FIRST BREATH OF SPRING

I feel like shouting out a few rounds of the Hallelujah Chorus!

Last year we arrived in Minnesota right after the first flush of spring and I missed the initial epiphany, the joyousness of the baby buds and early greenery, the ecstatic turning point of the new season. This year, I have been monitoring the lilac hedges with a passion, walking their length, willing them on, fretting like a nervous midwife at their resurgence. I’m still not certain if the syringa vulgaris blossom rebirth this season will encompass the whole vast expanse of the plantings, but I’m hoping for a show.

“When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom-ed”, wrote Walt Whitman as an elegy for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The lines eternally stuck in my head from my English Lit classes and I am pleased to see that the bush closest to the “dooryard” here, is the first to spring into full flower. Or almost. Soon. I just long to see the full panoply.

The second to bloom on Mt. Faith is the Purple Leaf Sand Cherry – prunus x cistena – with it’s sweet teensy white flowers and dark foliage. Thank you Marlene, for properly identifying this shrub last season.

Just today, while skimming the pond, I came upon the Columbine  (aquilegia), poking up among the rocks. It’s one of the “Shakespearian flowers”, which is usually described as “fairy-like, in a woodland glen.” Can’t get any better than that.

Some private gardeners and a number of public botanical sites, in fact, have attempted to re-create a Shakespeare garden, using all the plants that he alludes to in his plays. I personally, love the idea. Who could not be moved, for instance, by Ophelia proclaiming – “rosemary, for remembrance.” Or by the drama of preserving for all eternity, the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York. I did just that, in California, spacing them on opposite sides of the garden, as was fitting.

I attended the annual Garden Days conference this year, put on by the local chapter of Minnesota Master Gardeners, at which I succumbed to the charms of lilies, Asiatic and Oriental. They are expensive, and the first one I selected turned out to be $35 for one bulb! Oops. Sorry. No thanks.

I eventually settled for 6 varieties: Patricia’s Pride, Litouwen, Centerfold, Anna Marie’s Dream, Casa Blanca, and Tiny Snowflake.  Good news. Tiny Snowflake and Anna Marie’s Dream are already emerging, like enchanted maidens, from their deep winter’s sleep.

Most spectacular, however, along the driveway – a beauty to behold. And I am calling-in-all-friends and relatives.  Susan – Barbara – Marlene – anyone – HELP! What lovely shrub is this?

Spring is lovely in Minnesota. Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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