Since many of us are feeling ambushed by the IRS right around this date, I thought that would be an appropriate sub-theme for *Garden Bloggers Bloom Day this go-round. Aside from feeling like the tax code is out to get us, this time of year many of us are ambushed by pollen lurking just outside our doors and windows. Right now we are experiencing record highs in the oak and maple categories. Fortunately, no one at The Havens suffers anything worse than some intermittent sneezing after a close brush with the back line of the property.
Another sort of ambush has been happening, though, and it is my favorite sort of ambush. It is the one that happens as you are bending over in a bed deadheading a clump of daffodils and a warm breeze from the south wraps its soft arms about you and breathes lilac over you. “Ah,” you say, exhaling so you can have room for a deep inhalation. You turn, seeking the source of the sweet breath of the zephyr, and way down at the far corner of the property by the mailboxes lurks the culprit.
The scent is so enticing you immediately leave your task and wander down near the bush so you can take a deep sniff of the fully open blossom clusters. You pick a few branches to take in the house to scent the dining room.
You wander up the fence line, clutching your booty, admiring the red bud tree that is fully open. You take a moment to look over the Gate that Does Not Open at the stroll garden, laid out before you in a tapestry of color and texture.
Soon the dianthus in the foreground of that picture will be laying its own spicy ambush, once her buds open. On your way into the house with the lilac branches, you are waylaid by another scent. This one emanates from the row of espaliered apple trees.
They are having a particularly good year this year, having in past years suffered late killing frosts, early warm spells followed by seasonal frosts, and cold spring days when the pollinators were staying home and warm. We may even get a crop of apples this year, if the squirrels cooperate and stay the heck out of them. Meanwhile, the blossoms this year are abundant, beautiful and fragrant.
There are a few branches of apple blossoms that can stand to be pruned off, so you add them to the bouquet and walk into the house and put the flowers in water. After that task is completed, you proceed on your walk about the place, completely forgetting the original task of deadheading narcissi that you were engaged in before the lilac called for your attention.
Just outside the back door is a visual ambush, as the bleeding hearts and the hostas along the back of the house are really prime. You are able to ignore the “work in progress” mess that litters the environs.
As you walk along that bed doing a tour of inspection, there are little vignettes that call your attention all along the way. A perfect hosta leaf, too young to have been munched by gastropods or insects:
The sweet woodruff, in full spring swing:
There’s almost enough there to flavor some Maywine. Right next to it, if you look under the glossy ginger vine leaves, you discover its modest flowers busy blooming too.
And the miniature iris is just about to pop.
By now the aftermath of the lilac ambush has effectively wiped out the idea of deadheading from your brain, which has been turned to mush by all the gorgeousness splayed about. All you have to do is look up from the miniature irises to be captivated by the combination of tiny daffodils and species tulips at the edge of the Rose Garden.
Seeing those tiny daffodils reminds you momentarily of your original task, but your attention is quickly grabbed by another sweet scent wafting your way. Look, the rose verbena is blooming!
That reminds you of how you wound up with this plant in your garden at all. It was a wonderful evening scent that ambushed you three years ago as you were walking the dog out in the wasteland that is destined to be a subdivision. The seedlings that were stolen transplanted at that time have taken strong hold in The Havens’ gardens, maybe even too strong a hold, you think at times as it spreads wildly about the borders of the rock garden.
Just another step along the path you are wending your way down brings you to the azalea bush.
Behind you are the blueberries. Note the difference in size, vitality and enthusiasm. One was eaten to the ground by the rabbits this winter. The other got a cage before the pesky rabbit got around to munching it.
We are grateful they both survived and hoping that the birds will let us have some of the berries. As you pause to admire these beauties, another scent on the afternoon air ambushes you. You look around for the source, and realize it is on the other side of the fence, out by the pond. So, of course, you go there to find a passionate duet being sung by the violets and the chocolate mint.
Heavenly. But really, you must get back to the task at hand, which is deadheading the front flower beds. So you turn to head that direction, only to be ambushed once again, but this time by the sight of the vegetable garden. That arugula, kale and mustard is about to leap out of the cold frames and tackle the unwary passerby, don’t you think?
So, now you have a fistful of asparagus to take in the house. On your way there, a last scent ambush awaits you, the source draped across the pergola. The wisteria has perfumed the air, and causes you to pause on your way in.
It’s going to be very demanding of attention in a couple of days when it gets to be in full bloom. Right now it is just a promise of beauty to come. You drop off your asparagus in the kitchen, and wend your way out to the original task, deadheading the narcissi. The last of them are just coming into bloom.
Soon they will all have faded, only to make room for the things that will come along and bloom next. The irises are just now putting up flower stalks, the spanish blue bells are showing blue, there are alliums starting to unfurl. The grapes are unfolding, soon it will be time to plant cucumbers and melons.
Ah, spring! The time of year when beauty of eye and nose ambush you at every turn of the garden path, when promises of future bounty beguile you at every turn.