Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Whirlwind of Spring

Spring is such a rapidly evolving time of year, it's difficult to keep up with all of the changes in the garden. The weeding too! By the time I make the rounds, it's time to begin again.

The first Swallowtails appeared as the last flowers of the
First Breath of Spring were in bloom, about 3 weeks ago.

Many birds have returned as well. I haven't tried out my new lens much, but I did get these pictures of a blue-gray gnatcatcher, a bold little bird that resembles a tiny mockingbird with a white eye-ring and sounds much like a giant mosquito.

I heard a blue grosbeak and a summer tanager last week. I haven't yet heard any indigo buntings or orchard orioles.


Many of the spring stalwarts are in mid-stride: columbines, azaleas, early roses and iris. There's an evergreen azalea that blooms everywhere around here that I would dearly love to know the name of. It's fairly large, 4-6' in height, with large rosy-purple flowers. Definitely not PJM. PJM has more Rhodie type leaves and the flowers are more lavender than the local azaleas.

The butterfly of the flower world, columbine.

The early iris are blooming: 'Crimson King', 'Jesse's Song', and Eva's White. I love purple iris and can't get enough of them.

A mixed-up flock of 'Crimson King'

'Crimson King' with 'Nightfall'

Bud of 'Jesse's Song'

The Baptisias are starting to open up. This beautiful native can have a somewhat strange upright habit, but goes really well with iris, roses, columbine, phlox and Amsonia.

Many of the rugosas and Climbing Old Blush have started to bloom. This is a seedling of 'Therese Bugnet', somewhat of a throwback, but she has retained 'Therese Bugnet's height.

'Climbing Old Blush' is looking good, although she suffered what could have been a real setback this winter. The wind blew the trellis over, heaving up the roots of both roses on each side, along with the big hunks of concrete at the bottom of both side of the trellis. DH put in rebar, poured new footings, stuck the roses back in, and they seemed to be fine.

The prize for the most velvety rose in the garden goes to 'Hansa'.

Piedmont azalea

This is the most golden of my Florida Azaleas; I have others which are much more orange. I love the orange Floriza Azaleas but must take care to keep them away from pink.


  1. Spring has certainly sprung in your neck of the wood! Stunning photos!

  2. It's so pretty there, I can't believe all the blooms you have! The baptisia here is just barely poking through the ground. You have great pictures of the butterflies and birds!

  3. I love the swallowtails! And the baptisia. Mine's not up yet (or if it is, it's hidden under the leaves I need to clear out). I love their buds. I've not heard of the blue-gray gnatcatcher, but it looks like a sleek and happy bird.

  4. Hi Sweetbay

    As much as I love all your beautiful photos, it's the trellis that stuck out for me. It's a really nice one and I'm glad the replanted rose recovered.


  5. Everything is SO beautiful. Even with the loss of the amsonia and phlox-you have so much and it all looks great. Even that rose that fell over.

    I think you identified an iris for me too. I was debating on going to an iris show this weekend but think not since you are so helpful. Have a great and sunny day.

  6. Sweetbay,

    Love you Rugosa rubra, rugosa roses are one of my all time favorites. Sara P Duke Gardens has some really nice ones.

    Our dwarf Crested Irises are blooming today!

  7. Beautiful photos. I have jesse's song. Its a lovely iris!

  8. Columbine 'field' looks so lovely and all other blooms look so beautiful!
    Thank you for coming over and taking your time to leave the comment.

  9. Isn't it fun to chase the Swallowtails from bloom to bloom trying to get a picture? The photos of the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher are great. Everything is looking so pretty in your part of the country. Enjoy!

  10. Sweetbay, I am imaging standing in your garden...the sights are lovely and I can smell the azaleas and the roses...It's wonderful! Two new baptisia are up and Carolina Moonlight is blooming for the first time! A pale wonderful yellow...It would look fantastic with your iris! Have a delicious weekend...What new lens!?

  11. Gail I bought Carolina Moonlight last time I was at Niche. I've seen it at the NCBG for a few years (Rob Gardener developed it there and they sell it too) and I finally bought it. It's lovely. RG bred Purple Smoke too.

    The new lens is a Pentax 70-300mm, which I got so that I can attempt to photograph the bird life here. Wish I had it on me yesterday. I looked up and there was a Pileated Woodpecker in the Tulip Poplar next to me. The way the sun was highlighting the crest would have made a beautiful shot, IF I'd had the camera with me and IF I'd managed to get a focused shot. lol Oh well, it's enough to see those magnificent birds.

  12. Sweetbay, the ensemble of the spring orchestra seems to be in full swing in your garden. The butterflies, the birds, the flowers all are here to be enjoyed. To me it is always a revelation how quickly nature changes from bare to abundance.
    We have a similar bird with the ring around the eye, called Silvereye. You have an exquisite spring garden.

  13. Beautiful Paradise! We are on the crest of a heat wave and soon to catch up! Lovely post! Looking forward to amsonia blue star and butterflies!!


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