April showers have been scarce this year. So scarce that some emerging foliage has brown tips and flowering shrubs have dropped their blooms prematurely. The rain came on Sunday much to the relief of this gardener and the garden. Last year, the garden looked like this on April 26th. Today, it is much fuller and the daffodils in the river of daffs are well past bloom. Every year has its own gardening challenges and this year proves to be no exception. I would have liked to move many plants around prior to this but given the dry conditions, I would not have done it even if I were physically able. I am trying to be content sitting on this bench and making lists. It is not nearly as rewarding as edging, dividing and spreading compost but there are pretty blossoms above.The Carolina silver bell is starting to bloom and with moisture and cooler temperatures in the forecast, the blooms should give a very good show. Are your blooms ahead or behind schedule in your garden this season?
There is a rather dear little species tulip which is clear white with a lavender blue eye. It bloomed in my garden this week until the heat hit it and knocked it right over. Species tulips can be a bit pricey and the price is one of the reasons I only have about five of these little bulbs. At barely five inches tall this tulip needs a place of prominence in the garden. Mine are growing next to the stone bench by the fish pond. This bench is a wonderful place to contemplate the beginning or the end of the day accompanied by a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The little blue eyed tulips, Tulipa humilis 'Alba Coerulea Oculata' sit right at the foot of the bench. When faced with an unusual plant with a high price tag, I find that trying just a few in the garden can do either of two things. Both of those things depend on the performance of the treasure. Sometimes the pictures in a catalog are deceiving with the promise of impossible colors and performance. Sometimes the plant in question fails to emerge from the spring soil. If this happens, only a few dollars have been spent and knowledge and experience are added to the gardener's data base. The second scenario can be costly. The plant in question performs beautifully and the gardener wants more. A large drift of this little tulip would be lovely. They can cost as much as $2.00 per bulb. Blue is a much coveted color in the garden and blue and white are clear and clean and restful to the eyes. Do you think they are worth the cost? Should I get a few more?
Five years ago today, it was Easter Sunday and the date of the first blog post of Ledge and Gardens. Any new venture opens many doors and many of those doors have unexpected treasures behind them. I started blogging in order to share my garden and garden experiences with others. What I have gained is so much more than what I have given. I have made so many wonderful friends through garden writing and blogging. It is quite interesting to follow the seasons up the east coast, enjoy the late winter and spring gardens of Austin, TX, learn whole new plant palettes from the west coast and jump the pond to find that there are different tools and different terms for familiar garden tasks. The middle of the country sends its weather east and I can often preview the week's temperatures by looking a bit west. The garden has changed in five years. I only have to look back at posts to see that the plants in the pond garden's south border have doubled in size. The vegetable gardens changes a bit year to year and blog posts do provide a written and pictoral guide on which to reflect. By far, the biggest benefit has been finding other plant lovers. People who love dirt under their nails, the smell of fresh compost and the gratification of a newly edged bed. My thanks to all of you who read this blog. Please leave me a comment today so I can personally thank you. Comments are very much appreciated. Enjoy this day.
View from the Winter Garden Bench
What is a garden without a garden bench or two? I rarely visit a garden that has no sitting area. In England, each garden I have visited has had several different areas for sitting, lounging, sipping a beverage or just contemplating the garden. My garden has several benches. Woodland Garden Bench
One is by the fish pond, one is in the winter garden in the midst of the now blooming bulbs, one is in the woodland area. In addition, there is a table and chairs for dining al fresco on the patio and an additional table up in the pool area (yes, I am very lucky). The eating areas get the most use, of course, and the bench by the fish pond does get a workout although the workouts are short.
Fish Pond Garden Bench
Five minutes is usually the limit of bench meditation time here since gardens surrounding the bench cry out for attention at every given moment. It is always somewhat of a joke to see benches in gardens where gardening is an aerobic activity. Many gardeners I know rarely sit on their benches. This season, I have found just how essential they are. This spring, nature surprised the garden with more than just 80 degree March weather. On the first of March, this gardener was sidelined for the spring gardening season. It doesn't always happen to someone else...well, the lottery does, but a hiccup in health can happen to any of us at any time. The view from the Fish Pond Bench
A routine chest x-ray turned up a not so routine mass on my left lung and both mass and lower lung lobe were removed on 3-23. The prognosis is good. I am not whining, well, not any more, but the reality of major surgery is major recuperation time and much of that time will be spent on the garden benches out in the garden. Pushing wheelbarrows full of compost will have to wait until mid-June at the earliest and may wait until fall.
The Winter Garden Bench
A perennial garden reverts quite quickly to the wild but my pointing finger still works and I am fortunate to have friends and family who have offered to help. I have already found that sitting still is a challenge. It helps to have a pair of pruners in ones pocket. Fortunately, my right hand still has strength. Snip, snip will help make plants stronger of shape and form and snip, snip in the form of surgery has given me a new appreciation for good health, a great and supportive family and wonderful friends. Don't wait until you have to sit and enjoy the view. Enjoy it every day.