Early Spring

Early Spring,
Sprung wire,
Daffodils all mixed up.

The daffodils are all mixed up this year. As we staple up the fallen wire on the vegetable garden fence, I see ‘Ice Follies’ out first instead of the usual little ‘Tete-a-Tetes’ and ‘Carleton’ trumpets which usually lead the spring show.

We’ve had the warmest February on record and a very dry season since going into fall last year. Very little precip over the winter and lots of wind, but I think it’s the lack of sustained winter chill that’s confused the daffodils. Things seem to have settled down now and mid to late season cultivars like ‘Salome’, ‘Thalia’, and ‘Twin Sisters’ (always the last to bloom) are still just showing foliage. ‘Hawera’ and ‘Segovia’, out on the slope beneath the east meadow Beech just showing foliage, and seem to be late.

Limed the lilacs today on the advice of Peggy Singlemann, Director of Grounds at Maymont, who I had the good fortune to meet again at the Piedmont Landscape Assn. Seminar last February. I was bemoaning the effect of warm winters on lilacs and wondering what to replace them with, but she reminded me that all they really want is their old wood cut out and some lime to sweeten our naturally acidic clay loam.

Despite the daffodils, trees and shrubs – red maple, redbuds, dogwoods, spicebush, and viburnum – are right on schedule. The hills still bare, redbuds just swelling their buds, spicebush coming into bloom, dogwoods still tight. Birds are singing with their cries of love and home, or sex and territory, however you choose to look at it, but it is beautiful nonetheless.

It seems all is coming early, rushing on just like my life as I get older. The garden tells us what we want and I see that my fantasies of year-round greens and cover crops are just that and what I really love and want to spend my time caring for are the trees and shrubs and the creek bank. I want to keep my axial views clear and hone the bones of the garden.

Happy Spring from the Hollow!

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