Finally enjoying a spring day in the gardens

Published 10:00 am Sunday, May 15, 2016

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Today I am enjoying a spring day in the gardens. Lilacs are blooming in my own yard, along with Virginia bluebells and bleeding hearts, while just down the street azaleas in different colors are adding to the excitement. The apple trees are breathtaking this year with so many blooms on them. I wonder if that means it will be an ample apple season? If you haven’t taken the time to enjoy what is happening on your own block take an evening stroll and check it out.

An old-fashioned lilac blooms in the garden adding color and fragrance  to the beautiful spring days. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

An old-fashioned lilac blooms in the garden adding color and fragrance to the beautiful spring days. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

My Angelique tulips are in full bloom, although I noticed they are a paler pink this year. They are about five years old now and I wonder if this is normal to lose color. The later daffodils are blooming now and both the alliums and chives have buds on them. For once, my bridal wreath spirea was lovely. The rabbits didn’t chew the plant to the point of no blossoms which makes me very happy. A favorite photo of my mother when she was a young lady was in front of a blooming spirea and I have always loved that photo. My mother would pick blooms from her bushes to fill out the Mason jars. She prepared them for Memorial Day, when we would take them to the cemetery to honor our relatives. For some reason her bushes bloomed later than mine.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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I have visited many of the garden centers around the area and purchased many lovely plants that, until tonight, will spend their evenings in the greenhouse or garage as the temperatures have hovered in the high 30s. Tonight it is supposed to stay around 50 degrees, so they can finally spend the night outdoors. It sure gets old hauling these plants out every morning and then hauling them back indoors every night. By the time I water each container I have spent more than an hour of my time keeping them well-soaked.

Yesterday, in the wind, my husband decided to get the topper put on the gazebo on the patio. The temperature tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid-80s, so working under the cover of shade will be much appreciated by both me and Roosevelt. It was quite challenging to get the topper on. Even if I stand on a step ladder I am not tall enough to easily hold it down while my husband installs it — especially when the wind was whipping it around. It has a separate topper that covers the middle and we can get three of the four ends on quite easily. The fourth one took about half an hour to finally get it on.

So far, no migrating birds have visited my sugar water feeders, jelly trays or oranges, but a couple of people I talked with have had one or two orioles. My brother also had a hummer visit his. I sure hope this is not going to be another lackluster spring migration with very few visiting before they head north. The robins have been enjoying the jelly for the past month and with lots of sparrows, finches and woodpeckers the feeders have been busy.  The wrens are in the neighborhood, but now that we have so many feral cats that visit our yard they no longer nest in mine. They are so delightful to listen to when I am working in the gardens. In years past they have scolded me when I get too close to their nests.

I spent most of yesterday morning getting the rest of the grass out of the extended cutting garden and managed to plant a couple of tubers of cannas when I finished. Some of the butterfly milkweed and marsh milkweed are beginning to peek through the ground as well as the meadow blazing star that I planted. A friend brought me some spring beauties, trillium and wild ginger to add to my gardens and I am so delighted to have them. Thank you, Penny.

I put out some rotten bananas for the butterflies the other day so they will have a real treat when they find them. They also love watermelon, so I try to always put some out for them on the old wooden stump. If you have rotten fruit, put it out for the butterflies to enjoy.

“I thank you, God, for the most amazing day, for leaping the greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”  — E.E. Cummings 


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