Welcome Back

You were terribly missed, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ and Athyrium niponicum var. pictum.

And you, little English wildflower Primula veris, your springtime appearance brings a joyous song to our heart. β™₯

Seeing your bright bobbing blooms, Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’, reminds us of generous gardeners who would pass along a root cutting of a plant admired by a perfect stranger.

Seeing and smelling your honey scented bottlebrushes, Fothergilla gardenii, against the merlot hued emerging Cotinus coggygria leaves brings twinges of proud endearment from a serendipitous shrub pairing.

Welcome back Tulipa viridiflora ‘Spring Green’. Your massed planting in the knot garden quadrants promises to be one for the annals of archival record keeping here in the Fairegarden, even as Kitty steals the stage, sleeping on the zen bench just the other side of the scalloped boxwood hedge.

It is not just flowers that cause a spontaneous cheer to erupt as Spring returns in full force. Leaves of the most precious shade of green, so longed for during a colorless winter epitomize gladness. Shown above is the mostly bare but soon to be covered stems of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’, pruned and trained as a standard.

But let there be no mistake, one thing more exciting, more eye popping, more blood stirring than all the wonderment going on in the garden at present is the sighting, and capturing with the camera of the season’s first swallowtail.

The species Tulipa vvedenskyi ‘Tangerine Beauty’ bears witness that this is a current photo, not a summertime slip-in being passed off. The white Phlox subulata has attracted this same type of butterfly, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in previous years, but not as early as this.

There had been a couple of butterfly sightings previously this year, on the warmer top of the rollercoaster days, a large black one and what appeared to be a Question Mark, but there was no camera at hand and the moment had to be recorded in the cerebral folds rather than in pixels. Arriving home from a recent weekend at the beach, perusing the garden before the sun set and spotting the flying flower, pathway gravel flew as the flip flop clad feet ran for the camera. The temperture was dropping and the creature was sluggishly feasting on Phlox nectar, or there would have been no images to share of the momentous occasion. It is a good beginning, and welcome.


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20 Responses to Welcome Back

  1. Shirley says:

    I loved the pictures of Spring. I celebrated finding last years planting of Oriental Poppy and tiny little Johnny Jump ups were all we have in bloom. Just a reminder of spring near the three foot drifts of snow here in southern Alberta. Yours are gardens yet to be uncovered for us. Thank you and great photography. Well worth the scattered gravel, I hope.

    Hi Shirley, thanks for visiting. Hooray for your own spring findings! That snow is a wonderful insulating blanket, the little plants are lucky to have it. We are not too neat with the gravel here, it finds its way into all the flower beds. The plants don’t mind at all. πŸ™‚

  2. Randy Emmitt says:

    Surprised you are just now seeing tiger swallowtails, we have had them for at least a month. Yesterday two new swallowtails showed up on the azaleas, spicebush and pipevine. That yellow primrose is really nice.

    Hi Randy, lucky you! Our weather has been really up and down this spring, with plenty of downs that would deter the butterflies. I have seen some, but only have been able to take a photo of this one. I did see our first hummingbird yesterday and quickly put up the feeder. πŸ™‚

  3. Eileen says:

    Beautiful spring blooms Frances! My Tangerine Beauty is just beginning to send up leaves with some early daffodils blooming.


    Hi Eileen, thanks. I am so glad to hear that you also have Tangerine Beauty. It is nearly foolproof. Why haven’t I added more instead of trying out new ones? That will be remedied this fall. Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden looks so lively with flowers blooming, shrubs budding and the beautiful swallowtail flouncing around. We had our first swallowtail yesterday. Such fun.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I am tickled to hear of your own swallowtail! Wonderful! We saw the first hummingbird yesterday, quickly put out the feeder. πŸ™‚

  5. Valerie says:

    Everyday is like a treasure hunt and what a wonderful sight to see the flowers again in our own gardens. V

    What an apt metaphor, Valerie, thanks! A treasure hunt is spot on for the way we feel about the garden, all the time, but especially now as things are still emerging. Hooray for Spring! πŸ™‚

  6. Darla says:

    Welcome back indeed. We have seen butterflies earlier this year as well…even a couple of Monarchs…March on Spring!

    Thanks Darla. How wonderful to see Monarchs! We are not on their flight paths, but we see an occasional loner in the fall. These swallowtails are the most common larger butterflies here, we love them all though. πŸ™‚

  7. Beautiful plants, beautiful butterfly. I wonder if my new phlox will attract any butterflies – so long as they are not cabbage whites come to munch on my broccoli seedlings! Happy Springtime Frances, so many reasons for your heart to be dancing for joy.

    Thanks Janet. Happy Springtime to you! I don’t even try to grow members of the cabbage family, buy it from the farmer’s market. We have already seen the little whites. They do seem to love the Phlox family. πŸ™‚

  8. commonweeder says:

    How beautiful spring is in your garden. So many colorful blooms, so many tender shades of green. For the first time this spring my envy is tempered with pleasure at my own small signs of spring – fat snowdrops and lots of green shoots in the Herb Bed.

    That is great Pat, that spring has come to Massachusetts! Thanks for sharing that and the kind words. πŸ™‚

  9. Layanee says:

    It happens so fast in spring doesn’t it? Just a day or two away can reveal major changes in the garden. I never want to leave in May and June.

    It really does, Layanee. The crepe myrtles have leafed out overnight, there was no sign of green on them yesterday. We always seem to take trips during those months, beach, etc. We miss stuff, no doubt. πŸ™‚

  10. Donna says:

    Beautiful images, Frances. Kitty really is having a splendid time having his cat nap. And I can see why, surrounded by so much loveliness. I bet it is not long before your hanging baskets are full too!

    Thanks Donna. Kitty loves hanging out with me in the garden, especially when I have the camera and move all over quickly. The garden is filling in, or has already filled in, no more grey and brown, but those baskets are full of hens and chicks, the only thing that will live without mucho watering in that far corner. πŸ™‚

  11. gail says:

    Frances, There’s nothing like greeting old friends! Except making new ones. The Swallowtail is a beauty~Can’t wait for them to show up here~I’ve seen Skippers, Spring Azures and a cabbage white! xxoogail

    Thanks Gail, so true! I have seen some blackish ones, might be the dark phase of the Tigers. They move too fast for a photo, but that is okay. I try to tell myself… HA πŸ™‚

  12. Catherine says:

    I love the fresh new greens that appear in spring. I can’t imagine seeing a butterfly so early, it’ll probably be June before they show up here, especially if it stays this cold. I love how the phlox looks around the tulips.

    Hi Catherine, thanks. It seems early for butterflies, but the weather has been summertime warm this past week. I actually wish it would cool off, so the flowers would last longer. I love that creeping phlox, have it in several colors. The butterflies seems to like the white best. πŸ™‚

  13. Fantastic post, your words say it all so beautifully. This is exactly how I feel about my garden, but you have said it far better than I ever could, Wonderful !

    Thanks Pauline, for those kind words. We do feel quite strongly about our gardens! πŸ™‚

  14. Liz says:


    Beautiful photos, I love this time of year as we discover newly sprouting plants. It seems each time you look outside, something new has popped up, it’s such a wonderful time πŸ™‚

    Hi Liz, thanks so much. You are right about something new all the time. Many things I had thought did not make it through our harsh winter are just a little late in showing up. Joyfullness abounds! πŸ™‚

  15. The swallowtails are early at my house too this year. I saw them on some cleome I bought last week. I understand your joy at seeing all of nature’s springtime delights as they unfold. Hurray for spring!~~Dee

    That is wonderful, Dee! The butterflys are so welcome, we thrill at the sight of them, and the flowers. πŸ™‚

  16. Pretty yellow flowers…

    Thanks Jenn! πŸ™‚

  17. Holley says:

    Oh, yes, spring is very much welcome – and your garden is showing signs that it will be absolutely glorious. Loved the kitty pic.

    Thanks Holley. The garden is coming along, moving too fast when it was so warm, but has slowed back down now, thank goodness. Kitty says prrr. πŸ™‚

  18. Rose says:

    You know that spring is here to stay when you sight the first butterfly–how exciting! Such beautiful images of spring, Frances–I, too, like to welcome all my return visitors this time of year, maybe even doing a little dance of rejoicing. But right now I’m also doing some “Welcome, whoever you are…” I’m not sure even my notes from previous years are going to help me identify some of these spring beauties. I love the white phlox at the feet of the tulips–that really sets off those orange blooms.

    Hi Rose, thanks. We have those unidentified growing objects in our garden too. I am hoping to remember their names when blooms are seen. I keep fairly good records of new purchases, it is the moving stuff around that messes with my journals! πŸ™‚

  19. That’s what Spring is about, isn’t it? Renewing little garden friendships! πŸ™‚

    Ooh, I like that, Shady, renewing the friendships! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  20. It really is like welcoming old friends back isn’t it? I especially like seeing the ferns unfurl, like they are stretching their arms slowly opening for a big yawn.

    It is Janet. What a delightful metaphor, the yawning, awaking ferns! Love it! πŸ™‚

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