Monday, April 21, 2014

New Garden, Full of Surprises

Though our family near and far currently endures a measure of misfortune and illness, and a fog of shell-shocked weariness engulfs us, the beauty of spring still has the power to startle and delight--especially as it's our first spring in our new home and so we get to enjoy weekly surprise parties courtesy of the perennials, shrubs, and trees as they bloom.

Somebody planted this place with azaleas and rhododendrons in dazzling shades of purple...
...and red. The delicate interiors of the flowers are just as lovely as the vivid petals.

Sprightly little plants also spring up uninvited, but welcome; here's a pansy that's
quite at home in the paving stones of a path to the back deck.
It's completely unfazed by the dog galloping over it daily.

I had no idea a graceful bleeding-heart adorned the slope out front
by the culvert that catches runoff water until suddenly there it was, in full bloom, dangling its pink earrings in the breeze.

A magnolia topping out at about 15 feet grows outside my office window.
It looks as if it's holding hundreds of white bone-china teacups up to the sky.

The central parts of a magnolia blossom look like something out of a Chihuly glass exhibit. The green-gold tentacles are the pistils, or seed-producing parts; the pink fingerlike structures are the pollen-producing stamens. Beetles and bees are the pollinators.

This small plant grows in ground-covering clusters in the shade.
It grows so well that I was sure it was either a nice native plant
or a horrible invasive non-native that Washington State law
would mandate must be dug up and destroyed.
After some research, I learned that it's a variety of
Spotted Dead Nettle (nice name, yeah) and that,
though there's a black sheep in the family called "white nancy,"
this purple variety hasn't been singled out as an invader.

Last autumn's leaves form a still life in the bird bath along with catkins from this spring's growth.

Kitty came with us from our last home. She now dozes on soft moss,
sprinkled by fir needles and cherry blossoms.

We lugged our rhubarb plants with us, too.
They'll have a year to settle in before we harvest them again.

Hooray for Spring!