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Early Spring, 2015

It happens every year, but I greet the arrival of spring with the delight of an infant who has never seen a blossom before. The garden is awakening. I wander along damp mossy paths, smiling at each swelling flower bud and each lime-green leaf that unfurls. The light is gentle, the breeze is energizing, and the air is filled with chirps and chatters and trills and calls. There is a mockingbird in a tree, and his incessant happy song declares the wonders of season. 

Many limbs and branches are still bare, and on a rainy day the land looks as cheerless as any winter day; but not for long, as every morning adds new color to the landscape. Forsythia was late blooming this year, put off by freezes, but at last it opened its cheery yellow bells:

Chaenomeles, or flowering quince, bloomed through the hard freezes and continues to be beautiful:

Corylopsis spicata, called winterhazel, is a plant in the witch hazel family, or Hamamelidaceae. Its clusters of yellow flowers hang on bare branches and glow like little lanterns:Fothergilla is one of my favorite native shrubs. I recently planted several new ones near the base of some river birch trees. This variety is called 'Redneck Nation,' after Fred Nation, the botanist who found it growing in south Alabama. My new shrubs look sparse now, but they will soon grow and be filled with foliage. The fragrant, white bottlebrush blooms are just beginning to open:

My daffodils were a bit disappointing this year. They bloomed just in time to be hit by severe frost, then weeks of rain. They lay low to the ground during most of this time, but bravely stood tall when the sun was shining:

These trilliums grow wild in my woodland garden. The deep maroon petals in the center have not yet opened:

Hepatica nobilis, also called liverwort, is a beautiful woodland wildflower. I planted these next to a path, so I can appreciate its small, delicate blooms:

Another spring wildflower in my woodland garden is Sanguinaria, also called bloodroot. It has taken a long time to become established; the first couple of years I thought it had died! I am glad to see several blooms this year. It is shown on the upper right in this collage of spring bloomers:Clockwise from upper left: Sanguinaria, also called bloodroot; Grape Hyacinths; Pieris japonica, also called andromeda; Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'; Leucojum aestivum, also called summer snowflake, although it blooms in spring; Magnolia 'Jane.'I am just as pleased with beautiful foliage as I am with flowers. Strawberry begonia and Heucerella 'Alabama Sunrise' are two new additions to my woodland garden: Strawberry begonia is a vigorous ground cover.

Heucerella 'Alabama Sunrise' is a cross between Heuchera and Tierella. Throughout the year, life continues in the decaying crevices of Stump World:

On a fallen log I find a surprisingly beautiful arrangement of lichens, which have flourished in abundant rain:

As day's end approaches, I find these blooms silhouetted against the sky:

The woods still look bare in evening's glow, but tomorrow more buds will open and more color will show. Spring is here!

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Reader Comments (19)

In July I will miss my Japanese flowering quince. The cuttings didn't take, leaving 'space' for something else.

March 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Oh my, your Forsythias and Quinces are glorious! Spring is really in full glory in your garden now. How wonderful to have so many beautiful plants flowering at the same time! I miss the Mockingbirds! They were so plentiful at my parents' place in Florida. We rarely see them here in the north. On a bright note, the Redwing Blackbirds are back in the north! Happy spring!

March 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

Hooray for spring! Great to see so much life and activity in your garden Debs!

March 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Oh , isn't this a wonderful time of year - every day there is something new!! I always start looking for hosta shoot right about now, bun I'm never rewarded before the first of April. Thank you for sharing your early spring garden!

March 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

You've plenty of foliage and flowers to be excited about! Your daffodils look quite impressive to me - only 2 varieties of mine have shown up this year and they disappeared quickly in response to last week's heat. I love all the little woodland flowers in your garden, like the Hepatica and the Trillium, neither of which can be grown here.

March 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Spring opened up quickly once it started. So much to see at your place, planted and natural. I think lichens are prettier than ever this year. Venturing out late at night with the dog I notice the air is fragrant with things I can't identify in the dark -- might be wisteria.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Spring is glorious in your area with so much early bloom. Your woods reminds me of a garden by an artist, color and interest everywhere.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I love your excitement at the new season, I know just how you feel. Your 'witch hazel relative looks rather fine.

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Oh my gosh Deb I am so booking a ticket to where ever you live, lol.

Is it really spring there? It's stunning, sigh. And gorgeous, and beautiful, and did I mention lovely?

I wander through my bare beds, plotting....and patient.


March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJen@Muddy Boot Dreams

How wonderful to have so many spring flowers in your garden, they are certainly beautiful.! Spring is such a wonderful time of year with new flowers opening every day.
I must try forsythia again, here our bullfinches ate every flower bud every year. The birds now come to the bird feeder, so maybe my flower buds would be safe now!

March 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Oh how your gardens are looking so inviting and beautiful this spring! Your Chaenomeles, Fothergilla and Daffodils are so lovely and there are signs of spring busting out everywhere! We are still cold here but I know we are not too far behind you...your gardens are so inspiring!

Lovely Deb, I love Trilliums such a gorgeous plant I do wish we could grow them here.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Deb your spring is spectacular...I needed to see it as many of the same blooms will be here but weeks late as no spring here...only snow everywhere still..so i will still be dreaming of these blooms.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Late or early spring is such a wonderful time, your chaenomeles, fothergilla, and daffodils are so beautiful. Watching all of the plants in the garden bloom gives your spirit such a lift.

March 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie@Seattle Trekker

The quince photos are very nice, but I think the winterhazel pic is my favorite of the bunch.


March 26, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Nice to see your spring photos !!
Happy Spring !!

March 27, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEla

Hi Deb,
Yes, it is spring, and for you, it's further along than here in SE Nebraska. I always enjoy seeing it get closer and closer on others' blogs. I love your natives, such as the trilliums. A friend gave me a clump of white blooming ones, but then I figured out they are not actually native here. The clump only lived a couple seasons. The bloodroot I've had for a couple seasons has been slow to establish, too. I haven't seen it come up yet, but it could. I don't remember when it did last year. I hope it does better this year like yours has. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I get euphoric, too. I go for daily yard walks to see what is coming up, and how much things have grown.

March 28, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCorner Gardener Sue

Spring is late here too, I still haven't spotted any forsythia in bloom. And just when my first daffs began to bloom, it got bitter cold again. My garden is on hold, darn it! But I've had a few blooms, so I know they'll be back soon. I never realized that strawberry begonia was anything other than a houseplant!

March 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

I have been missing forsythia this year. Yours looks like the softer yellow color of the shoot I transplanted to Maine from Gettysburg -- still too small to bloom and currently still buried under snow. Even if I still had a mature forsythia, it wouldn't be in bloom yet; but I could have branches of flowers forced in a vase in the house. Thanks for sharing your cheerful spring blooms with those of us who are still waiting for spring to arrive.

March 30, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

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