It’s one of the perks of retirement.
But, the mums and the zinnias deserve attention, too, though they will not last much longer. I hate cold weather. The older I get, the more I hate it. Today our high was 47 degrees and the wind cut through my sweater and light jacket. I donned my bright red winter jacket to walk the dog.
Usually my head is consumed by class preparations that include reading and responding to students’ conversations about their readings, and planning, planning, planning. September has always been about teaching and barely about gardening. But, I’m retired. And, I’ve decided that I need to see more things blooming in September. So, I went out and bought a bunch of hardy mums and a few asters. Take that, September.
Bridget and I needed a photo for our West Michigan Therapy Dog name badge, and since we were sitting in the entrance garden, I thought I’d include us in the “what’s bloomin'” post.
Thank you, May Dreams Garden, for hosting Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. It’s nice to feel welcomed back into my own gardens. And it’s nice to hop on over to the GBBD website to get inspired. There are gorgeous gardens to wander through at the click of a mouse.
It’s easy for me to get distracted and I often postpone tasks that should have been done. Like blogging about the garden on days other than Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. I took some pictures a couple weeks ago and have been trying to think of ways to write about the garden other than to document what is blooming each month. But here I am on GBBD and pushing against the clock and prepping for a class tomorrow. Plus I have to walk the dog and ignore the clean sheets that are piled on a chair in the living room and get my annuity stuff together. I’m retiring. Things have to happen.
So, first, the love.
This is what is blooming in my garden today.
Last summer I hardly set foot in the garden. My trusty gardener did all the work. Richard has been working in my garden for several years and I love what he does. And the garden loves him back. But last summer the garden belonged more to Richard than me. Yeah, I was dealing with surgery and chemo and radiation. And, I taught two classes, but much of that work took place online. It took me weeks and weeks to recover from surgery. And, about six weeks after surgery I started chemo which knocked me flat. So, no gardening for me.
This year I get into the garden almost every day and do a little weeding, yank out the ever aggressive dutchman’s pipe, deadhead the day lilies. The garden is mine, though, Richard still does his magic. I don’t know what I would do without dear Richard. He rearranges the hostas, curses at the dutchman’s pipe, and keeps a keen eye out for other forms of garden trouble, like the chipmunk that has made a home under some bricks in the Secret Garden.
So, what is this love/hate thing?
I love them. I dream 11 months out of the year about my day lilies. I’m quite fond of the pink ones, especially the dark pink lilies. I know. I said that already.
But the minute they begin to bloom, they begin to fade. The leaves closest to the ground dry out and turn brown. And the flowers bloom for just one day. Everyday I pluck the previous day’s withered flowers and drop them on the bark that keeps moisture in the soil. I’ve tried to plant lilies that are early bloomers, and others that bloom later, but the hate murmurs softly that each day will bring a little bit of death. I know, day lilies don’t die when they give up their spent blooms, but it’s sad to see the scapes that have no more buds on them.
I love hostas, too, and I don’t feel sad at all when their flowers fade. Perhaps I’m being a titch too dramatic.