Monday, May 5, 2008

Enjoy the Moment

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may:
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day,
To-morrow will be dying.
---Robert Herrick, "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time"

Take a picture! Quick! These beauties aren't going to last long.

On Thursday my flowering crabapples that I showed earlier last week were absolutely gorgeous. All the buds had burst into full bloom, the branches covered in a mass of pink or red. I wanted to try to take a picture that showed just how lush they were, but it was so windy that I thought I'd wait another day. Big mistake.

After two days of strong wind, my driveway looked like a pink carpet. When I woke to a calm Sunday morning, I discovered the trees were becoming more green than pink or red. Sigh.

Nature reminds us of the whole cycle of life and death with the changing seasons. Spring is the favorite time of year for so many because it is a rebirth and renewal, a reminder that life goes on. Yet even in spring, beauty can be ephemeral: flowers bloom, then they die. But the beauty of spring is that while one bloom may die, another will soon replace it. Just as my lovely pink crabapples dropped their flowers, another variety suddenly burst into bloom.

I think this is another flowering crabapple; it is a different shape than the others with branches that almost weep. But it does have small berries later, and it seems to fit the characteristics of the crabapple.

After oohing and aahing over the pink and red, I think the white blossoms are a refreshing change.

After weeks of worrying whether the lilacs would make it this year, they are finally coming out. Thankfully, we didn't have a hard freeze like last year.

The birds have been enjoying all the new growth, and I have been enjoying watching them. Yesterday a male and female cardinal were perched on the white crab branches, looking like newlyweds--the perfect photo opportunity. Unfortunately, my skills at taking pictures of moving objects, let alone flying objects, are pretty bad. By the time I punched in all the appropriate settings on my camera, they had flown away. The goldfinches, to my delight, have found the new feeder I have temporarily set up in a nearby tree. To my amazement, they really do eat upside down! This photo is not very good, and even then it is the result of stealth and close cropping.

Walking around the yard and garden this time of year brings all kinds of wondrous surprises. This bush near the garage is not particularly attractive. It's ungainly, but no matter how much you try to prune it into shape, it just grows even more, with lots of little shoots spreading at its base as well.

Although it's low priority on my to-do list, I've been seriously thinking of cutting it down. This is the way it looked today (above), but last Friday it was blooming profusely, more than I had ever seen it.

I have no idea what it is, so if anyone can help me identify it, I would really appreciate it.

In the shade garden I had a few other surprises. I planted some bulbs last fall, including daffodils, or so I thought.

I'm wondering, though, if this is really a narcissus? It has a very slender stalk, with two or three blooms at the top. I've never really understood the difference between a daffodil and a narcissus.

The hostas have really shot up in the last week, and I just had to take a picture of this one. This is one of my Sum and Substance hostas, which is about four years old. I know you can't tell from this picture, but the leaf is at least six inches wide--amazing! I've had good luck with hostas, so I am hoping this one grows into the giant it can become.
My tulips have been in full bloom for a week or more, and they always provide some surprises. I like to plant mid to late spring tulips to avoid the chance of snow, but by spring I never remember what I planted. Do I write down the varieties I purchased? No, I can't even remember what color I planted! I was happy to read in one of Carol's posts that she often forgets what she's planted, too. That made me feel better; like Carol, I'm often planting these on a cold, blustery November day, and after awhile I just look for an empty space to plant the few remaining bulbs. So spring always brings a pleasant anticipation as I wait for the tulips to bloom to see just what I did buy last year.

There were a few unusual ones like these with shades of pink and yellow.

And there were a few double pale yellow ones. (This is one of the mystery plants I showed back in early April.)

In the roadside bed I have double tulips also that open up to reveal pale pink petals on a background of white. Angelique? Angelina? I really need to write down what I plant this fall.

On the other hand, I do remember the tulips that I planted in the front of this bed. I ordered these from a mail-order company that often doesn't give the botanical names of plants; they called this pink and mauve mixture the "Monet Collection."
It's not exactly the Giverny Garden, but I'm happy with it. Although this picture doesn't do the grouping justice (it was windy again, and the middle of the day, so the tulips are fully opened), it provides a bright spot of color for passers-by and and anyone who enters my driveway. I know they won't last much longer, so I am admiring them while I can.
My parting advice to you this morning is to take some time from your weeding and planting to look around you at all that is blooming right now.

Enjoy the moment.


  1. Rose, Your flowers are beautiful. The white crab in it's full glory. The daffodil is amazing, and must be a later variety. The picture of the finches at the feeder is great as I know how skittish they can be. You are so right about enjoying our garden each day. It is easy to get so involved in planting and weeding and miss some of the shorter lived blooms.

  2. Thanks, Beckie. I am trying very hard to "enjoy the moment." Now that I have more time to really observe everything growing, I am amazed by the continual changes in the garden.
    (I'm on a "lunch break" right now. It's too beautiful to spend the day inside and on the computer! Hope you are doing the same.)

  3. Rose thanks for your comment on mone. Yes it is a teenage voice but I guess I have some time to get uesed to the inevitable!! I am off to bed early so will read your post in the morning, it looks too lovely to skim quickly! :)

  4. Hi Rose, lovely and thoughtful post. Your white crabapple is a beauty, refreshing, like you say after the darker colors. I think your mystery shrub is a flowering quince that has been allowed to get too large. It should respond to a hard pruning after it has finished blooming. I like to keep mine at about two feet. But it will grow another foot in one season. They can get out of control, but if kept small are a mound of the dark coral blooms that are very long lasting.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  5. Suburbia, Glad you are making it an early night, not so much worry. Come back to visit when you have time.

    Frances, Thank you for the help on the shrub! I did see a quince at the local Master Gardeners' plot and thought the blooms looked much like mine, but they were peach colored. Mine is certainly out of control; I'll try your suggestion. I know I can't kill the thing!

  6. Such lovely flowers Rose - enjoy every moment! My tulip buds are just beginning to show a bit of colour before they open.

    Narcissus and daffodil are actually two different names for the very same flower.

  7. The crabapple is stunning. I don't think I've ever seen one in life.

    The tulip is 'Angelique'.

    Daffodils and jonquils are the same thing, sort of. Daffodils are divided into 13 classes by characteristic. Division 7 contains the jonquils, the most sweetly-scented daffodils. They have more than one flower per stem and the leaves are rush-like.

    People in the south tend to just call all yellow daffodils jonquils.

    (Arg...I wrote this long comment and then discovered you don't have open comments. I can't get the Open ID verification to work either.)

    mss @ Zanthan Gardens

  8. Mss, Thanks for the helpful info on daffodils/jonquils. I had no idea there were different classes. My mother always referred to them as jonquils, but I always called them daffodils, for some reason.

    As to your commenting, yours appeared just fine, but I am not familiar with your feed procedure for commenting. I apologize if I've left duplicate comments--I'm never quite sure when it goes through.

  9. Your mystery shrub is a flowering quince, Rose. We have the same one here, although it's smaller. They can get quite large! Aren't their flowers gorgeous?

    And I know what you mean about the flowering crabapples - one day they're loaded with blooms, and then a strong wind comes along and they're gone. So pretty, though, when they're blooming!

  10. The white crab apple is beautiful Rose, such a lovely shape.
    I think the mystery plant might be a quince. I think it needs a good prune, you would be amazed how old tired shrubs are rejuvenated by a good hard prune.
    Hostas are lovely, I love it when they flower.
    Nice to have a stroll around your garden and the goldfinch photo is great.

  11. Hi Rose, me again! I've only just had time to read your lovely post. It's been busy here and I don't think I'll get time to post tonight which will be the first time I 've missed so it's a shame.

    Anyway I loved my visit to your garden which seems very large. The apple blossom and lilac are beautiful. I would love a lilac particularly because of the fragrance.

    The coral coloured blossom looks like what my mum calls crab apple or quince?

    Oh and your double tulips are lovely. We have planted lots more this year and we never remember what colour they'll be. I quite like the surprise!
    Have a great day :)

  12. Amy, Thanks for stopping by. I do enjoy the tulips for as long as they last. I should be thankful the rabbits don't like them, based on what I have read on other blogs.

    Kylee, I am so glad to know this is a quince. As soon as it stops flowering I am going to give it a good haircut!

    Cheryl, ditto on the quince. Thanks for the compliment on the goldfinch--I'm afraid my bird photography can't compare to yours :)

    Suburbia, Thanks for the nice comments. Actually, I have a very large yard (wish I could italicize that), but the "gardens" are pretty small in comparison.
    I'm always amazed by the people who manage to post every day; you're entitled to take a night off!

  13. Dear Rose,
    I agree with you....enjoy the moment and your gardens!
    I try to do a little bit everyday and lots of enjoying.
    The Crab Apple trees have been very beautiful this year as have the Lilacs. My dogwoods are just starting to leaf out. They too have been like lace.
    So enjoyed all your plants.
    Seeing your Gold Finch feeding was an extra treat.

  14. I thought daffodils were narcissi?

  15. Rose you have many gorgeous blooms in your garden. Don't feel bad about not remembering all you plant. Heck I write down and keep tags etc and I still can't figure out everything. It makes me feel like a doofus. It just happens.

  16. P.S. Could that red blooming bush be a quience? It sure lookslike it. If so it wouldn't hurt it a bit to cut it way back so it will bush around the bottom.

    As to daffodil and narcissus. I think they are the same. I used to know the diffference but have forgotten. Not much difference anyway.

  17. Sherry, Thanks for the kind comments. As to the goldfinch picture, I either need a more expensive camera or a photography class. But no matter, I am enjoying watching them this spring.

    Liz, The consensus is daffodils, jonquils, and narcissi :) are all the same thing. Who knew!

    Lisa, Thanks for stopping by. That makes me feel better if you don't remember all your plants either. I had this ingenious idea last fall to use some craft/popsicle sticks to mark where I planted some new hostas. Unfortunately, I didn't think about heaving, so they weren't much help this spring lying all over the ground.

  18. Lovely shots! And as the others correctly guessed the mystery plant is a quince. You might get fruits on it this fall...


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