There really is no theme to this post. It is a bit of a hodge podge of photos and thoughts. I like to go out in the early morning as the sun is rising with the camera and see what looks promising. The Carolina Jessamine is in full bloom on the piece of trellis left standing after the removal of Killer, the rose Alberic Barbier, at the front of the house. The fragrance that surrounds this area is nose tickling perfect, not too sweet, but it gets one’s attention no matter how much fun one is having pushing the shutter button. There was a little misty dew to the air that gave the view across the front porch with the child’s bench an enchanting quality.

My favorite tree limb of all belongs to this Butterfly Japanese Maple. There are two of these planted at each corner of the stoop at the front door that is original to the house, planted on the day we closed on the purchase in 1996. It has been written that pruning is a passion here, especially with these small types of maples. But the curlique is not a pruning marvel, it just grew that way, maybe due to the traffic on the step stones leading to the utilities around the side of the house. The newly emerging leaves are green, pink and white, heavy on the pink. Later in the season the pink will fade only slightly. A few leaves will revert to solid green and will be removed. If left to grow naturally, this type of tree would mature at fifteen feet tall with a vase shape. They are kept small to keep the view from the front door open and it’s just fun to prune them.

Magnolia ‘Jane’ is at its peak now. This tree shares the name of my dear mother in law, and was purchased the year she left us, 2005. The blooms were lost last year with the late freeze, but the tree rebounded and produced several more this year.

Abutilon ‘Fool’s Gold’,
ordered this winter from
Plant Delights Nursery, and shipped in bloom, has been a glorious addition to the greenhouse plants. It will spend its summer outside in a shady spot, close to the watering wand. I find the abutilons to be easier than the orchids and much more generous with their blooms during the color deprived months of the cold season. More of these may take the place of those stubborn orchids.

My first container grouping using the thriller, spiller and filler plan. The thriller, stocks, will be replaced or more likely just removed as the lantana will fill this pot. The sweet potato vine, Sweet Caroline, should be able to survive by cascading over the edge, hopefully rooting in the gravel beneath. I was taken by the color of this unnamed lantana, a pleasing mix of pinks and oranges.

Under the window box on the shed, japanese painted ferns have multiplied, having dropped spores down from the window planter. There are many variations of colors on the leaves, some more red, some more silvery. All are exquisite. It makes me chuckle at the named varieties sold, as if each color combination were the newest greatest must have, but can only be had by getting their fern. Sort of like the hellebores that come from seed, one supposes. If you let these plants propagate themselves, you will get many wonderful traits, each one unique. Sort of like people.

This is the dwarf bearded iris that was featured in
this post as a close up macro shot. I love this blue and maroon color mix.

Our checkered lily, frittilaria meleagris, is pretty stingy with the flowers. Out of ten bulbs planted, only two even came up. It is hoped that in the future more will decide to leave the earth and face the sun and camera. The few flowers are very charming, however. These will be tried again.

Oh boy. The free seeds that came with the Chiltern seed catalog, celosia cristata ‘Coral Garden’ mixed, have grown to the point of flower color showing. The stem is even colorful. There are loads of these and they will be planted in the knot garden quads after the tulips are done.

Here are the seedlings and greenhouse plants having a preview of fun in the sun. They will have to go back in this weekend for our weatherman says we are to have frosts at night then. This would be our dogwood winter. These cold spells are named according to what is blooming when they occur. The last one is blackberry winter. These mini winters don’t always go below freezing, but do seem to happen every year. I can’t remember what the other ones are called, so if any of you know, feel free to comment about it.

This is the year of growing food in the garden, not just ornamentals. These sugar snap peas are looking good, climbing the plastic chicken wire, an odd name but that was what the label stated. A row of onion sets lines the front edge and some self sown lettuce seedlings from last years crop left in place are inside the fence. Tomatoes, green beans and peppers will go in after the soil is warmer. Fitting everything in that we want to grow is the hard part. Too many seedlings are available to plant in here, some will have to be composted, it is feared. The proper number of seeds to be started inside will be learned from this experience.

There is no theme here, no clever story with talking animals or fairies. No plant profiles or large projects described, no before and afters. These are thoughts about the flowers blooming now, old and newly planted. The anticipation of what is to come as this growing season progresses, our first to have the added pleasure of recording highlights and flubs on the blog, requires some quiet moments to slow down that pace. The hours of each day are racing along, so much is happening, so much to do. Let’s take a slow cleansing breath and just enjoy each minute, each second, thoroughly and thoughtfully.

This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Musings

  1. SA says:

    Frances, I disagree with you the post has a lovely theme and is very interesting and enjoyable.

    One of the things I like about garden blogs is seeing what is growing in different parts of the world, now. Your garden looks like it is at a similar stage to mine. Though I haven’t been as good as you in planting seeds. I don’t have many frost free places for seedlings so I delay sowing until end March. This year I am late and put my first seed in last weekend!

    Thank you for a lovely post. Sylvia (England)

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It was delightful strolling through your garden with you Frances. It is nice seeing your garden through your eyes. I could almost smell the Jessmine blooming and seeing that promise of peas for dinner oooo. I must go have some breakfast. I will be wondering why I can’t seem to grow Japanese painted ferns in my garden and yours are freely reproducing. Hmmmmmmmmmm

  3. Zoë says:

    Lovely photographs – I planted the Snake’s Head Frittilary by the 100, simply because the Squirrels ate so many of the bulbs the first time I planted them. Maybe yours have been stolen too? I’ve taken to placing chicken wire over the ground where they are freshly planted, so that they have a chance of surviving and flowering. Another way to start them off is in pots and then plant out when about flower, I’ve had much higher survival rates this way too, although it is more work.

  4. GardenJoy4Me says:

    Frances .. I shake my head in amazment of your beautiful garden .. this post was like a moment in meditation .. slow easy pace .. I love the hazy light of the morning and that small bench waiting for some one. The plants that choose to grow a certain way .. almost as if they knew it would bring pleasure ? .. Plant Delights .. one of my favorite sites .. the humour in their descriptions and narratives .. I love it !
    I could go on and on .. sorry .. I’ll save some space for others now !

  5. Melanie says:

    Frances, I’m anxiously awaiting the day my Japanese ferns start to multiply. I’ve been adding them to the garden for 5 years now but have never seen a baby. The mother plants all come back fine so hopefully one day they will start to have babies.

  6. Frances, says:

    Lisa, Thanks, the ferns are wonderful for filling in spaces after the smaller bulbs bloom for they are late emerging in spring. I planted two different ones in the front at the base of those butterfly maples years ago and ignored that part of the garden while working in the back. After a couple of years I noticed baby ferns growing under the blue star junipers while weeding under there. The ferns are left alone in the fall, no clean up, ever, no mulching, no nothing. I have moved the babies from under the junipers to all over and they all have made babies. Try it, we call it the Semi, not her real name, school of gardening, do nothing at all, it works!

  7. garden girl says:

    Frances, your garden is so lovely! The sunrise shot is gorgeous!

    That Japanese maple branch is fascinating. It looks like living sculpture.

  8. Frances, says:

    Zoe, welcome and thanks for that. Those fritts are in an area with vole activity, that may be what happened. Out other fritts are left alone so I figured they all would be. I will try them in a safer place next time. I do use chickenwire with the tulips, it does work. Funny, your name appears in my email sidebar as Zok!

    Joy, thanks for those sweet thoughts. I didn’t have a title or idea for this post, but I guess it doesn’t matter. My blog is photo driven, pictures first, narrative after. Leave as long a comment as you want, the longer the better!

    Melanie, look at my answer to Lisa’s comment about the ferns. It seems that they make the babies best when there is a dark, damp spot for the spores to release. You can see the spores as rust colored raised dots on the back of the leaves. Look for those. I am wondering if some types are sterile?

  9. Nancy J. Bond says:

    You have such lovely flowers in your garden! I adore the color of the lantana — that “fluorescent” orangy-pink combo is among my favorites!

  10. karen says:

    I love that misty moisty shot of the Carolina jasmine. I wonder if we can grow Japanese painted fern. What does it like? Dry shade? I want to see more shots of your pond.

  11. Gail says:


    I was very comfortable wandering around with you, musing and clicking is exactly what I do every morning. Today a friend and garden coach is coming over to walk around with me and help my musings have form and cohesion…I am going to concentrate on the front gardens they are in need of decalcifying!

    Thanks for the reminder to take a deep breath, it is easy to forget to breath!


  12. tina says:

    Your words are so nice. They really make me think.

  13. chuck b. says:

    That fern is a trip. Does it maintain those colors always?

    Your snap peas look great; mine seem to be lagging.

    “Experts” say to sow every vegetable seed in the packet and plant out only the most vigorous plants in the garden. I’m much too sentimental for that it seems.

  14. Frances, says:

    Nancy J., isn’t that great? It is unusual in the lantanas with the intensity of hues. I am expecting great things from it.

    Karen, that is one of my favorite nursery rhymes! One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather, I chanced to meet an old man dressed all in leather..
    Thanks for that. The fern grows here in both moist and dry shade, but multiplies better in the moist.

  15. Diana says:

    Frances – your theme this morning should be “beautiful.” The maple is amazing. They are such a wonder of nature. I’ve gotta get mine out of that pot and into the ground! I love your thriller, spiller and filler idea – that is so fun, and the container is so vibrant. Love all those colors and felt like I was walking through the garden right beside you. Thanks for the tour!

  16. Frances, says:

    Linda, sorry your comment response got out of order, that happens sometimes. Thanks for the kind words. One never knows how the early sun will affect the shot, we were lucky on that one, and I was giddy from the jessamine’s sweet perfume. I marvel at the curly branch, wishing I knew how to make that happen.

    Gail, hope you have fun with your coach and get some doable ideas for your front. I look forward to reading about how that went.

    Tina, thanks, what a nice thing to say.

    chuck b., the fern looks like that all season, each one of the many here is slightly different. You could spend a whole day studying them. Peas are iffy here when the heat comes to quickly. I thought maybe the sugar snaps would be better, we can’t grow the english peas at all, too hot, even planting them in January. Maybe November? I am not sure about only using the best of a whole pack of seedlings, too much scottish in me, too wasteful.

  17. The Gardeness says:

    Frances, these are all absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful garden to walk out into. Thanks for the tip on J. Painted Ferns. I’m also not seeing any production from mine. Of course, I’m just happy it stands up to dogs!

  18. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    Lovely post, Frances. Your seedlings look great. It is right at planting time for you!

  19. Frances, says:

    Diana, thanks, I wrote this as though I was walking with a friend through the garden, but talking fancier than is normal for me. The container idea is from Steve Silk at Gardening Gone Wild from last month’s design series on containers. Check out the posts on that topic there if you haven’t read them, lots of good ideas.

    Gardeness, thanks and welcome. Dogs can certainly do a number of plants, especially boy dogs. ;->

    Robin, thanks. The seedlings will come inside only one more time hopefully before the larger ones can be planted in the ground. Our last frost date is April 10, give or take a week, but we have learned to be cautious after last year.

  20. Gail says:

    Francis, our last frost date is the April 15…you are warmer than us. just stopping by to say hello and have another peak at your garden.


  21. Frances, says:

    Gail, I thought we were warmer, down in that little dip that follows I 75 on the zone maps, reaching up into TN. Still don’t know what is different about our little area, but it is warmer here and has slightly less rainfall than you also, in average years.

  22. Gail says:

    Are your soils a bit more acid? Ours are pretty neutral, folks on ridges are acidic; at least in middle Tennessee….the garden coach was here…very much fun.


  23. Frances, says:

    Gail, glad you had fun with the garden coach. Our soil is acidic is most places. This area was a pine woods before the houses were built. Where the excavation dirt was dumped at the edge of the pines, that red clay is awful, hardly anything grows well there. But the soil away from the construction is nicer and crumbly.

  24. semi says:

    That Frittilaria is beatiful! Your babies look so healthy. They will have to wait a little longer to find their home in the Faire Garden with our upcoming cold spell. Hopefully it will not get too cold.Love semi

  25. Annie in Austin says:

    After Spring Fling was over and everyone went home we all wished we could walk in each other’s gardens. Your post is great, Frances – about as close as one could get to a visit on the computer screen.

    So far the tiny hellebore is alive – keeping my fingers crossed ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  26. Kathryn/ says:

    What a thoroughly enjoyable walk through your world, Frances. Thank you. That checkered lily I have never seen before. It looks kind of like a tulip. Beautiful!
    I’m with you on the more food, fewer flowers agenda.
    It’s time and timely.

    Thank you for adding me to your blogroll. I had not known. Deeply appreciated.

  27. EAL says:

    I had never heard of the thriller, filler, spiller saying/method.

    Great flowers!

  28. theysaywordscanbleed says:

    the butterfly japanese maple looks like a snake.

    Poulsbo florist

  29. Frances, says:

    semi, thanks. We will get more of those fritts and site them better this fall. Think of a safety cloud for the plants during the cold snap. love.

    Annie, thanks for that. Good deal for the hellebore, long may she live.

    Elizabeth, welcome and thanks for stopping by.

    Arlene, I can see where you would think that. Not caring much for snakes I see a corkscrew.

  30. Frances, says:

    Kathryn,thanks and sorry for your response being out of order, … You are most welcome about the link. The list is getting quite long, hooray! We have a new bed that is in full sun with good soil that is between two hedges for protection that is perfect for food production, we hope.

  31. Frances, says:

    Sylvia, sorry this answer is out of order, your comment did not appear in my email for some reason, and it was the first and was so sweet! It is interesting to see that gardens so far away can be so similar. Good luck with your seeds!

Comments are closed.