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grow . Spring Gardening Journal

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Summer may be in full swing, but we’re still basking in the petals and blooms of the spring season in our garden. I love how the light changes through the spring as days begin to stretch out into those long summer afternoons — the “gloaming” when the light seems to dance around. It calls us outside to tend the earth and the delicate growth that’s taking hold. It’s very peaceful to me to sit outside and absorb the colors and textures and light of the garden, so I’ve gradually honed a couple of “sitting” places around the yard. I’ve been doing a lot of sitting and swinging and looking, I thought I would share the view and some of the stages our plants are going through — a spring gardening journal installment. I hope you’ll forgive a huge number of photographs!

The front porch swing is always a treat, and Baby Girl and I sometimes enjoy coloring out there on Saturday morning. It offers a side view of the front garden bed we’ve been working on for several years. This year, I was so excited to see it finally begin to have that “settled in” look. Last year, we added concrete bird bath that I took as a remembrance of my Aunt Betty. The angel child is holding her bowl for the birds while sitting on one of the old pine tree stumps in the bed. Everything has been in a flush of blooms at the same time over the last week or two, and I’ve had a chance to see the vision of that front garden come to life. That joy must be how landscape architects feel all the time!

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Knock-out Roses: They’ve had amazing blooms so far! As I wrote in March, I’ve struggled with them over the last couple of years, but it seems they’ve finally reached their happy place. They have been absolutely beautiful, so I’m holding my breath it continues.

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Lavender: I’ve wanted a border of lavender around the bed for the last year or so to provide a contrast to a full and prolific spread of evergreen vinca. The first variety we used (Blue Scent) did not do well. It was tricky to get the drainage right. So, this year, we found the Silver Anouk variety, and it’s really taken hold so far. It has a newer, less traditional bloom (and a little less showy), but the scent is the same and it seems that the leaves are holding their silvery green color. My mom helped me plant quite a few for the border, and they are starting to meld together.

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Lilies: I’ve had orange daylilies in the front bed for several years, and this year, it’s been neat to see some Easter lilies from 2014 bloom. You know, they never bloom at the “right” time engineered by the nurseries to spread their white petals at Easter. Ours are actually blooming now, and I love that pop of white alongside the green, orange and red!

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Black-eyed Susans: One of my favorite flowers because they have that wild feel, we have them planted in front of the porch beside our swing. Last week we saw tons of blooming clumps on gravel roads near the farm. They bloom slower at our house, but we have one fully opened and some blooms on the way. Last year, they ended up getting really tall like those on the side of the road!

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In the backyard this year, we’ve squeezed a basketball goal the boys got for Christmas onto the patio along with our tables and glider seats. I think we all still have room to do our favorite things 🙂 The patio often serves as an adjunct office during milder days of spring, summer and fall (thank goodness for wifi), and I enjoy being able to look around at pretty blooms. We usually plant Lantana bedding plants in the brick wall that borders the patio. Beyond that, I have some impatiens, begonias and angelonias in pots. The Serenita Angelonia in a mix of pink, purple and white has become a real favorite over the last two years. I love the touch of cool colors mixed in with the reddish color of the other potted plants.

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In the back corner of our backyard, we have another swing installed. I love that area of the yard because it is deep, deep shade. We actually call it the “tree room” because the surrounding treetops merge to provide a roof canopy as we swing. The space feels kind of enclosed by Baby Girls “blue house” and “the little house,” our storage building I had constructed with its own front porch. I’m not sure why we insist on naming everything, but it works.  We have some impatiens hanging back there, but it’s mostly a blur of green around and overhead. Now, if we could only get green grass to grow! Last year, we added a picnic table beside “the little house”, and I’m committed to using it more this summer to take advantage of the shade.

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Grandmother’s Roses: I can’t finish a garden journal entry this time of year without talking about these. This is the second year since we transplanted them from the farm, and they have faithfully bloomed. The blossoms are such a delicate mix of pink and white. You would never guess that they came from the side of our farm road, having been left unattended for a lot of years! They only bloom in spring for a few weeks, and then remain evergreen throughout the year. My next goal for them is to get them planted in the ground and running on a bigger trellis. Right now they are still sitting in the old black plastic pot we dumped them in. I guess I’ve been afraid to bother with a thing that’s working! I’m thinking of an old screen door or a metal structure. We’ll see what happens!

sally

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