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Passing in a Flash

I thought I was being attacked the other day. I heard shrieking, and I looked up to see three hawks zooming down toward me. They were about ten feet above my head when I realized two of them were chasing after the third. They swooped low over me, then soared in a huge arc back into the sky. With their wings spread wide, the sight reminded me of a dogfight between fighter planes! I am sure I witnessed my resident hawks, whose nest is nearby, chasing off an intruder. Of course I did not have my camera! I will remember it as the picture that flew away.

I had better luck with this more sedate bluebird:

April has passed in a flash, just like those hawks. Spring was so late in coming, I wish it would stay a while! But already we are having temperatures well into the 80's. The garden is transitioning to deep green. The pastel blooms of redbud and dogwood trees are gone. Most azaleas are spent. Soon the brilliant spring foliage of Japanese maples will assume more sedate tones. Meanwhile, there is plenty yet to enjoy as April comes to a close.

Philadelphus coronarius, or mock orange, is blooming. My friend Nancy dug up an off-shoot from her own mock orange and gave it to me in 1990, after a tornado took out almost everything in the center of our property. Her gift has grown and prospered, and I think of her kindness every spring when it blooms. Japanese maples glow in the background in the first image. On the lower left, the shrub to the right of the mock orange is Chinese snowball viburnum, still blooming and looking great after several weeks:

Rose buds are beginning to open:Clockwise from top: Bee is enjoying the last of a rugosa 'Alba'; Rosa mutabilis, also called Butterfly Rose; Rosa mutabilis; Penelope rose; Penelope rose buds; Knockout rose; Rugosa 'Alba'.

Here are more flowers. Notice the poinsettia at the top. It is not left over from this past Christmas. That is a 2012 poinsettia! It spent 2013 outside, and its foliage was so beautiful I brought it back inside for the winter. I did not expect Christmas blooms, and I did not get them. Imagine my surprise when it began to bloom in April! So it's back outside for 2014. Clockwise from top left: Poinsettia; Poinsettia to right of a potted arrangement; Clematis 'H.F.Young'; Calycanthus floridus 'Athens', a type of Carolina sweet shrub with creamy flowers that smell like bananas; Lonicera sempervirens, a native also called trumpet honeysuckle; Variegated weigela.Above left: Bordeaux Rose Salvia. Above right: Variegated hosta, coleus and coral impatiens in a crusty old urn.

Native woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), hybrid columbine and Dianthus 'Bath's Pink' grow around the blue bench in the front garden. In this scene one gets an idea how the front garden wraps around the front lawn. The house is beyond the camera on the upper right:

Some more scenes from around the garden:

Fatshedera 'Angyo star' is a new viny shrub with large, ivy-like leaves. It grows to about 6 feet:

Clockwise from top left: Sambucus 'Lemon Lace'; Variegated Winter daphne is putting out new growth; Cornus florida 'Cherokee Sunset'; Heuchera 'Green Spice'; Autumn fern; Hosta 'Empress Wu'; Heuchera 'Citronelle'; Pieris japonica.

Finally, with warmer weather, I planted most of my summer veggies, and look what I already have:

And most exciting, one of those tomato blossoms has turned to this!

Grow, tomato, grow!

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Reader Comments (25)

You already have a tomato! We have a few blooms, but no tomatoes just yet. April is always lovely in the garden; I really enjoyed your pictures!

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

Aren't plants the best gifts? How fab to see and smell the lovely Philadelphus and think of your friend. I love those foliage shots - very inspiring - and lovely to see Phlox divaricata too. I cruelly dug up three big clumps this weekend and installed them where I can see them from the kitchen window in the vain hope they might inspire me to leave the garden and do some indoor chores.

Fab tomato - you have no idea how envious I am - our toms are still weedy baby plants.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Shoesmith

Beautiful photos and sceneries of your garden as always Debs, and nice bonus too with the Poinsettia which can be tricky to continue growing. It must have been a sight to behold to see those three hawks chasing around.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I always love seeing your garden, it is like a park!

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

You have overtaken us with your seasons, it is still too soon for my roses and my Philadelphus! You have some super shots of your garden, it always looks so beautiful no matter what time of year it is.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

It is always lovely to remember friends by the plants they have given us. You have a lot of lovely plants flowering at the moment, it is sad that spring is passing so quickly, everything is already flowering in my garden too, I hope things will continue for a while or the drought period will seem very long.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I love all your pictures of your gorgeous garden. Your all flowers and decorations are so awesome. I am delighted with the blue bench.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEla

I agree with Jeannine - your garden looks like a park. I'm having to get up earlier and earlier to do a little yard work because the heat is moving in. It was 91 degrees here in North Florida this afternoon.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Great photos, and tomatoes too. I love all the different foliage plants you have in the garden. Beautiful post.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Bird wars! We have them here as well and they do get scary when the birds fly a little too close. How wonderful that it's so warm already in your area. I bet the Philadelphus smells beautiful! And how interesting about the poinsettia.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I had those photos myself Deb. The ones that flew away. LOL. I also had the feeling of "grow tomao grow." Beautiful photos, especially the first one. All that color around the blue would make any bird feel like it lives in heaven.

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Nice! Well, my garden is so far behind it's crazy. But that's normal here. I never put in my Tomatoes until Memorial Day. Some people plant them in early May here, and then they just sit, or die with frost, or just languish. But we catch up in late May, and then everything just pops. Still, I wouldn't mind having Redbuds, Clematises, and Roses blooming in April. Your garden is stunning, Deb!

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

It seems that your garden is hurtling toward summer just as mine is. We're expecting temps in the 90s most of this week, which doesn't bode well for the remaining spring blooms. You periodically see tree-sized red Poinsettias grown here (my neighbor has one in her backyard) but I've never seen one of the yellow ones do well out of doors. I'll have to try over-summering one of those next year!

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Everything is looking wonderful, Deb!

Two quick questions:

1. Do you prune the Philadelphus coronarius at all?

2. Any advice on training a clematis? I've got one thriving at the base of a crape myrtle but can't figure out how to train it up into the branches...

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Mockoranges are wonderful aren't they? I love the shot with the blue bench! And the one with the bluebird. So beautiful!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Hello, everybody! Thank you all for your kind comments! I appreciate each and every one of you for your support and for taking time to comment. Aaron, you asked about the Philadelphus coronarius. Yes, I usually prune it for shape after it blooms. I often take out branches going the wrong way or that are spreading too far out toward other shrubs in the area. On training the clematis: Mine has such tiny, delicate tendrils. I put three pencil thin bamboo sticks in a teepee arrangement, leaning against a 4x4 pole that supports a large birdhouse. The clematis readily grabbed hold and is climbing that. I am hoping that it will eventually reach and drape around the birdhouse. It has climbed to the top of the bamboo sticks, and now I will probably use twine to guide it the rest of the way. Deb

April 29, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I am today the proud owner of not one, but two golden mock orange shoots...jumping up and down with excitement!!!


April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Wow, that would be an experience, having hawks so close (though a little alarming)! The best pictures always seem to be like that. I had a hummingbird hover a foot in front of my face once, checking me out, which was amazing and I wished I had my camera for. That was the picture that flew away for me!

Your garden looks so gorgeous! I just love that drift of Bath's Pink around your bench. It is on my list of must-haves for my new garden - a drift of Bath's Pink!

April 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Your garden is just spectacular, as always! I really love the foliage of the 'Cherokee Sunset'. Bluebirds scouted our birdhouse earlier in the season, but I haven't seen them since. They tend to show up in May around here. Thanks for the virtual tour!

April 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Tomatoes forming already? Amazing! Everything looks beautiful, as it always does in your yard.

hi Deb, Sometimes birds have fights in my garden too, I find it very disconcerting. Some species are quite aggressive. Garden looks lovely, as someone said, it has a park-like quality that is very impressive. I love all the soft green leaves, the way you've photographed them, makes me want to stroke them. And just because it happens often, we shouldn't take for granted the wonder of how the tomato blossom transforms into the fruit.

May 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

Lovely as always. We are still experiencing unusually cool spring weather which as long as it stays above freezing is great for the plants. However, the miniature hostas that I mail order are not rooting very quickly and that's a problem.

Your garden is always such a delight to visit. Thank you for sharing it with us.

May 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGraziella Grech

Wow, I can't believe your tomatoes have flowers already, let alone fruit! Do you think the bluebird knows how well his color matches the blue bird house?

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Tomatoes and all those blooms. My mock orange just has small buds keeping tight for when we ever might warm up. Love the bluebird.

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