Spring in Maine is normally a very spread out affair.
But this year things have been very different.
We did not get much snow this year. In fact, my driveway was only plowed three times. This is NOT normal for a Maine winter. And, March was warm. I normally start looking for the early spring bulbs at the end of March. The chiondoxa, crocus, daffodils, and tulips parade through March, April, and May, with some slight over-lapping. Then the shrubs and trees start to flower- forsythia, andromeda, magnolias, cherry, crabs, apples, rhododendrons, and lilacs put on their show.
But, this year this procession was changed. While the very early bulbs started out in their normal order, with just slight over-lapping of species, by the beginning of May one was seeing a very different spring picture!
First, the later bulbs seemed to last for ever. One lady said some of her tulips were lasting three weeks. Second, the shrubs were very early- lilacs usually start to bloom around June 5. This year they started to bloom a full month earlier.
Trees, shrubs, and flowers have bloomed all at once, in profusion and over a long period of time. It has been a veritable floral explosion of color and scent.
So, last week I took a walk around town to see some of the gardens.
This pretty creeping phlox has made a thick carpet along a wall.
In the shade of a tree Solomon’s seal and violets
make a pretty, delicate display.
I love the early violets.
Further along lily of the valley add their delicate bells,
and their enchanting fragrance.
There are times in spring when I think everything in bloom is yellow- forsythia and daffodils with their strong presence. But, by the time the dandelions arrive the forsythia has gone by, and only the last daffodils remain. For me the dandelions are a reminder of those earlier yellows. And, while by the end of their season as a gardener I am tired of them, when they first bloom I am always glad to see them!
The spiky blossoms of a wild honeysuckle bush
added their honey scent to the warm air.
A few steps further was a thicket of apple.
Their delicate perfume says early summer to me,
even though they bloom in late spring.
Somehow I associate them with warm evenings as days grow longer.
One would think all these smells would just be a cacophony of scents,
an assault on one.
But most are so gentle, so delicate,
that as one walks along each melts into the next,
making it a joy.
Of course, there is the odd exception- LILACS!
Nearly every old house and farm has a stand of lilacs.
While the traditional is Syringa vulgaris, in purple or white,
one does see some of the newer French hybrids.
There is nothing delicate about the scent of lilacs-
but what a joy it is!
A planting of all three colors of Spanish bluebells ( Hyacinthoides hispanica )
I like the way they were placed in back of the hostas.
Further along I saw one lonely Star of Bethlehem ( Ornithogalum umbellatum).
It is in striking contrast to the lush voluptuousness of the Spanish bluebells.
This normally grows in colonies,
so perhaps this was a volunteer.
One can just see the buds that are not yet open.
Further along this garden had an exuberant mix of
bleeding heart ( Dicentra spectabilis ) and tulips!
Tulips bring their own special je ne sais quoi to spring.
No matter how one uses them in a garden they are special!
This group of in a shady spot is lovely!
But, this delicate beauty shines on its own!
This garden has a fun colorful mix of flowers!
Walking along there was something to see in every direction.
This flowering quince was badly in need of pruning,
but still managed to add its colorful note to town.
Here an andromeda ( Pieris japonica ) and
rhododendron are in full bloom!
This crab apple’s branches were heavily blossomed.
One of the last things that flowers and trees give us is their petals.
I love to see the petals on the ground,
blowing across the road,
adding their last bit of color to our world.
Here is a mix of apple and crab blossoms,
with a few lilac flowers.
I hope you have time to get out and about to enjoy your own spring.
After the last year with all of its trauma and sorrow,
it is a wonderful thing to be able to do.