Inside out

May 1, 2020

BY Pam Pooley

This has been a generously slow spring that most of us are watching unfold from indoors. Fortunately, we can even get outside to experience up close the changes in our gardens. We are more focused than ever on our surroundings, and we haven’t taken for granted any single burst of color or sign of fecundity. Truly our winters here in the north last a full on six months, a testament to the Greek myth of Persephone, Goddess of Vegetation, who emerges after a half-year spent with Hades in the underworld, to reunite with and uplift her dear mother Demeter, Goddess of Fertility and Abundance, making the Earth bloom and grow bountiful. It’s May at last. Our patience with all things will be rewarded. Our own energy picks up, too, as we are of the Earth. Growing season is ramping up, and most of us have some seasonal favorites, our own tell tale signs of reawakening on our properties: your spring bulbs merrily emerge, forsythia gleams, flowering trees or espaliers are bejeweled with pink and white blossoms, golden willow branches swagger in the wind, vigorous perennials like nepeta, sedum, and peonies claim their space again. Now’s the time to take stock of the wonderful things you’ve been seeing in your landscape.

Here are early spring delights to observe from inside:

  • Do you have enough spring bulbs? When you look out your windows, where do you need to fill empty spaces? Note these spots now because bulbs are planted in the fall. Snow drops, daffodils, tulips and the like spark up any garden bed, field, stone wall or walkway, and give us fresh cut flowers at the ready.
  • Do you have early flowering trees for eye-catching color? Pear, peach, plum and cherry trees bloom before they leaf out and we are seeing their show now.  My favorite flowering trees are crabapples. Watch for my next installment that features the crabapple tree tour of great cultivars on my property. They leaf out first and then burst with blossoms, while many tree limbs are still bare.
  • Do you have perennials and grasses that show off early? Most grasses come alive with warm weather in late summer but my cool weather favorite, Deschampsia cespitosa, commonly called tufted hair grass, greens up early along with the sedums and the dramatic stalks of peonies.

May’s Tip: Start a garden notebook to record changes in your landscape

with notes for future plantings.

Welcome Persephone!