Let Me Tell You ’bout the Buds and the Leaves …

In early spring I spend a lot of time staring at the ground. Of course, I’m looking for the first flowers. But I’m also looking for the new foliage that proves a plant has broken out of winter dormancy.


For example, the blue-green leaves of Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), which appear tender but will shrug off even a hard frost.


And here are the early buds of the Peonies (please disregard those Creeping Charlie leaves nearby).


The Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are starting to wake up as well. This is a White Bleeding heart, the pink ones emerge from the ground a deep red.


I love the foliage of Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), the new leaves look almost feathery.


The first leaves of Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) unfurl like closed fists opening into welcoming hands.


Most of my grasses are cool weather plants that won’t break dormancy for at least a month. My sedges, like these Long Beaked Sedge (Carex sprengelii), are ready to grow into a new season. Unfortunately, the rabbits keep nibbling them back down to the ground. I hope these malicious rodents move onto something else soon, because otherwise these sedges will never get over 2″ tall.


The green fingers of the Narcissi can be found in clumps around the garden. Here’s a flower that’s almost ready to open – I think this  is ‘Tete a Tete’.

DSC_0685Another bulb preparing to bloom in the near future is Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica).


If I lift my eyes from the ground I can see buds swelling all around me. These will open into white Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora) flowers.


A close look at the buds of Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) reveal a multitude of wavy parallel lines.


And the buds of Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) hold the promise of sweet fragrance in May.

I’m linking this post to Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, hosted by Christina of My Hesperides Garden. Follow the link to see more March foliage from gardens around the world.


56 Comments on “Let Me Tell You ’bout the Buds and the Leaves …

  1. Those first signs of spring and that plants have survived the winter are very special; it is interesting that the foliage colour predicts the flower colour too on many plants. I don’t think I have any buds at all yet on my Sambucus, I’ll have to check. Thanks for joining GBFD for March. Keep enjoying the new shoots.

  2. Ah, it takes a true gardener to go out looking for buds and to get excited by them. What an exciting time of the year it is.

  3. I walk around the garden on most days when I get home from walking the dog, just to check out what’s happening (or not) and I’m still getting to know the plants here. Seeing these new shoots of perennials must be like greeting old friends. Fabulous.

  4. I’m loving spring too. The thing driving me crazy here is the squirels running up and down the ornamental trees, eating the flower buds as quick as they can.

  5. We’re a bit behind you with some of the plants you mention…but not far hopefully. I have seen the peonies beginning to break ground in some place and the bleeding heart. A few Hepaticas in bloom where they are tucked into a sheltered spot.It feels like a practice in meditation to be walking around the gardens so slowly and with such focus. Happy Spring!

  6. Hah! I used that Jewel Akens song in the intro to my book, BeBop Garden. Nice play on words and depiction of the promise of spring.

  7. I’m not only staring at the ground, I’m rolling around on it…with my camera of course, looking for all the beauty that requires shrinking to be truly appreciated. Happy spring 🙂

  8. Every spring morning I look forward to doing my daily rounds to see what’s waking up. You are a bit ahead of us here, but we’re budding and sprouting too, even with our late snow.

  9. All of this excitement is difficult to bear. It makes me want to get out to see what is new in my garden. That blasted Creeping Charlie is trying to take over my world. UGH… Enjoy all of this unfurling excitement.

    • Thanks. I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that I will never get rid of the Creeping Charlie … all I can do is push it back periodically.

  10. I am doing the same thing…looking at the ground a lot to see what made it back. We are a few weeks ahead of you, but still it’s exciting to see little green stuff poking its way out of the ground.

  11. What lovely pictures of the new shoots. We are a couple of weeks ahead of you this year. The creeping Charlie, henbane, and wild onions are going great guns too!

  12. I’ve been bud-watching for 4 to 6 weeks now. I find it really interesting how some plants (daffodils, clove currant, oakleaf hydrangea, agastache, etc.) push new foliage so early, while others (Hibiscus moscheutos, crape myrtle, etc.) are much more hesitant about unfurling new growth (and much more tender when that growth does appear).

    I feel your pain vis-a-vis rabbits and sedges. The rabbits in my garden have been mowing the blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) all winter and into spring. Yep, there’s just the nubs now, but I’m hoping they move on to eat some of the clover that’s flourishing in the lawn…

    • They do like clover, I’m actually overseeding the lawn with clover, maybe that will protect some of the herbaceous plants. The agastache here doesn’t seem to be doing much yet, but I’ll take a closer look.

  13. This time in Spring is so exciting. I love to look around and see what survived the winter too. I have plenty of overlooked weeds too.

  14. We are currently getting rain, freezing rain, and sleet here! I hope the leaves of my emerging Virginia Bluebell are hardy, because they’ll need to be today 🙂

  15. Every year I get a bit worried that my plants have died and nothing will sprout. I spent quite a bit of time scratching like a chicken at the soil today looking for life. It’s there. I just need to be patient.

  16. It is amazing how all new vegetation looks marvelous after the winter, even when it has been mild one like this year. Even the weeds can be attractive!

  17. I thought you were a week or two behind us, but with those big fat buds on your lilac tree I’d say you are overtaking us! It is still quite cold here, and no signs of my Bleeding Heart plants yet either. Have a great Easter weekend!

  18. How lovely to see your new growth, I especially like the wild columbine. My columbine is popping up too. It’s so exciting seeing the fresh growth, and all the promise it brings.xxx

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