|The lily bed in January '11|
I spent the endless days of winter, though, checking out armloads of gardening books from the library and making detailed plans of the new arbor bed I had prepared the previous fall. Dreams of the ultimate perfect garden kept me going through those cold, gray days of January and February.
|Diane, yours truly, Monica, Lisa, Beckie, and Linda, March '11|
By March 15 a few little snowdrops--my first ever--and crocuses were blooming,
and the foliage of tulips and daffodils were emerging.
|My favorite place to be in the spring--my front yard.|
Finally, the calendar said it was spring, but it was really April before it arrived in my little corner of the world. Spring--my absolute favorite season of the year! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the first blooms on the redbud tree and then the crabapples burst forth in full bloom. Garden work was delayed as the proverbial April showers turned into downpours, and strong winds blew away the crabapple blossoms much too soon. But at least we were spared the floods and devastating tornadoes that hit many other parts of the U.S. this year.
|'Professor Rontgen', a ruffled orange beauty with petite 'Fur Elise' in the foreground, both newcomers this year.|
Finally, it was tulip time! I'm not sure if I like tulips so much because of their unique beauty or because they are the ultimate symbol of spring for me. Whatever the true reason, they are my favorite springtime bloom and worth every minute spent on aching knees planting them each fall.
Spring was a whirlwind of activity as we prepared to leave the country for Daughter's wedding in Cancun and then, on our return, preparing for the wedding reception here on our front lawn in early June. All I remember about May (after the wedding, that is) is furiously planting, weeding, mulching, and generally trying to get everything spruced up by the fourth of June. Still, I took some time to enjoy the new irises--all passalongs--blooming for the first time in the lily bed.
|'Rocky Mountain Blue' columbine, mid-May '11|
I was also thrilled to see the first-ever blooms on the columbines in the shade garden.
Summer started early with some of the hottest days in early June, including the day of Daughter's reception. June seems to be a transition time in my garden, with not a lot of blooms, but the shade garden was at its peak. Summer blooms seemed out of sync, with the lilies later than usual and the coneflowers appearing earlier than usual. One of the highlights of the June garden was my first success in growing poppies from seed.
|Agastache 'Heatwave' mid-August '11|
|'Limelight' Hydrangea September 'll|
As if to make up for the hot and dry summer we endured, Mother Nature rewarded us with a glorious fall. The natives went crazy in the butterfly garden.
|Front corner of the arbor bed, with petunias, zinnias, white cosmos, and pentas vying for attention with the fall-blooming 'October Skies' asters.|
The new arbor bed reached its high point in the fall, with all the late-blooming annuals finally blooming. With the warm temperatures, most of the annuals lasted until late October. The warm and sunny days stretching into November also meant I had plenty of time to get fall clean-up done and some new bulbs planted for the coming spring.
By December, the garden had been put to bed for its long winter's sleep, but winter seemed slow in coming. A far cry from 2010, the snowiest December on record, 2011 ended with only one light snowfall and some unseasonably warm days. With Christmas preparations uppermost in my mind, I forgot about the garden until this week when I finally had time to look back and reflect on it.
|Shade Garden, mid-July 2011. I love it, but I wish I'd paid more attention to spacing!|
And so we put away the calendars for 2011 and begin anew with 2012. I'm looking forward to the next few months looking through gardening books and catalogs, once again planning that elusive perfect garden. Happy Gardening in 2012!