Even though meteorological spring arrived on the first day of March, the official first day of Spring, the Equinox, arrived yesterday on the coattails of March's winds as a precursor to some much needed rain here at Blooming Hill. Not exactly fashionably late, rather, exactly on time, by spring standards, and the plants, herbs and flowers in my greenhouse could not be happier. I opened the door to feel the warm, moist air billow out as it has on these sunny March mornings and stood there silently, listening to the collective sigh of relief from all of the greenery as cool spring air enveloped the small, crowded space. Although a bit overflowing and cramped as the warm weather approaches, the greenhouse is still one of my most favorite places to spend time, idly enjoying the scent of growing things enhanced by the pinks, yellows, reds and oranges of blooms peeking out of the textured shades of green.
Although the dainty daffodil was the first to show off it's pretty face, outside and taunt my greenhouse plants to come out and play, the scented geraniums and pot geraniums seem to refuse to wait any longer and, in their impatience, are among the first to bloom for spring in my greenhouse. Although they boast how they love cool days and evenings, they are too fragile to withstand anything near freezing. So, I hate to tell them it will be a few more weeks before I can set them free in the garden but I know they will wait, counting the days. Their blossoms are delicate and vibrant all at the same time and, as I clip them back, their intoxicating scents of lemon, rose, coconut and mint intermingle with the more pungent, earthy scents claimed by the myrtles, bays and rosemary's.
Cuttings of annual lavenders like Wild French, Spanish and Goodwin Creek Grey are filling out beautifully and reaching upwards sending out soft wands of purple and chartreuse. They will go out into the gardens very soon since they can withstand a light frost. The spring air will only encourage them to grow and bloom more. Meanwhile, one of the happiest and most beautiful of my greenhouse bloomers is the sweet little clivia with the big-girl blossoms . It sits most of the year, unnoticed with it's leathery long tongue like greenery, but as soon as spring hints of it's presence in the greenhouse, the clivia is usually the first to show up for the party.
Most of the small, new lavenders, rosemarys and scented geraniums are ready now for sale. To me, it is a little like sending children off to their first day of school after summer vacation. A little trepidation along with excitement and promise surrounds these fragrant babies as they prepare to make their way out into the world and on to a new adventure.
As tradition calls for, I planted sweat peas out in the garden on March 15th and also in small six-packs, just to make doubly sure, while smaller cuttings of geraniums line up dutifully, some about to bloom, even at this size. Nasturtiums in biodegradable pots won't wait much longer, either. Patience, everyone! It's almost time to go outside and play.
Meanwhile, outside with the daffodils, princess-like pansies have been set free, fluttering and swaying to the rhythm of the March breeziness. I found myself, this past week, more than once, standing at Southern States and taking in their rainbow of colors while trying desperately to limit myself to blue and lavender hues--my favorites, indeed!. It's times like this when I have an idea of how hard it is for shopaholics and addicts. A little girl also wandered over and showed me her favorite color of pansy. They were cabernet-colored with stripes of pale pink swirling to the ends of each petal. I have to admit, I almost succombed to them as well but, I was able to contain myself and stay with my first color choice of blues to lavender hues, if not quantity-wise, at least color-wise. I've tried growing these in years past but found they take a very long time and a lot of space. Two things an impatient grower like myself has precious little of , given everything else I dabble in. Besides it's so much fun to go and peruse the plethora of pansies offered up by larger nurseries.
Primrose plants that I planted last fall appeared in all of their gaiety as well, just outside of the greenhouse. Note to self--plant more primrose for next year! And, the boxwoods throughout the property are flaunting their tiny blooms as well. After all, boxwood is beautiful, too! Even the cherry trees are seriously thinking about stealing the show from everyone and taking what they deem to be their rightful place, which is front and center in the springtime garden. More on them, later!
The first signs of spring have certainly burst forth, inside and out of the greenhouse. They promise that only the best is yet to come. And, speaking of yet to come, Peter found his own rhythm this weekend and finished the ceder-shake roof on the garden shop. I can't tell if the smile on his face is one of satisfaction of a job well-done or just to be done with a long and arduous task--period!
And, while still not allowed near the garden shop structure or the ladders that surround it, I did finish pruning and trimming the 500-plus lavender bushes just beginning to break and then turned my attention to edging their beds so they will look pretty and coiffed come their own bloom-time farther afield. Although, it is very hard for me to imagine lavender not being pretty, no matter what their state. On April 30th, we will open up our property for public garden tours which will coincide with the "PHilomnt garden PHair" that day, just a hop, skip and a jump down the Snickersville Turnpike at the Philomont General Store and Community Center there. If you have time stop by between 10am and 5 pm that day.
In the meantime, I'll go into the greenhouse whenever I need a "mini respite" and enjoy the peaceful quiet of green things growing in celebration of spring. Maybe I should make room for a chair in there. Yeah, right, even if I found some room, who has time to sit?...Spring is beginning to emerge all over the place and I'm most happy about that.