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Posts Tagged ‘spring flowers’

There is always some room for Frost in Spring.

Robert Frost, that is.

Here is one of his poems, recently featured on The Writer’s Almanac. I find it fitting as we come to the end of National Poetry Month.


Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost

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IMG_7424Sunday was reported as the area’s coldest May 15 in more than 120 years; a colder morning than even Fairbanks, Alaska.

Anxious to put color and springtime into their gardens, eager beavers who had planted their annuals scurried about Saturday to haul pots into garages and cover tender plants already in ground beds with bedsheets, tablecloths and other means of protection.

It is always a guessing game in Chicagoland when it comes to the weather. We actually hit 80 degree temperatures a few weeks ago. The weather has seemed even more mercurial this year. Gardening centers and nurseries keep waiting for a sustained break in weather for business has surely been slow for them this year.

The good news is that cooler temperatures have afforded a long season of spring blooms. From the sustained performance of the daffodils, to the surprise emergence of Jack-in-the-Pulpit, the fragrant lilac blooms to the exquisite tulip displays, it has been a good spring for early bloomers – and Mayapples!

I purchased a few divisions of Mayapples at our garden club’s annual spring plant sale a few years ago. There are many reasons for joining a garden club, and this is certainly one of them. Our member plant sales help fund the rich and varied programs we have at meetings. They also provide tried-and-true plant stock for members. It is no secret that here on the Cutoff a good portion of our garden beds are filled with the offspring of plants from my garden club friends.

May Apples are a vivid example.

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In establishing  a woodland garden, the celandine poppies, Jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium and now Mayapples all came from Mary’s garden. Waiting in the wings (the garage) are bluebells, also from Mary’s garden. Interspersed are anemone, from Bev and Jerry. Many of our daffodils are from Jerry’s bulb divisions. The darling of the patch, Lady’s Mantle, catches dewdrops in between them all.  M’lady really needs a bit more sun, but, she serves us well in the woodland garden) and was from Dorothy.

Underneath the umbrella of leaves, small buds appeared this year on the Mayapples. I observed this plant,  both in the garden here, and in my forest wanderings. They are abundant throughout the area and quite visible on the forest floors this year. They seem to have sensed the need for umbrellas long before we did as they sent out their bumper-shoots in anticipation.

With my yellow rain slicker and red rubber shoes (I am a sight to behold) I slogged about in the biting wind on Saturday afternoon. This is what I found.

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I will be checking these Mayapples as we swing into summer, hoping to see an “apple” or two come from these sweet May flowers.

Do Mayapples (mandrake) grow where you live?

Image below from here.

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DSCN8494The usually lusty month of May has turned its back on us. Today dawned cold and windy and wet as it splashes toward June.  We have been battered with rain and wind that has made May feel more like April and temperatures that are as fickle in spring as in winter.

As I walked on Saturday, from my car to the Visitor Center at the Morton Arboretum, without my coat but holding my lime green umbrella, the temperatures hovered in the sixties. An hour later, as I walked out of the iris show across the way, the mercury had plummeted at least ten degrees, the wind kicked up, and I was rueing my decision to leave my coat behind. This morning, we awoke to the lower forties; no, not in age but in degrees. ‘

Tis a Winnie-the-Pooh-ish blustery day hereabouts; soup weather on the last day of May.

Still-in-all, the cold front brought out dramatic punctuations of steam rising from waters warmer than the air and puddles of glorious reflections and slick lanes leading to splashes of color and new growth.

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It was while rounding a bend, the only car on the west side of the Morton, that I caught a glimpse of blue; a bluebird flitting past my windshield. It swooped swiftly to and fro and put on a show to my right, then flew off to greener pastures. I motored forward, not another car, nor walker or runner in sight, when to my left, I noticed these two fellows were checking me out.

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In all my visits to the Morton Arboretum, I’ve never seen bucks roaming about. It was a thrilling surprise. As the one closest to the camera looked at me, I could see his new rack, a velvet promise of antlers as the season moves on. If you click onto the photo you can see it better, click again and you get a close-up of the rack.

He walked, rather cavalierly, in front of my car. His buddy then ran past, with me grateful my foot was still on the brakes.

Next time, dear friend, I will show you some photos of the reason I braved the elements, the Northern Illinois Iris Society’s flower show. Until then, here is a sneak peek.

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I find joy in ordinary days; days where the water slowly laps the shore and ancient tree roots step out to welcome it. The ordinary days that remind us to seek the sunshine and to tread softly on our good earth.

Though the air had warmed and the sun was shining, the ground on Saturday was still saturated from the recent rains. With the last of the Autumn leaves still on the flower beds, I need to bide my time before exposing the tender shoots emerging. The heartier plants are poking through, but, under the leafy cover are hostas and poppies, daisies and lilies-of-the-valley. They must be slowly unveiled, for frost can still nip their noses, while the wandering herd of deer consider them appetizers after the long, hard winter.

So, it is. My garden work grows slowly; a plot here, then there, the beds gently uncovered then sprayed to deter the deer.  I have tentatively started to rake winter away, but, on Saturday, it was slow going in the sodden garden. I just needed to be outdoors. My car seemed to know this and steered me toward the Morton Arboretum, which was busy but not overly crowded, especially for a Saturday morning in spring. Like Golidlock’s porridge, it was just right.

It was my lucky, ordinary day.

An ordinary day, for sunning on a log, watching shadows grow.

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and preening on the shore after a dip in the cool lake.

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I saw the first bee looking for sweet nectar

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while a majestic lady, starting her bloom, wore a dress with white blossoms while her slip of Scilla reflected the pristine sky.

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All once upon a time; on an ordinary day, looking for those angel rays of hope on the tips of daffodils.

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Do you have ordinary days?

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May Apples, Brunnera, and Celandine Poppies.

What’s popping up in your neck of the woods? May Apples Brunnera Celandine Poppy

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