The second quarter of 2007 was much more eventful and colorful than the first! With things awakening in the garden, my spirits awoke right with them. Still being somewhat new to gardening, I couldn't wait for the day when I could get down on my hands and knees to dig in and work the soil.
First to awaken, of course, were the spring bulbs, but wait ... there's more! My first real hellebore bloom! Planted in 2005, and apparently too young for blooming in 2006, it was a thrill to see its freckled face. I had planted fresh seeds the autumn before, too, and they were showing up in the seed bed. I don't expect those to bloom yet this winter/spring, but I'm certain they will, given more time to mature.
There were hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, irises, crocuses, dog-tooth violets, and regular wood violets, too. All the usual fare, including the trillium we'd transplanted from a nearby woods. Those were in their third spring in our garden, tucked between the hostas.
The bergenia bloomed for the first time, too. I'd very nearly torn it out last year because it just sort of sat there, doing nothing and generally looking ugly for me. A change in location must have been just what it needed, because on the north side of the pool house where it now rests beneath the serviceberry tree, it receives very little sun, if any, and it burst into bloom in April.
Unfortunately, a late snow and freeze damaged a few things beyond their ability to survive, and we lost a Magnolia ('Jane') and a pink dogwood that we'd planted last year. On the other hand, the white dogwood tree we'd had for more than fifteen years that had only bloomed once (with three blooms) in that entire time, was loaded with blooms this spring - 159 of them! The effect of the freeze was evident in those blooms, but still ...
Mid-Spring wears its own brand of flowers and if I weren't so hungry for anything in bloom when those first bulbs burst open, I'd say I liked the second round better than the first. This brings things like our tree peony, Paeonia suffruticosa 'Sahohime' which is just about the loveliest, frilliest peony you'll ever see, with burgundy-tinged foliage, too.
The Jack-in-the-Pulpit I planted last fall not only came up, but one of them actually had a Jack, pulpit and all! That brought me to my knees with my camera, and don't you know, our next-door-neighbor just happened to be walking by as I had my rear end up in the air taking pictures. "Whatcha doin' down there?" He'd ought to know me well enough by now...
The ajuga now takes up a fair amount of real estate below one of the maples out in Max's Garden and this past spring I could fully appreciate the purple pillars rising from the dark greenish-burgundy ground cover it provided. (Yes, Kim, this is some of what will soon be making its home in Cleveland!)
'Miss Bateman' clematis bloomed well in its second year.
I don't think anything quite matches the innocent beauty of Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majuscula) and when I first see its white bells appear, I drop down to get a whiff of its fragrance. I've got pink ones, too, although they aren't as prolific as the white.
Mom and I took in our first real flower show of the season by traveling to Cincinnati for their annual show on the banks of Lake Como. Then came the biennial Cleveland Flower Show, which never fails to disappoint. This was my second time for both shows.
While in Cleveland, we took what is now known as The Greater Cleveland Nursery Tour, where Mom and I spent hours drooling our way through several garden centers unlike any near us.
New to our garden from these trips were a green Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Mikawa yatsubusa'), a coneflower (Echinacea 'Summer Sky'), two Lewisias, a variegated Abutilon, an Aruncus, and a vining Jasmine.
I got my fifteen minutes of fame in May, when I was interviewed by MSNBC.com's Diane Mapes for an article she was doing on playing it safe in the sun. She'd run across my blog post on wearing sunscreen. That was pretty exciting for me!
Of course, with the warmer temperatures, it isn't just plants and flowers that come to new life, the insects do as well and we saw many new and different ones than we'd ever seen before. I think maybe we just paid closer attention to them.
Most exciting was getting to witness baby praying mantids emerging from their egg sacs in late May. We had something like 21 egg sacs situated throughout the shrubs and trees last winter.
The first of June, I got to see my first frog ever. I know, that sounds a little bit incredulous to think that I'd nearly gone fifty years before seeing a frog. I've heard them lots and I've seen my share of toads, but never a frog until June.
By this - my second full summer of gardening - I had accumulated quite a portfolio of photographs from the garden and I wanted to do something special with them. I uploaded some of my favorites and "published" my first photo album through Shutterfly. I called it botanica and its subtitle was the geographic coordinates for Our Little Acre, which was prompted by one of our other hobbies, geocaching.
Speaking of geocaching, we spent a warm day in June (weren't they all warm?) caching our way to Goll Woods, which is thought to be the least disturbed natural woodland in our part of the state. It's as close to what our ancestors were met with as they came upon this area known as The Great Black Swamp and does a lot to explain why our gardens are what they are in this area. We enjoyed the walk through the woods and plan to return this spring when the wildflowers will be in bloom.
Spring is typically a time for starting new projects and it was no different here at Our Little Acre. We put in a new flagstone walkway as well as a new deck.
Perhaps the thing that made the biggest impact on our gardening season was the drought we experienced here in the Midwest. So many days with high temperatures and no rain made me feel like I was walking around the yard with a tail (the watering hose) permanently attached most days. Next summer, if we experience the same kind of weather (let's hope not!), I'm going to go easy on the watering early in the season. Not knowing that we'd go for so long without rain, I started babying the plants way too early so I was required to keep it up in order to keep them alive. Lesson learned!
The gardening season was well under way by the end of June, and I was in the height of my gardening glory. So, too, was the garden.
By this time, we'd been enjoying some of the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors in the other part of the gardens. We'd had many a spinach and lettuce salad, bowls of strawberries, and the green beens were flowering. The red beets were just days away from being pulled and pickled.
With our spring work behind us, the days of pure enjoyment of the lush green gardens were upon us. We just sat back, took it easy, and watched things grow.
Next: Looking Back at 2007 (Part III)