This post is about the joy of the return. Returns can take many forms. Now is the time of year to see which marginally hardy plants for our area have returned after the cold wet winter we just experienced. One we are glad to see, with about a fifty percent return rate, is the anemone coronaria ‘De Caen’, the poppy flowered anemone.

Planted in the fall here, the bulb/rhizome looks like a chewed up dried turkey foot doggie treat, with hardly any way to tell which way it should go into the ground. But what grows from that is the most lovely of flowers, especially photogenic, as seen in
chuck b.’s bloom day post. This is our first returnee, out of fifty thingys planted year before last.In our last post, the view to the west taken from the garage deck was shown. Here is the view to the east, not as wonderful, for it is still a work in progress. You can see the arbor, ferngully’s remains, the path that needs gravel added, along with some
step type thing inspired by Nan’s paths and walkways post to help with the steep parts. The ramp to the deck had to be removed to bring the twelve foot triple paned one piece patio doors around to the back wall of the addition, not an easy task for six men, and its railing was damaged then. It is not code, without the railing, we know. Indecision combined with lack of concensus about the railing of the whole deck in general has prevented progress from being made in that area. We are like that sometimes.

We have written about the plan to grow more vegetables in this area between the arborvitae and gold mops chamaecyparis. The planting has begun with peas, carrots, onions, garlic, more onions from sets, radishes, strawberries and raspberries all up and growing. Under the white frost cloth at the closest end it is harder to check on the progress. Let’s have a look.

Spinach from direct sowed seed in the foreground and lettuce started in the greenhouse in the rows behind will give us something to munch on soon. The little tent is unsightly but extremely functional, keeping the veggies clean, warm and uneaten by bunnies.

Moving on up the hill, we decide to look in the shed for likely hoes and rakes to present for
Carol at Maydreams hoedown. Since our mystery was solved by the local extension office as to the maker of the mossy nest, we have gone back to the locking method used prior to finding the huge nest, just latching the lower lock, leaving a tiny opening at the top and bottom of the double doors.

The site of the huge nest, taken down and cleaned up. No new activity there.

But wait, above the old medicine cabinet from the house next door that we bought and demolished to build our garage, more mossiness has appeared.

Hooray for the return of the little nester. I was hoping she would come back. Once it was learned that the nest was not made by a rodent of some kind, a breath of relief was sighed. That is the reason the door is not locked up tightly like it was during the mystery, fear of teeth. We have no fear of beak. Just a side note, my wubby mohair sweater that is perfect for gardening is showing up in the mirror. The knitted garment allows for total freedom of movement, being slightly oversized and the wool manages to catch various twigs and leaves, giving me a woman of the wilderness look when out in the garden. I love it.

Here is our little carolina wren mama with a bit of moss in her beak. She would not let me get near enough for a good photo and her mate was in a nearby tree sounding the alarm the whole time I was hanging around with the camera. I wanted to get a shot of her entering the shed, but it will have to be described rather than shown. She hops around on the ground, scuffing up the plentiful moss, grabs some, goes to the pyracantha hedgerow growing behind the shed to check for danger, then flits under the shed, which is resting on four by four runners. I felt sure that there was no opening to get inside somewhere in the floor when she was seen disappearing under the structure, but she repeated that path several times. Then she was spied coming out from beneath the shed at the front and hopping into the small opening at the bottom of the doors. I could barely see her enter, since she was coming from under the shed. Such a tricky manuever. It had been assumed that she flew in from the top of the doors and that is where the camera was focused as I set on the bench in the nearby knot garden. We will follow the progress of the nest and maybe even get to see eggs. Too bad we don’t have one of the video camera setups like
Shirl’s Gardenwatch, we could watch from the house and not disturb her any more than necessary.

Now to cool down from that excitement, we move to the deck where the seedlings are soaking up some fresh air and sunshine in their preparation to live out of doors in a couple of weeks. Our last frost date is April 15 officially, but we have learned from past experience to wait a little longer for the truly fragile plants, like the orchids, to be brought outside for the season. So for now it is the annoying out then in with the trays. While the temptation is great to just leave them out overnight, they must return to the safe temps of the sunroom/greenhouse for just a while longer.

To end the story of returns, just a quick thank you for all the get well wishes received during a brief but sorry sojourn in sickiness. The return to wellness is welcomed and will not be taken for granted, it is promised.

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34 Responses to Returns

  1. Piondröm says:

    Nice with the birdnest.
    You seams to have al lot of prodjects in you garden, it shal be fun to see later in the season.
    Wish you a happy ending on the Easter.
    Regards Ken

  2. Melanie says:

    Frances, reading between the lines here I can see you are feeling much better. What a wonderful posting.

    Your garden is beautiful already and the season has just begun. I think my favorite photo was the one with the sleeve of your sweater, you wild woman 🙂

  3. Jane Marie says:

    I love that blue anemone. It’s one of my favorite colors. Everything looks neat and organized in the shed.

  4. jodi says:

    A lovely post as always, Frances, but I’m most relieved that you’re feeling better. And spring seems to be finding you for sure. Here’s hoping that it reaches others soon. It’s sunny but cold here today, but at least the sun is out and the wind has ceased. 🙂

  5. Layanee says:

    Frances: Beautiful blue! Nice way to start a post! Your garden is so far along compared to mine which is still under a blanket of leaves. That Carolina wren is cute but she builds a sloppy nest doesn’t she? Carolina wren on crack! LOL I love it when I find nests in odd places.

  6. Di DeCaire says:

    Quite the progress. Makes me remember everything I love about gardening – design, color, seedlings, etc. Very odd spring here, still so cold, not even a crocus in sight. Boo-hoo-hoo.

  7. Frances, says:

    Hi Ken, thanks for visiting and happy Easter ending to you also. There will be projects in the garden here that are worth a look later. Spring is really our prettiest time, though.

    Melanie, HA to the sweater comment. Glad it was just a small bit showing. Thanks for the well wishes, it feels good to be back to normal.

    Jane Marie, thanks and welcome. The shed is neat now because it wasn’t really used heavily this winter. I try and keep it neat, but under the garage deck is another story. The tools get stashed there and everything else that might be used later. What a mess it is.

  8. Frances, says:

    Jodi, thanks and some get well wishes to you. It was snowing this morning, the weatherman missed that call, but has now melted. I am enjoying reading your book, learning lots of new things. Thanks again.

    Layanee, now that is sort of mean to say about our dear wren, but she is a sloppy builder. But remember someone tore her other nest apart! The blue of that anemone is the greatest color.

    di decaire, spring is coming your way, really. Hang on, it will be there soon!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy to see the little mamma back to work again. It gives the shed a more “home sweet home” kind of feel. That first blue picture was amazing.

    Much Love. CP

  10. Gail says:


    I am glad you are feeling better, how did I miss that…being a new blogger I still miss getting out and about. I really liked this post, there were ooh and ahh moments. The blue in the anemone photo was spectacular, and who doesn’t like a happy nesting story.

    Now forgive me, I tagged you and if I have missed a post where you said DON’T ever do this I am sorry. You just got too close to me and didn’t get back to home base fast enough. See my blog for post on this and let’s all blame shady!


  11. Frances, says:

    Chickenpoet, it is a happy return of the wren. Not sure if there will be eggs with our comings and goings into the shed. We’ll try and be unobtrusive.

    Gail, thanks for thinking of me, but I was already tagged by someone else, so that means I’m on home base. ;->

  12. chuck b. says:

    A very satisfying post–the gardener returns to health and the wren returns to nest. Meanwhile vegetables and fruits get an early start and I always enjoy a good code violation.

    You moved kitchen cabinetry into your garden work area–we did that too. You seem to have every kind of spade and shovel.

  13. Frances, says:

    Hi chuck b., shhh, don’t tell anyone about the code violation! We put some of the old cabinets in the garage also, and even the old kitchen sink in there, with hot and cold water. The other kitchen sink went into the greenhouse. I hate to throw anything out! There’s more tools under the garage deck, they get placed there when in the middle of a project, so much handier than going back up the hill everytime I go out. Makes the shed look neat, but the under deck is a mess.

  14. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Your gardens are wonderful. They look like a beautiful work in progress and a nice place to spend the afternoon. 🙂

  15. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Frances you returns are all wonderful. I will be returning again and again to watch all the happenings in your garden. It will be fun to watch as the CArolina Wrens bring up their babies in your shed. They are such cute things. I am most happy about your return to good health. I hope it continues too.

  16. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    I also missed the clues that you were ill. So glad that you’re better & able to get back out to the garden. Even your unfinished part of the garden is beautiful & inspiring. You are so lucky to be able to grow those Anemones – that blue is sublime!

  17. Frances, says:

    nancy j., thanks, we do enjoy the gardens here, even if we have to do it from inside, like today because it is so cold and windy!

    lisa, thanks. So you think the wrens will lay eggs even with me around? Hooray!

  18. Frances, says:

    MMD, thanks. I need to remember to replenish those anemones this fall, there are losses after the first year, but even treating them as annuals is worth it. One good thing about them is that the foliage returns early fall, so that you know where they are when planting more of anything and don’t dig them up.

  19. semi says:

    Horray for momma wren in the shed again. She works so fast. I love the pink! I am glad you are better. You have a good start to the veggie garden

  20. Frances, says:

    semi, thanks. We are happy to see that mama wren didn’t go elsewhere too. I am excited about the veggies, really getting serious about it this

  21. Wurzerl says:

    I love the post with the story of returns, a great idea! The birdnest is nice but the wren is lovely. The Anemone blanda is growing in my garden. But I love your Anemone coronaria, wonderful colors.
    Have a great week Wurzerl

  22. Frances, says:

    Wurzerl, thanks. Your post about Mr. Spring is brilliant!

  23. garden girl says:

    Francis, I’m glad you’re feeling better and are back to enjoying spring in your garden.

    It’s nice to see the little wren has found a new spot for her nest. She’s a very determined mamma!

  24. Diana says:

    Frances – I love your little Carolina Wren. We had a nest on our back patio by the window last year and were able to actually look into it from inside the house. I literally watched as 4 little babies hopped out of the nest and learned to fly. It is so wonderful to be able to watch and nurture the wildlife. Sounds like you are enjoying it – thanks for sharing it with us.

  25. Annie in Austin says:

    The blue anemone looks as good in TN as in CA, Frances – wish one of my ‘mixed anemones’ turned out blue, too, even if it didn’t return next year.

    These last two posts have shown us that Faire Garden is really a whole little world – it’s wonderful! But you are much nicer to the wren than I would be ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Frances, says:

    garden girl, thanks, on both counts. It’s good to be part of the world again. We love the wren, and all the birds, it’s the squirrels we….oh I guess we love them too.

    Diana, how fun for you. We once had mockingbirds just inches from a big window in the living room when killer was on an arbor there that hatched three groups of babies in the canes. We could see everything, it was the best show.

    Annie, thanks. I order the single colors, not the mixed from Van Engelen, but miss out on the surprise factor that way. It is our little world out back, the hill makes it very private on the west side of the garden, more human activity on the east side, but that’s okay. ;->

  27. Yolanda Elizabet says:

    I never would have suspected a wren to built such a large nest. But they are such cute birds, don’t you think, and a vast improvement on rats and squirrels building a nest in your shed.

    It’s fun to see that you have a little tent to keep the wabbits out while I have one to keep the cats out. 🙂

    Great first pic Frances, that is as blue as blue can be!

  28. Frances, says:

    YE, it was a surprise that the nest builder was the wren, but I saw her enter with the moss. Maybe the first nest was so big because it kept falling apart, built on a four inch wide board, so she had to keep adding more material. The new nest has a bigger base with the top of the medicine cabinet, safer for babies. Our little tent has worked so well, next year, the fall plantings will get one to keep safe all winter.

  29. Blackswamp_Girl says:

    Oh how fun to see her! Is there a way that she could be going up through the wall, between the studs? If there’s not any insulation there, she may have enough room for that…

    What will you do if she has nestlings? Leave the doors open for a while once they’re big enough and hope they fly away?

  30. Frances, says:

    Black Swamp Girl, I saw her enter the shed at the bottom of the doors when they were latched. There is a small gap at the top and bottom. If there are nestlings, I assume she will show them the way out! That is a very safe spot for them anyway, as long as they can tolerate our few comings and goings. Thanks for your interest!

  31. Katarina i Kullavik says:

    The poppy flowered anemone – so pretty and so amazingly blue! /Katarina

  32. Frances, says:

    Katarina, thanks for stopping by.

  33. Desiree from plantgurus says:

    What a great idea for a post. You must have your hands full with all of your garden projects! But it’s a labor of love, right? Thanks for sharing, and I love the close up images:)

  34. Frances, says:

    Desiree, thanks and welcome. It is a labor of love, there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Glad you enjoyed the macro shots.

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