SPRING IN THE SUN ROOM

I enjoy my sun room all year long (except when I slip away to the shore for the summer).  I particularly enjoy it with my first coffee and wake-up music in the morning but also frequently for lunch and sometimes even breakfast.  I enjoy being closer to the world that surrounds my town house, the bird songs and the occasional passage of some of the deer that live nearby (three in the couple of days that I composed this post).  A paramount feature, however, is my house plants which I enjoy all year long (yes, they go to the beach, too).  With longer days the plants are responding and I’m seeing more color.

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Left to right I’m enjoying a hanging basket of Torenia, shelves of a Begonia and a couple of Philodendron, a spring present of  Jasmine from my daughter, a Geranium and another Begonia.  Then there’s the light stand with such goodies as a yellow Lantana, more Begonias and Geraniums, even a Sinningia and an Episcia and a couple of African Violets.  Above them another Geranium, an aggressive Spider Plant, and a blooming Abutilon (Flowering Maple).  To the right an Elephant Ears and a final Geranium.

Pearl is no long around to enjoy the morning with me but the plants are a pleasure.  Tours welcome.

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The lighted shelves and trays.

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There’s also a miniature rose.  I’ve always enjoyed them and always watched them never bloom again.  This one gave me another shot so I’m encouraged.  So far it’s taken three treatments for aphids and one for black spider.  It’s worth waiting a little longer.

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I have only two African Violets under lights; in the old days I had three 8′ x 4′ shelves under a dozen fluorescents, nurturing gloxinias, fragrant stock, marigolds, columnea, violets and begonias.  A business partner once said that when he passed he’d like to be laid out in my basement.  It was a delight to care for and to enjoy, particularly in a cold, dark winter but I eventually lost the war to thrips and mealy bugs.  One or two are manageable, but it’s tough love, baby.  One thrip and you’re outta here.

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Let’s go outside to close.  This scene is on the wall of the garden of my long time friends, the McCallums.  Tom had planted this Clematis a while back and it was doing well.  Jeanne asked me if I could photograph it as Tom has been on our nursing floor and hasn’t been able to enjoy the season.  The showery day had left raindrops on the leaves and that added to the appeal.  Good Job, Tom.

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Click here for a full sized view.

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SPRING AT BOX HILL

Since I plan to relocate in the coming months I am particularly sensitive to this spring and what spring has brought to my life all the years in this house.  It has always been a favored season of mine beginning with the slight, tentative, feathery foliage of the emerging tree leaves.  Soon the leaves are full and painted against the sky leaving only moving swathes of light here and there.

Then the dogwoods  appear up and down the streets.  Saturated pinks and whites, the richest of which was given to us years ago by a friend and planted by my late wife, Marty Lou.  Next arrive the wild violets, the vinca, and the delicate and fragrant lily-of-the-valley, again all planted by Marty, sometimes to my regret as I have had to fight their invasive tendancies. 

My daughters would pick lily-of-the-valley, resulting in crushed bouquets for Mother’s Day.  Now I invite the little girls across the street, Sophie and Chloe, to do the same.  A neighborhood friend (a friendship as old as the house) would also pick a bouquet every spring;  she is not well and her bouquet was unpicked this year and I’m sad about that.  The kids have moved out, friends leave, I’m leaving.  But the lily-of-the-valley remain and there are seasons to come.  I think that’s nice.

Next on the spring schedule are the delicate wild azaleas.  I have a half dozen of them on the grounds; they were here in the woods before I came along and they survived the house construction.  They’re not as splashy as their hybridized cousins;  they’re quietly understated and quite satisfied with that, thank you.

As the wild azaleas finish their show their splashy cousins begin to emerge and what a pleasure they are to the eye.  Here’s one having its purpose helped by a honey-maker, a mutually beneficial relationship.

After the azaleas have peaked my clematis shouts “Look at me now; I’m beautiful.”  Talk about a saturated color.  They’re growing on the arbor Marty had me erect to give the back patio some isolation.  I don’t sit out there much anymore but it’s a nice feature.

About this time the first of my rhododendrons open their blossoms.  Last winter they were arched to the ground under ice coats on shriveled leaves.  They survived and I’m now enjoying lots of lush, rich colored bloom.  Moral:  Hang in!

Next and bountifully beautiful is the mountain laurel blooming every year around Memorial Day.  The amount of bloom varies from year to year, seeming to peak every two years.  When it does it forms a canopy on the thicket alongside the house, almost a blanket of these exquisite miniature umbrellas.  The thicket comes right up to my bedroom window and I’m greeted by armful-sized bouquets.

A blanket of mountain laurel.

 I enjoy a coffee while taking all of this in on the front patio, remembering how the girls hauled the bricks to the work area and I laid each and every brick.  I walk about and see the tiny blossoms on the holly trees, some already fruited, and the flower heads of the pyracantha, both promising flashes of red in the fall, both saying “There’s a future.”  The Nantucket Rose which Marty dragged back from Cape Cod is blooming and, as usual, the aphids are enjoying it.

While I’m truly excited about the next phase of my life at Medford Leas, I’m going to miss spring at Box Hill.  But, just as the seasons progress, so must I, and I know spring will be just as beautiful all over the Medford Leas campus.  I’ll tell you about it next spring.

 

Laurel blossoms and the Glen at Box Hill

SPRING BLOOMS – 5/11/10

Rhododendron Blossom Head

This is a soft, beautiful time of year with the trees leafing out, still feathery, and the abundance of spring blooms.  This rhody was condemned to death by one of my landscapers years ago as suffering from a borer.  I refused to carry out the sentence and the rhody recovered and for many, many years it has been magnificent.  Here is a closeup of one of the flowers.

 

Here’s one of my peonies.  So beautiful and gently fragrant.  I lost every bud last year to an unknown cause.  Only a few buds this year but welcomed back.

 

Peony

 

The clematis over Marty Lou’s arbor seems to struggle every year but it persists.

Clematis on Marty's Arbor

This morning I had a real treat.  I was invited to tour and photograph the gardens of Kathy, a fellow photographer.  I was overwhelmed with this Longwood Gardens annex.

Iris

It was view after view after view of iris in all colors and all manner of blooms from stately bearded German to delicate Japanese.  In between, several varieties of clematis on attractive garden trellises, and  rosebushes beyond count.

And the first peony, just unfolded.

Peony

 And, an honor: while we stood and chatted by Kathy’s hummingbird feeder not eighteen inches away from me, up came a hummingbird who hovered, looked at us, and then proceeded to have a sip.  I felt honored.