What A Difference A May Day Makes

spring flowers (2)It seems barely 10 days ago that the main attraction in my garden was the snow.  After 10 days of 65 and 70 degree weather our spring is coming on strong. It is astonishing how quickly the plants are responding to the heat. The spring flowering annuals are putting on weight every day.

maple tree bloomingThe maple trees are in full bloom. They came into bloom overnight, and several days later the chartreuse flowers are drooping in the heat, dropping,  and blanketing the streets.

spring day May 4 (10)My magnolia stellata bloomed during that cold spell.  I have had flowers for several weeks-this is a record.  With day tiome temperatures in the 70’s, the flowers will drop.  Spring flowering plants like spring weather. Spring flowering plants fade fast when the weather warms up too fast.  The weather prediction is for warm weather for the next 30 days.  And nights near 50.  I am not sure I dare believe this prediction – spring weather in Michigan is known to be unpredictable. The transition from spring to summer is always rocky, in one way or another.  I will reserve judgment for a few weeks, and concentrate on enjoying our spring while it lasts.

spring day May 4 (8)Buck’s horseradish plant is the most robust shade of green. He is delighted to see it growing so fast. I shudder to think how wide and tall this plant will be this summer. Some day it will need to be contained. But today, I marvel at its spring color and vigor.  The garden is emerging from its long sleep.

spring day May 4 (7)The Passionale daffodils are the most beautiful they have ever been. An early cultivar of the so called pink daffodils, Passionale is a robust grower, and a heavy bloomer.  I had enough flowers the past several weeks to cut a few bouquets.

spring day May 4 (6)All of the soulangiana magnolias in my neighborhood are in full bloom, and dropping petals.

spring day May 4 (4)The trees, the shrubs, the perennials and the bulbs are all speaking to spring at the same time. The warm weather is driving the spring at a very high speed.  I suppose I have a traditional view of the seasons.  Three months of winter, and then 3 months of spring.  The sudden and very warm weather-will my garden go from winter to summer with but a few weeks of spring?  Anything is possible, so despite a work schedule that is busy, I am trying to take the time to enjoy right now what we have of spring.

spring day May 4 (5)My PJM’s are glorious in bloom. The dogwoods are just beginning to bloom.

spring day May 4 (3)My Sum and Substance hostas leaped out of the ground.  Spring is all about the breaking of the winter dormancy, the emergence, and the growing.  Don’t miss it.

spring day May 4 (9)The lily of the valley shoots are a delicious shade of green. Spring is their moment.

spring day May 4 (2)The hellebores are stooped over with flowering stalks.

spring day May 4 (1)The clematis on the bench is growing by leaps every day.

spring annual gardenI have planted the garden around the pool with perennials four times in the past 11 years. Obviously, I have yet to figure out just the right perennial plant that will thrive here. The bare dirt was not for me. I planted the bed for spring. I am not ready for summer yet.


  1. Missy Grenell says

    So happy for you, Deborah, that you’re finally seeing color after the dreadful winter. Everything looks beautiful!!

  2. Loved your pics…we’re in TN and way past this stage, so it was like getting to enjoy spring all over again!

  3. Deborah, things are looking swell in your neck of the woods. We have enjoyed many glorious spring days this spring also. The crabs are exceptionally spectacular right now. Cheers. I’m designing summer potting jobs already. Where does the time go?

  4. Heather Burkhardt says

    Yeah for Michigan! It is looking gorgeous.

  5. Your garden installations are extraordinarily beautiful and your willingness to share your knowledge, photos, and comments about your work are such a gift! Thank you so much from a Canadian West Coast gardener with mostly maintenance clients who has been asked for design work – especially planters. I’ve been inspired to think well outside my box!

  6. Elizabeth Hitchens NPD CHT says

    Mass planting with Geranium ‘Rozanne’ would look nice around the pool. I was head gardener on an estate in Scotland and used it on a bank that fell away from the croquet lawn. It was a ribbon of blue from May to December when very hard frost finally cut it down. 175 plants spaced 18 inches apart and a quick hair cut in August to freshen up!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Elizabeth, Rozanne is not reliably hardy for me. I have used it in clients gardens quite a bit, and now am a little more cautious about planting it. It is the most beautiful in my garden in the fall. This spring planting is a test-I have dogs who like to drink out of the fountain-and their legs are only 8 inches tall. I need something they cannot harm. Milo jumped over the pansies last night-hilarious. Your ribbon sounds beautiful. best, Deborah

      • katie near chicago says

        Interesting to hear of your experience with Rozanne. I love the color of Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ and it blooms great early in the season, but then is done. Have had Rozanne in the garden for a couple of years and was hoping for blockbuster blooming. Will take better note of it this year — I think it does bloom vigorously in the fall but less so earlier in the season.

  7. Kathleen says

    Spring to the rescue
    with velvet pansy faces.
    Winter, be gone! Now!

    Thank you for the elixer of your beautiful gardens.
    Here in Boston, we still have tall piles of very grimy snow lurking in the corners of parking lots. But we’ve got daffodils and the pointy hostas to bring hope. Now that the pansies are here, I know we’ll all make it through.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Kathleen,grimy snow sounds terrible!! Pointy hostas-much better. all the best, Deborah

  8. That first picture. Wow. You sure have a talent for potted arrangements.

  9. “replanted garden with perennials four times in the past 11 years.” Wow! That makes me feel so much better! I was just looking at a bed that I ringed with coral bells that I’m ready to rip out because they heave in the winter and look spindly in the spring . Never have filled in the way I want. Thanks for sharing.

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