beautiful year for a spring garden

Our hand-me-down tulips in full bloom.

This spring has been an amazing one for the garden! I’m trying to put aside concerns about extreme weather, greater pests and allergies, and a brutally hot summer and just enjoy having all the spring flowers in bloom at once. Even the flowers in our shady foundation bed benefited from the unseasonably warm week we had last month: the bleeding heart is putting out new shoots and the epimedium that’s getting the most sun is showing lovely variegation on its leaves. I already have irises and the tulips are blooming at the same time as the dogwood. This is all wreaking havoc on my sinuses but it’s making for an incredibly cheery display of color at the front of the house.

Celandine poppy bursting with color.

First blooms on the cranesbill geranium, with woodruff.

I’m most excited to see how the new side garden turns out this year. It looks like we lost about half of the end-of-season bargain plants from Behnke’s, which is a shame (and yes, I know that they have a warranty but that would require me to have a receipt and an actual dead plant in hand). We also lost the thyme and marjoram plants, but the lemon verbena is putting out new shoots, so that’s a pleasant surprise. All of the semi-shady plants I received from our neighbors have returned: two geraniums, epimedium, celandine poppy, and bleeding heart. Inspired by the new oakleaf hydrangea (which is also growing like mad), I also placed a second bleeding heart and a couple clumps of epimedium over in the shady foundation bed to the right of the front porch. Along with the columbine, those should nice fill in the space behind the azalea and pieris and still be amenable to a nice easy leaf mulch each winter.

First blooms on the new bleeding heart.

Variegation on the epimedium.

Getting back to the side garden, I plan to replace the shrubby herbs and add a few more filler plants like yarrow and lamb’s ear, assuming I can scavenge some from neighbors. I would still like to add a dwarf oakleaf hydrangea to that side of the house, although I’m probably going to wait another year to see what kind of space I have for it. For now, the sprout and I are enjoying making daily inspections of the garden, pulling out weeds and smelling flowers as they emerge. Any pinecones we find on our walks get deposited there and we’re working on making clear the difference between plants you can walk on (grass) and plants you cannot (everything else).

Bee enjoying the volunteer patch of blue bugle flower under the maple.

beautiful year for a spring garden

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