Surprise, Surprise

Our hills still blessedly hold their breath before bud break and in the words of the poet, Philip Larkin, we have time to contemplate “earth’s immeasurable surprise”.

We had a mild winter – only had to run the water on the drip a couple of times and still have a bit of wood left over. It has been a long cool spring with daffodils blooming in stately succession from earliest ‘Tete-a-Tetes’ through mid-season ‘Ice Follies’ and large-cup yellows (‘King Alfred’ types, probably ‘Carleton’).

I highly recommend daffodil mixtures. I have been happily studying a miniature and large- cup narcissus mix I got from Van Engelen’s decades ago (, using the invaluable Daffodils for American Gardens, by Brent and Becky Heath. It’s so much fun to pick an assortment and try to find them in the beautifully illustrated encyclopedia.

Hot quick springs can shove them all out at once like cookies from the oven and the procession devolves into a short-lived riot. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The flowers are peaking now while lush spears of foliage push up late season ‘Twin Sisters’ (N. biflorus) and the little ‘Haweras’ and ‘Segovias’ out on the slope below the east meadow beech where we placed our rock of ages a year ago last March.

A beautiful cleft stone we found in the woods that says it all as far as I’m concerned. We hope to rest here someday, above the creek.



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