Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Springtime



Eastern redbud and carpenter bee

Temps have been consistently in the 80's in the last week. Everything is coming alive with amazing rapidity. The trees are leafing out all at once. All of the different shades of spring green are so fresh and beautiful, with the silvery green of the white oaks the loveliest of all.

The garden is outstripping my ability to clean up before the spring show. I decided to whack back the beautyberries next to the driveway this year, as they were really starting to lean out into the driveway.


The Red-Shouldered Hawks are feeding their babies in the same nest that they used last year, about a hundred yards west of the house near the top of a large Loblolly Pine. Some summer birds are back: Ovenbirds, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, White-eyed Vireos. Ruby-crowned Kinglets don't breed here -- they migrate up to the northern US and Canada to breed -- but they linger here until May and sing their gurgling stutter song for a month before they leave. A more adorable bird has never graced our woods.

The cool weather before this past week was perfect for the first serviceberry that bloomed. Days in the 50's and nights in the 30's are perfect for them. The ones that bloomed this week blew quickly.



I've never gotten a very good full scale picture of a serviceberry. It's
prettier than it looks in this picture. It has the look of white lace.


The daffs were reduced to limp ribbons by the warm winds, but more are on the
way. 'Thalia' doesn't love baking heat but they were lovely while they lasted.



The daff display in the big bed should be much more impressive next year; many of the bulbs that went in this year went in very late (just a month ago), and even the Campernelles from last year are taking a break after their first year of being in the ground here and blooming. I still have at least another third of the bed to plant, and I'd like to plant daffs of the jonquil class in the low part in front of it too. Scott Odgen writes in his book Garden Bulbs for the South "Narcissus jonquilla and its relations inherit tolerance to dampness, which suits them especially to the heavy cotton soils of the South... jonquils naturalize in bar ditches and other moist spots where their wild companions include true rushes."


The edges of the beds and the lawn looks like a fluffy crazy quilt of grass, clover, lamium, henbit, and speedwell. Although it looks crazy and yes, messy, the bees are just going crazy over it. First the honeybees came out, then the little native bees with faces full of red-orange Lamium pollen, then bees of every sort.


If you want to attract bees to your garden, plant one of these!


Bees love Eastern Redbuds. The picture below doesn't even begin to express the density of bees. At its peak it was actually necessary to walk slowly past the tree as not to bump into too many bees in their almost frantic comings and goings! The tree was an amazing sight, and standing next to it was like being in a giant bee hive.





For the first time in about 5 years I saw some pansies at Lowe's that I really liked. I didn't get them in the ground until late October so they didn't do anything all winter but they are taking off now. I think their soft butter yellow and violet blue shades are lovely.




The wild Crabapple tree is more than half opened up! I shall have to get some pictures of it tomorrow. When it blooms I think it's the most beautiful tree in all the world.




























23 comments:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous - the plants, the photos, everything! I am going to add Thalia daffodils to my list, after seeing them here. The ruby crowned kinglet is one of my favorites as well. I have them fall - winter in my yard and they are adorable.

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  2. Hi there! Love seeing all your blooms. Is that a creek I see by the Serviceberry? How cool is that!! One of the first trees we planted here was a Redbud. It was so beautiful, but got topheavy and during one bad windstorm it broke in half. We had to dig it out...I was so sad! I have thousands of wild violets coming up in my back gardens and I'm trying to get rid of them. If I don't, they will completely take over....darn little things...pretty, but so invasive!

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    1. Well, technically that is a drainage ditch. lol But, it does connect with Middle Creek (which is 3/8s of a mile away), and may have started out as a small creek. It has frogs and Pickerelweed and wild Lizard's Tail and I've even seen a mink swimming in it.

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  3. Wonderful spring ! Lovely pale colours ! Beautiful pictures, Sweetbay !

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  4. Wow -- love it all, but I was particularly drawn to the white daffodils and to the glorious redbud. What a show!

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  5. Beautiful, beautiful, Sweetbay! You make even henbit look appealing:) But most of all, I love the photos of the bees--you can even see them swarming around the redbud in the wider photo. You're not alone in not being able to keep up with getting the spring garden work done--but here it's constant rain that's keeping me away from it. Pruning may have to wait till fall, after all.

    Sweet pansies!

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  6. I'm so happy Spring has finally made it to you! I have the blue violets and the white ones growing in my beds now. I've been leaving they there the past two years. I use to dig them up and toss them.

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  7. Your spring blooms are so pretty. You are right about everything growing so fast now. I love this time of the year when everything begins new again.

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  8. So many pretty blooms. Henbit is happily growing everywhere here too. As we are getting warmer it is dying off. I was intrigued by your Serviceberry. I planted one last year and am waiting for it to bloom. Eastern Redbud is another one that I have on my list to add. They are gorgeous, rivaling dogwoods in my book!

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  9. It is so wonderful to see spring happening there in your bit of paradise. Enjoy.

    As always, it is beautiful there.

    FlowerLady

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  10. Oh, Sweetbay, this post was such a treat. I love your violet patches! And the serviceberry! Serviceberry is definitely one of my favorite trees!

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  11. Sweetbay, Everything looks alive and so beautiful! It is interesting that your trees have not leafed out more. Love the serviceberry and your carpet of violets. I can imagine the sound next to your Redbud. Lovely!!

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    1. Carol the trees have leafed out tremendously in the past week with these warm temps! Everything has just jumped! :)

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  12. sweetbay, pretty Eastern Redbuds! It's pity we haven't this plant here, I loved it, nice purple color of its flowers. Daffodils are beautiful especially yellow ones.
    Happy spring!

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  13. The Redbud is really something. Both the colour and its shape.

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  14. Your garden is looking lovely! We still don't have spring here - last week we had 4 inches of snow!

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  15. Everything is so beautiful!
    Love the close-ups of the bees!
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie

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  16. Can you believe it is snowing here! Just light flurries, but it is depressingly cold. It is so nice to see your white daffodils. They have become my favourites. I am thinking for my one big purchase this spring that I will add an Eastern Redbud. I think they are even prettier than flowering cherry or crabapples.

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  17. So many beautiful flowers you have this spring. We're still clinging to winter a bit so I'm admiring others pretty blossoms via the internet today. Like you, I love the modest charms of serviceberry, it's such a treat to see one of these in bloom and the berries are an extra bonus.

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  18. I was amazed at how quickly the huge Hickory leaves opened. It sure changed the look of our garden almost overnight.
    Stop by my latest post and weigh in on whether my latest find in the front woods is in fact an Amelanchier. Yours is lovely.

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  19. Beautiful spring pictures. Your garden looks all set for a spring display, and I can't wait to look at it here. Do you have a lens long enough to take good bird pictures?

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    1. I have a 55-300 lens, which I think is the best I can use for bird pictures without having to use a tripod. I have to be pretty close to get a good picture, but it sure beats my 18-55 kit lens!! lol I need to get a new set of binoculars as the warblers are passing through and I keep hearing all of these intriguing warbler songs. I have the Cornell/ Peterson birdsong tapes but haven't listened to them for a while, so I'm very rusty when it comes to sorting out the warblers.

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  20. Your place is a sight for spring starved eyes SB!!! I feel like spring has left us behind this year. All this snow makes me wonder if it's ever going to happen or if we'll just go straight from winter to summer??? I didn't realize the redbud was a bee magnet ~ that makes me excited as I planted one last year. If the freeze tonight doesn't kill the buds, maybe I'll witness it myself!

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