Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring transitions

Right now the garden's at that transitional stage in which there are still tatty, tired remnants of winter, but they're everywhere being replaced by new growth. Above, for example, new leaves and buds of clematis alpina contrast greenly with last year's vines behind them.
Here are those buds, close up.

Similarly, the popcorn blossoms of the Ribes sanguineum 'White Icicle festoon an area backed by old rose and clematis vines, soon to be green themselves.
And the star-like skeleton of a giant allium (Christophii? giganteum? what did I plant here?) will soon be overtaken by the next generation -- this plant naturalizes wonderfully! From five or six bulbs planted seven or eight years ago, this patch will be a swarm of purple, fist-sized globes nodding on their tall stems above a pillow of strapping green leaves this summer. Can't wait!

And over the next week or two, the same thing's happening in my wardrobe, and yours, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere. Part of me wants to rush toward the lighter colours and fabrics; another part wants to get a few more outings for garments before they get tucked away 'til October. Letting the garden be my guide, I'm looking at how to let the old and new co-exist for a few weeks, at least, to keep the transition natural and interesting. Yesterday's outfit was one example -- I'll try to post one or two more over the next few days. Our weather accommodates: one day it's lovely, sunny, and warm; the next a wind blows in with rain and chill. What about you? Are you enjoying this spring transition? Has it arrived yet, for you?


  1. I love your garden shots. (Inspired in part by your lovely gardens, we're looking to do some major yard/garden renovations shortly, more on that later.)

    Coastal LA is weird season-wise. We're in the season now that's cool-but-not-cold, with a smattering of warmer (75-80-ish F) days here and there. Layers are key. Mornings will start off foggy and chilly, mid-day will warm up, then the fog will move in again later and cool things off for late afternoon/evening. This will go on until usually mid-July. My elm tree in the front has totally leafed out, but my birches and liquidamber in the backyard have barely started to bud.

  2. Love your garden photos. You are further along than I; and I am trying to keep your transition advice as well. Nature is still in winter mode more than summer, with just bits of interest still. Last week I was all about spring. This week, the temperature is dropping back down into the 50's today and 30's by the end of the week. Still plenty of room for warm sweaters sparked with bits of color.

  3. Your garden photos always make me sigh with happiness. I wonder why so many flowers are that purple shade before they bloom? And here in CA, there's very little to put away. I think the only real change is shorts for casual summers, and cotton sweaters in place of wool.

  4. I have totally forgotten what lies beneath the snow this winter. Two nights ago we got some more of that white stuff, 10 cm, added to the 80cm. The stores are pushing spring on display, but people still wear their fur and winter coats. It is difficult to walk on the road here on countryside and only the very center of Helsinki has dry pavements. There is a lot of dog washing in the near future. Meanwhile, I´m enjoying your pictures..

  5. You and Mardel both make me wish I had a garden. But it is likely best that I just enjoy yours. Hope your Spring garden continues to delight and surprise you.

    I have put all my wool and coats away and have, on occasion, left the house in a flip-flop. Spring is here!

  6. Pseu: Looking forward to seeing your garden plans -- I know you've got considerable background to draw on, plus your impeccable eye!
    Those weather conditions must mean jackets and cardigans get forgotten or lost! That's what I most associate with those shoulder seasons, weather-wise -- my kids losing the jackets that headed out with them in the morning, because the day heated up too much to keep wearing them . . .
    Mardel: We're always ahead for these first few weeks and then there's that week or two when the gardens back east just explode -- tulips grow inches each day! Is your zone like that as well?
    LPC: I know! It's such a wonderful rendition of purple, so red-blue almost separated out, just barely stirred together, a bit mystical -- it's often in branches and vines at this time of year as well. I love it!
    Metscan: Yes, this is the time of year I'm always careful about calling my sister in Winnipeg -- and when she lived even further North, I'd wait 'til May, 'til the week they went from driving across the lake on the ice to almost being able to swim in it!
    LBR: We're a long way from flip-flops, but I am figuring out how to fit in a pedi! Can't wait to flash these toes!

  7. I always find the transition so thrilling and yet so difficult...it tends to go in stops and starts. And I'm forever dressed inappropriately for the weather...freezing in a skirt one day when the temperatures drop more precipitously than I had anticipated, hot another when they don't. Your garden looks incredible, as if it is about to burst into song!

  8. Laura/MissC: I responded earlier to your (welcome and appreciated comments) but somehow Blogger lost my response -- so thanks again. We're enjoying this spring, just anxious that a late frost or snow might pull a nasty on some of these new shoots.

  9. I want transition! In Brisbane Aust where I am we have no real seasons. Lucky you to grow aliums. My mum has them in her garden but she lives in a freezing climate where it snows. Humidity is my enemy. LOVE your blog.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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