hellebores-etcCOME AND JUST TAKE A WALK with me. No big plant lesson, nothing to prune or weed or sow. Just pay a visit as I do early each morning and evening to the parts of the garden that are calling out to me in living color.

the oldest apple and its ephemeral friends
the oldest apple and its ephemeral friends

THERE USED TO BE an orchard here generations before my residency, and what I like best about the remnants is this oldest and most beat-up of all the trees, a favorite of the pileated woodpeckers who have hollowed it. Today drifts of Helleborus, Hylomecon, Trillum and other early risers take advantage of the springtime light, before the apple’s leaves fill in, to get up and growing.

giant bowl of violas
OUT BACK BY THE CAT’S CABIN (yes, the cat who adopted me September 11, 2001 when I arrived in a hurry from New York City, has his own house), a giant low bowl of black violas called ‘Black Delight,’ from the Sorbet Series, is filling in, spurred on by recent unseasonable heat.

small garden pool
small garden pool
THE SOUND OF WATER is a key to making a garden, for me and for the birds, who drink and bathe 12 months a year in my little pools to our mutual delight.

Big pots wait for action
Big pots wait for action
THE BIG POTS THAT SPENT the winter in the barn, their young, not-quite-hardy Japanese maples still tucked inside them, are waiting for the action to start. After all, the season is still in dress rehearsal, isn’t it?

  1. Andrew Ritchie says:

    One of the things I was most impressed by when visiting your place was the beautiful underplanting you’ve done. Trees look so wonderful with footwear.

    It shows your commitment, too, since underplanting can be a challenge – one that many gardeners, I think, don’t embrace often enough.

    Those black violas are going on my balcony this year!

  2. Alexa says:

    I love the sentiment you express, “Just take a walk with me.” Too often we forget to enjoy our gardens without judgment or fuss. Terrific post. Thank you.

  3. margaret says:

    Thanks, Alexa, and welcome to A Way to Garden. You are so right–it’s easy to just keep going and not even notice what’s around us.

  4. Paige says:

    Hi Margaret,

    Just lovely. Seconding what Andrew said–can you talk a bit about underplanting? I’d love to have that kind atmosphere (of course, once our trees grow beyond their nearly-whip current stage!) Also–will you talk about your water gardens? We have a pond which we need to plant around (though first we have to do some grading work–one side has a high bank which is eroding down and dumping into the pond…) but also a spring that might feed a lovely water garden one day….now it just fills two cisterns where our frogs seem to have overwintered…

    Thanks as always for the loveliness…

  5. margaret says:

    Hello, Paige,
    It’s me, Margaret. (Our little inside joke.)
    Yes. You and Andrew are onto something–people forget to use the space under trees and shrubs except to install miles of homogeneous groundcover, so I will tackle that topic.
    I will get a post up fast about the water gardens as well.
    Uh-oh, I am one busy girl, huh? Good thing it’s too muddy to be out digging right now.

  6. Philip says:

    I loved this walk in the garden.
    I so admire the effect under the trees. The hellebores look wonderful and there is a carpet effect which creates a feeling of spaciousness. I also love water in the garden. In the lower garden it is just a birdbath, but i love it. I fill it up every morning with fresh water and the birds are waiting! so much fun.

  7. margaret says:

    Welcome, Trish. For me the two plants bloom almost at the same time, but the Hylomecon will stop after several weeks and the Stylophorum will go on and off all season, as long as you don’t bake it in a really dry, hot spot.
    So glad you found us, and jumped right in. And thanks for your nice words.

  8. Trish Schroer says:

    So glad I found your blog! have loved reading your book, listening to you speak once a long time ago and reading your articles!
    My neighbors have often asked me why I walk around the yard so much – great to have found like minds!
    Is there a difference in bloom time between the Japanese wood poppy (Hylomecon),& our native wood poppy (Stylophorm diphylum)?

  9. Pingback:Invisible Bees » Blog Archive » Last Spring

  10. margaret says:

    Thanks, Invisible Bees, and welcome. Now I will have to go take a visit to the West…digitally, at least.

  11. Judy Casper says:

    Saw you on the show and took the stroll with the garden. I have (32″) front and back of my condo but I have flowers in front. In back tomatoes, roses and next year new strawberries. Every 3 years and how to keep the grass out of that patch. Thanks for the look.

  12. margaret says:

    Welcome, Judy. How nice of you to come visit. Sounds like you have a little bit of the best stuff: flowers, tomatoes and (soon) strawberries! Do come visit again soon.

  13. chigal says:

    I like the cat cabin. Ours has designated a room as his own, inside, and it can get a little hairy (and toothy, and scratchy) when we use the furniture in there instead of romping with him. He’s usually calm about nail trimming, but he takes it personally if I try to do it on his turf. They do need their own space!

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