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A Garden Welcome Home

May 22, 2013

I returned to Maine on Monday evening and was welcomed home by spring blooms in the garden.

fading forsythia rhododendron opening

The last forsythia flowers are fading, and the first blooms on the back slope rhododendron are just beginning to open. Here and there, patches of moss phlox (Phlox subulata) are flowering, and the glorious fragrance of lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) fills the air.

moss phlox maine 2013 lilacs maine

gold heartIn the Serenity Garden, the bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’) is flowering beautifully and has pushed the deer netting (which has done its job well) out of the way in order to reach its impressive size. (It’s hard to believe that this is only the second year for this plant in the garden.) The showy bleeding hearts are accompanied by the quieter beauty of Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum Variegatum) and of hellebores.

solomons seal hellebores

It is cool and rainy here, and I am waiting for some dry weather (soon, I hope!) so that I can get out and remove the deer netting, get plant supports installed, do some dividing and transplanting, and mow the knee-high grass.

It’s good to be home  — and with time to work in the garden!

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26 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2013 1:49 am

    Welcome home. 🙂

    As hard as is to be away from one’s garden (or in your case, the Maine garden), as lovely is it to arrive and find that things are still alive and well. I don’t have Polygonatum odoratum in the garden yet, but it’s growing wild in the forest nearby and is putting on a quiet yet pretty display these days. Some day I hope it will find it’s way into my garden…

    • May 26, 2013 8:40 pm

      Soren, I know you are as familiar with the experience of a garden welcome home as I am. There is always the little frisson of concern that you’ll find some disaster, followed by the extra measure of delight when you don’t.
      My woodland Serenity Garden has provided an opportunity to try out some plants that don’t grow elsewhere in my garden; Polygonatum odoratum is one of those, and it is the one to have gotten established most quickly. I’m happy that I included it.

  2. May 23, 2013 6:47 am

    Welcome back to the ‘neighborhood’ and I hope the weather warms up for all of us trying to garden.

    • May 26, 2013 8:44 pm

      Thanks for the welcome, Judy. At least it didn’t snow here as it did further north! They’re promising sunshine and warmer temperatures for the next week, and I’m looking forward to getting some serious work done. (The sun and warmth will get here none too soon; I’ve been stubbornly refusing to stoke up the wood stove this late in May, and I’m not sure how many more layers of clothes I can put on. :-|)

  3. bushbernie permalink
    May 23, 2013 7:46 am

    I wish I could smell that fabulous Lilac. All the blooms look lovely. Fingers crossed you get some dry weather very soon so you can get out to do a few gardening jobs.

    • May 26, 2013 8:47 pm

      Bernie, Lilacs are one of the delights of New England at this time of year. As I drove around doing errands yesterday, there were big lush stands of them in bloom along the country roads.

  4. May 23, 2013 9:13 am

    Welcome back to Maine…nice to see that your deer fencing worked so well. 🙂

    • May 26, 2013 8:50 pm

      Karen, Are you back at the lake yet? I’m looking forward to the much nicer weather to come. My deer deterrent worked remarkably well — not really fencing; just some uprights with netting strung over the top. The only problem was that some of the plants grew up through the netting making it hard to remove. Now if I could only find an equally effective woodchuck barrier :-|….

  5. May 23, 2013 11:02 am

    Lovely post, Jean! – a celebration of Spring!
    I am new here so please check out my blog – Serenity in the Garden. http://serenityinthegarden.blogspot.com/

    • May 26, 2013 8:51 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Jan, and for leaving the link to your blog. Now that I’m getting into my more relaxed summer schedule, I’m looking forward to finding time to return your visit soon.

  6. May 23, 2013 11:25 am

    Your post hit a spot with me! I am traveling at the moment, and although I am visiting many, many gardens on my travels, it is my garden I most want to be in.

    • May 26, 2013 8:54 pm

      As my gardens have grown, I have found myself traveling much less — because I just don’t want to be away from the garden, especially during its peak season. Once I retire next year, I’m planning to do some traveling each April to warmer places where spring arrives earlier.

  7. May 23, 2013 12:12 pm

    That lilac does look glorious. What a wonderful welcome for your return.

    • May 26, 2013 8:57 pm

      Jason, I planted this row of lilacs almost 20 years ago, imagining them growing into a lilac hedge along the front of my property. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t prepare the ground for planting properly, and didn’t provide the plants with the right conditions for them to thrive. I think this is the most bloom I have ever gotten from them. (The row of scraggly lilacs will come out in the next year or two as part of my planned house addition.)

  8. May 23, 2013 3:02 pm

    How wonderful to return home and be greeted by a garden in bloom! They do it all without us, sometimes even in spite of us. 😉 But I believe that when we stand quietly and admire all the shapes, colors, scents, and movement, we add something to what is “a garden.” Thank you for the reminder to pause and enjoy.

    • May 26, 2013 9:24 pm

      Emily, I try to make time every day to pause and enjoy the garden. The fact that I have two gardens, each of which I am away from for part of the year, probably makes me less likely to take them for granted. When I am in Gettysburg, the first thing I do each morning when I get up is to go to the guest room window and look down on the back garden to see what is happening. When I’m in Maine (except in winter), each day includes a ritual “morning tour of the garden.” I take my first mug of tea of the day and walk around each flower bed, stopping to pay attention to what is happening there.

  9. May 23, 2013 8:19 pm

    Cool weather is replacing the oppressive heat of late and I may fight the mosquitoes to get out in the wet garden…lots to do and no time…but the veg beds will be finished and weeding started…ugh! Your garden is lovely Jean and nice to see bleeding hearts as none of mine bloomed again.

    • May 26, 2013 9:27 pm

      Donna, This newer variety of bleeding heart, ‘Gold Heart,’ seems to be a particularly vigorous cultivar. The bleeding heart in my deck border has been getting smaller each year. This year, it is about 6″ high and has about 5 leaves on it. :-(. I may replace it with a ‘Gold Heart’ and see if that cultivar does well in this location, too.

  10. May 24, 2013 5:18 pm

    Lucky you, it’s like getting two springs in one year!

    • May 26, 2013 9:29 pm

      Reed, Yes, one of the benefits of my two-home lifestyle is that I get to experience spring twice each year. Once I’m retired and am living in Maine full time, I’m hoping to continue the two-spring experience by traveling south each April to experience spring once before it gets here.

  11. May 25, 2013 3:50 pm

    I hope it warms up for you in Maine! I am looking forward to see the progression of your garden as the garden season begins in earnest!

    • May 26, 2013 9:30 pm

      Jayne, They’re promising us temperatures in the 60s tomorrow, the 70s the day after that, and 80s by the weekend. I’m ready to put my wool clothes away (again!) and start enjoying sunshine and warmth.

  12. cmstaveley permalink
    May 29, 2013 2:15 pm

    Your spring garden looks so lush and green. I’d happily trade you some sunshine for a little of your rain. Everything here is alarmingly brown already for being so early in the season. I can see the clouds today, some quite grey and foreboding, but so far not a drop of rain!

    • May 29, 2013 10:17 pm

      Clare, Thanks for reminding me of how lucky I am to live in a place where water is so plentiful. The glaciers that formed the landscape of Maine also left it with abundant fresh water resources — lakes, ponds, rivers, vernal pools, springs, and large underground aquifers. Water is actually an export industry here. Poland Spring water, which used to be a little family business and is now a major national brand, is a major employer in my rural town. If anything, climate change seems to be making our climate a bit wetter and less sunny. I hope you get some rain soon.

  13. May 29, 2013 5:39 pm

    Everything looks great, especially considering you haven’t been around to tend it. I am amazed at how lush things looks in your cool climate.

    • May 29, 2013 10:20 pm

      Sarah, You probably remember from your days in New York how lush the northeast landscape gets at this time of year. Things don’t usually start to brown and look bedragled until August. And because my property has a lot of evergreen trees (pine-hemlock forest, mostly), there’s a lot of green year round. We had a dry April, but May has made up for it and then some!

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