Love Spring in the Yard!

This year’s spring has been strange.  Our rainfall has been well below average, which has been nice, but so have temperatures, which is less nice.  We’ve had a solid week or two of really nice weather though, which is not something that Western Washingtonians tend to experience in May…. ever.  Our summer usually doesn’t start until the 5th of July (there’s a long running joke that it has to rain on Independence day, so the day after that, the weather is finally allowed to improve), so I’m not holding out too much hope that it will stay as gorgeous as it’s been, but I’ll take what I can get.
Lupine just starting to bloom

I have a strange way of remembering things, so please bear with me, but it’s usually pretty easy to tell within a week or two what the date in late spring is by what’s blooming.  Generally, our purple lilacs bloom first, and just as they are starting to get brown and crunchy, the white lilacs will begin opening.  That transition usually takes place on Mother’s Day weekend.  I know this because my mom used to have like 30 lilac bushes, and we would cut a huge bouquet for her each year.  The purple ones always looked bad but were open, and the white ones were usually mostly closed, but were in good shape. Lupine is usually in full bloom over Memorial Day weekend.  I remember this because a few years ago we drove up to my in-laws’ cabin for Mem. Day weekend festivities and I remember certain areas of the freeway were surrounded by lupine in bloom.  It was gorgeous.

5 year old Primrose lilac - NOT yellow.
This year, everything’s out of order.  The lupine is blooming a full 2-3 weeks early, and all of my lilacs have opened at about the same time.  It’s pandemonium people!  My yard is CONFUSED!

Syringa Vulgaris Blooming

I’ve pared my Mock Orange collection down to just one bush.   Haha, like how I just suggested that I willingly chose to do so instead of managing to kill the other 2 bushes that I bought our first summer in the house?  Anyway, I’m pretty sure this one is cultivar ‘Heaven Scent’ but I may be totally off.  It has some really interesting bright yellow variegation in the leaves.  None of the flowers have opened yet, but it’s coated in buds, so in a few weeks time, I’ll probably just drag a chair down next to it, sit among the weeds, and read a book.

I not-too-long-ago had an exchange with another blogger about how useless tomato cages are.    They are terrible.  Not tall enough to contain them, not short enough to fit under anything, and apparently not supportive enough to even handle a peony.  This is my grandmother’s peony by the way.  Well, part of it.  I suspect it’s not getting quite enough sun, as it only gives me 1-2 flowers each year, but I’ve also moved it twice in the last 4 years, which also may have a little to do with it.  Regardless, I’ve tried a number of different support methods, year 1, I had no idea they needed support, so didn’t provide any, and it vined across the ground.  Year 2 I made a square out of bamboo stakes and wrapped twin around them to box it in.  Year 3 I made a teepee out of bamboo stakes and then lashed on horizontal bamboo supports.  All 3 methods seem less stupid than the fucking tomato cage.  Perhaps it is just the false hope that I had for it’s promise as a peony support, but I’m about ready to melt it down for scrap.

Last but not least is my Korean Mountain Ash.  This thing is great and one of my favorite plants, although I still can’t get over the sneaking suspicion that it’s actually a pretty boring tree.  Craig doesn’t seem nearly as pleased with/excited about it as I am.   We had a Pacific Wax Myrtle where this tree was to eventually act as a screen for our neighbor’s bedroom window/mint green siding.  But then there was a big snowstorm and half of it broke off.  And it was the important half.  So I opted for something a little taller to begin with that should fill in fairly rapidly. And it has cool shit going on each season.  To begin with, it blooms in May. (see below), has pretty leaves all summer, the leaves turn nice colors in autumn, and in winter, it produces colorful berries that the birds nibble.  As long as it doesn’t start showing up all over the yard, I’d say this tree is a real win.  So go get one post haste!

korean mountain ash

Last year was it’s first year in the yard, so I’m expecting it to begin to fill in much better this year, but time will tell.

Do you have anything exciting going on in your yard so far this spring?

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