A Few Lovely Mornings

A Few Lovely Mornings

Daily emerging green leaves add light and fresh color.
Dogwoods are in bloom spreading their dainty skirts of creamy white.
Green grass has pushed up through the bleached stubble of winter fields.
Bluebirds, goldfinches, sparrows, are all busy with the duties of the season.
The voices of the woodpeckers and the sounds of their hammering on trees in the ravines are an accompaniment to outside chores.
They are shy birds, thus the flash of a red crest or a view of their black and white bodies darting from tree to tree is a special joy.

A vigorous clump of coneflowers growing too close to the south-east retaining wall.  My plan of the moment is to move self-sown coneflowers along with native asters and prairie sage, wintered over in pots, to the plot outside the west windows.  My hope is for these sturdy plants to colonize and flourish in that rather rough space.

Plants set into the raised bed near the front steps. Several lavenders there winter-killed and have been removed. Nigella self sows in abundance as has poppy 'Lauren's Grape.' I hoped to see red poppies in this space but none emerged.

The lilacs gifted to me by Howard and Dawn during our first spring in the new house are blossoming for the first time. One appears to have the traditional 'blue' tint while the other is red-purple.

The frilly petals of ranunculus are like crinolines.

Dawn appeared on her way home from work one evening last week with two potted ranunculus. I've never grown these before and I'm intrigued with their multi-layered petals. Both plants have been moved into larger pots and set on the east porch. I've learned that they are a tuberous plant flowering in the cool weeks of spring then fading with summer heat.

The ranunculus and the planter of petunias and verbena are living on the porch, but were moved inside to avoid being nipped by frost on Monday night.

Several cool sunny days encouraged the lilacs.

This one seems the more forward of the two.

I treasure this clematis, the heirloom 'Candida', discovered at our first Kentucky home. I moved a hastily potted portion of roots to the Amish farmhouse we renovated, then moved roots again to the site of this home. After a winter spent in a large pot a wonky fence was hastily constructed by Jim to support the plant and its companions. Candida is an early bloomer and always puts out buds just as late frosts come along. 
A run of bright mornings and warmish afternoons deteriorated into rain late on Easter Sunday. Monday was bleak and rainy with frost warnings published for our area. Early in the evening I went out with an armload of old sheets, pillowcases and tablecloths [all optimistically washed and stored away after the last round of cold weather] and battling a cruel wind managed to cover all the clematis. 
It was a choice between flattening early blooms or risking frost damage. It was 34 F. at 7:30 this morning, a mere 2 degrees above the frost mark.

Duchess of Edinburgh, planted next to Candida didn't prove as hardy through the snow and cold which struck during the second weekend of April. Leaves at the base of the plant seem healthy, so perhaps a severe pruning away of damaged leaves and stems will revive the Duchess for later blooming. 

Two male hummingbirds arrived mid-week and discovered the syrup feeders hung from the eaves of the east porch. I feared for them in the harsh wind and biting cold of Monday night, but they have emerged to fortify themselves at the feeders. 

Green tints in the hearts of Candida blooms delight me.

Jane magnolias have triumphed over the snow and frost that earlier blighted them. 
Nature has a miraculous perseverance that encourages me.
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