Tag Archives: spring

A touch of spring

March 26th, 2020 | 14 Comments »

Envy is not an admirable trait but I have to confess that at this time of year, when gardeners even a short distance to the south of me are picking daffodils and beginning to smell the roses, I am envious. Here, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, patches of snow are still much in evidence and where the snow has melted, the ground is soggy, squelching underfoot.

Yesterday, though, my heart brightened when I saw the first crocus in bloom.

Nothing says spring more than yellow crocus!
Nothing says spring more than yellow crocus!


I agree, these little blossoms are nothing when compared to the swathes of colour I see from gardens in England or British Columbia or states in the U.S. southeast. Or with the extraordinary display of Texas bluebells that I was looking forward to seeing in April, when I was scheduled to speak in Austin. (Check out Pam Penick’s blog here for some fabulous photos of what I might have seen.) Still, even these modest displays say that spring will come, even this year when so many around the world are suffering, sick and dying.

So I rejoice in the crocus and in the snowdrops that are blooming everywhere.

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The daffodil foliage just beginning to emerge lifts my spirits.


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In the woods, the snow cover is still heavy in spots, but even there it is beginning to melt.


The snow-free spots on this hillside are warmer. Why?
The snow-free spots on this hillside appear around the base of trees and shrubs, sometimes even around piles of leaves which warm up faster than frozen or soggy ground.


Water is pouring over the waterfall, as more snow upstream melts.


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So spring is definitely on its way. All I can say is, hurry up, please!

Plus ça change…

April 9th, 2019 | 11 Comments »
This winter feels interminable. Surely in earlier years daffodils have been blooming by now, snowdrops long gone. Well, no. It's true that in some years snowdrops have appeared by this date.   [caption id="attachment_7384" align="aligncenter" width="1353"] These snowdrops were shivering in the cold on April 1, 2016.[/caption]   Crocus have bloomed.   [caption id="attachment_7387" align="aligncenter" width="3648"] These crocus were lighting up the hillside on April 4, 2010.[/caption]   Pulmonaria have added their touch of colour.   [caption id="attachment_7394" align="aligncenter" width="2384"] This pulmonaria or lungwort was blooming on April 4, 2010.[/caption]


Yearning for Spring

February 25th, 2018 | 13 Comments »
It's grey and nasty today and all I can think about is spring. I know it will come but its arrival seems a long way away. So instead of moaning, I'm dreaming of snowdrops ...   [caption id="attachment_3744" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] It's easy to see how snowdrops got their name.[/caption]   and crocus ...   [caption id="attachment_6049" align="aligncenter" width="3456"] Yellow crocus are sunshine to the soul.[/caption]   and buds beginning to bloom.   [caption id="attachment_6057" align="aligncenter" width="1807"] When the yellow buttons of Cornelian cherry open up, the shrub becomes a haze


Cornus Mas: A Shrub with a Golden Glow

April 26th, 2016 | 4 Comments »
Not much is blooming in my garden now. The snowdrops are almost gone, the grape hyacinths are just beginning to open and the pulmonaria by the front door are slowly showing their spots. There is a star in the garden, though, although that star isn't a show-off. My bashful star is Cornus mas, a shrub that is little known and easily overlooked. Cornus mas, or Cornelian cherry, is a large shrub or small tree that is hardy to zone 4. It doesn't push itself in your face like forsythia; rather,


Can spring be far behind?

April 5th, 2016 | 12 Comments »
Percy Bysshe Shelley knew a thing or two about spring. His Ode to the West Wind ends with a hopeful phrase: Be through my lips to unawakened Earth The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? At Glen Villa, the answer seems to be yes, it can be. Far too far behind. Is this April unseasonably cold? Perhaps not. But after a mild winter, and a few days of beautifully warm sunshine, my hopes were high. It seemed that the unawakened earth was awakening,


What is blooming at Glen Villa?

March 28th, 2016 | 8 Comments »
Last week I was wondering what I would find when I returned to Glen Villa, my garden in rural Quebec. Would the snowdrops be gone, the crocus out in full force? Would I even find a daffodil or two? The quick answer is, no. Six weeks in warmer climes made me forget that this is only the end of March. And in Quebec, that means that spring has yet to arrive. So what I found was a lake still mostly frozen, with a skim of water in some places on top of


Is Anything Blooming at Glen Villa?

March 19th, 2016 | 4 Comments »
After more than a month, I'm heading north in a few days, returning to my garden in Quebec. It's been a strange winter... the winter that wasn't, someone called it. So I don't know what I'll find in the garden when I finally arrive. I've heard that in the Eastern Townships, my part of Quebec, the ice on the lake is breaking up and has almost melted. If so, it is earlier than last year.   [caption id="attachment_3731" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] I took this photo last year on April 17 when


Crocus on my Mind

February 15th, 2016 | 10 Comments »
  For the last few days I've been driving south, from Montreal to South Carolina. I was expecting the days to get warmer and they have, but not by much. Along the Skyline Drive in Virginia, snow was very evident, up close ...   [caption id="attachment_3531" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] I like these trees and the way the branches are twisted by the wind and weather. Can someone identify them for me?[/caption]   ... and in the distance.   [caption id="attachment_3532" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Snow covered the ground on mountain ranges that retreated


It’s spring? You could fool me.

March 23rd, 2014 | 5 Comments »
I woke this morning to a beautiful winter's day. The sky was blue, the sun was glinting on the newly fallen snow. Gorgeous.A glorious winter day, on the third day of spring.Except that it is meant to be spring. The vernal equinox has come and gone. Officially we are now three days into spring. Only at Glen Villa, it seems we are nowhere near it.Yesterday it snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more: about a foot of the white stuff came down. The accumulation now reaches almost to the railing


The Darling Buds of May

May 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate;   Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date.                        --- William Shakespeare Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 provided the title for H.E. Bates' novel. I never read The Darling Buds of May. Never saw the British tv show, either. But I've seen the buds themselves. Rough winds may be shaking them. but they are blooming gloriously