b tulipsBecause the deer and rabbits don’t eat daffodils, I consider daffs part of my landscaping and rarely bring them into the house for bouquets. Tulips are a different story. They need to be protected from critters, so I plant them inside the fenced garden, which clearly means they are a crop. I gather them, and with early and late varieties I have tulip bouquets for many weeks. An interesting thing about tulips is, when the flowers are spent, they – well, they explode, into a colorful chaos. I love that. We went away for a few days, and when we got back yesterday there was just such an explosion awaiting us. The rest of that bouquet blew itself up this morning.

b tulipsA trip to the garden revealed a new tulip crew ready to go, but this may be the last of them. It’s perfect timing, because the raised beds they’ve been frolicking in are soon to host the tomato plants currently beating against the glass in the upstairs window.

b jacob's ladderMy Green Lady, now next to the new garden bench, has acquired a skirt, and though it’s hard to tell here she’s developing sleeves of lamium, which I hope will ultimately reach her hands. But my attempt to give her a crown of hellebore didn’t take. It was coming along nicely, but must have been just far enough under the eave of the house that it was out of the rain. The pot dried out. The Jacob’s ladder alongside her needs no help from me to flourish, but neither do the hellebore in the front yard. They’re in-ground. So I have a choice to make here: give her a hat of something very drought resistant; remember to water her in spring even when it rains; or, what I usually do, plant her hat with summer annuals, because I’m used to watering summer annuals.

b lilacsLast year in May the crabapple trees were flowering in glory and the lilacs pouted. This year it’s the reverse – nothing worth a photo from the crabapples, but the lilacs look wonderful and smell even better. Why? Weather? Law of averages? I’m told there are crabapple varieties that only flower every other year, but mine seem to skip years randomly. It’s happened before, but not regularly. I tend to record these events even more randomly than they happen. Sometimes, in a moment of enthusiasm, I tell myself to keep a detailed garden journal with dates and comments for everything in the yard, to compare year to year and nail these things down. Moments of enthusiasm pass.

b dogwoodThe dogwood, though, bloom reliably: mid-May. There’s a poem by Edna St.Vincent Millay where she describes dogwoods as having “ivory bowls that bear no fruit.” I loved that poem as a kid growing up, but knew from observation that dogwoods do indeed bear fruit – red berries, in the fall. We don’t eat them but they are berries nonetheless, and many critters appreciate them. So she was wrong about the fruit, but “ivory bowls” is perfect, and I always think of it when the dogwood blooms. Ivory bowls will make you see dogwood, while red berries never would. The point of her poem wasn’t botany. The point was that the magically beautiful persists, returns, and is there to be found with or without a detailed journal.