Six on Saturday: Embracing Spring

Dwarf German bearded Iris ‘Sailboat Bay’ surprised me on Wednesday with the first bearded Iris bloom of spring.


Embracing spring invites us to embrace change.  Mid-April finds the landscape stuck on ‘fast-forward’ as changes unfold around us every hour of every day.  There is always something new emerging to delight, even as flowers finish and petals drop in the wind and rain.


Columbine prepares to bloom even as the daffodils finish.


There are seasons within seasons, and springtime certainly embraces many stages of phenological change.  From the earliest snowdrops and Crocus we have progressed now to dogwoods, Iris, columbine, and the swelling buds on peonies. We saw Wisteria explode this week in cascades of lilac and white flowers in trees, on homes and fences and growing wild in the woods.  It is one of the most beautiful sights of spring here, and promises only warmer days to come.

Nearly all the trees have tender expanding leaves now, and every box store and nursery offers bright flowers and little veggie starts.  Temptation waits everywhere for a gardener like me!

I bought our first basil on Thursday, with full confidence that it will thrive from here on through summer, after a Master Gardener friend gave me one of her plants that morning.  I trust her judgement that the season is now ripe for growing basil and other summer herbs.


Iris cristata, one of our native Iris species in this area, expands to bloom more abundantly each spring. This is a miniature Iris with crests on each fall instead of beards.


Looking ahead, our forecast promises warming nights and abundant rain.  I’ve been blowing leaves away and mulching beds all week, adding compost and planting out the plants I’ve been squirreling away for this moment.  We picked up our new Dahlias and Cannas, Alocasias and other bulbs from the bulb shop in Gloucester last week.  I’ve even been telling gardening friends that our Caladium plants can come out soon.  I believe the tubers will be safe now, unless late April holds an unforeseen surprise!


Ajuga blooms among emerging ferns.  This is Athyrium niponicum ‘Applecourt,’ a deciduous Japanese painted fern.


Embracing spring means celebrating the changes to our warming Earth.  Life returns to woody branches and the ground erupts in wildflowers and green.  Perennials reappear like children playing ‘hide and seek.’

We see nature starring in her annual mystery play, a script written millennia ago; and re-enacted each year.

Every blooming Iris and diligent bee reassures us that the players all know their parts and will follow their cues.   And we are each a part of this never-ending story.  Whether we simply sit back and observe, or take an active part with secateurs, shovel and rake; we are each embraced by the rich beauties and sweetness of spring.


A young dogwood blooms against our fallen redbud tree, still leaning after our December snowstorm. I am sure the trees will figure out how to coexist.


Woodland Gnome 2019


“Everything is connected.

The wing of the corn beetle affects the direction of the wind,

the way the sand drifts,

the way the light reflects into the eye of man beholding his reality.

All is part of totality,

and in this totality man finds his hozro,

his way of walking in harmony,

with beauty all around him.”

Tony Hillerman



Many thanks to the wonderful ‘Six on Saturday’ meme sponsored by The Propagator.



About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

2 responses to “Six on Saturday: Embracing Spring

  1. Are redbuds short-lived there? Our native Western redbud lived only a few years, and rarely gets more than ten years old. By the time it dies, it should have replaced itself with more than enough seedlings. (After ten years, the seedlings should be almost as big as the original when it eventually gets removed.) Anyway, I notice that the Eastern redbud, although it lasts longer, does not last forever. I really do not know what the life expectancy is for it. Those selling it do not want to talk about it being temporary.

    • Hi Tony,
      I can’t tell you the lifespan for our Eastern redbuds, but it is measured in decades, not years. Some get quite old and gnarled here. Never very tall- but the can grow multiple trunks and are tough and hardy, even once the trunk or branches are damaged.
      Now- there are six or eight seeds per seed pod, and literally thousands of pods per mature tree. And those seeds are fertile! We have lots of seedlings come up every year and it is always a challenge to decide to move them, remove them, or let them grow where they sprout. We happen to love the redbuds, and so I leave them to grow whenever possible. So sad that your western redbuds don’t last very long. How tall are they after about 10 years?

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