Can you feel it?

16mar2016Sensations

Sight

Phacelia tanacetifolia lacy rosettes
Day lily shoots poking through in the whiskey barrels
Daffodil shoots
Strawberry leaves
Hollyhock leaves
Viola flowers
A sun rising earlier and setting later each day
A brightness foretelling glorious warm days to come

touch

Sweet, embracing, comforting warm air
Energy flowing through the ground
Dried flower heads crackling between the fingers to release its seeds
Soft viola leaves
The warming earth

sound

Stereophonic bird song
Dried grasses dancing in the wind
Seed heads rubbing against the rocks

smell

The wet earthly aroma of the ground heaving off its winter blanket
The remnants of the autumn leaves offering themselves to the earth
Sweet violas

taste

The tanginess of the first chives brave enough to emerge early

Prunus armeniaca, Armenian Plum in bloom at Denver Botanic Gardens

Prunus armeniaca, Armenian Plum in bloom at Denver Botanic Gardens

Spring, the vernal equinox is finally upon us and the doldrums of winter will soon be a memory. I say doldrums because ultimately this is how winter is perceived. I personally do not believe this but instead believe winter to be the necessary stillness and quiet our garden needs to prepare itself for the growing season ahead. It is a stillness and quiet we all need to restore our minds and our bodies.

The moment I walk out the door my eyes capture little leaves emerging seemingly everywhere. I walk to the pots near the outside table and already see small leaves perhaps belonging to a viola or hopefully a petunia. I am leaning more toward the viola though.

Interlude:

It was Alice Morse Earle who wrote about the viola being the first flower of the garden to greet you in the spring before most others. I realize this is long but here is the exact passage. I just love the way she goes on about this flower for her thoughts mimic my own as far as the excitement of seeing this flower show up seemingly out of nowhere in the bitter cold:

For several years the first blossom of the new year in our garden was
neither the Snowdrop nor Crocus, but the Ladies’ Delight, that laughing,
speaking little garden face, which is not really a spring flower, it is
a stray from summer; but it is such a shrewd, intelligent little
creature that it readily found out that spring was here ere man or other
flowers knew it. This dear little primitive of the Pansy tribe has
become wonderfully scarce save in cherished old gardens like those of
Salem, where I saw this year a space thirty feet long and several feet
wide, under flowering shrubs and bushes, wholly covered with the
everyday, homely little blooms of Ladies’ Delights. They have the
party-colored petal of the existing strain of English Pansies, distinct
from the French and German Pansies, and I doubt not are the descendants
of the cherished garden children of the English settlers. Gerarde
describes this little English Pansy or Heartsease in 1587 under the name
of Viola tricolor:–

“The flouers in form and figure like the Violet, and for the most
part of the same Bignesse, of three sundry colours, purple, yellow
and white or blew, by reason of the beauty and braverie of which
colours they are very pleasing to the eye, for smel they have
little or none.”

In Breck’s Book of Flowers, 1851, is the first printed reference
I find to the flower under the name Ladies’ Delight. In my
childhood I never heard it called aught else; but it has a score
of folk names, all testifying to an affectionate intimacy: Bird’s-eye;
Garden-gate; Johnny-jump-up; None-so-pretty; Kitty-come; Kit-run-about;
Three-faces under-a-hood; Come-and-cuddle-me; Pink-of-my-Joan;
Kiss-me; Tickle-my-fancy; Kiss-me-ere-I rise; Jump-up-and-kiss-me.
To our little flower has also been given this folk name,
Meet-her-in-the-entry-kiss-her-in-the-buttery, the longest
plant name in the English language, rivalled only by Miss
Jekyll’s triumph of nomenclature for the Stonecrop, namely:
Welcome-home-husband-be-he-ever-so-drunk.

These little Ladies’ Delights have infinite variety of expression; some
are laughing and roguish, some sharp and shrewd, some surprised, others
worried, all are animated and vivacious, and a few saucy to a degree.
They are as companionable as people–nay, more; they are as
companionable as children. No wonder children love them; they recognize
kindred spirits. I know a child who picked unbidden a choice Rose, and
hid it under her apron. But as she passed a bed of Ladies’ Delights
blowing in the wind, peering, winking, mocking, she suddenly threw the
Rose at them, crying out pettishly, “Here! take your old flower!”

Here are images of my own violas.

viola3

viola

viola2

As I finish this entry, it is cold outside as a front comes in from the west bringing in cooler air and hopefully some moisture. The temperatures will warm again though and so it will go. I have completed some tasks such as spreading some prairie seed in new beds at the top of the garden and also planting my anemones. I will discuss that more in the next edition. Until then, here is what is coming up now:

Tulips planted beneath a spruce tree

Tulips planted beneath a spruce tree

Brave little vinca flowers planted beneath a lot from a downed olive tree.

Brave little vinca flowers planted beneath a lot from a downed olive tree.

Silver lace vine leaves. I hope they don't shrivel up in the pending cold temps.

Silver lace vine leaves. I hope they don’t shrivel up in the pending cold temps.

One of my favorite spring bulbs -- iris reticulata! Love that blue!

One of my favorite spring bulbs — iris reticulata! Love that blue!

Potentilla leaves. Planted also beneath the spruce tree.

Potentilla leaves. Planted also beneath the spruce tree.

Flax leaves also beneath the spruce.

Flax leaves also beneath the spruce.

Day Lily shoots emerging from the whiskey barrels.

Day Lily shoots emerging from the whiskey barrels.

A chive bud

A chive bud

Aspen Catkin! Don't you just love it when the aspens flower?

Aspen Catkin! Don’t you just love it when the aspens flower?

One more of an aspen catkin.

One more of an aspen catkin.

I thank you for reading and until next time many blessings and happy gardening!

4 Comments

  1. Eve 16 March, 2016

    Hi Benny,

    A great web page – and I can’t believe your flowers are so vigorous already!! Here in Arizona it seems we are a bit behind you….. how can that be?? My day lilies are up, though, and the roses are budding out. I will send you photos ….

  2. Benny 16 March, 2016

    Hi there Eve! Thank you kindly. Well, the usual suspects that make an appearance in spring are emerging but not quite vigorous yet. I do worry the cold weather in the coming days will kill off the growth but we shall see. Plants are smarter than we are and most everything in my garden has been there for a while so they should indeed know the drill. I look forward to your photos.

    Blessings,
    Benny

  3. Eve 1 August, 2019

    Hi Benjy – I enjoyed your blog again, as always – I would love to see your flower garden in the flesh, so to speak…. I hope you can come and visit mine again some time this year!!

  4. Benny 1 August, 2019

    Hello Eve, my dear friend. Thank you! 🙂 🙂 I love that you read my blog. I would love it so much if you could see my garden as well! I look forward to the next time when I can see your amazing garden. You do create such a beautiful masterpiece.

    Much love always,
    Ben

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