5.03.2011

SPRING GARDEN


I'm not sure I want to commit myself to saying that spring is my favorite time of the year. The next thing you know, I'll be telling you why I love the ripe heat of summer, or autumn's deliquescence. However, this has been a strikingly beautiful spring, cold and wet. We have been living in a bank of fog. The plants love it.


Because I didn't do a fall cleaning, I have to do a rather massive spring cleaning. I've made countless trips to the back of the garage with my wheelbarrow full of cuttings and moldy leaves. But I'm also leaving a lot of leaves on the ground, covering them up with fresh compost, because they make a rich floor. Soon my untidiness will be covered with new growth.


I'm always pleased to see which of my plant friends made it through the winter; the lone, freckled,yellow hellebore has a lovely face. The pleating on the Sanguisorba arema fascinates me, it looks as though a Spanish fan is unfolding.


And the coloration of the Sorbaraia sorbifolia is a spring version of fall colors. I remember none of these names. I have to call Ed, every year, at the nursery, to be reminded. He gets to practice his patience.

I went to prune my favorite roses, and found that they were rootless, their bottoms just bare stumps. I could see the tooth marks of the voles as they chiseled their way through the rootball. Fury. And I am puzzled by the disappeared ones. Why? What didn't they like about being here? Was it something I did? Or the innocent perversity of the fickle-natured? Fine then. I'll just fall in love with something else.

26 comments:

david terry said...

I telephoned a friend of mine just this past weekend and was told by him that he couldn't talk long, since "I've got to drive Oscar to an appointment".

"Oscar" is a very large, rangy, oddly affectionate, formerly feral cat. "Oscar" is OBSESSED with moles and voles the way some dogs (not mine) go completely nuts over playing fetch and will chase balls until they simply collapse. Apparently, Oscar isn't at all interested in birds.

In any case, Oscar's reputation has spread far and wide among the rose-loving but vole-ridden ladies of Raleigh's Carolina Country Club (yup...Senator Massah Helms' former haunt).

I gather my pal takes Oscar over to various houses when the distress-call comes in from his mother's many old-lady friends, leaves him there, and Oscar goes on a round-the-clock, two-day vole&mole hunt.

I asked "How do you know when he's done?". the reply was "When your backporch steps are littered with about twenty small, dead animals and Oscar wants to be fed. They call me back, and I take him back home and feed him. Then, he sleeps for about two days straight."

I find it delightful to consider that a previously feral, not at all "cute", rangy old tomcat is now playing White Knight for the Grateful Ladies of the Carolina Rose Society.

I should emphasize (just in case you're not familiar with the breed) that these are ladies who have been long-accustomed to depending on chivalry. It's nice to see them still getting their way, even if the source of assistance isn't what one would necessarily predict.

Yours from The Sunny South (where all is Graciousness & Refinement. Come Visit Soon!),

david terry
(Interim Secretary of The Piedmont Society for the Preservation of Our Native Old-Ladies' Peace of Mind)

Ashling said...

Such vivid color, lush, luscious plants...and a welcome break to start my day. Thank you!

teamgloria_ said...

Dominique

How lovely!

I thought of your blog as I walked through Central Park this morning as it, too, was in full bloom. I posted my pix here:

http://teamgloria.com/2011/05/03/a-walk-in-the-park/

love your book so much, truly. I have it as an e-book on the kindle app on my iTouch and refer to my fav portions over and over again as needed;-)

much love from team gloria.

Malerie Yolen-Cohen said...

What a delight to the eye, Dominique. I was in attendance at the ASJA "Viral Marketing" session and was impressed by your zen calmness and wide-eye wonder approach to life. A beautiful blog from a beautiful woman.

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I love this post because I miss my old garden right now. I too, loved seeing which friends survived the winter and watching them unfurl. A friend just sent a photo of a Virginia Blue-bell I had given her from my garden. I was delighted to see it so healthy and robust. Thanks you for garden glimpses!

Kellie said...

When I used to own my house in upstate NY, I loved springtime - each year I would discover a new shrub, tree, or blossom.
Oh, look! There are hostas coming up. Is that lilac tree hidden behind all the old brush? Let's give it some room to show itself.
Such joy of discovery, of nurturing and learning what the ground harbored...
I drove by the old house last week. The new owners clear cut the entire property, taking down the evergreens where cardinals perched, the dogwood that lit up the neighborhood every April, the peonies & magnolias & irises...
All disappeared.
But I've got a new place to discover, and my landlord is happy to have my extra hand planting & pruning & raking.
I'm happy to see you fall in love with something else, as I am, too.
Tending,
Kellie

Christina said...

Hi,

I just have a quick question about your site. Would you mind emailing me back @ christinajohnson126@gmail.com when you get a chance?

Thanks,
Christina

Jane said...

I'm on the other side of the year and of our little spinning planet. Over (down/around?) here we're enjoying the divine freshness in the air, the morning mist, the delicious ebbing away of a long sweltering summer. I love reading northern blogs - reminds me of the roundness of the earth...

CHC said...

So it's voles..I wasn't sure if it was voles, moles or mice, but the little bastards ate my roses too! One bush was just dead brown sticks. The others including my perfect New Dawns,had the cambrium chewed off.
We had used moth balls and chicken wire, but they just tunneled higher.

I vow to get them - I'm building little fairy houses with bad stuff inside...eat that you fat little rodents!

Try steel wool around the branches in the fall...they hate it! If I don't whack 'em all, they'll get the steel wool treatment.

Roses rule!

profA said...

Almost as much as your Blog, I love the posts! Such a heady time for gardeners! Feel totally in sync with the nesting birds: up early and noisy about it!
BTW Voles do not like the Maulwurfvertreiber! a vibrating sonic stick (D batteries) that emits a noise movement for about 20 ft. in any direction.
Another Spring day is coming up! Revel on!

sandrajonas.com said...

David Terry, Can I get on that old lady list too? Bless your heart!

Love this post! You do get your hands dirty!

Cristina said...

carried away by your sound comments and with the help of the photos, one can almost smell those endearing earthy scents.

CMS Websites said...

wow its very beautiful Garden. really perfect posting for garden and best details share in the post.

Christina L. said...

I used to have problems with voles, but now use the castor oil crystals sold in garden centers for that purpose. It doesn't kill them (I can't bring my self to kill them!) but they hate it and will burrow away from it. Don't just sprinkle it- you have to work a little into the soil around the roots, a few inches down. Works like a charm!

Vivien said...

Wonderful photo of the S. arema - the mystery of nature!

Matthews House and Garden said...

I am always surprised every spring by the beauty and by the way, where is my white peony tree that I planted last year? Gone.

Warren said...

I am blessed to be living on park-like 1.1 acres in a suburb of Seattle. Annuals have come and gone and I have gone back to my bachelor ways with roses. I have lost many this year to our cold winter (tonight may be the first night to stay over 50). Voles I don't have, but moles we do. One year I harvested quite a few. The girls (then 4 and 6) and I smeared my camo-hunting paints all over our naked torsos and whooped around the backyard celebrating the succssful hunt. I am certain my English gardening neighbors had something to talk about at tea time ...

Anonymous said...

Sing Robin
Sing Finch
Sing the sun
to
Rise with me at 4:15 am for
spring solitude before I travel to teach high school.

For me, nothing compares to
Sping with the Robin's song at 4:15...soon followed by the Rosey Finch. I do believe I hear the pansies and violas stretch while the iris give birth to three more buds. Ah, spring. "Fify springs is little room to watch the cherry trees in bloom" And in my 65th spring, I am so present.
Thank you for your COLORS!

jayneonweedstreet said...

Voles! The bane of my existence since my red Tabby cat went to the happy hunting grounds a few years back. I lost a row of three (3!) mature new dawn roses climbing over our fence. Same thing - they ate right through the base severing roots from plant! I've been told they don't do it for food, but rather because it is in the way of their tunnel! I use a granular Mole Away product - sprinkling at the entrance and exit of their tunnels. Works well for me. And it claims to be safe - they just dont like the smell, and so they move!

helen tilston said...

Spring in your garden looks alive and active. I was amazed at your Latin pronunciations and was happy that you confessed to Ed's help. Sorry for your loss of some rose bushes
I will look forward to future garden pictures. Thanks
Helen

Dominique said...

I want to be on the OSCAR LIST too! However, as I'm sure he would never consent to such a long drive north, unless I sent a limo, I am going to find castor oil. Great idea....

Sharen said...

LOVE your photos!

Anonymous said...

The top photo of Dogwood branches and blooms is simply stunning. A sweet and gentle reminder on the incarnations of spring.
rob

Judith Ross said...

Stunning. Our 7-month old puppy has me up early these days. Last weekend I was outside at dawn, hand full of puppy, wishing I had my camera. The yard was full of mist and it was surprisingly warm -- even for someone still in their pajamas! The greens of my ferns and vinca were a lush green set off by the blue forget-me-nots. But what was most striking (and couldn't have been captured by my camera) was the sound of the birds waking up. They hadn't yet worked up to their early morning cacophony and each call was distinct -- in particular the cardinal's call resonated throughout the yard. Definitely a slow love moment recorded in my brain and now in this comment!

Anonymous said...

I really love the pictures that you put up. Especially the first one on this blog post. It's really pretty!

karenleslie said...

wandering around the nursery yesterday, killing time while my daughter worked out, i again fell maddeningly, irretrievably in love with a dainty and mysterious shrub that i knew i just had to have. it was the second time i'd noticed it but there was something familiar about it. aha, it was your sorbaraia sorbifolia, and i have an easier name for you to remember it by (if you'd like) - ash leaf spirea...