Daffodils scribble their way across the grass at the Dragon's Tail.

Is it Spring yet?

Spring is here, finally, with the promise that summer is a-comin’ in. Or so it feels today. And maybe it will feel the same tomorrow, but who knows?

Oscar Wilde said that conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative. Not so for gardeners in the Eastern Townships of Quebec where I garden. Weather means more for us. This year at least it means ground so soggy that farmers still can’t seed their fields. It means trees still struggling to leaf out.

 

The hawthorn trees higher up the hill aren't dead, just very slow to leaf out.
The hawthorn trees on the left aren’t dead, just even slower than the ones on the right to turn green.

 

On the positive side it means that spring is lasting longer than usual.  Daffodils began to bloom more than a month ago and are only now reaching their peak.

 

Daffodils scribble their way across the grass at the Dragon's Tail.
Daffodils scribble their way across the grass at the Dragon’s Tail, Glen Villa’s signature planting.

 

Because we planted different varieties of daffodils at the Skating Pond, we may enjoy them for several more weeks. That’s if the weather cooperates and doesn’t heat up too much, too quickly.

 

Daffodils bloom for weeks by the Skating Pond.
Over the years we’ve planted thousands of daffodils. Can there ever be too many?

 

Overall, the Skating Pond itself is looking very good, particularly on a moody-sky day.

 

The willow tree
The willow tree will droop closer to the water as the summer progresses. We gave it a good haircut last year.

 

I’m happy with the Cascade, too.

 

The spirea at the top and bottom of the Cascade are just coming into bloom.
The spirea at the top and bottom of the Cascade are just coming into bloom.

 

I particularly like the little marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) that found a foothold near the water. At this time of year, any muddy spot offers them a place to grow. And what a bright light they are!

 

The bright yellow blossoms stand out nicely against the dark rock behind.
The bright yellow blossoms stand out nicely against the wet rock behind.

 

In the Lower Garden, the magnolias are particularly beautiful this year, thanks to abundant rainfall.

 

Magnolia stellata has been blooming for two weeks now.
Magnolia stellata ‘Susan’ has been blooming for two weeks now. The dark blooms of Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ are still to come.

 

Bergenia is blooming near the front door ….

 

Bergenia or pig squeak? Which do you call it? And how can such an attractive plant have such an unattractive common name?
Bergenia or pig squeak? Which do you call it? And how can such an attractive plant have such an unattractive common name?

 

…. with twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) lighting up the world nearby.  This plant is one of my favourites. I like that it was named after Thomas Jefferson, I like that it changes dramatically throughout the season, but I like most of all that it comes and goes so quickly.

 

This year's blooms came and went in three days.
This year’s blooms came and went in three days.

 

Andy Warhol taught us that we all have our 15 minutes of fame. Jeffersonia diphylla illustrates this perfectly. What could show us more clearly how ephemeral spring ephemerals can be? And, by extension, suggest how fragile are our gardens’ beauty and well-being.


Don’t forget to buy your tickets for the Open Garden Day! One click will take you directly to the Massawippi Foundation’s website  where you can purchase tickets for a morning or afternoon visit.

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  • Lisa Wagner

    It all looks lovely.

    My hubbie, already at our house outside of Le Bic, is reporting expanding birch leaves and emerging peonies. And hummingbirds are visiting their feeder, as are the other residents, visiting the seed feeders!

    • siteandinsight

      Lots of things emerging as the days warm and lengthen. I’m hoping the good weather continues for you and your husband in Bic.

  • Babs

    We have weather in New Zealand too, Pat. Lots of it. Being a country of long, thin islands in the middle of vast oceans, weather is more often unpredictable and changeable than for places with the moderating effects of large land masses. We just don’t get the extremes of seasons that I see in your garden where the sharp change from season to season give so many different views. It is looking really lovely. You don’t suffer from narcissi fly? Best regards, Abbie

    • siteandinsight

      No narcissi fly, just tons and tons of beautiful daffodils. Our temperatures are extreme — from an occasional -40 to an occasional +40. Thankfully, most seasons fall well between the two.

  • MariT

    Lovely garden, Pat. Here in Britain (islands surrounded by sea) we always ask about the weather when we meet someone who lives elsewhere in this country with it erratic weather. So Quebec is not alone in this.

    • siteandinsight

      Britain isn’t the only island — Quebec is sometimes called an island of French in an English-language sea. Today has been glorious and I’m hoping that the good weather will last for days to come.

  • Okay, all is good but Summer starts here in three weeks…..let’s get moving!

    • siteandinsight

      I wish!

  • Anne Wareham

    Happy to see that spring has at last arrive for you. I imagine you are noticing the same as us, though in different climates: that unusual weather creates some dramatic winners and losers. Strange deaths and disappearances, and amazing performances the like of which have never been seen before.

    • siteandinsight

      Our temperatures fluctuate wildly. This morning it was warm, this afternoon it is almost cold again. Yes, some strange deaths over the winter, plants that have been doing well for years. The hawthorn trees at the end of our drive are only now coming into leaf. Crazy.

  • I love your dragon’s tail planted in daffodils. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens tucked in a few marsh marigolds along the edge of one pond, and they self-seeded to surround all the ponds in the garden, where they are a very cheerful sight when not much else is happening in spring.

    • siteandinsight

      Good to hear from you, Jean. It was a long, hard winter and I know we both were very happy to see the spring. I love marsh marigolds. They bloom well in wet spots in one of our fields but haven’t spread as much as I hoped. Perhaps they will, as the years go by.