Snow Queen Melts in Spring

Whenever I go out of town for a few days, I never know what to expect from the garden upon my return. It’s always extremely different than when I left, and always surprises me. When I returned from my trip to NY last week, here are a few of the surprises I found awaiting me:

The Snow Queen clematis, slowly working its way up the back fence and twining sinuously among the canes of a companion climbing rose, was in tight buds when I left home, yet in my absence it suddenly burst into magnificent bloom. Although the flowers have no discernible fragrance, they are so gorgeous to look at that I don’t even mind…
How amazing is that?
If I don’t pick these ripening strawberries within the next day or so, the neighborhood squirrels will beat me to them. Fortunately, they will keep producing all summer so there will be enough to share with the sharp-toothed little buggers.

Every year I wonder if it will get too hot too soon for the peonies to bloom – it sometimes happens just that way in our arid little microclimate east of Berkeley.

This year, however, we are being treated to the full gorgeousness of these double-blooming peonies, which are fragrant, too, as if their visual magnificence wasn’t enough!

Before leaving town, I pulled out the decrepit, white-fly-infested plant specimens that had wintered over, and then replanted the pots by the front door with some fresh and colorful summer things: namely coleus, pelargonium, and impatiens. Coral with burgundy and chartreuse is a color combination that sings, to my mind.


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