~ Linda Singer

“Silver white winters that melt into spring…”

I often find myself singing the melody line of this song, made famous by Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music, written by Rodgers and Hammerstein (their last musical written together) in 1959. Comforted by my father’s lap during the scary portions of the movie, I was otherwise completely drawn in by the story line, the music, the “mostly idealized” young children, and the spectacular Swiss Alps scenery. The possibility of singing in a meadow of blooming alpine wildflowers virtually defines this song.

For now, it is the oriental poppy, my favorite flower.

Often gardeners are asked, What are your favorite flowers? The time-honored answer is something akin to “whatever flower is blooming now,” I have many garden favorites and their annual presence guides me through time.

My winter turns into spring with the appearance of snowdrops being visited by either Val Van Meier’s or Rick Church’s honeybees, crocuses poking through the ground, followed by the intense excitement of tulips and daffodils. I love driving on our Nelson roads where the daffodils bloom roadside (thanks to the volunteer roadside clean-up corps), along our old stone walls, and in our front gardens shared with passers-by. The joy of re-experiencing these first bloomers grows each year, superimposed on past recollections and hopes for my future ones. This year, I divided large white crocuses, white primula, and woodland phlox to intersperse with my “lady jane” perennial tulips. I am already planning for next year’s canvas of happiness.

Another defining garden (and life) moment is the re-appearance of leaves on trees and shrubs. There are a few anticipatory days of swollen, almost-ripe buds that miraculously open to reveal their soft, colorful, bright, fragrant greenery. One almost forgets just how beautiful the world can become practically overnight. Over the years, I more fully appreciate how this time of year is defined by leaf color, shape, and the late spring light. My favorites include yellow and orange ninebark, red-leaved bleeding hearts, deep-purple-leaved ligularia, red and purple coral bells, and yellow and red maples set off against the vibrant greens of spring. One morning, I was happily walking barefoot on the cool damp grass, which was moist from the overnight dew. Each blade revealed thousands of watery crystals reflecting the early light, and I experienced the melody of my “favorite things” once again.

I have included a few photographs of the garden highlights in my late May-early June garden. By the time this goes to print, many of these flowers will be past and replaced by new ones. The ephemeral nature of gardens has taught me to be more fully connected to the magic of this moment. My eyes and heart witness the transitions these plants make as they evolve into their dormancy. Unexpectedly, I now find this beautiful, too.

Not quite the Swiss Alps, but I am singing in the dew tipped blades of grass.

Whose Bees?

I love seeing the hummingbirds as they collect nectar from the dangling white bells of Solomon’s Seal.

The interest of seed pods…..this one is of pasque flower.

White Trilliums turning pink as they transition to dormancy.

Enkianthus flowers falling onto leaves of ginger.

Excitement of Lady Slipper’s…..the specialness of this time of the year.