Summer’s Coming

A hellebore blossom, sometimes called a “Lenten rose,” enchants in the spring garden. (Photo © Hilda M. Morrill)
A hellebore blossom, sometimes called a “Lenten rose,” enchants in the spring garden. (Photo © Hilda M. Morrill)

What a spring this has been… wet, wet, wet and cold! According to news reports, this has been the wettest spring ever recorded. One columnist wrote, “Rainfall famine has turned to a rainfall feast.”

In spite of the frequent showers and low temperatures, the daffodils were really beautiful. The pink tulips were lovely even though their bulbs had been “moved” by naughty squirrels. I’m not sure what variety they are, although when I purchased them years ago, they were advertised as “perennial tulip bulbs.”

In bloom are the grape hyacinths, hellebores, creeping phlox, bleeding hearts, azaleas, rhododendrons, viburnums and lilacs, among others. The peonies are full of flower buds. Each stem now has one main terminal bud, as the secondary ones have been trimmed off. In this way, all the energy will be focused on the main bud/flower, and the stems won’t be so heavy and weighted down, especially when it rains. The last couple of years we have not enclosed the plants with cages as we did in the past.

One of the dogwood trees is in bloom and the others are “almost there.” Most of the hostas are leafing out and some could/should be divided.

The hoses have been brought out of the cellar and the outside water faucets turned on, even though we have not needed any extra water.

This past Mother’s Day was extra special in that we had our first hummingbird visitor. I don’t think I had ever hung a feeder with homemade nectar so early. Since then, I’ve made more nectar and hung another feeder. Keeping my fingers crossed that more hummers will visit.

In the vegetable garden, the chives have returned and are doing well in their pots. Also doing well is the lovage and the rhubarb. Soon we’ll be planting seeds of lettuce, climbing green beans, pickling cucumbers, zucchini and spinach. We’ll buy four or five tomato seedlings from a local nursery.

Sadly for us, the bunnies have returned. Hopefully, they’ll focus on the white clover we seeded over our so-called lawn a week or so ago. (More about the white clover in a future column.) Other visitors have included wild turkeys, deer, possums and raccoons. We even found a tick in the house. At least, no bears!

The weeds are also doing well, especially the goutweed, creeping Charlie and the garlic mustard. Although its flowers are very pretty, Star of Bethlehem (ornithogalum) is quite the thug. Some patches of English ivy will have to be dug out or sprayed with the weed killer we use that is made from citrus fruits. The lilies of the valley are spreading too quickly as are the Solomon’s seals. We’ll have to figure out something to keep them in check.

Here and there are groupings of foxglove/digitalis plants that seeded on their own last fall. They’re always welcome because they’re easy to pull out if not in a good location and their flowers are so beautiful. And, since they are biennials and not perennials, they will not take over.

The Summer Solstice falls on Friday, June 21. It will be here before we know it! Can’t wait!