April, the month I waited for all winter long, is just about gone. It is a month filled with promises; longer and warmer days, a range of colors bursting out everywhere, birds pairing off and building nests.
First there is that faint glow of green on shrubs and trees, soon followed by a true flush of green as leaves unfurl. Then there are those trees which break out in color; all white, pinks, yellow or purples. Suddenly the world seems like a much nicer place.
In my own garden I survey the landscape and see that virtually all plants from my old garden have survived the move and replanting last year in the middle of a very hot and dry summer. All the other plants purchased last fall have also made the transition and they are leafing out as well. Meanwhile I make trips to local nurseries and see what is available. A few new shrubs which will serve as hedges a few years from now are bought. I tend my seedlings in the basement, parsley and lupines. An entire tray of zinnia seedlings curled up their toes and died. In mid April the grape hyacinths bloomed. I planted these bulbs last fall around the outcroppings of the rocks of the waterfall. For now it looks like a "blue trickle" but as I add more of these minor bulbs to the mix eventually it will turn into a "blue river".
When the weather is halfway decent I can be found in the garden. Slowly I am deciding where the paths will be and where I will be adding more beds. An Arizona cypress called 'blue ice' will be the anchor for one bed on the side of the house with an Arnold Promise witch hazel on the other side of the same bed. I added gladiolus green star and a lily called yelloween. The yellow-green of the lilies and the green flowers of the gladiolus should make for a nice combination although it remains to be seen how well it combines with my blue ice cypress. Another Arnold Promise witch hazel anchors the corner of the main bed off the patio. At its foot I planted a few heucheras which will appreciate the shade this shrub will throw on them. The back fence line is mostly planted with arborvitae for privacy from the neighbors. Or at least in years to come as these plants grow in there will be privacy. For now we can still see each other, wave and have conversations. But since these 6 to 7 feet arborvitae provide some very welcome shade in my garden I have started under planting them with hellebores, hostas, heucheras, bleeding hearts and some pulmonaria, giving me a bit of a woodland garden.
A screen of forsythia is put in place near the fence line in the front garden to replace the solid screen of wild grapes and wild roses which I (very carefully – thorns!) removed in February. The roses and vines had intertwined themselves in the branches of a mulberry tree, contorting them by their weight and sheer size. Some of the branches had died back completely while others were bare except for the top where the grape and roses had not climbed. This corner of the garden will be the butterfly garden, but without screening from the wind butterflies would have a hard time fluttering around this garden. Although the forsythias are not very tall yet, they are fast growers and will become a solid screen within a year or two. Meanwhile the butterfly magnets planted last year, Ansomia hubrichtii or Arkansas blue star and Perovskia or Russian sage and seedlings from my Liatris kobold, also known as gayfeather or blazing stars are starting to come up. I added a dozen parsley seedlings together with lupine seedlings to the mix and hopefully the butterflies will find this corner of the garden to their liking. Slowly but surely I am building a garden and getting lots of fresh air, sun and my exercise, all at the same time. Life is good.