Friday, May 1, 2009

Garden Muse Day: Carpe Diem!

To the [Gardeners] To Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,

Old time is still a-flying;

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying . . .

--Robert Herrick (from "To the Virgins ...")

Today is the first of the month of May and time for another Garden Muse Day. While there are no doubt many appropriate poems for the month of May, I couldn't think of any because Herrick's poem and similar quotes swirled around in my brain. How quickly the garden is changing right now! Mr. McGregor's Daughter and others have posted photos of ephemerals recently, but in some ways everything about spring seems ephemeral. The flowering crabapple blossoms above that appeared last week opened up and then were literally gone with the wind within two days' time.

And my beloved redbud tree that has been lighting up my yard with its shock of lavender blooms the past week is already sporting a few leaves. Soon the blooms will be gone, leaving the heart-shaped green leaves in their stead.

"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May . . ."

---from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18

While spring blooms last only so long, they have had a particularly tough time the last week with lots of rain and several days of fierce winds. This "Pink Impression" is in its final blowsy stage, as I call it, but it's amazing it has any petals left at all.

. . . Forward they come, with flaunting colors spread,
With torches burning, stepping out in time
To some unheard march . . .

--from "A Tulip Garden" by Amy Lowell

But even while many of the tulips are on their last legs, so to speak,
there are still a few unopened buds and daily surprises.

Careful planning went into deciding where each color and collection of bulbs would be planted last fall. A map was made to identify varieties for future reference. But as the warm days of November began to change into winter, I threw out the plans and quickly dug holes wherever I could and threw in the remaining bulbs. As a result, some strange combinations appeared like this unknown pink-tipped tulip next to an orange and yellow "Color Magic."

One tulip I was eagerly anticipating was this "Sunrise" whose buds I showed on my "Blogging Blips and Tulip Trends" post. As they opened up, I could see the ruffled tulip was going to be as promised in the catalog.

What I didn't expect, though, was that the blooms would be this big! When Beckie stopped by the other day to see my tulips, she commented that this looked like a peony blossom, and it does.

While there is a theme to this post, you may think this is a shameless excuse on my part to show off more of my tulips. You're right! I spent many hours late last fall planting over 200 tulips and daffodils, and my creaking knees groaned and complained the whole time. But it was worth every ache! I am enjoying the fruits of those labors so much this spring. This tulip is one of a collection called "Monet," which includes several different pastel shades of tulips.

Still another variety, "Apricot Beauty," one of my favorites. My very favorite tulip is pictured at the end of this post, but frankly every tulip is a favorite!

And just for a little variety, more daffodils were added last fall as well. These "Pink Charm" daffs bloom later than the standard yellows and others that have already faded. I didn't plan staggered bloom times--that was just a happy accident.

I've enjoyed my tulips so much this year that I'm already making plans for next year. Photos of each flowerbed and planting are being taken to make it easier in the fall to remember where bare spots might be filled. In the roadside flowerbed above, the various shades of pink tulips in the foreground were planted a year or two ago and may need to be replenished. This collection I mistakenly identified as "Monet" last spring, but it's actually a collection of pinks called "Appleblossom." "Prince" tulips in purple, red, and yellow can be seen in the back right, while "Angeliques" are just opening up in the center front.

The photo of the main flowerbed was especially important, because a few tulips had already been planted here, and I couldn't remember where they were last fall. Besides, this area was covered with perennials in November, making it difficult to find bare spots for digging holes.

There's still room in the shade garden, too, even though many bulbs were added here. As much as I've enjoyed admiring these tulips every day, not everyone shares my enthusiasm, as you'll notice. (Do enlarge the photo to get Tarzan's full reaction.)

While the blooms of spring may be fleeting, the good news is that there is always something new to take their place. The old-fashioned lilac is in full bloom right now, perfuming the air.

And more and more perennials are sprouting up. Do you recognize this plant? This is my "Sum and Substance" hosta which grew to an amazing size last year. I've never before noticed its leaves in early spring.

But before the summer garden grows, I hope you will take the time to enjoy every moment of a spring flower's beauty. For me, nothing can compare to this "Apricot Beauty" unless . . .

. . . it is my favorite of all: the delicate, ruffled "Angelique."

Enjoy every moment in your garden--Carpe Diem!

Garden Muse Day is the brainchild of Carolyn Gail; do visit her to see other musings on the month of May.


  1. Yes, I intend to enjoy every moment in my garden this month of May. Your tulips look great, worth every minute and all the pain of planting them last fall.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. It is the time to garden, isn't it?
    I like the way you linked the flowers with the poets! And what a lovely selection of flowering plants you have.
    The tulips are delightful. So much prettier in clumps like you have them. Do you know? I pass gardens that are planted with tulips and each one is carefully measured so much space between the the next one and they stand like soldiers in a row. Looking dreadful, I think!
    Lovely post!

  3. Isn't it funny how blogging and looking for photos in our garden has given us the shove to look deeper into the garden and thus enjoy it more??!!

    I can't believe Tarzan was yawning by all of those beautiful tulips. I love the big yellow one that looks like a peony.

    All of your quotes are wonderful too Rose. Happy May.

  4. Hi Rose, what a grand display of tulips, any excuse is acceptable to show those! I do think blogging has led us to notice more things about the garden, like your gorgeous Sum and Substance stalks. Or is it the camera in hand? HA The theme for this season should be "Slow down, you move too fast"! :-)

  5. Rose ... I can hardly type this because I am still laughing over Tarzan's YAWN .. too funny girl !
    I am inspired by all of your tulips to plant MORE this Autumn, in places I can see them and appreciate them .. from the new deck by then ? LOL
    Very thoughtful post with snippets of wonderful poetry : )

  6. I think a perfect muse day Rose. I never really thought of spring as ephemeral but it is and surely all the bright color comes and goes quickly. Your tulips are just wonderful-show them off any time!

  7. Tarzan didn't look like he was enjoying the view much. That's a cute picture.

    I'd say your creaky knees and probably sore back were worth suffering thru. Your display is so pretty Rose.

    Hope you enjoy your weekend.

  8. What beautiful blooms Rose! All your labor and creaky knees definitely paid off in those beautiful tulip. Angelique is one of my favorites.

    The wind and rain beat up our serviceberry blooms this week, and they're about done. But I'm sure the garden is enjoying all the rain.

    Happy 1st day of May!

  9. OOOH, I love the Apricot Beauty! I'm writing that one down (if I don't I won't remember it in the fall!).

  10. Carol, A special thank you to you--I neglected to give you credit here. After reading one of your posts one day, I realized I tended to plant tulips in rows rather than clumps. All the new tulips were planted last fall in clumps and look so much better!

    Maggie May, Ha, ha, I used to be the one who had tulips standing like soldiers in a row. Carol (above) is the one who convinced me to plant in clumps. So much prettier and more natural looking.

    Lisa, My photos don't even do the tulips justice. But carrying the camera around has made me look more closely at everything in the garden and appreciate it more.

    Frances, I couldn't believe those stalks of S & S when I saw them--I hope that means another banner year for it. LOL, I love that song; wish I'd thought to include that here:)

    Joy, I've never had this many tulips to enjoy before, and now I'm ready to plant even more next year! Tarzan spends most of his time outside, so he loves it when I dig in the garden...he even helps in fertilizing it:)

    Tina, Spring is often the shortest season here in Illinois. Some years it seems we have only a week between winter and summer. I exaggerate, of course, but I'd like a few more warm, sunny days to enjoy the tulips.

  11. Susie, Thank you; I am really happy with the results this spring. Tarzan likes to watch me dig in the garden, but flowers are pretty boring to him:)

    Linda, The Angelique is not showy from a distance, but up close it's beautiful! We've had so much wind and rain here as well--I've had showers of pink, red, and white as the trees shed their blossoms.

    Joyce, The apricots weren't quite as tall as the Pink Impression, but I love this color--and the colors varied a little bit, too. I think I ordered these from Breck's.

  12. You are absolutely correct, a garden and everything in it are ephemeral. I left a perennial garden for a year(missing two springs) when we lived in Beijing and it was essentially gone when we returned. This is a beautiful post and photos. You deserve all bragging rights. My MD post is up too.

  13. Wonderful collection of blooms and poems. Angelique is probably my favorite too but I have to get some of those Apricot Beauty. Great idea to photograph the garden and use the pictures to plant with. I have narcissus bulbs hither and thither and I'm so afraid of cutting into them when I plant in the fall.
    Great post Rose.

  14. Rose, I love your posts...they are thoughtful, filled with great plants and always make me smile! Looking back over the photos... I am pretty sure I have a similar grouping of tulips. I know I have a few of those striped ones! It makes me wonder again...who planted them with the orange ones! Could it be that like you, I seized the planting day~~"But as the warm days of November began to change into winter, I threw out the plans and quickly dug holes wherever I could and threw in the remaining bulbs." Carpe diem is a perfect philosophy for gardening and life...have a delicious weekend Rose!


  15. Hi Rose, love all your pretty blooming things, and your yawning Trazan--must be all that fresh air. The lilacs aren't quite budding yet, nor are the crabs (both VERY close), but we still have some magnolias in bloom and the redbuds are just coming into their own. But, yes, tree and shrub blossoms are very fleeting. Oh, one of my seven viburnums is blooming and oh-so fragrant!

  16. My goodness, Rose -- what wonderful, wonderful blooms! Carpé Diem, indeed -- isn't it the truth? This same flower that blooms today, tomorrow will be dying..." Spring just seems to roll over us once it gets here and then we fight just to keep up with her!

  17. Commonweeder, Thanks for visiting; I was looking for your blog the other day and couldn't remember its name. Spring just doesn't last long enough for me:)

    Marnie, If you had seen me planting bulbs last fall, you'd know why I took pictures this spring. Every so often I'd wind up digging up a bulb already planted:)

    Gail, Thank you, that is so sweet! Gardening has made me slow down and enjoy every day so much more than I did in my frenetic working mom days. And sometimes surprises in the garden are good:)

    Monica, Tarzan is probably the most active of all my cats; if there's activity outside, you won't catch him napping! You are about a week behind us with blooms--I do hope all your trees have blossoms and don't blow away in the rain.

    Nancy, Thank you; I think I've fallen in love with tulips this year. Spring is without a doubt the shortest season in Illinois--sometimes it seems we go straight from winter into summer.

  18. Carpe Diem, or seize the tulips! What a lovely display you have Rose. Imagine that many tulips blooming--gorgeous! I must agree, Apricot Beauty is just that! Beautiful! Tarzan is excited, he just doesn't want you to know--plus he just hasn't been getting enough naps in...he just needs to find a nice sunny spot to curl up. Thanks for sharing for lovely Spring blooms.

  19. Thanks for the link love. Those double Tulips are such shameless hussies, flaunting their large blossoms and demanding all the attention. I also have been noticing the sprouting of my large Hostas. They look so interesting.

  20. Rose, woderful muse day post! I love all the poems and quotes. They fit the season and especially this spring very well.

    Your tulips are beautiful this year and I really enjoyed seeing them all. Like yours, most of my Pink Imoressions are gone, but the pink stripped(?) ones and the Angeliques are just coming into bloom. I am going to plant more of the Angeliques!

    I noticed my Sum and Subtance sprouting this week and doesn't it seem a little early for them?

    I am with you on planting more bulbs this fall, but let's not get 200 this year!

  21. It was a joy to look at all your photos. Especially like the one where there is a yellow dandelion peeking out below the tulip. When I enlarged the picture of Tarzan in your garden, I laughed out loud. He's so cute!

  22. Hi Rose....Angelique is incredibly beautiful....I love that bloom...

    Your tulips are breathtaking delightful to peruse the photographs....
    As you so rightly say it was worth the pain to have so much pleasure....

    My hostas are up, some are healthy, others have been eaten. Your hosta looks wonderful.......

    I am having a really bad time with the kitten rabbits at the moment....they are nibbling everything, including some beautiful dahlias that were really showing well......they have also eaten some rose bushes that I planted.....and I havn't got one bluebell left, they have chewed through every last one......I think I am in for a difficult gardening year!!!
    Nevermind, it was lovely to see yours.......

    Hope the sun shines soon........

  23. MG, The tulips are probably are on their last week--I will be sad to see them go.

    MMD, The Sunrise tulips were a surprise--I didn't expect them to be so big. The only problem is that any wind makes them flop over.

    Beckie, I'm so glad you got to see the tulips in person; it's hard to capture the whole effect in a photo. More tulips this fall--definitely! Maybe I could coax the grandkids into helping, but they would want McDonalds instead of spaghetti:)

    Donna, Yes, I do have a lot of dandelions peeking out in the garden:) It's been too wet to do any weeding. Tarzan is the resident clown.

    Cheryl, The tulips have been such a pleasure to me this spring; Angelique is a delicate beauty. So sorry to hear about your rabbit problems. You need to borrow Coconut and Sophie for awhile: one night they were both out without a leash, and Coconut found a baby rabbit. Then Sophie got ahold of it--I'll spare you the sad details, but we had an awful time getting it away from her. She wanted to bring it inside to play with.

  24. Dear Rose,
    So very lovely. I too enjoy the tulips. They are worth every minute of kneeling in the dirt!
    I plant my tulips in the spring! These are the ones I force each winter. They will bloom next year. I like this plan since I can see exactly where a blank spot is.
    Happy May,

  25. What a great display of tulips you have, and lovely quotes to go with the photos. Happy Spring!

  26. All the work you put in planting all those tulip bulbs last fall paid off bigtime Rose! Gorgeous! And yes I agree with Beckie that the one does resemble a Peony blossom. This fall I'm going to try my hand at some of the specie tulips. :)

  27. Hi Rose, enjoyed taking a peek at your garden and I see some of my favorites there...Angelique tulips are one of my favorite tulips...ours aren't out yet and we also have the Pink Charm daffodil!
    I did view the enlarged photo of Tarzan! My husband commented on how much he resembles our Brody!
    Happy May!

  28. Sherry, Planting tulips in spring would certainly make sense! It's hard to remember from spring till fall where the older ones are planted.

    Outside In, Thanks for stopping by; I think spring has finally decided to stay for awhile.

    Racquel, Thank you. I've had some of these tulips for a few years, and I do hope they last for several more.

    Nan, When I visited you a couple days ago, I thought for a minute that Brody WAS Tarzan!

  29. A lovely posting - your tulips are beautiful and your little snatches of poetry a delight.

  30. Hi Rose, I thourally enjoyed every photo and flower! How can I pick out one or two to comment on? Every one of them has it's own beauty...and you do have a lot of that in your garden!! I noticed that the one garden seems to hold mainly (besides tulips) lilies and iris'. That does give you a nice progression through the spring and summer, doesn't it?! My gardens have such a mixed variety of 'everything' that there's no real plan and it probably looks silly--but to me, color and contrast just make me happy, no matter what 'position' they are in the garden! Maybe one day I'll learn to do it right!!

  31. I love the scent of lilac. I pass it growing in people's gardens and have to stop and sniff.

    Beautiful tulips.

    I'm sure Tarzan is just tired snd not at all bored!

  32. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.



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