Trees are turning color and leaves are falling. I love this moment when the tiny golden foliage from our Honey Locust Tree carpets the garden and the surface of the pond. Yellow waterlilies have been blooming for the last week or two, but I think this small one is the last we'll see until next summer. To enjoy what's happening foliage-wise in other gardens, visit Pam Penick at Digging, the host of this monthly meme.
Perfect weather for the driveway project — and for water lilies. We've been having almost a dozen flowers every day. This is one area of the garden where I am very strict about flower color: only yellow and white are allowed!
If you are not familiar with water lilies, I should point out that they are not actually in the lily family. They are members of the genus Nymphaea. All our water lilies are Nymphaea odorata, meaning they're fragrant.
My color restriction holds true even in the upper pool. There is only one plant growing there, Arrowhead (Sagitaria latifolia), and I love when it comes into flower. Such a cool and refreshing look. This plant has been showing up right on cue every summer since we planted it in 1998! It almost fills this smaller pool with flowers.
Years ago I managed to grow a respectable clump of baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata) in my first garden, which was both sunny and cottage-y. These days I grow a water-loving version of the plant. Actually, it's a completely different family but offers an airy flower stalk that visually refers to the traditional garden version.
Alisma triviale grows in a few inches of water right at the stony edge of our pond. I put in one plant in 1998 and each summer they festoon the pebble beach. They are not so prolific as to be a problem. And they are easy to pull out if I decide one is blocking the view to the water. These will start blooming soon, with flower clusters at the ends of all the branches of this tree-like water plant.
A bit of warm weather and all the trees in the garden will suddenly be leafed out. But before that happens, the bare branches let us enjoy the glorious effects of late afternoon sunlight in the garden.
Fred and Ethel, our resident mallards, flew in Sunday (3/29) afternoon at about 2:45 p.m. They've been coming every spring for seventeen years. Or maybe it's their kids or grandkids who are now stopping by. Without having banded our original pair, there's no way to be sure. I just know we start watching for them as soon as the ice begins to melt on the pond. The ducks are also my primary phenology sign as I've noted the date of their arrival every year since 1998. The earliest they ever showed up was 3/06 (in 2000 and 2004) and 4/04 was the latest (2013).
Last Friday (3/27) was the first day the pond was completely ice free during the day. We think the pond froze solid this winter because we kept having a sheet of ice no matter how much melted. You could see it rising like a big irregular ice cube as the days went by. But open water and ducks means that Spring has officially arrived at our house.
Mark and I went out to Black Earth an hour before the last WHPS garden tour so we could make a stop at the Shoe Box. We each replaced our worn out gardening/hiking boots. And I finally got a pair of rubber boots that fit my narrow feet.
So now I can weed the boggy garden bed that requires standing in the stream in order to reach the plants. As you would expect I needed boots made of rubber so they're waterproof, though these are actually made of a recyclable PVC-free synthetic rubber that’s 50% lighter than natural rubber. I could easily feel the difference in weight compared to other options.
The boots are made in Canada and/or the USA by Kamik, a family-owned-and-operated company that's been in the business since the Great Depression. New boots meant it was a good trip before we even saw the gorgeous gardens on the evening's menu.
Our ducks have been showing up almost daily. Sometimes they fly in just for a quick dip in the pond. Other times they come for a longer stay and paddle around, climb up the stream to the upper pool, stand on top of the big rocks or wend their way up the grassy slope at the back of the pond.
These days Fred often comes by himself. We assume Ethel is nesting somewhere. He seems perfectly content to be alone, just lazing on a summery afternoon. Did you see him in the top photo?