Hellebores served as harbingers when their blooms started opening on February 3rd. These were followed by Crocus and Muscari... then Dutch Iris, Spanish Bluebells, 'Purple Sensation' Allium and the earliest Heuchera. During that time frame the potted Peonies and the potted Persian Fritillaries came... and went.
By then a second bloom cycle was well on its way. The 'Gibraltar' Azaleas weren't quite so full of sunset orange blooms as they were last year... but they still put on a more than decent show. The 'Munchkin' Oakleaf Hydrangea blooms began opening as the Azaleas began to fade away. Heucheras continued to bloom, and the first Hostas to raise bloom stalks did so.
This was the spring you read about and see on PBS programming... the spring that unfurled and unfolded and unwound itself in a reverent, almost stately manner It was a spring with the kind of day/night temperature fluctuations and periods of rainfall that encouraged strong, vibrant growth. The emergence of foliage and stems from the ground and the opening of buds into flowers took place at an slow, then accelerating pace that filled the entire bed within a month.
By this time in May the spring bloom display in my garden is winding down. It almost feels as though the garden is taking a small break and catching its breath before the next cycle of bloom begins... in the meantime the Oakleaf Hydrangea and the Culver's Root help transition the garden from spring into summer.
The largest summer bloom display will emanate from different, sunnier beds. False Sunflowers, Morning Glory, Black Eyed Susan, Crape Myrtle, Balloon flower, Salvia sclarea, Salvia mexicana 'Limelight' and Monbretia are slowly assuming their place.
But the shade beds will play host to perhaps the prettiest of the early summer flowers... two clusters of Oriental Lilies on strong, supple stems. Though these are among the gardens newest inhabitants they nonetheless had no trouble dominating the picture with enormous, complex blooms.
This photo shows the garden as it will look most of the summer... not a whole lot of bloom... but enough unique foliage to make an alternative vision of color in the garden.
"For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
My apologies for the composite photo... I did not do that very well at all.