Lonicera sempervirens, the coral-red native honeysuckle, is enjoying spring. (Photo by Gay Griggs McCommons)
[Editor’s Note: I was copied on this email to our daughter Molly. It was not intended forpublication, but I was running late on Pub Notes, and I thought this unguarded paean tospring much more timely and impassioned than anything I would be able to shoveltogether. Enjoy.]
Our crazy quince is still blooming, now with fewer blooms, but these are surrounded by lustrous new leaves. (We took a photo of this season's first quince bloom on Dec. 26, 2018, so on Mar. 26, 2019, there had been blooms on the bush for three months.)
The serviceberry trees are in full bloom. The spireas—the old favorite thunbergii and its recent green-gold variety “Ogon”—have been beautiful. The frothy blooms are almost all gone, but the foliage is lush and bright.
The pearlbush has been a cloud of white blooms for a couple of weeks and is still showy, but the blooms are greatly decreased in number; the new light-to-medium-green leaves look very fresh.
Fuzzy little blooms have appeared on the bare stems of Fothergilla. Native honeysuckles (coral-red lonicera sempervirens and yellow lonicera sempervirens Sulphurea) are blooming. The Chardonnay Pearls Deutzias are covered in little white buds about to burst open among shining chartreuse-y gold leaves. The iteas under the serviceberry are showing tender new leaves whose spring green shades toward olive. Our little native blueberry, vaccinium darrowoii, has tiny mauve and blue-green leaves. The oakleaf hydrangea is leafing out beautifully and seems to be starting new branches (in partial thanks to the "pruning" apparently provided by a deer who wandered through when someone forgot to replace our tomato-cage barrier into the garden.) Among the leaves along the branches of the “Athens” variety of our native sweetshrub, buds are beginning, which will become yellow flowers, instead of the more common variety's burgundy.
The roses have lots of red-tinged leaves, with a few flower buds beginning.
Perennials and bulbs are shooting up their foliage: Baptisia Alba, astilbe, daylilies, Japanese asters, chrysanthemums, summer lilies, and irises of four varieties—tall bearded, Louisiana, fulva, and tectorum.
A recent drive out past Bowman was beautiful, uplifting. I passed through stands of Georgia hardwoods, crowned with their pink, coral, maroon, chartreuse and myriad-green early spring leaves. As I rounded one of my favorite curves, I saw sloping down from an inviting farmhouse a brilliant green pasture, dotted with Holsteins, some standing, some lying down, their irregular black and white splotches stunning against that green. I thought that surely some painting I have seen had been re-created in that moment, but I have been unable to find it, searching Gauguin, Van Gogh, Grandma Moses—cow observers of note. I felt what painters must feel all the time—a desire to capture that image, to paint it, so that others can see what I have seen, how I have seen it.
I remember when Athens-Clarke County and local volunteers began several years ago to plant daffodils—lots of them—in the grassy hills sloping down from highway interchanges. The first spring I saw one of these plantings in profuse bloom, "My heart leap[t] up!" Yes, I felt it physically! And I remembered with what boredom I had suffered studying Wordsworth's "Daffodils," preferring at that long-ago time to read instead poetry expressing the pangs of tragic love. (I know that the leaping heart line is from "My Heart Leaps Up," but it's what I felt when I saw those daffodils, and it's still Wordsworth.)
The surprise of unexpected beauty.
I felt it again this spring when I saw those yellow trumpets taking their stand amidst the concrete and the driving machines and the roar. My heart leapt up! Thank you, ACC and citizen volunteers.
Thank you, spring!