None of the willows received their annual haircuts this spring and they have surpassed my expectations. The two Japanese willows with long supple branches edged with variegated leaves dance in the wind while casting a bit of shade for a bench and table. The three other willows on the fence line provide coverage from peeking eyes while beneath the trees seed from last year’s columbines have sprouted, showing off pastel colored double flowers above a cloud of green leaves. The purple ninebark bushes with their plum colored leaves contrast nicely with the grey blue willow leaves and the Japanese maple ‘Bloodgood’ is at its most brilliant with bright red foliage.
This time of year I discover new treasures in the garden. Two trilliums planted last spring, which promptly disappeared on me, have reappeared. I see no flowers yet, but the fact that this, so picky plant, even reappeared makes me happy. And while I walk around the garden, pulling a few weeds here and there and fluffing some mulch, my eye catches a bright purple flower. It is a solitary flower, poking up through a bunch of columbines and it is an anemone! Again, a plant which refused to call my garden home decides it isn’t such a bad place after all.
In my early gardening years I battled with dahlias. I planted them, they died. I planted more in other places, they disappeared as well. I planted more in still other places and lo and behold they grew and bloomed. Now that I have found the perfect spots for dahlias, they have even survived our winters and come back year after year. The same applied to anemones. I would buy the little bulbs, soak them as instructed for 24 hours and plant them. Sometimes a bit of green would poke through the soil only to disappear again. Not once did I get a flower from a bulb. And here, quite unexpectedly, one out of six bulbs planted in fall decided to grow and bloom. Like most gardeners, I count my successes one bloom at the time, and now I will look forward in years to come to see if this one plant will actually multiply.
In the front garden the peonies are ready to bloom. One peony, bought two years ago, is ahead of the rest with two gorgeous blooms. This one called Walter Mains, is bright pink with yellow stamens, a beautiful combination and worth waiting for. In years to come the somewhat small plant will grow into a much larger specimen and grace the spring garden. And as the garden grows and blooms I am reminded that you can not hurry Mother Nature along. Plants will take their time. Put in a big plant in full bloom for instant gratification or have a whole yard landscaped within weeks and see a total transformation. But for me it is the unexpected discovery of a single bloom, a few leaves on a plant which I thought I had lost that makes gardening so special. It is journey which hopefully will never end.