Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Miracles in the Spring Garden

I have several sentimental spring garden favorites. One is lilacs. We've always wanted a back yard filled with lilacs. My husband had many lilac bushes in his yard when he was growing up. Four or five years ago for Father's Day I bought him a lilac shrub (which he planted himself, LOL). Knowing that lilacs need several hours of sun each day and that our yard is pretty shady in spots, I still took the chance and bought it anyway and placed it in a spot near the back door where it would still get a little sun. It never bloomed. One year there was a teeny tiny flower but that was it and so year after year I resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn't be able to have lilacs in this Yard of Little Sun and would have to learn to love the hostas and perennial geraniums.
 
 
I've been so busy lately and have not had time (or energy) to do much in the yard but dream. Plus it's been so cold until recently. I did not even give a thought to the lilacs. I'd really given up hope. Then, a few days after Mother's Day, I let the dogs out into the back in the morning and as I followed them out I almost screamed. It bloomed, it bloomed! Seemingly overnight. I ran inside to text a picture of the lilacs to my husband at work.  How's that for a miracle in the garden?
 
 
Huge, lucious blooms!
 
I could not believe it. I do not have a green thumb and am clearly no master gardener. Lately, I just go with the flow every year, and so this was a shock to me. Why would it bloom this year and not the others? What was different about this spring? I have not fertilized any of the plants yet. It was not exactly puny when I planted it so it wasn't that it needed to grow. And it did bloom ever so slightly that one time but then just stopped. I think I'll simply call it my garden miracle and leave it at that. You just never know, do you? Perhaps all those prayers for my children to thrive spilled over into the garden, LOL.
 

 
 
 
 
I'm now giddy with springtime enthusiasm.
 
I've always had the same problem with bleeding hearts. I love bleeding heart plants and they do okay in shady gardens. But not mine. And for the life of me I have not been able to grow any for years. Of course, like an  idiot, I never gave up and still kept buying them over and over, even though they'd always die, hoping I'd get one that would thrive and bloom someday. Look - this year I have bleeding hearts too!
 
 
 
How sentimental is this? Pink hearts.
 
I did some research and my plan (a someday sentimental garden dream) is to have a perennial Cottage Garden filled with these plants:
  • Peony
  • Shrub roses
  • Geranium
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Coneflower
  • Daisy
  • Poppy
  • Hollyhock
  • Lily
  • Phlox
  • Sweet pea climber
  • Butterfly weed
It will have to be in the front yard because that's the only place we get decent sun. Some of these are plants I already have. It's going to be a big job and I need a good couple of free weekends to work on it and then time to keep it up. If this summer is not as hot as last summer I will try to keep it going. I usually give up if it gets too hot. (I also know all about the poisonous plants on the list. The dogs do not go out in the front unsupervised, just so you know.) If you have a cottage garden yourself, show me your pictures!
 
Any chance I can turn this -
 
 
into this???
  
 
I think I'll need another miracle.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

26 comments:

Janet O. said...

Congrats on your blooming lilac! I love lilacs, too. I have 13 bushes in my yard, in a variety of colors--even striped!
Oh, bleeding hearts are another favorite. I don't have that one, but grew up with it.
If you get your yard looking like one of those postcard perfect places I want to come visit!! : )

Beardie Mom said...

Our backyard hostas were doing wonderful until the 4 bunnies got hungry . . . We used to have lilacs in our yard and the neighbor did also -- oh the smell -- gorgeous -- then the neighbor's house sold and the guy hacked everything down -- nothing left of that beautiful yard except ugly play stuff a really bad patio and storage shed and horrible weeds -- what a mess of what used to be a lovely house . . . sad . . .

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Oh my what beautiful flowers! I think because you had such a cold hard winter, Spring is repaying you with beautiful blooms. I do think your front entrance can one day look like Better Homes and Gardens. Just keep at it :-)

Linda said...

THANK YOU FOR THE GORGEOUS PHOTOS!

msstitcher1948@yahoo.com

moosecraft said...

Hmmmm.... maybe it's because of the winter? Either way... the blooms are gorgeous! Yes, I think you can turn your cottage garden into the after photo... the beauty of a cottage garden is minimal upkeep... add some hydrangea for good measure too! They even like shady spots... so add them to your back yard too!

Kathleen Tracy said...

Oooh, good to know. I have one hydrangea in front. Maybe I can put one or two in the back. Now I want 13 lilac bushes too! I will definitely buy a couple more and see how it goes. Hope they don't all take 4-5 years to bloom . . . .

Julierose said...

What kind of lilac is it? I have tons of shade, too and I grow bleeding hearts (if the deer don't chomp them!) and I want to start some lily-of-the-valley pips--as they are the flower for my May B-day month. Lovely pictures...I'll bet your yard smells heavenly...Julierose

Sue said...

Oh how I love the lilacs! I have quite a few in our yard and since I am redoing several gardens around the house I am filling my beds with cottage style flowers and flowering shrubs too! I am just as much of a sentimental sap as you are I guess! I want all those same flowers and shrubs that grandma had :)

Heartsdesire said...

How lucky you are to have your lilac blooming. I'm still waiting for blooms on mine (it's been three years so far). The pink bleeding hearts are so perfect for you. Do you have any white ones? I think your front yard looks lovely, just needs a few plants to fill in the spaces. Poppies would look good, and of course, pink sweet peas would be sweet climbing up your picket fence. Remember, the garden in your after picture probably took years and years to look this way, so have a little patience.

Michele said...

It does take a few years for the lilac to get settled in it's new spot and to start producing flowers. Do not fertilize them..that's only going to make them grow leaves. Go to the library and get a good book on lilacs. There's a special way to prune them too. I've got a side yard filled with them. One bush is a sucker plant from my Dad's lilac bush that I took from my parents house about 30 years ago when we moved. My husband wants to downsize since the kids are gone, but I can't move and leave my lilacs and peonies behind!

sunny said...

I love lilacs too, and ours is in full bloom right now, and smells so wonderful! Maybe it was the long winter?

marie said...

My lilac gets about 5 hrs of sun (afternoon) and each year has a few more blooms than the year before ( 6 years old). I have so much shade that my iris lay down on the ground and seek some sun, then they flower, so they are not good to use as a cut flower.

cityquilter grace said...

that and probably a cool half mil for the house...and the lilacs? they found their sun obviously...oohh i love peonies...my grandmother had them and i did too way back when i had the house...beautiful

Rosa said...

I smell your lilacs.Near my house are lilacs.

Sue Bennett said...

It is beautiful Kathy. Your list of flowers is a wonderful list..but I would move the coneflowers to the top of it...
Sure you can have that front yard. You just have to go for it.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I can't wait for my lilacs to bloom--I love the fragrance. I'm afraid it will be a while though, as we just had ice-out on our lake late Monday.
My understanding is that the buds develop on last years growth, so if you or the deer trim them late in the summer, you will lose the blooms. I usually prune off the spent flowers (if I haven't picked them all) right after they are finished blooming and then leave it alone the rest of the growing season. I have a hedge of Miss Kim lilacs and the one on the end seems to attract deer who enjoy pruning it back so it never blooms.
Today I plan to pull up the suckers that are popping up all around my common lilac shrub outside my kitchen window. That one has the best scent and is huge!

Maxine said...

We can always hope (for miracles).

marian said...

WOW what a thrill!! Your gorgeous lilacs remind me of my mother's garden, she always had magnificent blooms.. lovely fragrance. But i must say your 'bleeding hearts' are to-die-for, i've never heard of them and i will seek them out now. I love rambling cottage gardens and you've chosen a lovely selection of plants to create your dream garden :))) cheers...Marian

Diane said...

Perhaps that gardening adage is true, first new plantings weep, then they creep, until finally, they leap into bloom. Enjoy the heady fragrance of your lilacs.

Crickets Corner said...

Your lilacs are beautiful! They can take two to five years to start blooming and it looks like yours took the whole five years. From now on you should have more and more blooms each year.

Ingrid said...

I've never seen or heard of bleeding heart flowers. They're so cute! Ah, lilacs. If yours smell as pretty as they look that will be the icing on the cake! I still get very sad when I see lilacs because since my sense of smell became impaired, I can barely smell them. I can still enjoy looking at them, though!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful yard. I can almost smell the flowers

jannypoo64 said...

I had the same problem with a white peony. It took about 6 years before it finally had 1 flower. Now it is full and lush. I also love bleeding heart plants. We also called them lady in the bathtub 'cause you can gently pull the upper sides of the heart back and it looks like a lady in a bathtub.

agullainquieta said...

What more beautiful garden! The lilacs are beautiful, very decorative, and your husband must be very happy.
kisses

Carin said...

I also have a lilac and it smells so wonderful in the garden !!
beautiful pictures you have made.

Ruth said...

I do love lilacs (I grew up in your area), but now I live in Texas and it's too hot for them. Maybe your liked all the rain as well as the cold spring?

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