Loathe To Let Go

May weather in Michigan is likely to be too cold, or too hot.  As in, one extreme or the other, irregularly and unpredictably.  Yesterday saw the temperature reach 80 degrees, for Pete’s sake.  This untoward weather was attended by lots of phone calls from clients worrying that the summer was about to pass them by-could I plant their flowers right away?  We do try to get everyone planted as quickly as possible-most people understand this, and are good natured about it. I tell clients the best thing I do for them is to isolate all the world noise, and concentrate on their place.  I schedule plantings in an order suggested by the cold tolerance of the plants that need to be planted.  I have some clients for whom I have been planting for 25 years-these clients are first up.  Those clients aside, I change up plantings dates.  If you were so kind as to be planted the second week of June last year, you get an earlier date this year.  I grew up in and love a democracy-enough said.    My crews are great.  They unload the trucks, fill the pots, prep, plant topiaries and centerpieces-they do this rather than talk to me.  They wait until we are done, to talk to me.  I am crazy about them for this; they know how to set up and get ready-and leave me be to sort everything out.  I myself like to plant late, in thoroughly warm soil.  I am loathe to let go of the spring.  My tulips at the shop have been so beautiful-for at least a month.  But they are fading fast in the heat.   

The spring pots are just beginning to hit their stride.  Improvements in pansy and viola breeding has produced plants with great heat tolerance, and vigorous blooming.  I am personally still stuck on the violas, and not yet focused on the summer season.  I like the seasons-each one, in turn.  The rhododendrons outside my office at home are breathtaking right now-pale pink blooms with a flush of yellow at the throat. Those impossibly long stamens-what an elegant flower graces the rhododendron.  They speak to spring.   I am listening.

We planted up a number of galvanized troughs such as this one.  Spring plants have distinctive color and shapes that are all their own.  The kale will eventually bolt and go to seed when the hot weather arrives and stays.  Peach melba heuchera and Citron alyssum make a fine spring pair.  Lavender violas blushing peach-I know of no other flower that has coloration like this.  For the moment, the spring season maturing has my attention.

Spring white, lavender and purple-I am not ready to trade this in for a more summery look. I tour the pots and plantings at the shop every day, first thing.  I tour my own garden, last thing, every day.  It is not enough to see something briefly in a garden.  I like every bit of it to settle around my bones, and take hold.  Repeat trips in conjunction with my stubborn point of view; an unexpected change -this best describes my gardening life. 

The lettuce pots are beautiful right now. I know this will sound hopelessly archaic, but I eat iceberg lettuce and tuna every day at lunch.  Any lettuce, any mesclun roadside weed lettuce mix-a treat. The water that endows all the lettuces-I especially enjoy that which is crunchy and juicy.  Spring-eminently juicy.  Spring flowering plants are a treat to all of us who are winter weary.  Thus lettuce figures prominently in my spring container design work. Juicy and fresh-lettuce is just about the best thing spring has to offer.  

I like telling time by what is in bloom.  I have no need for an armillary, or a watch.  I have grown and tended many perennials-what I like about them the best is how they represent the season.  In spring- the hellebores, phlox divaricata, epimediums, European ginger, Solomon’s Seal-the simple violets.  Harbingers of the spring season. 

I apologize-the light at 7am is dim, and I thought I could skip hauling the tripod outside.  Though this photograph is not the sharpest, the idea is clear.  These tall thin long tom clay pots are home to burgeoning spring violas-delightful.  Spring like.

Spring in Michigan is short and sweet.  Very sweet.  The tulips-what could be better?  This tulip mix-so celebratory of spring.  Though I am racing miles ahead of the late spring season to design for summer, I so treasure our spring season.   

This pot-a strong arrangement of purple faced pansies, white violas and scotch moss in a very beautiful low bowl-this kind of spring statement sustains me.

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