Outside is where I want to be this time of year. Especially after a long winter and sometimes damp spring when we are indoors for what seems like forever. My outdoor hobbies keep me busy and I am very happy to putt or paddle in the fresh air. One of my hobbies is gardening, which to me is better than Christmas.
Every day a gardener wakes full of Christmas-Eve anticipation to see what gifts mother nature has provided overnight because even as we sleep, our gardens continue to grow. We can hardly wait to walk the back forty, or in my case three quarters of an acre, to check on what is happening.
First there is the spring cleanup because I personally like to let everything decay and continue to feed the soil for as long as possible. I uncover the debris to see what lies beneath. Then the waiting for shoots to poke through the ground. The excitement of seeing beautiful shades of greens and reddish browns as they push their way upwards.
Before long, the early plants begin to take shape and form buds and then blossoms.
One of the first plants to do this in my yard is my rhubarb, which some people eat. I personally think it tastes like turpentine, unless you add twenty pounds of sugar when cooking it; and even then it still has a bitter undertone. To be fair, others rave about it. I have yet to figure out why. You can make a garden pesticide out of rhubarb leaves. Not an attribute I consider for my diet. Rhubarb, to me, is a stunning and dramatic garden plant that has beautiful blooms that stand five feet high. Most people don’t let it bloom though. Too bad because it is certainly a show stopper.
Next come the spring flowers in pinks and yellows like leopard bane, globe flowers and bleeding hearts. These bleeding hearts are still in bloom six weeks later.
Then the rhododendrons and azaleas begin to bloom and put on a spectacular show for a short period of time during which we gardeners hope for less rain and winds to prolong their beauty.
Irises, geum, columbine and cushion spurge are all early bloomers that announce their presence with their beautiful colours.
The crane’s bill hardy geraniums always make a showy appearance because I have planted them in large masses to help stabilize my slopes. They appear, in two different shades of pink, all down my hill for at least three weeks. This same hill will be full of summer reds, oranges and yellows in another week.
Spring shrubs start to bloom, In my north facing yard, spring sometimes means early summer. Either way, I look forward to them each putting on their annual show.
Then additional trees and shrubs wake with their colours. I am always so happy to see that they have survived the winter.
More and more perennials come into flower. The Sweet Williams I started from seed about twenty years ago that now self seed and return every year. The early lilies, the grocery-store roses that I purchased for mother’s day in 2021. Every day there is something new to see.
Poppies, peonies and penstemon.
Sea holly and astilbes.
And so much more.
We are only in mid July. There are a couple more months before gardening season is over. I never want to wish the summer away to see all the daily gifts I receive. Part of the enjoyment comes from the Christmas Eve anticipation that lasts all season long.
A shoutout to River Girl who’s many What’s Blooming posts inspired this.
Thank you for reading.
Photos: Jenn Stone