Monday, March 23, 2009
Budding Into Existence
My, some times it’s so cold in March you're tempted ask the weather, “Hey don’t you get it, spring is here”? But despite the cold, I can still feel spring in the air. I see it all around me as the colors appear in my own front yard. I have some evergreen Vinca ground cover and it blooms tiny, little, five petal, purple flowers that seem to indicate, it won’t be too long now. There’s that Harbinger of spring, my puny, little, Forsythia with bright, yellow blooms on it. And of course I have my favorite of all time, a pink herbaceous Peony. Right now the only sign of the impending peony is a strange, dusty, burgandy bud. Yes, that’s the the weird looking thing in the picture above. My peonies are show-stoppers! They’re pink, one my favorite colors. And every year I wait for them to strut their stuff. They stop even the busiest person in their tracks to admire both their size and their beauty.
There's a flowering tree called a redbud a.k.a. Cercis canadensis in my yard. Unfortunately, that’s getting cut down this year. It’s just too big for the space. When I originally placed my order, I ordered a miniature, called Cercis Covey a rare, weeping, redbud which grows no higher than 5 feet. But I didn't check my invoice thoroughly enough. It said redbud, so I assumed they had sent me what I had ordered. They sent me the right species but the wrong genus. So each year it just gets wider and taller. I have one neighbor in particular who complains about this. It can grow up to 20 feet high and 40 feet wide! Way too big. The redbud only blooms for about three weeks, but man is it a beauty! The moment you turn onto my block you see pink in the sky and you wonder, “What is that pink vision in the sky”? But right now it has these tiny hard buds that look like pointed, purplish-red, peas.
There’s also some Helleborus out there. What a trip those flowers are! First they take three years to bloom and then the only thing you see is the tops of their heads. They droop. So you have to bend down and lift their faces, as if they were drunk or something to see their beauty. I bought them because they were on the cover of the catalog and they looked so exotic. They’re also shade lovers so when everything is in its glory, full and blooming, they’re literally hidden. But hey, that’s how it is sometimes in life; you have to go in search of beauty. The blessing is, it’s always there for those who seek it.
Last but certainly not least in my tiny yard is a Spiraea Japonica Shibori. That makes three Asian native plants, in my tiny front garden. Did you just notice that it went form being a yard to a garden? Anyway, this shrub has puffy, powdery looking flowers that bloom all summer if they have enough sun and light. But because of the size of redbud, my sunny garden has been turned into a shade garden and the Japonica suffers. Not good! What’s good for shade loving plants does not apply to what sun-loving plants prefer. Even my window boxes had been suffering until I realized that because of the tree shading the windowsills, I had to switch over to shade plants for the window boxes. Back when the tree was small and you could still see my window boxes, I did win awards two years in a row from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. That was really special.
It’s all good. I love the buds; they give me hope that despite climate change and weather debacles, some things remain the same. Come Spring, coy and innocuous little buds bloom into beautiful flowers. Ahhh spring!