The Garden Awakens, Part 1

It's early April and the garden is coming to life.  There have been a lot of additions to the perennial beds in the past couple of years and I've been rather remiss in detailing those here.  I'm hoping to rectify that this year.

Puschkinia libanotica with
Iris reticulata in the background

The garden feels as if it's waking up a bit earlier than usual...or is that just me?  One benefit of documenting what's going on in the garden, either in your own personal journal or online for public consumption, is seeing how the garden changes from year to year and this includes the effects of atypical weather patterns.  None of us are getting any younger and I, for one, have a hard time remembering these types of things.

So far, a few bulbs have popped up including crocus, Scilla siberica, Iris peniculata and Puschkinia libanotica:

Iris reticulata

Crocus 'Prins Claus'

Puschkinia libanotica

Scilla siberica

Hyacinth and daffodils are now on the verge of blooming, ready to take over the show as the super early bulbs peter out:

Hyacinth 'Carnegie Hall'

Daffodils in the west border

I dug up a bunch of bulbs from several areas I redid last year and planted them in an empty raised bed  as an interim measure.  These unknown varieties - all of which were here when we moved in - are slightly ahead of those planted in the ground, evidence that the soil warms up more quickly in a raised bed.

Early bloomer in raised bed

Quite a few hellebores have been added to the front garden beds over the past couple of years, but they are taking their sweet time settling in.  The fact that most of them were planted under a linden tree likely doesn't help as I haven't yet provided that area with supplementary irrigation, something that I'm sure they would appreciate (and is on the 'to do' list).

Hellebore 'Sandy Shores' is planted in the shade of a ninebark
& it seems to be doing better than those under the linden

Now for the most thrilling spring bloom this year - the Forsythia I planted in 2019.  So very exciting to finally see all the glorious yellow blooms!

Forsythia intermedia 'Spectabilis' - First blooms!

Although it's still quite small - just under 3' tall - this should be it's "leap" year, so I have high hopes.

I'm limiting pruning to dead, damaged or crossing limbs.  I'm not pruning for shape at this point
as the priority right now is size so that I can get rid of the invasive honeysuckle (on the right)
which is currently the primary source of privacy in that bed which is on the property line.
A bit of weeding (or in this case grass pulling) is definitely in order, though....

Sedum and other succulents are also emerging or putting on some new growth.  These next two were spontaneous purchases that I planted into the west border last year...I'm such a succulent sucker!

Rhodiola pachyclados 'Silver Gem'
(Silver Gem Stonecrop)

Sedum spurium 'Tricolor'
(Tricolor Stonecrop)

Another succulent that is making an appearance is the Bonfire Euphorbia.  There are so many different euphorbia cultivars out there, most of which are not hardy in our area.  This one (which is rated down to a U.S. zone 5) survived not only our winter, but the nibbles of a family of rabbits last year.

Euphorbia 'Bonfire' - A pleasant surprise 
that it survived last years rabbits and our winter

Of the three that I planted, only one had a few scrawny stems left with a smattering of leaves by the end of the summer - the other two were pretty much decimated.  Nonetheless, I covered all 3 plants with chicken wire & hoped for the best.   Well, it looks like I may be in luck as I'm seeing new growth coming up on all of them.  I do need to find an alternative to the chicken wire - this may be a satisfactory solution for the veg garden, but I'd rather not use it in a front garden bed, lol!

Much to my delight, there are many other plants in the garden that, just like the Euphorbia, are starting to wake up.  Details of those to follow in part two 😊


  1. Your garden works on a very different schedule than mine, Margaret, but I enjoy seeing all your awakening blooms at a time when most of my bulb blooms are rapidly disappearing. I've never grown Iris reticulata but I'm committed to planting some bulbs next fall. The Puschkinia is charming and I'm sure out of the question here.

    1. Looks like you are right about the Puschkinia - not many people are aware that some plants require a cold period to bloom and this one seems to need the chill provided in zone 8 or lower. I think you will really enjoy having a patch of Iris reticulata in your garden - it's small but mighty :)

  2. It's lovely to see the early flowers in the garden, a real treat after winter. I have a forsythia in my front garden which is flowering now, it was here when we moved in twenty seven years ago and I look forward to it blooming every year.

  3. Happy spring! I love all your early bulbs in bloom, especially the nice blue ones.

  4. Margaret we share a few plants indeed ! and after the rain we have just had these past few days plants are leaping up like mad and it is wonderful. I'm sorry you have had such trouble from the rabbits, it can be disheartening but wow you are documenting everything so well it really does help you have perspective (and lets you know what is what ? LOL) Lovely to see all those smiling plant faces .. PS .. I have had no luck with Euphorbia .. I tried for a couple of years in a row and they would NOT reappear for me, so I am throwing in the towel ! haha
    Stay safe and well !


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