While early March was cool, eventually we got a few nice days and suddenly greenery started appearing in the garden. Iris cristata, or dwarf crested iris was first out of the gate with its diminutive, but bright blue flowers. The variety in my garden is called ‘Alida’ and I bought it because my mom’s first name was Alida. Although long gone, when Alida blooms in the garden, my mom is right there next to me.
As the irises fade, the Hellebores, or Lenten Rose, start unfolding buds and then stretching stems and unfurling blooms. During February I had removed the old foliage from these plants and now the flowers took center stage in a garden otherwise still devoid of life. Single flowers, doubles, creamy white with speckles, reds, pinks, and yellows with a touch of red at the edges. They will last for months on end but eventually will spill their seeds and in years to come I will get colonies of Hellebores.
Walking in the garden I can see signs of life everywhere; the red shoots of peonies, heucheras pushing out new leaves and all those primroses bought in supermarkets over the years and put in the garden are now showing their first flowers as well. Here and there a few noses of hostas are testing to see if it is time to push out new growth. All we need is a few warm days and puddles of greenery will appear everywhere.
Buds on trees are visually swelling and my Sambucus ‘Lemon Lace’ (Elderberry ‘Lemon Lace’) is breaking out in lacy yellow leaves. Spirea thunbergia ‘Ogon’ is unfolding tiny bright yellow leaves, while a new addition to the garden, Spirea ‘Double Play Candy Corn’ looks like it is on fire with bright red foliage. Each day will bring new flowers and it is hard to keep track of it all.
Within one week we also had several rainy days, and it was time to start checking window wells for amphibians. One window well contained a giant frog, which, very obligingly allowed itself to be lifted and transported to the pond. In the second window well, I found a decent size toad. Again, it was brought outside where it posed for pictures before hopping away.
Flowers, swelling buds, puddles of green, frogs AND a toad; my cup runneth over!