Thursday, March 20, 2014

Today Is The First Day Of Spring!

Today Is The First Day Of Spring!

To Everything A Season . . .

I'm ready to go to posting once a week and I think Fridays are a good day to share a new page with you.  But, for this week, I am posting on Thursday because it's the FIRST DAY OF SPRING!  We've waited sooooo long for this day to arrive.

Today I'm showing more pictures of flowers but they are the cultivated type, ones we grow on purpose from special seeds or plants we purchase.  They are meant to send you off into your weekend with a smile and a light heart.

This is my Lace-cap Hydrangea all iced up.  I'm putting it here to remind us what we've come through and to help us enjoy what the next few months will bring.  Winter is lovely, but it is the change of seasons that makes each one special.  We can kiss winter's browns, grays, and white good-bye without a qualm and look forward to GREEN!  PINK!  BLUE!  PURPLE!  YELLOW! and more.  We will be surrounded with color.

The old-fashioned hydrangea, Annabelle, is a white, pompom type that thrives at the edge of the woods.  It loves filtered sun, moist earth, and requires almost no care.  When it's happy, it will spread.  This picture was taken last April when the leaves were barely beginning.  We live in the woods which means our hydrangeas, hostas, and lilies are in danger of being eaten by deer and groundhogs; they are like a dessert buffet for these critters and we spent years trying everything possible to save the plants.  Then, by chance, I bought Liquid Fence as one last, desperate effort to grow our beloved flowers and IT WORKED!  I sprayed on a regular basis and nothing got eaten.  We are on our fourth year of happy plants and happy us:>)  Nothing was harmed and the smell of sulfur disappears when the spray dries.

This is a macro (close up) view of cyclamen petals.  Cyclamen plants are kind of fussy and need attention to grow well.  A cool location with good sun and even moisture will help.  They are beautiful plants but I have very little luck with them.  Right now one is growing in the kitchen; it looks good so I hope it decides to stay healthy.

Japanese Iris are small and have no beard.  They prefer to grow in the company of many others and they like moisture.  Left to their own devices they will form large colonies and create a dramatic show of blossoms in the later part of the Spring.  Our neighbor dug up a bunch from his yard and gave them to me.  I planted them, crossed my fingers, and behold - two magnificent groupings of Japanese Iris bloomed the very next year; I didn't expect that!
Exotic hibiscus plants are not hardy here, but they are beloved by many and grown as houseplants.  They come in a wide variety of colors - white, pink, red, orange, yellow (maybe more) - and will love being outside in the summer.  Keeping them going through the winter is a challenge, but you can read up  on them and probably succeed.  The shrub, Rose Of Sharon, is a hibiscus and that is hardy.  They grow happily in hedges or as single plantings, even spreading to new and sometimes not-so-welcome locations like a neighbor's yard.
Oxalis, or Shamrock, is a lovely, little flower.  they are readily available in white, yellow, and purple, easy to care for, and will reward you with flowers all year long if grown inside.

Oxalis - just another color

Lilac trees are one of my favorite spring-flowering bushes.  My mother, like so many mothers, had a bush by her kitchen door, and every time we went in or out the scent would follow us.  I love this standard  purple/pink color.  Growers now show lilac trees in a reddish color, pink, white, and some subtle purples.  Lovely, and they spread:>)

Primrose plants pop up at this time of year and are popular for gift-giving at Easter time.  Our supermarkets are filled with beautiful colors of Primroses.  This one struck me because of the color combination.

About four years ago I noticed a new vine around town,  It was growing on trellises or in planters everywhere I looked and I had no idea what it was.  Finally, on a trip to our local greenhouse, I saw one and discovered the name - Mandevilla.  At that time only pink was available, but now we have red, white, combo red and white, and yellow as well.  These are normally grown as annuals and are not hardy in cold climates.  Give them well-drained soil in a sunny location and you'll have a show of blossoms.  A caution, however - all parts of the plant are toxic and cannot be eaten.

This is a stone planter outside a door.  It's such cheery, spring-like, wonderful way to be welcomed!


We'll meet again next week, on Friday.  Until then, wishing you gentle breezes, warm sunshine, and flowers:>)