If you were to take a stroll through my gardens right now, today, you would find the sage, lemon balm, cat mint, bee balm, yarrow, chives and oregano returning in the herb garden along side newly planted (I just did it this afternoon after work) rosemary, lavender, parsley, basil, cilantro, pineapple sage and chamomile. Subtle herbal scents would greet you on the breeze, like a Spring incense. It's positively divine. Behind the row of herbs, you would see a white fabric hoop tunnel. Lifting the fabric a bit and peaking under, you would be greeted by an abundance of growing radishes and, I am sorry to say, only a few very small seedlings of kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Next time, I will not direct sow seed but start them all indoors or in my mini-greenhouse. The rest of the veggie garden bed lies in wait for tomatoes, eggplants and some other warm crop veggies.
Moving on to my rock garden, hostas are really coming in now, the spikes of leaves unfurling to show off the varying shades of green. The yuccas have been thinned out and are ready to send out their long flower stalks once Summer has arrived. The butterfly bush, which I know is not a native plant and is invasive but which I cannot bring myself to remove, is beginning to show new leaves all along the lengths of its branches. The daffodils and tulips are fading now but the forsythia continues with its brilliant yellow flowers and bright green leaves. At the center of the rock garden, still stands the skeletal remains of my Burkwood's Broom, the victim of Winter's wrath. I just purchased its replacement, a Lena's Broom. Gone may be the beautiful cream and crimson flowers of the Burkwood's May show but we will now have Lena's gorgeous bright red and yellow blooms in the Mays to come. My husband and I will carefully cut down the old Broom in order to keep several branches intact for making - what else -a broom! (More on that another day.)
The patio is a wondrous place to just sit a while right now. The lilac is in full bloom, its flowers changing from deep purple to a very pale lavender as each petal opens. The purple coneflowers are in varying degrees of growth, some several inches above the soil and some just poking through. Calendula is sprouting from the seeds I planted a few weeks ago. I still see no signs of my black-eye susans but there is still time. The day lilies are almost at full size but their bright orange trumpet-like flowers will not appear until the end of May. The first buds have just emerged on the sweetspire and, by June, it will be full of white flowers surrounded by several different species of bees and wasps, attracted by its strong sweet scent. Come mid-Summer, the entire patio garden will be popping with colors - purple and pink (coneflowers), orange and yellow (calendula and day lilies), deep red and orange (nasturtiums and cardinal flowers), fuschia (bee balm), white (moon flowers), and, of course, all the shades of green possible. The patio is also the place where my plants await transplanting in the garden beds. So, right now, you will find pots of Lena's Broom and spirea. The mini-greenhouse holds my current seedlings - tomatoes, cardinal flower, red twig dogwood, and more basil.
Throughout the backyard I have nasturtiums, in baskets and tucked into almost every garden bed, just emerging from seeds I planted two weeks ago. There are several bird houses, feeders, and baths for all of my feathered friends. Soon the hummingbird feeders will be hung too! This year I am trying to attract Baltimore Orioles so you will often find oranges (their favorite) hanging around the yard. As more butterflies emerge and come to the garden, I will also set up a feeding station for them. It's a simple shallow bowl filled with aging berries, oranges and bananas. The bees are already beginning to arrive. Carpenters, masons, yellow jackets, and bumbles are flitting in and around every plant in the garden, looking for blossoms. In just a couple of weeks, these bees will be "bar-hopping" from flower to flower, taking all the nectar they can. The whole garden will be buzzing and singing in the warmer days to come.
The front yard is a bit less magical. I am still trying to figure out what would be best to do there. Right now, we have ivy, a huge yew shrub, day lilies, hostas, a rose bush, and goldenrod. A few hyacinths and tulips are there too. My husband and I plan to take out all of the ivy and the yew but it will be back-breaking work and we haven't felt up to the task as of yet. I will also remove most of the hostas and day lilies and give them away to a good home in a plant swap. I would like to make it as pollinator friendly as possible, with native plants and a few showy shrubs, and with as much color through all the seasons as I can find. My sun porch looks out over the front yard so I want to be able to see all the same beautiful sights - the bees, the butterflies, the birds, and the colorful flowers - that I see in the backyard. I dream of sitting in my wicker chair, reading a gardening book and sipping herbal tea, and glancing out the huge windows on that porch to see butterflies frolicking among the blooms and birds drinking from the small cauldron fountain (which, note to self, the hubby has to fix).
As April draws to a close, I find myself busier than ever in the garden. So much is done already but there is still so much more to do. There is still planting to be done, new plant friends to be found, a tree or two to replace, and new homes to be added for birds, bees and butterflies. As always, a garden is a constant work in progress. I don't mind though. I revel in the work. I get to be outdoors every day, rain or shine, spending time with Mother Earth. All is turning lush and green, vibrant colors are bursting all around me, and surprises greet me almost every morning. Magic is happening all around me. I am a happy witch in a beautiful, peaceful and magical place.