Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Spring Flower Revue

Spring is here!  Actually it has been here for quite some time.  In mid-December a silly narcissus decided to awaken from its hibernation and bloom in our yard.  It has been freakishly warm, but I will be the last one to complain.

I'm overjoyed that my favorite spring flower has finally appeared: the flowering quince.  Quince is a nasty thorny bramble in any other season, but when its flowers appear, all gorgeous vermilion, the contrast between stark grey branches and luscious flower makes my heart melt.  I remember going for a midwinter run once upon a time, and coming across a quince in full bloom.  Surprised and amazed by a bramble bush with such a display of beauty, I stopped my run and stared at it for many long moments, soaking up inspiration and joy.  I have loved the flowering quince ever since then.

Other things are coming up in the yard at last, too.  The purple crocuses are mostly clustered in the warm sections of the yard, but there is one brave explorer I found wandering through the underbrush all alone.

There is also the usual swathe of daffodil greenery under the grapevine, but they are packed in so tightly and in such a shady spot that they never bloom.  C and I keep meaning to dig them up and spread them out.  It's their only chance to ever live a real flower's life, but for some reason I never feel like digging up damp soil and bulbs in the shade on a breeze 50-degree day.  And then in the fall, when all the daffodil leaves are hidden, I would not even know where to dig for all the vines and summer weed-jungle in the way.  Sigh...  There is much to do in our yard!

Still, there are a few intrepid daffodils that have sprouted here and there and are happy enough where they are to bloom.  Some are normal looking, and others are just crazy.
Fancy Daffodil
One of our neighbor's little girls just loves to look at flowers.  Whenever she sees us, she runs over to ask if she can come into our garden and look at all the flowers.  C usually leads her by the hand from flower to flower, letting her sniff and admire them.  Then she runs home and begs her dad to plant flowers in their yard.  Maybe this year I can help her plant a little flower garden of her own.

For Christmas, the neighbor girls gave C and me a bluebird house.  Their father says he keeps seeing bluebirds everywhere and thought maybe one would like to live in our yard.  I think he's actually seeing blue jays, which are a quite different thing, but the thought was sweet, and who knows?  Maybe a bluebird family would like to live in our yard.  I've never seen a bluebird here in Durham.  With all the cats nearby, I kind of doubt the baby bluebirds' chances of survival, but we do have a large songbird population that enjoys the sunflower seed selection at our bird-feeder, and perhaps a fearless wren will nest here if the bluebirds won't.

C says that bluebirds like to nest in houses that back up to woods and face a large clearing, so we mounted the house on the back fence and are hoping for the best.  In front of it the bridal veil bushes are budding and popping out in little tiny white blossoms like miniature popcorn strands.

Bluebird house
Soon there will by hyacinth, tulips, snowdrops, dogwood, honeysuckle, gardenias, and all the rest.  But while we say hello to all these spring flowers, we say goodbye to another.  The camellias are all but done, and more lay spent and brown on the ground than are blooming on the bush.  Those that bloom turn brown with the slightest heat and fall heavily.  The fat camellia shrub stands full and green surrounded by its fallen rosettes, which are still beautiful though brown and look like they belong on Victorian dresses.

Next week C and I are going to build new garden boxes and plant lettuce.  Maybe even peas!  Flowers are all well and good, but summer's bounty of food is just around the corner.

Camellia carnage

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