So Happy I Could Cry

This is a very stressful period for some garden bloggers (namely, me). On the one hand, we have had another glorious weekend and I am almost overwhelmed by all the wonderful blooms now returning to the garden, not to mention the new plants being installed.

Tulipa 'Flair'

I want to write posts about all these developments for this blog. Β But I cannot spend too much time writing, because spring is moving fast and garden tasks are piling up, especially since I am home only two or three days a week. Moreover, everybody else has so many wonderful blooms in THEIR gardens and they are busy writing posts about it for their blogs, and I must read and maybe comment on those posts … Just thinking about it is exhausting.

'Couleur Cardinal'. This is a Jason picture, please excuse the hubcap.
‘Couleur Cardinal’. This is a Jason picture, please excuse the hubcap.

But enough self-pity. Let’s talk about the new blooms that have emerged just since last week. Well, for starters the container tulips have started to bloom! So far we have ‘Flair’, ‘Bellona’, and ‘Couleur Cardinal’.

The first of my container tulips in bloom. The yellow is 'Bellona'.
The first of my container tulips in bloom. The yellow is ‘Bellona’.

I’m afraid I did lose some of the container tulips, though. This fall I definitely want to plant tulips in containers again. However, I will use only the larger containers and provide them with extra insulation.

There is also another species tulip, Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’.

Tulipa clusiana 'Cynthia'
Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’

Among the native spring flowers, the celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) are blooming vigorously.

Celandine Poppies
Celandine poppies with Virginia bluebells at lower left.

And the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are just about reaching their peak.

Virginia Bluebells
Virginia Bluebells

The dangling yellow flowers of merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) are on display. This native wildflower should be used more in shade gardens, I think. It is interesting and beautiful, if a bit understated. In a location with sufficient moisture, it makes a good groundcover after blooming.


Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’ is showing off its pure white spring flowers.

Serviceberry 'Autumn Brilliance'
Serviceberry ‘Autumn Brilliance’

False forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla), a very useful and lovely non-native spring flower, is also blooming.

Brunnera macrophyla
False Forget-Me-Not

On the foliage front, the fiddleheads of the ostrich ferns (Metteucia struthiopteris) are unfurling.

Ostrich Ferns
Ostrich ferns unfurling

And the wild ginger (Asarum canadensis), a nice native groundcover for shade, has emerged.

Wild Ginger
Wild ginger grows near the gate at the far end of the path. Merrybells grow in the foreground.

Tasks this weekend included:

  • Planting a new bed in the area where I had taken down some bridalwreath shrubs (Spirea vanhouteii). I also settled some more mail order plants into the raised front walk bed. More on these activities in later posts.
  • Getting a start on weeding! Featuring dandelions already blooming, creeping charlie, and other delights.
  • Preparing my little vegetable and herb bed. This entailed setting up the tomato trellises and digging out the rest of the old plant debris. Also, I had to beat back the oregano (Oreganum vulgare), which is bent on turning my entire lot into a oregano plantation. In addition to creating thriving colonies through seeding, the oregano mother ship has a rapidly expanding root mass with the density of 3″ armor plate. I may have bent my shovel trying to slice off pats of it.

Are you having trouble keeping on top of your blog and your garden? And which new blooms are you excited about?

73 Comments on “So Happy I Could Cry

  1. I wish I had more moisture in my garden so I could grow merrybells but my shade is fairly dry. In my garden, the bleeding hearts seem to be amazing this year. The ferns are unfurling and the Aronia (planted last year) is about to bloom. Spring is finally here!

  2. Beautiful tulips, if I was working outside of the house like you, I probably wouldn’t be blogging at all. My garden has a lot of low maintance plants, so I don’t really spend much time in it, except to check the plants, water and weed.

    • That was smart planning on your part. I create extra work for myself because I am always either digging new beds or re-making old beds.

    • I turned to containers for the tulips because I find large bulbs difficult to work with in mixed beds. The smaller bulbs – species tulips, crocus, muscari, etc., are much easier.

  3. Beautiful! And now I really have to find some Merrybells for my garden. If only for the great name (though I love the look, especially along your walkway.) And I completely know what you mean. I get up in the morning and am way behind before I’ve had my coffee. Our rains seem to have stopped (for the time-being) so I’ve got to water. Deer have already been munching on my Dogwoods and various perennials, so I have to spray the stinky-stuff. Slugs are up and about. And weeds. Well they just are. The Lilacs are blooming so I need time to sniff them, and hostas are unfurling so I need time to admire them. Etc. etc. And then there are all the local plant sales. And soon it will be warm enough to plant tomatoes and peppers. And I won’t even go into all the blogs to read and pushing myself to write. sigh. I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine, sit out on the deck, and watch the garden grow.

    • That last bit sounds like a very good plan. I order my merrybells online from Prairie Moon or Prairie Nursery. But maybe there is a retailer in the northwest that carries it.

  4. Yes, I relate all too well to what you’ve said. There’s so much to do, and write about, and read about! My solution–stop doing all but the most essential housework. My kids have clean clothes and are fed, and that’s about it this time of year! (Though my mother is coming next weekend, so I will need to get the vacuum cleaner out of cold storage soon!)

    Your container tulips have inspired me–I must try to remember to try some myself for next spring.

  5. Your tulips are beautiful. I have to grow them as annuals in my climate so I don’t always plant them, but I enjoyed seeing yours. Thanks for posting the lovely photos!

    • I intend to grow the hybrid tulips as annuals. When they are done I will pull them out of the containers and replace them with summer flowers.

  6. Isn’t that something? I almost feel like the blogging is keeping me out of the garden and now I see I may not be alone in that sentiment. I see why you would have tears of happiness. Your blooms are beautiful. I love your tulips ‘flair’, the merrybells and bluebells the most.

  7. I am glad to have a small garden, but garden design keeps me really busy at this time of year. So it is in other gardens, not my own that has my attention. My garden is finally catching up since out weather got warm. This week it was in the eighties, but going down to the thirties at night on Friday. We could have used that since many tulips dropped petals. You really have a large selection of tulips. Flair really is colorful.

  8. I am SOOO overwhelmed! Hence the night gardening! I have just dug a new bed and have yet to finish moving several plants…oh and I have to plant some veggies still…hanging baskets….pots….new perennials in the enlarged front bed!!! Good luck to you on keeping up! It feels like a made race! Your blooms are stunning and your tulips are beautiful! I am particularly fond of Cynthia!!

  9. Thanks for taking the time to show off your blooms! Very nice. My bluebells are looking good as well and I love all your tulips. I know exactly what you mean about keeping up. so much to little time. Thankfully my job is part-time. It just seems to be cold and rainy (andsnowy) on my days off!

    • That is very unfair. It seems to me that a day off with bad weather is not really a day off at all, and we should be given compensatory garden time to make up for weekends when we were not able to work in the yard.

  10. Oh, my Jason. Your garden is so far ahead of mine. I anxiously await seeing some of the very same blossoms here on the flat corner lot. How I relate to the time crunch… And with a blog as delightful and popular as yours and all the others to keep up with, there’s a lot of time. Seems to me, however, you’re doing both blog and garden just right.

  11. I understand that feeling of being stressed. It will soon be very hot here, so I feel like I need to get all my projects done now! Your tulips are fabulous! And I love those merrybells. Looking great!

    • Thank you! We have the same issue with weather that is so hot that working outside is not advisable, but that time starts later and does not last as long here.

  12. Oh, my, yes, I’m having trouble balancing garden and garden blog! I do every year, actually, especially in the spring. This year, with the slow spring we’ve had, has actually been better for balance than the last several years, but I still haven’t blogged much about what’s actually happening in the garden itself. So much to do, so little time to do it in!

  13. hi jason, you’ve hit a nerve there. Everybody’s having a hard time balancing all the stuff we want to do, and trying to stretch time like it was an elastic band. Anyway – I love the photos of your garden with the stone path, and I love ferns – I have a thing about unfurling. And I love your description of the oregano’s mother ship!

    • Oregano starts out so demure and then it turns into this monster devouring the earth. Maybe that would be a good movie, “The Oregano That Ate Chicago”.

  14. I really love your garden. I have a real soft spot for container gardening and found your tulip collection to be really enjoyable…It is good to have a life where it is hard to all the things that make you happy. You are obviously a very wealthy man.

    • Thank you! Of course, I have to spend a bunch of time on things that do not necessarily make me happy – but I should count myself lucky.

  15. Yes, it is definitely a balancing act at this time of year with the blog and gardening. There are also so many mundane tasks that need to be done, and I always wonder just how much I should blog about that stuff. It might be useful for me to keep track of when and what I do, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting blog post. I like seeing what stage of growth other people’s gardens are at. and what they’re growing.

    • I’ve also thought of posts with task lists. I do talk a little bit about what I do on different weekends, but you are right, there’s a lot of stuff to talk about that is more interesting.

  16. With so much going on in the garden at the moment, the days are too short. Soon all the tulips will bloom, but also the dandelions here πŸ™‚ By the way, I do have nepeta in my garden. I sowed a lot this spring, so IΒ΄m hoping to plant it in the garden soon, as the green house needs to be cleaned out.

  17. All looking fantastic Jason. And yes, it is a bit of a challenge balancing gardening jobs with blogging and having a life as well, but you seem to be managing admirably. And just think: at least it isn’t snowing anymore!

  18. Oh, I feel your pain! Everything looks wonderful . . . That pathway in the last photo is so lovely.

    • Thank you! Paths can really make a garden, don’t you think? If I had unlimited time and money I would put in some more.

  19. Oh I know how you feel! It’s all going to quickly and I have so much weeding to do! Why do weeds grow quicker than anything else?! LOL! Also my mail order plants arrived 2 weeks earlier than scheduled – great weather-wise, but another job to be mastered. I look forward to actually sitting in the garden soon and relaxing (for a few minutes!) πŸ˜‰

    • PS Meant to say how lovely your garden is looking – the Virginia bells and poppies and Merrybells are very pretty.

    • I suspect that growing quicker than anything else is what makes a weed a weed. I also intend to start spending more time sitting in the garden and relaxing … one of these days.

  20. I tend to blog in the evening when I have run out of energy in the garden. I read blogs mainly at lunchtime at work but I know what you mean.

    Just bought some merrybells for my woodland border

    • Enjoy the merrybells! I more or less do what you do yet still feel pressed for time. Maybe I just need to be more efficient.

  21. Yes!!! I want to spend so much time in my garden, then there is so much to write about but not enough time especially when I am exhausted at the end of the day. Your garden looks fabulous. Love all the natives too. The poppies are amazing as are the Virginia bluebells.

    • It’s a problem when you have so much you want to say but limited time. Some people are able to post every day, but the best I can do is every other day, if that.

  22. For a minute I thought I was reading about my garden…I am having trouble keeping up reading, writing and commenting on blogs because of the busy garden…your wildflowers are stunning. And we have similar chores…we dug up and ripped off the heads of hundreds of dandelions before they set seed to keep them at bay…weeding is just starting and they are ahead of me again.

    • I didn’t do hundreds of dandelions but probably pulled a few dozen. That was enough for my back, on top of all the other stuff. I tried to get all of the ones that were already blooming, which leaves quite a few still in the ground.

  23. Hi Jason! I Know exactly how you feel! I have done so much, still doing so much and now I even have a dog!! I have no time to read or blog. I do always read your posts though, delivered by email and i love seeing what’s happening in your garden. The serviceberry is gorgeous. Attempting to comment via my phone, it’s hard work! Maybe I should get one of those tablet things. All i can say is its better being outside than inside so some things just have to slip. Have fun!

    • A dog! A dog is more work! I am still not used to writing with my smart phone, my fingers are not coordinated enough!

  24. You have been busy! Spring has pretty much gone past in Carolina, but I’m in Boston this weekend and its beautiful here. Enjoy!

  25. Everyone I know who has a fairly complex garden is feeling overwhelmed right now. Looks like you’re managing just fine though. A month ago I made a decision to trade nightly time in my home gym for time in my garden. Although I’m not happy about doing that, the extra couple of hours on weeknights has made a huge difference in progress in the garden. Still not finding much time for blogging though. Maybe I need to give up sleeping :).

    • Gardening is exercise, so that seems like a reasonable plan. But don’t go without sleeping, that is not a good idea.

  26. The tulips are divine, and I love the merry bells. If you were a neighbor, I would be begging a piece of that. And I would offer you some epimedium in exchange! I have the celadine poppy in the woods – it must have come in on another begged or borrowed plant, because I never purchased it!
    Blogging is going to have to take a back seat as you’ve said SO MUCH TO DO!

    • I would be happy to share some merrybells with you if you were nearby. It would give me a chance to try to divide them, which I have never done.

  27. You can’t blog, read, and garden well all at the same time. So…spring posts will be more photos and fewer words which isn’t a bad thing anyway. My weeds seem to have weeds right now so I need to be gardening in the real world and not the on-line world. πŸ™‚

  28. I’ve come to realize that it’s no wonder I’m completely burned out by July when I have to spend every waking moment in April-June getting the garden ready (ready for what, I don’t know). I tend to read some blogs at lunch at work or on my phone while commuting, but writing posts is more consuming so I’m doing what Judy above said – more pictures, fewer words. You seem to be managing well and your spring blooms are beautiful!

  29. It is absolute madness this time of year – but fabulous all the same. Never heard the name Merrybells before. Looks like I’m about a week behind you as far as plant growth and 3 weeks as far as garden prep. I really like those potted tulips – so bright and cheerful and does away with those dead leaves in the garden. Great idea.

  30. Nothing like spring flowers to jump start some gardening love when we need it the most. Mine are on the way out, but perennials are taking up the slack, promising another wave of wonderful color and interest.

  31. Hi Jason! You complain too much for my taste: I can see you post quite often and you accomplish quite a few tasks brilliantly on every post and your garden looks rather neat and nice. So when you’re done with those dandelions you could maybe come over and pull some of my knee high weeds that are suffocating some of my beds… πŸ™‚
    I love that Cynthia tulip and your wildflowers as well, the yellow merrybells in particular! Although they don’t really look ‘merry’ to me, they look quite wrinkled instead!

  32. Jason, I’m feeling the happiness along with you. Everything is romping ahead isn’t it!
    Despite loosing some of your tulips you have a rather nice display. I’ve been hankering after Uvularia for a while now. I passed by the chance to buy some last year, so wishing I had now looking at your picture! Gives me another excuse to go shopping though πŸ˜‰

  33. I am having so much trouble that honestly I have resigned myself not doing anything. Just too much overwhelmed — whether to photograph, write, read blogs, learn, buy flowers and plants, visit garden stores and browse, weed, prepare beds or try to grow seedlings. This was a small list :-). Your yellow tulips look beautiful. Where do you buy most of your plants?

  34. I totally understand. Crazy time. I’m taking a break from posting on my own blog–first time I’m planning to go longer than a week without posting since the blog started in October 2010. It’s almost like I have to hold myself back at this point. But breaks are good sometimes, and self-pity in small quantities can be healthy. Your garden looks spectacular! The essence of springtime.

  35. It’s so true! We go from waiting, waiting to “there so much to do!” I’m already behind and I’ve barely begun but, of course I’m not complaining, the whole garden has burst into bloom at once πŸ™‚

  36. I’ll take one of every plant you showed please…

    What a beauty garden, must be a joy to come back to each time.


  37. Your post really struck a cord woth me. Almost everytime I walk into the garden something new is flowering! I want to post about it all and haven’t even managed to post about all the Tulips yet and they finished over a week ago. I liked the Merrybells but like Alberto I thought they looked like weeping bells! but very pretty all the same. Christina

  38. I know how you feel! My time is pulling ,me every which way except blogging, and to be honest I love blogging so much I miss it – like missing gardening in the winter when all you can really do is twiddle your fingers! Don’t be too hard on yourself, the blooms you have shared are splendid!

  39. Beyond the first spring, we have poor luck with tulips here. Maybe I should try them in pots, especially if they end up looking like yours.

  40. Your spring blooms are terrific. I was eyeing the Merrybells the other day in the nursery and wondering about them. They look terrific in a clump. Are they invasive at all?
    I can so identify with what you are saying! I swear the garden looks entirely different today than it did yesterday. With the warmer temperatures, everything is taking off. The weeding, the repairs to tears in the landscape cloth, the new trellis supports to build, the fountain to start, new acquisitions to plant …it is hard not to feel a little overwhelmed. Ah, one day at a time, one chore at a time. It is all you can do. Gardening is the type of work I never mind doing.

  41. Your garden is lookning terriffic and the potted tulip experiment worked beautifully! I know what you mean about the blogging/gardening dilemma. It’s difficult to photograph & write posts, work full time, and have time for gardening. Maybe we should all take a garden bloggers spring break for a couple of weeks and only do gardening & maybe photograph a few things. Since I started, though I’ve blogged at least 5 days a week & I’m afraid of interrupting that. Silly, right.

  42. They are all beautiful and healthy, and I could cry too! If you’ll see my garden now, you will know what i mean, and seeing yours make me cry, waaaaahhh! I am also awed at the number of comments you got here, you really have wonderful followers.

  43. Hi Jason, I know exactly how you feel, there’s so much to do that it can all get a bit overwhelming. I feel like I’m being pulled in several different directions at once and there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Take comfort in the fact that from my point of view, it’s everyone else that’s got all the wonderful blooms in their gardens and they’re writing posts about them while I’m frantically running around without my head screwed on straight. If you ask other people, I suspect they’ll feel similarly.

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