Zooming Past February

It is morning in the Fairegarden as we venture outside. The month of February came in like a lion and is leaving like a lamb. March is supposed to lay claim to that phrase, how the next month will behave remains to be seen. The trusty camera we refer to as the new camera, the Canon SX1 was brought out of the mothballs and sitting upon the trusty tripod performed some visual acrobatics. The copper rain chain hanging on the shed roof edge was a lucky win from my fellow Oklahoman, friend Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings. Thanks, Dee!

Using the zoom feature while standing in the back doorway, the lens zeroes in on the earliest daffodil, one that came with the property and blooms all over my small town. Once thought to be Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’, it is now believed to be N. pseudonarcissus, due to the lighter twisted outside petals. But it is still only a guess as to the identity. Anyway, it is blooming now.

Pulling back, we see the bed referred to in the journal records as the left slope. Sleeping Maiden is sporting a splashy new hairdo, Heuchera ‘Citronelle’. Finding the proper style for her has been perplexing. The criteria are strict; evergreen, low growing, colorful, drought tolerant, attractive. I believe we may have found a winner. The black plastic bit is the solar light string power stake. Little blueish LED lights illuminate for several hours each evening after being charged by the sun during the day. Finding the best location for them is ongoing, but we want them to be around our Maiden of the garden.

Moving to the lower deck, standing in front of the sliding glass doors of the addition, we aim at Athena’s corner. The Nasella tenuissima is still in its blonde phase, catching the morning light as it moves in the stiff wind. Greening will occur gradually as new blades grow up to join the old.

Positioning slightly to the right, just under the mossy Free Bird is the object of our current affection. Let’s zoom, shall we?

Sometimes we lose sight of the ball, er plant, when playing with the zoom lever. Now where is it….

There you are, my pretties! Fifty Iris histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkins’ were planted in what looks to be five holes. Twenty-five spikes have been counted, a nice show, but where are the rest of the Kats? Journal entries have been poured over, searching for a hint as to what might have happened here, beyond the squirrel blame game. I see that these bulbs arrived on the day that the new heater was being installed, which happened to be the same exact day as the hot water heater gave up the ghost. Memory slides do recall digging holes and dumping the bulbs in, not turning them right side up or spacing properly in flustered haste as workmen were stomping all over inside and out. Could this be the cause of half gone missing? After bloom, the clumps will be dug and inspected and replanted according to standard gardening practice procedures. Also planted the same day and in probably the same manner are one hundred Crocus biflorus ‘Spring Beauty’, the purple and white pointy heads seen in front of the Kats. These do not look to be one hundred. Underwhelming is the word that comes to mind. Hmmm.

The daylily hill is a promising sight in the sea of grey and brown as it turns to shades of spring green foliage, punctuated with blue and yellow, soon to be followed by a kaleidescope of hues too numerous to count.


This is the 600th post for Fairegarden. It seems like only yesterday we began this journey. Thank you for making it so fun. It has been a pleasure. Today would also have been my mother’s ninety-ninth birthday. I miss you still.



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32 Responses to Zooming Past February

  1. Alistair says:

    Hello Frances, an enjoyable journey through your early Spring garden. You are ahead of us by probably a couple of weeks. Congratulations on your 600th post.

    Hi Alistair, thanks for reading. We are ahead of ourselves by a couple of weeks! πŸ™‚

  2. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, I find the same with small bulbs planted in the garden. I think half flowering is a good result. I planted 30 scilla siberica, and about 3 flowered a few years ago. I don’t seem to have much luck with dry bulbs (other than crocus, daffodils and tulips). I planted one small pot of flowering scilla siberica and they are now seeding around the bed, a much better result. Hopefully your iris will be really happy and increase, I really must put these on my wish list.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Hi Sylvia, thanks, that makes me feel a little better. I had expected a better showing, but understand that sometimes it takes a few years for things to settle in. I am going to dig the iris and investigate further. If only we had more variety of bulbs in pots available, we would certainly follow your lead. We do buy potted tulips and hyacinths, barely peeking up from the mix and plop them in bare spaces. Those have done very well here.

  3. Randy Emmitt says:


    Grads on the 600th post! Wow. Really enjoyed the tour today and those Kats! Did it reach 80 there yesterday, it became to hot to work in the yard by 3 pm yesterday, unheard of….

    Thanks Randy. It was mid 70s here yesterday, we were working outside nearly the whole day. It was overcast and felt great, if odd to be so warm. πŸ™‚

  4. Les says:

    Wow, that is quite the milestone – Congratulations! At the start of your blogging life, could you have ever imagined 600?

    Thanks Les. For the first few months, I was posting every single day. It was exhilarating, but left time for little real life, like cooking dinner, etc. Once settling into three a week, it seemed more manageable. But to answer your question, no, I did not imagine 600. πŸ™‚

  5. Happy 600th post Frances. Lovely post, I really appreciate seeing the context for your close-ups, it gives me a much better sense of at least that part of your garden. I love the snaking path in Athena’s corner.

    Thanks Janet. I like to show the long view in addition to the macro shots, for a reality check. The garden is nice, but not nearly as colorful as some of the shots would lead readers to believe. That is a favorite part for me as well, Athena’s stairway to heaven. πŸ™‚

  6. Brooke says:

    So nice to see your garden coming back to life! Mine has hit the sleep button I think!

    Hi Brooke, thanks. My garden has taken on my sleep patterns, waking up well before it should. πŸ™‚

  7. Congratulations on 600 posts.

    Whoosh, Feb’s always quick.

    Thanks Rob. Thank goodness February is so short, but March is the time of awakening. Looking at long views of the garden at the beginning and ending of March is like looking at a different solar system! πŸ™‚

  8. The iris are lovely Frances. Could the voles have been busy over the winter. Client # 1 had a major infestation. They ate all kinds of things, even hosta roots. Congrats on 600 posts.

    Thanks Christopher. We are awash in voles, so that is always a possibility. Perhaps when the clumps are dug and inspected, the truth will be revealed. I am also wondering if we were shorted from the bulb company. I did not count them.

  9. Layanee says:

    The morning light shines sweetly on your awakening garden and I love seeing the new, green sprouts showing. Katherine is just lovely and sleeping maiden seems still in reverie. Her sister is here under snow still.

    Thanks Layanee. Seeing the green shoots and the colorful blooms reminds us what we love most about gardening in this zone. We have winter with brown and grey, but it is shorter than some places and spring bulbs do well here. Even if half of them go missing. Sleeping Maiden South bids a sweet sleep to her Northern sister. πŸ™‚

  10. I am left to drool over your awakening gardens and the warmth that stimulates their growth. 27Β°F right now in my gardens but just a skiff of snow… progress?

    Hi Carolyn, thanks for drooling. We could be at 27 just as easily right now. I don’t know what the future holds until it warms up for good, but every flower is considered a blessing. πŸ™‚

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It seems like it takes forever to get the look one wants with those sweet little bulbs. I like your swathes of blooms. They are so cheerful. Congrats on your 600th post. WOW Can’t wait to read more.

    Thanks Lisa. You have been with me from the beginning, I do appreciate you! To be honest, I have never been able to look at the bulbs and say, “Yes, that is the vision, no more needs to be done.” Never satisfied, always striving. πŸ™‚

  12. Rose says:

    Thanks for showing this mass planting of the irises, Frances. You are a plant enabler once again–these are going to be added to my ever-growing plant wish list! It looks like your garden is awakening from its winter sleep. We’re still a few weeks away from blooming spring bulbs, but I’m curious to see how many of mine come up, too. The smaller bulbs, like crocuses, seem to disappear over the winter.

    Hi Rose, thanks for visiting. I will be adding more Kats, the early bloom and baby blue color are reason enough. The garden is shockingly awake, I wonder what will happen if winter returns, as it always does. The little crocus are the hardest to keep track of. I believe they are the Cadbury eggs of the squirrel set.

  13. gail says:

    Dear Frances, Underwhelmed is how I feel when gazing upon the small bulbs in my garden! But, I love them anyway and will be taking a page from your garden journal~they’ll be divided, replanted and more shall be added! Your Kats are beautiful (Hazel and Kitty~you are, too)…and this AM, Athena’s Corner is my favorite view into your garden. xxoogail

    Dear Gail, thanks, and Hazel and Kitty say Purr and hugs to Coal. Only one word comes to mind when gazing at the small bulbs, MORE! HA Divide and replant, repeat forever. πŸ™‚

  14. Happy 600th post Frances. The iris are so sweet and you did good on the rain chain. It’s perfect. It’s fun to see your winter garden as it paves the way for spring. H.

    Thanks Helen. I love seeing the rain chain, it is in the sight line from the lazyboy and always brings a smile. The winter garden is improving each year. We need more evergreens! πŸ™‚

  15. Barbara H. says:

    Congratulations on your 600th post! What a milestone. My daffs have been blooming for at least a week down here in NE Alabama, with more coming on every day. I love to look at bulbs but hate to plant them, so every spring I am grateful to the previous owner.

    Thanks Barbara. Lucky you, to have inherited those daffs. We inherited some, I have moved and divided them all over the place. The problem with planting in fall is the ground is hard and dry, and we don’t really know where the other bulbs are located. I prefer to move them around in spring, even though that is not the recommended method. πŸ™‚

  16. Donna says:

    Happy 600th Frances. That really is an accomplishment to sticktoedness, if that is even a word. I bet you have seen many bloggers come and go over the years. You were the first to visit my blog before Blotanical and the first to add my blog to your sidebar. I have been very grateful ever since I started blogging about eight months ago. I enjoy coming here each time I get the notice in my inbox. Here’s hoping for at least 600 more.

    Thanks, Donna, you are sweet. Your own blogging success is wonderful, I am proud to be the first visitor! Blogging has so enriched my life, beyond measure. I hope to continue as long as fingers can type. πŸ™‚

  17. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Frances, your garden is such a wonderful reflection of the gardener! Love Sleeping Maiden’s hairdo, very chic. Happy 99th anniversary of your mom’s birth: we celebrate because she gave us you!

    Thanks Cindy, that is very kind of you to say. Sleeping Maiden is a joy, I hope she enjoys being a blonde. :-)xxoo

  18. Donna says:

    so nice to see the blooms Frances…still waiting for our snow to melt…I was lucky enougfh to receive a copper rain chain from a friend as a gift and it adorns my front porch…I have a clematis that climbs up it and it is gorgeous…just sort of happened…congrats on your 600th post!!

    Thanks Donna. Lucky you with the rain chain, and thanks for idea of a clemmie, that would work for mine, I believe. Cool! πŸ™‚

  19. Frances, I’m so glad you won that copper rain chain all fair and square. I need one more rain chain for another corner of my garage as I’m putting a rain barrel there.

    As for your iris, there are lovely. I liked your little joke about losing the focus. I do that too.~~Dee

    Thanks Dee. I think of you everytime I see the rain chain, that makes it extra special. πŸ™‚

  20. commonweeder says:

    What lovliness – and what promise for the rest of us looking out at dangerous freezing rain.

    Eeek, Pat, do be careful! We are happy with the green foliage and other color appearing now, whether it is early, late or will be spoiled by old man winter. There will be other things to bloom later, until about January when it starts all over again. Big storms heading our way, they say.

  21. Marguerite says:

    I had forgotten that March was connected to that phrase. Well we’re getting major snowfall warnings for tonight and tomorrow morning so I guess it’s in like a lion for us here in the north. I can only hope that by March’s end we’ll be starting to see some signs of spring.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks for stopping by. I hope the snow decides to move on quickly and your spring comes soon. πŸ™‚

  22. VW says:

    How nice to see your daffs and spring green. The iris, though fewer than hoped, are beautiful. Meanwhile we have lots more snow and cold temps to keep it around for a while.

    Hi VW, thanks. It is nice to see the evidence of spring popping up, whether it is too soon or not. May yours comes soon. πŸ™‚

  23. cheryl says:

    Woooo Hoooooo Frances, congratulations with your 600th post! What we have done without you after all this time. You bring sunshine and warmth on a cloudy, snowy day.
    I love your wee Irises having grown lots over the years. The fave combo for me were those bright yellow ones planted amongst the citrus pennywort which in Spring is a copper colour here. A subtle combination but worth it.
    Again, congratulations Frances and may there always be happy memories about your mum.

    Thanks, Cheryl, you are sweet with those kind words. I do so appreciate you! I have not seen the yellow iris but that combo sounds perfect. We have a gold creeping jenny that would do the trick for the groundcover. Now to search for little yellow iris, all of ours are blue. Thank you for mentioning my mom. πŸ™‚

  24. 600 posts is amazing, congratulations. Heuchera villosa ‘Citronelle’ is my favorite heuchera (right now and for quite a while) and the biggest seller at my nursery. The lemon color is good for interest 365 days a year–I don’t even cut it back. And it makes fantastic hair.

    Hi Carolyn, thanks. I am glad to hear the buying public realizes the worth of Citronelle. It lights up the dark spots in the garden like no other and as hair, never needs styling! HA πŸ™‚

  25. Promise and potential tottering into being. πŸ™‚

    Hi Shady, wonderful! Thanks for adding to the conversation! πŸ™‚

  26. Lola says:

    Congrats, Frances. That is a lot of posts but I sure have enjoyed them. I really remember the 1 post of winter time with lots of snow that you did long ago.
    It’s amazing to see your garden coming alive. It is so pretty.

    Thanks Lola. You have been a loyal reader, I do appreciate you! Snow used to be a rare occurance here, I remember that post as well. Not so wonderful to see it over and over again, like this year. Still pretty though. πŸ™‚

  27. Sharon says:

    I didn’t know Irises bloomed this time of year. I think some of my bearded irises that I planted in October didn’t make it. None of my daffodils nor crocuses have bloomed it, although it won’t be long, the wait will be worth it. My neighbor across the road has some daffodils blooming. I planted more than one type of daffodil myself, some that are yellow and orange, and others called ‘pink charms’ from walmarts. The yellow and orange sprouted way before the ‘Pink Charms’ We had a very bad Thunderstorm today here in NC, so February went out like a lion. Does that mean that march will be in like a lion and out like a lamb?

    Hi Sharon, thanks for visiting. The bearded iris bloom in late April to May here, these little early ones are bulbs rather than rhizomes. I love anything early, we are so hungry for flowers at this time of year. As always, we want more! There are early, mid and late season daffodils and tulips, these blooming now are the earliest of the early ones. There are many more that are not even out of the ground. I think we have Pink Pride, similar to your Pink Charm, came from the big box as well. We had a wave of heavy rain, lightning and wind fly through here, too. As for March, who knows? The plants and birds seem to think spring is here. It will be soon, for real. Hope you didn’t get much damage. πŸ™‚

  28. Congratulations on 600 posts, dear Frances! So very proud of you, and so grateful that you jumped into the blogging world with such enthusiasm. Here’s to the next 600…and of course you miss your mum. I miss my father, especially after events like we had this weekend. He would have enjoyed it immensely.
    LOVE the photo of the dainty little irises. I don’t expect to see mine for weeks, if not months. May I offer you some snow? We have oodles, still!

    Thanks dear Jodi. The feelings of loss lessen but never go away. I am sorry for you not having your father around to share the fun. The iris and crocus make winter seem less of a beast here, so you can keep you snow. Thanks for the offer. πŸ™‚

  29. ammiemce234 says:

    I envy you so much; we just have melting snow and mud. We will be lucky here in New England to have crocuses by mid-late March. Beautiful garden! I love your stone work and the integration of live plants and your fairies, and can only imagine what it will look like in April and onwards!

    Thanks for visiting. We are lucky with our climate, it was a conscious decision to live in a place with shorter winters but still four distinct seasons. This part of Tennessee fit the criteria! April is a highlight month for sure. πŸ™‚

    ps, I removed the links

  30. How very beautiful Fairegarden is right now. I really love those irises, so delicate. the veining is exquisite.

    I think you should go with the squirrel blame game myself. I planted 50 Grecian windflowers one year after I had really enjoyed them in one spot of my yard. I witnessed the squirrels out there assiduously digging up every one of those tubers, I think I must have unwittingly provided a gourmet taste treat for them or something! They like crocus bulbs too. I intend to protect my next installation of windflowers with some wire mesh. They look so good interlaced amongst my rocks I just HAVE to have some even if I have to put a wire cage around every tuber.

    The Free Bird is fantastic.

    Hi Hands, thanks so much. Those iris are above and beyond expectations, even if half of them are missing. It may have been squirrels, we have a real problem with them here. And voles. I am waiting to see how the hardware cloth cage works in the narrow bed under the deck. It was filled with bulbs and I am taking roll call! I love those windflowers, they would be worth it to cage.

  31. Tatyana says:

    Congratulations Frances on your 600 posts! I know I haven’t read all of them, but I thoroughly enjoyed those which I’ve read! Happy gardening and happy blogging!

    Thanks Tatyana. I appreciate your readership and comment so very much. Happy gardening and blogging back to you! πŸ™‚

  32. Shyrlene says:

    Frances – I am in awe of your gardens, and the season has barely begun. …*deep sigh*….

    Hi Shrylene, thanks and welcome. This is a very exciting time here, the plantings have been tweaked for the earliest blooming possible, it is ongoing. Thanks too for the lovely award. It sits proudly at the top of the Awards Page listed on my sidebar. πŸ™‚

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