Jason and I went for a walk around the garden yesterday, to see what might be poking its head up, and to encourage ourselves that spring really is coming.
There are a surprising number of Kaufmaniana tulips sticking their noses up! We planted a lot of these bulbs last fall, with the help of our friends Jo ana and Anne. What an excellent thing to have done, now that it is early spring, and we are in need of good cheer.
The crocuses are coming up, and a few of them are even escaping the predations of the rabbits. As I said, it was a rainy day, so they weren’t open, but there were still bits of color here and there. Jason has a spray bottle of rabbit repellent, and will be out after the rain clears to douse everything that is vulnerable.
One of the things I like about this time of year is that you can see the shapes of the trees. This is our hackberry tree, in the bed along the street. It replaced a Norway maple about ten years ago.
Our street had numerous full-grown Norway maples, and they died one after another, over about five or six years. They were most likely planted because they were popular, quick growing, and tolerated urban conditions. However, Morton Arboretum says that they are “invasive” and “can’t be recommended.” An article in the Baltimore Sun says that Norway maples “are notorious for strangling themselves to death” with girdling roots. “Death can take decades, but often happens just when trees reach a pleasing size and shape.”
In any case, we chose the replacement from a list of trees that our city plants, and got a hackberry. I thought it was ugly and awkward for years, but as it has grown, it has become more graceful. I like the mix of angular trunk connections and curvaceous limbs. And I always love to see the nests in the branches when the leaves are gone, and know that someone has made a home.
The bark is very pleasing too.
Like this tree, some of the flowerbeds are still wintery. Here are the stalks of the cup plants, newly cut back by our gardening team, who will be coming twice a month to help maintain things. (More about that in a future post.)
Continuing our stroll around the garden, we find many, many daffodils emerging, here, there, and everywhere. You can never have too many daffodils. We each won 200 bulbs from Colorblends at the Toronto Garden Bloggers Fling, and we have added many more in addition.
In the backyard, the snow drops have been providing cheer for a month now. Nothing stops them, not rain, sleet, nor snow.
The hellebores had leathery green leaves all through the winter, and when the gardeners carefully cut them back, the plants began to burst into bloom. These blooms and more should go on for months. It’s taken a few years for them to establish themselves, but they are now living their best lives in the raised bed in the backyard.
Here’s my task for the next sunny day. I scrubbed out the bird houses and put them on the patio table to air out (I don’t imagine the birds like their houses to smell of disinfectant any more than I do). (Reading this over, I wondered whether birds have a sense of smell; the answer is here.) Now I need to screw the bottoms back on and hang them up to be ready for families of wrens and chickadees.
I’ll conclude with a brief update on Jason. He’s just started a second round of chemo, after a reprieve of eight months. It’s leaving him pretty tired out. We’re both hoping the fresh spring air and evening sunlight — not to mention the flowers that are coming! — will provide some tonic.
Which signs of spring do you look for most eagerly, and have they already arrived, or are you still anticipating them?