Blooming most recklessly

Wish me luck with this lovely dianthus! It's a perennial, so if I don't kill it, you may be seeing it again sometime.

Wish me luck with this lovely Oscar Pink dianthus!
It’s a perennial, so if I don’t kill it, you may be seeing it again sometime.

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” Rainer Maria Rilke

I probably say this every year, but I can’t remember when I was more eager for spring. Because I was expecting visitors in late March and early April, I was disappointed that my hyacinths and tulips were delayed by the weather.  I combed the garden stores hoping to find some annuals I could plant for a spot of color, but alas! none of them had much on hand.

Because of this, when the flowering plants finally began to arrive, I couldn’t tear myself away from the colorful displays.  So far I’ve bought three or four blooming plants I’ve never tried before (ageratum, English daisy, and Oscar Pink dianthus) along with the usual favorites (snapdragons, portulaca, begonias), and I know I’ll be curbside-shopping (the flower equivalent of window-shopping) for some time to come.  I have no idea how well any of these will do under my less-than-expert care, but I had so much fun shopping for them, they are well worth the relatively small amounts I spent here and there.

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?  Which flowers are shrieking in your neighborhood? What are your favorites among their colorful voices?  Take time to enjoy the gorgeous floral displays popping up everywhere, for sale or for show, and feast your eyes on their vivid hues.


  1. Mostly subtle spring flowers here: primroses violets, stitchwort and the bluebells just starting. Having said that there are still exuberant daffodils everywhere (our national flower here in Wales, after all).

    • Ah, that means I simply MUST find a way to visit Wales!! The daffodil is my favorite flower, and that’s really saying something since they all delight me so. I have a post coming up one week from today about some of my own daffodil blooms, and why I love them. The ones featured in that post are some doubles I planted, but the more typical bright yellow daffodils are the ones I love best, and “exuberant” is a perfect way to describe them! The other flowers you mentioned are lovely too, and I have a yellow primrose (in a little pot) brightening my deck right now. This is the first time I can remember ever having one, though I have always loved their vibrant colors.

  2. Good Monday morning, Julia. My yard has 15 Majestic Hawthornes that are gloriously PINK. They were slow to bloom but are the fullest and showiest they’ve ever been. I emailed a photo to enable you to enjoy the splendor with me. Even the woods at Willow Tree seemed greener than usual. I love Spring Green! I wish you well with your gardening and landscaping. 🌼🌸🌷🌹🌻🌾Have a colorful week! 🙏

    • Sheila, thanks so much for sharing this beautiful photo! I can’t imagine having FIFTEEN of these gorgeous Hawthornes blooming at once! All this and the ocean too! I appreciate your giving me a quick glimpse into your lovely world this morning.

      • And speaking of sharing, Ann sent me this photo from her recent trip to fabulous Keukenhof. This one shows the creativity of their indoor floral displays…I like to think I’m good at up-cycling, but I never would have thought of this one! It reminds me of a wonderful shoe garden that used to be in San Francisco.

        • That is quite beautiful and so clever! Thank you for sharing. 🌷

          • I can’t NOT share pretty flowers! 😀 (If I only had time to share more of them…)

  3. Carolyn

    Beautiful flowers, mine are coming along,just need some sun . We have had rain and cooler days. Still doing okay, hope Jeff is doing good with his chemo. You all have a great week . Hugs and love to all.

    • Carolyn, we’ve been having some rain too, but the sun just now popped out. It always amazes me how that lifts my mood. I’m glad to hear from you — it’s always good to know you are doing OK. Knowing that Memphis sun, your flowers will be gorgeous before you know it. Sending our love to you and Terry!

  4. Julia, I came home to the vibrant reds of my Boston Ivy putting on its finery for the dying of the light and the last of the tomatoes still hanging from the dried vines. When Siddy goes for his walk we trample through the leaves in the park that are deeper, duskier reflections of the vibrant spring flowers you are enjoying now. I love the way the seasons reflect each other!

    • Thanks, Pauline, for a reminder of that lovely autumn color, and the fun of walking through the falling leaves. It’s still amazing for me to think of you there on literally the other side of the world, yet so close. ❤

  5. Not much yet, Julia. But, I can see the life blood of vegetation working it way from the soil, through roots and entering the stems of plants and trunks of trees. Won’t be long now!

    • Yes, once it reaches a certain point, the leaves and flowers seem to spring up overnight. The anticipation just makes it more fun! Kind of like Christmas.

  6. Spring flowers are irresistible, aren’t they Julia? It was amazing to see the changes in my garden in the ten days that I was gone. The azaleas and hydrangeas are up, along with the four o’clocks, the salvia and a few lingering bulbs. Because our temps are moderate, the rest of the bulbs were up in February. The love-in-a-mist are going to bloom any day now. They’re covered in buds.

    • I had never heard of love-in-a-mist so I looked it up – gorgeous! I just love it that we can find a flower or a bird call or a place on a map, so quickly and easily. Our azaleas are just starting to bud here in Alexandria. We are hoping they might be blooming in York already. Our hydrangeas have a ways to go, but I’m hoping they’ll do better than they did last year now that we’ve cleared some overgrowth around them and given them more light. I imagine your garden really took off while you were away. That California climate can’t be beat when it comes to growing so many beautiful things. I bet your hills are still that lovely green, too, for a few more weeks. I loved those springtime green hills of CA so much.

      • Julia, I hope you’ll come for a visit one day. I’m sure a lot has changed since you were last here, but lots of your favorites will remain. You won’t like seeing the empty lakes and reservoirs though.

        This is indeed a wonderful place to grow things. If only we had the water to go with it. We’re taking steps now to remove our lawn and will replace it with natives or dryscaping or a combination of the two.

        The hills are pretty in the spring. I’ll have to get some shots along 280. Do you remember that drive?

        • Yes, I do remember it, and also the lovely drive up 680 which we took much more frequently. The traffic there was horrendous at times, but the nice thing was you had such pretty views as you sat there — ditto for the slow traffic that would hit Napa sometimes. Hopefully the lakes and reservoirs will fill up soon. When we moved to central CA in early 1990, there was large a dry gully there in Lompoc that people told us was normally a flowing river. It was a couple of years before we were able to see it, and I realized then I had not really believed it was that big of a river. It’s amazing the damage a drought can do. It breaks my heart when we hear of the wildfires out there. We had a xeriscaped front lawn when we lived in Vacaville, and only part of the back yard had grass, but even that much took a lot of water.

          • Julia, do you have any pictures of that front lawn? It sounds intriguing.

            Yes, 280 and 680 both have some beautiful vistas. I’m just glad I’m rarely on either them during rush hour traffic. Mike has an electric car so he is able to take advantage of the commuter lane. That’s a plus. Most of my client work starts at 9 and is local, so with only a few exceptions, I’m not sitting in the mess.

            • Alys, I’m pretty sure I must have some photos of our CA yards here or there…I’ll try to find one or two to send you via email. I think it would be worth getting an electric car purely to be able to use the HOV lane in the Bay area. We are lucky here that Jeff doesn’t have the highly-traveled route to work, and whenever we go to York there are three of us, so we get the HOV lane. It can add hours to the commute, otherwise. I don’t know if electric vehicles qualify for HOV lane status here, though they should.

              • I will look forward to seeing them when they turn up. Several years ago I took my entire collection of negatives to Target and had everything scanned and digitized. It’s been wonderful. This past month I had my mom and dad’s photo albums scanned and digitized too. It’s made it so much easier to access things.

                • Alys, I’m gradually digitizing my massive collection of photos, as well as many from my parents’ extensive collection. I’ve had a few disappointments with some of the scanning services I’ve used thus far, so I’m kind of picky about where I’ll send them, but I’m slowly making progress. I’m doing a bit of it myself with the more precious items, though my scanning equipment isn’t as good as that used by the pros and I REALLY need Digital Ice or a similar program for all the dust specks, etc., which most professionals routinely use. At first I was paralyzed by the fear of losing photos and tapes in sending them out, since hardly anyone does the conversion on site anymore, but then I had to remind myself that these precious mementoes are not doing anyone any good sitting on a closet shelf somewhere. Digitization is such a marvel, allowing free or very inexpensive sharing once the initial investment is made. The enjoyment of sharing them has made it easier to keep plugging away at what sometimes seems an overwhelming task.

              • Glad Jeff has an easier commute. The hybrids qualified for the car pool lanes for awhile, but not anymore. The EV’s do though.

          • PS Yes,wildfires are a huge concern every summer, but since the drought worsened, its no longer a season but a possibility all year.

            • WOW, that really is scary. We had a good friend in central CA who was a fireman, and he ended up going all over the state to fight wildfires. He worked so much overtime that his wife never needed to have a job outside the home, but of course, it was a sacrifice for them all for him to be gone so much. I’ll never forget coming back from Sacramento one afternoon on I-80 and passing by a wildfire on one side of the highway. It was terrifying. Not long after, there was a wildfire that crossed the median and was literally in the road. I wasn’t there but it was all over the news. People were said to be abandoning their cars to run from it. They always say one should NEVER abandon the cars since it clogs up the freeways, but I know how terrified I would be to be sitting in anything with a gas tank when a fire was raging nearby.

              • What a terrifying experience for you, Julia. I’ve passed small brush fires before and that was bad enough. I remember pulling over to call the fire department once, too. The Oakland Hills fire was the worst we’ve seen here in terms of bizarre fire behavior and lives lost. It moved so quickly, and was eventually classified as a fire storm. Were you living here then? Mid eighties I think.

                I admire your friend and his work for the fire industry, but I do think it would be very hard to be married to someone like that. All that worry and time away would be hard.

                • Alys, the Oakland Hills fire was before we lived there. We first moved to CA in January 1990, arriving on the central coast just a few months before the dreadful Painted Cave fire in and around Santa Barbara. We lived on Vandenberg Air Force Base, a huge and remote base about an hour north of there. That summer we were treated to the sight of all sorts of wildlife in and around our home, which we found delightful until we learned that they were so plentiful because many of them were fleeing northward after being burned out by the fire. That was my first experience with seeing firsthand the far-reaching effects of wildfires, and how much destruction can come from a single careless act (though the Painted Cave fire was later determined to be caused by an arsonist, who was never caught).

                  I’m grateful to have learned a bit more about the demands of services we take for granted; knowing our friend in CA who was so often away from home fighting fires, and having a glimpse of a first responder’s life through spending a bit of time around my sister’s household (her husband is a volunteer first responder in their rural area, where there are no nearby emergency services). The year before I married, I worked editing a newsletter for the Tennessee Division of Forestry, and my office was in the same location as all the state-level officials, including the “big boss,” the State Forester, a friendly and dedicated professional. He impressed upon me when I first started work there, “Everyone who works here, from me to you (in other words, the highest ranking employee to the lowest 😀 ) is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in case of fires anywhere in the state.” He explained that my role would be limited to providing water and food for those taking breaks from being out fighting fires, and the likelihood of our being called out to rural areas was slim, but I needed to understand that protection of the forests was everyone’s priority. That was a helpful context for a clerical job that could easily seem far removed from the field. I learned a lot in my short time there, and from then on, just as an airline crash anywhere always feels like a death in the family to me, so does the news of a wildfire anywhere feel especially tragic and sad to me.

  7. Good morning, Julia! Yes, our growing season has just begun! So far, I’ve seen only crocuses and daffodils, but they symbolize hope – I don’t expect the others are far behind!
    I once worked someplace that had an enormous planter out front, which they would re-plant thrice annually: spring bulbs, then summery flowers, and finally autumn-shaded mums. It was fun to have something to keep looking forward to (except winter – nothing then….)

    • Susan, I wrote a post about daffodils on that very theme — how they are among the first to defy the frost. Perhaps that’s why I love them so much. I’ve always wanted to plant crocus as well, but never seem to get around to it. A lot of bulbs (such as tulips) get eaten up by voles and other critters in York, so I became a bit reluctant to plant them.

      I like that planter idea. It would be great for planting something that wasn’t cold-hardy and had to be brought in anyway. It’s a bit labor intensive but in a container I think it would be less so. Plus I just love the variety. Our landscaper advised us to leave room for annuals among the shrubs and perennials, to add touches of new color at various times.

  8. Julia, good morning. I love flowers almost as much as books 🙂
    My irises and rose bushes are blooming. We had a heavy hail storm Sunday, its amazing they survived! Daffodils are my favorite, because of their early Spring appearance.
    But I like all flowers…

    • Merry, daffodils are my favorites too, as you will read in an upcoming post. WOW, your flowers survived the hail! I just love irises. They are splendid. We have some under a big tree in our York back yard, but they quit blooming (though the foliage still grows fine) and I think it’s because everything has grown up around them so that they don’t get enough light. I probably need to read up on how to divide them anyway; a woman in Yorktown who has fabulous irises of all sorts told me that they need to be divided fairly regularly.

      I like all flowers too! Even Dandelions and other “weeds.” It was so sweet when I was with Grady the other day at Mama and Daddy’s home…he kept picking Dandelions and bringing them to me, saying “Here, MeMe!” Of course I loved it.

  9. Rene

    In my former school district, students often brought me dandelions and clover when they came in from recess. I used to put them in my hair, which I loved and they got a kick out of.

    The new plants in our front yard, which I had thought of as just plants, are providing some startling blossoms. Within the next month we will be replacing some that didn’t survive the one week of frost, and I will then try to contribute some photos. I know I will miss the pepper tree (especially the shade), but I am enjoying the color!

    • Rene, don’t you just love it that kids seem to appreciate dandelions and other nice things adults scorn? I feel your pain about the pepper tree. It looks as though we may have to remove our huge old White Oak (178-inch circumference) because the remodeling we are doing might disturb the roots. I had a senior forester from the state office come out to look at it and he said it would be wise to remove it before we undertake any of our current plans. I’m having a hard time with the idea of getting rid of it. Thanks for reminding me that there will be new joys to come.

  10. MaryAnn

    Shane & I were on a mission trip to the LA Dream Center April 27 to May 2, 2015. On our return, I was surprised & thrilled to “find” that my huge green plant had sprouted a very tall flower in its center! I planted it in the front yard in 2005 & this is the 1st time it has blooms. They resemble orchids. The plant looks like an overgrown green houseplant (the kind w/ the points on the leaves that may injure like a needle.)
    I also love wildflowers, even when I am told they are mostly weeds. They are colorful & beautiful especially when our babies gather a bouquet just for us!

    • Mary Ann, Drew and his roommate Martin spent part of one summer at the Dream Center. How did you like it? I think I remember Drew said it was his first experience seeing people actually shooting up on the streets in some of the locations where they worked. I’m glad your plants were thriving while you were gone. I wonder what kind of plant it is that has now bloomed unexpectedly? I once read that any unwanted plant is a weed, which I guess means that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I used to call ice plant “California kudzu” because it was growing wild seemingly everywhere on the central coast, but I thought the blooms were lovely. Hope you and your family are doing well!

  11. MaryAnn

    The Dream Center was an eye-opener for me. I met some wonderful people, who live at the center, working on being clean & sober while learning what God has planned for their lives. I liked serving in the clothing ministry & the food trucks, but Skid Row was too much pain for me. It is heartbreaking to see the people who look & act like they have no hope. There is a huge sign painted on a wall that states the facts about the lawsuit that established Skid Row’s 54 blocks in 2006.

    • Mary Ann, since we left CA in 2004, I didn’t know anything about the 2006 lawsuit or other controversy; in fact, I did not know there was actually a part of the city legally named “Skid Row” with its own census and everything. I read more about it here and looked at the photographs here. It helped me understand more about what Drew and Martin did that summer. (You may remember Martin; he came to one of our youth parties at Fairfield in 2003.) I am glad they had the experience of working there, but couldn’t help but be happy they returned home safely. Most of us cannot begin to imagine what life is like for far too many of our fellow human beings. I am thankful for places like the Dream Center.

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