Bring on colors of spring, Mother Nature

Published 10:00 am Sunday, May 8, 2016

Colorful violas bloom while a little garden faerie hides beneath the foliage. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Colorful violas bloom while a little garden faerie hides beneath the foliage. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

As I sit writing this column, it feels more like winter than spring with temperatures hovering in the low 40s. A cold rain is falling, but at least the winds have died down some from earlier in the week. We had a tornado warning for our county this past Sunday with just crazy weather since. We’ve had chilly days, winds and rain, but then I should remember this is just the last week of April.

Bring on the colors of spring, Mother Nature. I am so ready for them. A neighbor’s crab apple tree is blooming and I have seen others around town that are also coloring their yards. Usually the orioles arrive with the blooming of the apple and plum trees, which means they are here the first week of May.  My oriole and hummingbird feeders are hung in anticipation of these colorful birds’ arrival. The grape jelly has been out for over a month now, with the robins and blackbirds enjoying the tasty delight.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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My spirits are soaring with more colors appearing in the gardens every day, and the gardens are full of birds passing through or those that stay here all year. My little journal has been showing about 18 species every day at the feeders. Lots of sparrows on the ground eating the morsels that drop down while the blue jays, goldfinch and cardinals feed along with the woodpeckers on the woodland nut medley. Many robins are enjoying the feast of grape jelly while I await the orioles, grosbeaks, indigo buntings and scarlet tanagers to add even more color to the yard.

As I look out at the gardens, I see Virginia bluebells, bleeding hearts in both pink and white, Jacob’s ladder, wild violets in many colors, pulmonaria, muckdenia, brunnera, tulips, daffodils, white spring anemone and bridal wreath spirea, adding to the colors of spring in my gardens. All of the hydrangeas are now sprouting leaves. While the rose bushes have been slow, they are now catching up with everything else. The rains have been a blessing, as the gardens were on the dry side.

Finally, the addition to the cutting garden has been tilled and compost added on top just waiting for me to turn it under and start planting seeds. Every day in spring is like being reborn again, as the landscape changes its scenario with plants emerging above the soil and putting on growth. Oh, how I love this rebirth of the gardens!

The garden along the driveway looks very weedy to anyone passing by, as the self-seeders are beginning to appear daily. A plethora of annual grape poppies, dill, vernbena bonariensis, kiss-me-over the garden gate as well as coreopsis are beginning to pop-up everywhere. I will soon need to weed them out and keep only a few of each of them. Bachelor buttons are showing their aggressiveness in all of the gardens, including along the driveway. That has never happened before, but I am thrilled as I love them and so do the pollinators.

In the yard creeping Charlie is flowering. I know most of you hate it, but my pollinators thrive on the weeds that occupy my yard, where once it was grass maintained by one of those yard companies that gets paid to spray chemicals and kill them. The chemicals also affect my own health. This gardener has gone pesticide-free and I am so happy to have pollinators everywhere I look. I love those dandelions.

Every day I have been checking to see if any of the milkweed has sprouted, but so far none can be seen. The native plants that were added to the garden are still hidden below the soil line and should appear very soon.  I can’t wait for the meadow blazing stars to appear  — when they bloom they will be like a magnet for the monarch butterflies. Are you adding milkweed to your gardens this year? I hope so! This afternoon I will plant whorled milkweed in nutri-coir seed pellets that I will start in the house and will eventually add to the secret garden behind the fence. Bring on the spring colors; I am so waiting for them!

“The spring has come again for the grass is growing green, and among the fields of clover bright butterflies are seen. The little birds are singing sweetly as they fly from tree to tree … The busy bees are gathering the honey from the flowers, and the merry birds are building their nests in sheltered bowers.” — Josephine D.C., “Spring,” c. 1887

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at