13 May 2009

The balm of gardening...

Isn't it amazing how our stress levels drop when we're in the garden? It's really hard to be upset while grounding ourselves in plants and soil and fresh air. At least, that's my experience. Even when there's goutweed to do battle with, or other annoyances, it's still a soothing, safe place to be.

That's especially true on those perfect spring days when the sun is warm, the fog and wind have gone on temporary sabbatical, and all nature is awake and singing a paean of joy to being. Sights like the slowly opening leaves of this Katsura make me instantly happy.

Likewise, the flower buds and gently bronze foliage of this Amelanchier give me great joy. In much of the province, the amelanchier are already in bloom, but we in Scotts Bay are of the 'better late than never' school of spring growth.

We don't mind getting wet knees or a crick in our backs if it's to bend down and enjoy the sweet fragrance of a corydalis such as this, which I believe is 'Blackberry Wine'; although that could be incorrect. I've been wrong before. And I'm okay with that, if someone knows the true species/cultivar.

The pulmonaria are putting on a terrific show, festooning the yard with their blossoms in shades of blue, rose, 'red' and white. Once the flowers are spent, the foliage is just as attractive, especially in shady spots. 

Our daffodils are about at the peak of bloom, except for the late ones such as the Poeticus narcissus, while the species tulips are coming on nicely. Species tulips might not be as big and showy as the hybrid divisions, but they last longer and tend to multiply nicely. 

Many people have Pulsatilla long gone to seed, but in our garden it's just really getting going. This plant has been here for about 8 years now, and I keep planning to add other colours to the area where it's growing, but somehow never seem to get to it. There's a Euphorbia coming up in the midst of this clump, in case you're wondering what else is growing. Oh, and some couchgrass. The bed isn't weeded yet! 

Ah, Led Zeppelin fans should enjoy this plant: Polemonium 'Stairway to Heaven'. I've planned to make a Music-themed garden bed for several years but haven't gotten to it yet, mostly because I was busy with the chocolate and wine garden, and now have to prepare an area for a dedicated perennial grass garden too. Oh, the responsibilities! 

My bloodroot are just opening their graceful flowers now. This is a spring flowering perennial I wish would last for a longer time, because it's so lovely and yet so fleeting. The winds that do whip themselves up will probably take the flowers apart before I have a chance to photograph them completely open. 

Several of you asked which hepatica I have, and where I got it. It's the native one, Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, the roundleafed variety; I bought it nearly a decade ago from a now-defunct mailorder nursery out west, and it continues to delight me every spring with its lavender-blue flowers. Some years the colour seems better than others, but maybe that's because the yellow primula growing beside it highlights its colours. 

Speaking of blue, here's the lovely Lithodora, which I now treat as an annual because it refuses to overwinter for me. I blame that on the wet clay soil and the coldness we experience sometimes when there's no snow cover; things that are out of my control and so that I simply relax and sigh about a little bit. Nothing can be done except to enjoy, so we do!

I hope the balm of gardening is making your soul light and your heart sing on these fine spring days.


  1. oh that blue Lithodora is beautiful but then so is everything else.
    hugs, Cherry

  2. Jodi, isn't spring wonderful. I once had a very old man tell me that the reason we feel so good in a garden is because our spirits know that mankind was created in one. He said gardeners spend a lifetime trying to recreate what their soul knows they came from and the reason we are never satisfied is because it's impossible to re-construct. I thought it was a pretty interesting concept!:-)--Randy

  3. The Pulmonaria sure is putting on a terrific show! and so is all the other flowers, spring is a wonderful

  4. Such lovely images, as always. I love the "beading" on the edge of the Katsura leaf. Yes, gardening is indeed balm for the soul, and never more so than in spring! *hugs*

  5. Jodi:
    So wonderful to see your gardens coming to life, and what brilliant colours! Love the Katsura, just planted a small one - 'Red Fox.' I am somewhat relieved to know you aren't the only one who cannot over-winter the Lithodora, and such a staggering blue to boot! :)

  6. I know what you mean about the goutweed! I've also got quite a bit of that invasive Elephant's Ear to deal with. Not really sure how to deal with it safely yet.

    Your flowers are beautiful. I'm a new gardener so I don't have too much going on in my garden yet, but I've got a few spring flowers out to enjoy.

  7. Ha! I too have wanted to make a rock'n'roll garden for years, including 'Jethro Tull', 'Heavy Metal' and 'Stairway to Heaven'. Guess we'd better get to it!

  8. Oh, you have so many flowers blooming! I consider gardening my therapy. It's amazing what some time in the garden can do for my mood. It's like an anti-depressant!
    I can't wait to see your music themed garden when you get to it. I'm definitely a Led Zeppelin fan :)

  9. It's so strange to see Polemonium reptans blooming at the same time as Sanguinaria. My Sanguinaria were done well before the Polemonium started blooming. It's as if everything is trying to bloom at once. Beautiful abundance.
    Your Corydalis looks like 'Blackberry Wine.' As it has a good scent, it also acts like it. Therefore, it must be!
    For your music garden, you'll have to order a Campanula from Arrowhead Alpines called 'Stevie Ray,' and don't forget Tiarella 'Iron Butterfly.'

  10. Hi Jodi. Nice to see spring in your garden. It was a long time coming this year wasn't it?? That first photo is gorgeous. My daffodils have just finished and my tulips are almost gone but it's nice to see another garden in about the same place! So many are so far ahead. I couldn't agree more about the garden being a balm for the soul. I truly believe its saved mine once or twice!

  11. Lots of lovely things happening in your garden. Balm, indeed...especially after a long cold winter and an extended rainy, cool spring!

  12. Your photos are lovely. How nice that everything is coming to life for you. You said you're of the 'better late than never' school of spring growth but you're way ahead of me. I'm trying to be patient but it's hard running outside to see what has happened in the rain! ;-) I need to go check out that Campanula you mentioned as I'm always looking for one more.

  13. There is definitely something calming and healing about being in the garden and feeling the dirt.

    Your spring blooms are lovely!

  14. my soul is singing with all the gardening of these days...love all your blooms.

  15. Spring has finally moved north and found you. It is a time of pure joy at each emerging bit of color isn't it? I used to have that pulsatilla...where did it go? Enjoy the dirty hands.

  16. Jodi, You are so right...gardening is a balm for the soul~~and seeing the sweet spring lovelies in your garden is indeed a balm...I miss spring....I've been admiring pulmonaries lately and pulsatillas and now I must add the "lovely Lithodora" to the list! Have a sweet day and have fun in the garden~~gail

  17. Good morning Jodi! What a treat to see all your beautiful blooms after that long cold winter. It was worth waiting! All these colors after the winter white.

  18. Jodi ... this is so true for us all .. it is hard to describe at times what our gardens are able to do for us .. emotionally and physically .. especially the people with chronic health issues .. it is our amazing escape from the stress and pain. It gives us a type of serenity no other activity can. .. Yes, we have pain from working too hard at times in the garden .. but that pain is some how part of the balm .. this is a perfect post girl : )

  19. I agree about gardening relieving strees. There's nothing better for me after a long stressful day at work but to spend time in the garden. Love you photos! -Jackie

  20. We have a heat wave coming in, so it's especially nice to see your cool, spring blooms. Balm indeed.

  21. Yes I couldn't agree more! I love the smell of everything, especially here in southern California where the sages are so pungent! Having grown up and spent much of my adulthood on the east coast of the US, I must say your picture of blood root made me a bit homesick!

  22. Your blooms are lovely, and I especially love that pulmonaria!

    Your cats are lovely too :) I have four myself, and one of them, Petey, looks a lot like your tripod kitty Nibbs.

    Plant Lady

  23. It looks perfectly grand. How nice that you have so many blooms--more than I in fact cause your gardens are much more mature. It's encouraging to me especially when you talk about theme gardens. A music garden would be so interesting. I've never seen one.

  24. I hope your Bloodroot holds on through the winds and is able to put on a good show. They are far too fleeting for such a wonderful flower.

    Mine have long given up their flowers but the leaves continue to charm me. I'm really happy to say mine have finally hit 'critical mass' - the group is much larger and have sent out colonists to establish themselves in new areas.

    The Hepatica flowers in the woods are now long gone but the foliage left behind has made me happy. I missed lots of blooms and was afraid they were not as plentiful as in the past. I think the Spring Beauties were stealing the show.

  25. I love your kind of tulips posted - shape is extraordinary.
    Gardening has healing effect - I feel it during last 4 years.
    Cheers Jodi,

  26. Jodi,

    I think being out in the garden is anything but relaxing. Since I'm usually out there alone trying to photograph something it is relatively "quiet" but then my mind wanders. And it goes to some weird places, I tell you. I usually end up replaying arguments w/people I've had in the past or thinking up of clever or biting comebacks to something I failed to address the first time I spoke/argued with someone.

    While I don't find the process relaxing I usually feel better after being out there because I've gotten things off my chest.


  27. Indeed my soul is light, jodi, and I'm singin' through spring. Your garden is delightful, like a heartfelt song, and well worth the long wait!


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