Waiting for Spring in Massachusetts

Today we’re in Massachusetts, visiting with Barbara Owen, who is looking back at last summer’s beauty in the garden while waiting for spring.

Virginia bluebellsThe Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica, Zones 3–8) came home to Massachusetts in a bag of dirt tucked into my suitcase when I was flying home from Indiana many years ago. This past summer’s extreme and unpredictable weather must have provided the right amount and timing of rain and sunshine, because both plants bloomed more than in previous years.

pink rhododendron bloomsThis rhododendron (Rhododendron yakushimanum, Zones 5–8) came from a big-box store, has been transplanted several times, and now seems quite happy in its current spot, where we can easily enjoy the magical transition from deep magenta buds to pink flowers transitioning to a delicate white.

Exbury hybrid azaleaEach time I walk out the door and see this Exbury hybrid azalea (Rhododendron, deciduous azalea group, Zones 5–8) backlit by morning sunlight, I have to run for my camera for yet another photo.

yellow irisSeveral years ago this yellow iris surprised me, appearing where I had no memory of planting it. I’ve rewarded its persistence by dividing it and moving it to a better location, where I hope it will be happy.

Miss Amelia pale yellow daylilyHemerocallis ‘Miss Amelia’ (Zones 3–9) joined my collection of daylilies last summer. I’m hoping her pale yellow will be strong enough in bright sunlight, yet glow in the moonlight or from lights from our nearby porch at night.

Strawberry Candy dayliliesThis clump of ‘Strawberry Candy’ daylilies sits just outside my kitchen windows, growing enthusiastically in a prime viewpoint.

double orange dayliyOne summer, my brother (Doug Downing, who has been featured on the GPOD as well) said he had to divide his daylilies. Soon there was a box of these treasures on my front porch, including this double-orange daylily (Hemerocallis fulva ‘Flore Pleno’, Zones 4–9). Gardens are wonderful when they can be shared!

clematis seed headI was going to deadhead the clematis (Clematis ‘Sunset’, Zones 5–8), but then I discovered this sculptural seed head and decided to photograph it instead.

Daucus carrotaSeveral of the carrots (Daucus carrota) decided to race through the summer and become beautiful Queen Anne’s lace–like flowers (they are related, I think). I’m wondering if there will be many seedlings this spring. (Editor’s note: Garden carrots and Queen Anne’s lace are essentially the same plant. Queen Anne’s lace growing on roadsides is descended from carrots that jumped the garden wall and went feral.)

bee on a pink daisyOur yard is active all season with rabbits, birds, butterflies, and bees. I’m not thrilled with the rabbits, but I plan to keep planting more flowers for the bees, butterflies, and birds. I’ve noticed several beekeepers’ hives on my neighborhood walks and wonder if they are the source of “my” honeybees.



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