Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It never gets old . . .

Much as we complain about grey, rainy days (ha! more like weeks, no, months!) on the West Coast of Canada, we generally acknowledge our good fortune in wonderful springs that begin unfolding their treasures for us sometime in February as the days lengthen.
These are weeks when I dare not phone my sister in Winnipeg for fear of appearing to gloat, should I accidentally mention that the crocuses (croci might be correct, but sounds a bit more frog than flower) are almost finished . . .

Today is stormy and grey, as you might see if you're watching the Olympic events (and did you see Joannie Rochette ice-dance last night, three days after her mother's sudden death? Grace, fortitude, heroism, and splendid beauty, surely an unparalleled event in the history of the games), but I was out peering in the sunshine earlier this week.

Such heartlifting sights: above is the ribes White Icicles (at the top is its pink cousin, more commonly known as flowering red currant).

As we know it can, the sun lit up everything in the garden, enhancing beauty, distributing joy and a momentary conviction that all would be well. I love how sunlight filters through this stinky hellebore -- really, it's not called foetidus for nothing, and I often catch myself visualizing a skunk as I walk past, before I realize what I'm processing. Besides which, it's a sprawling plant which I plopped in too carelessly close to the path several years ago -- it was a freebie, left roadside for the taking from Jane-and-Phil's hellebore nursery up the hill from me. Its pungency and its sprawl are well worth tolerating, as you can see, for its February show!

As are all the hellebores -- I know I've shown photos of them every spring, and if you've been visiting here for a few years, you may find yourself sighing impatiently as we used to do watching Pater's family's old home movies -- every single year featured a jerky pan over that summer's dahlias, then an even jerkier zoom for a closer look, back out again to show the three boys and their little sister posed alongside. Now I get it, though -- predictable and comic and a little tiresome as those recurring dahlias were to my thought-I-was-worldly twenty-something self, I now recognize what a marvel exists in that predictable recurrence of beauty. I hope never to get bored at welcoming this springtime unfolding; may I always cheer at the first springtime call of the redwing blackbird, as I did last week, or chuckle at the year's first drumming of the flicker on a metal roof, as a few days ago.
More hellebores, these ones originally seeded in my friend Alison's garden where she potted them up and gave them to me.

And below, another gift from another garden, this one my mother's (which she's now missing sorely) -- these dainty clusters decorate the viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet.' The shrub is getting to be quite a good size now, and its splashes of white light up a rather dark side of the yard.
As do the yellow pinwheels of the Mahonia japonica -- this is another of my treasured winter-flowering fragrant shrubs. Sunshine's all very well when it can be found, but on the too-many days when it's absent from our landscape, a bit of gorgeous floral fragrance lifts the spirits brilliantly.
It's likely that I have far fewer springs ahead of themme (interesting typo/Freudian slip!) than behind, all the reason to fuss even more about each and every one. Spring, as the commercial used to insist, you're not getting older, you're getting better . . .

12 comments:

  1. Ahhhh. I never tire of your garden shots. Spring growth is so mentally revitalizing. I love that intense green of new leaf buds!

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  2. Ahhhhh. Spring. Green. Little flowers. And I too love nothing more than a hellebore. Lovely shots.

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  3. How I love these locales with real spring, like where you are and the US states like Carolina, DC, Virginia. Beautiful photos, thanks!
    And Joanie Rochette- the story of the Olympics.

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  4. Your garden looks beautifully green, moist and lush.
    I love Hellebores including the smelly one!
    The sun came out this morning and the birds were loud in song...they are now singing in the rain!

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  5. Spring at your blog is always gorgeous. I just want to breath in this post. With each flower I found myself saying 'this is the photo I will comment on as it is the most lovely'. In the end I coulrn't narrow it done. So I am going to claim all of them as my favorite. I am greedy that way.

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  6. I can almost smell the wet soil. There is nothing, seriously nothing more delightful than a new shoot at this time of year, so keep the photographs coming.
    My brief foray across my quagmire of a garden last week was far too depressingly full of dog poo despite my best efforts to walk him in all weathers!
    Was that blue sky I saw, it is STILL raining here..

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  7. This is my first year to see your spring. I will come back every year. I keep walking around the garden hoping for a bud, nothing yet.

    The forsythia is outside my office window and the instant I see activity on a branch I am elated.

    Please come for a visit today, chere amie, I have something for you chez moi.

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  8. Thanks all, lovely to see that long-time readers aren't bored by my spring shots and that new readers claim to enjoy them as well.
    Alison: my first spring in over 23 years without dog poop in the garden! I still miss my girl regularly, but I don't miss her poop!
    Tish: I'll cross my fingers for you that buds will start popping out soon -- I've cheated a bit and built a garden with quite a bit of winter activity -- my Viburnum bodnatense has been blooming its fragrant pink blooms since late November! Oddly, though, I still don't have any forsythia -- perhaps I'll remedy that this year . . .
    and now I'll pop over to your place and see what's up . . .

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  9. What synchronicity ... I was just pre-ordering hellebores online (including a stunning black one) for my garden - seeing your gorgeous photos helps me maintain the motivation to turn our square of dirt (literally all there is right now) into a thing of beauty!

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  10. It seems far too early this year, but perhaps that is simply threats of global warming echoing in my head. The weather down island has been a mixture of clear Spring days and grey chill.

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  11. Wow! So green and light. Love those shots of your flowers. ;D


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  12. Tiff: The only disappointment I have with hellebores is how poorly they work as cut flowers -- they look as if they'd be perfect, but sadly, no staying power whatsoever!
    Still, they're so welcome this time of year, I'll forgive them quite a bit.
    Thomas: Yeah, I'm not complaining. . . every winter we manage unscathed by snow, I'm just happy to high-five and move into spring.

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