Looking for Spring…

Ashley Falls MAWhat’s wrong with this picture? Well let’s not go there about the photograph. The point is it should be spring in this picture of the banks of the Housatonic River in Ashley Falls MA. The river is just visible on the left and the uphill shoreline bisects the photo, the first of many problems with the photograph.

Spring Dixon GardensEarlier in April, I found spring in Memphis at the Dixon Gardens.

Birmingham Botanical Garden GatesLast week in Alabama, Spring was glowing in the Birmingham Botanic Garden. The BBG is huge, over 600 acres, and astonishingly free to all.

Birmingham Botanical Garden Wildflower GardenIn the wildflower garden, the poppies waved in the breezes – 70 degrees and sunny – sigh.

Pitcher Plants in bloomIn the nearby Bog Garden, these handsome pitcher plants (Sarracenia) were in full bloom. The stem emerges from the ‘pitcher’ topped with the mahogany blooms.

Birmingham Botanical Gift ShopIn the shop, these dainty pink petunias stood out. The blossoms of Surfinia Super Double Pink are only about an 1.5” in diameter, very ruffled and a lovely shade of pink.

Fringe Tree in Evening LightThe next night at a renowned plantswoman’s garden, this fringe tree, Chionanthus, shimmered in the late evening light.

Star AniseDo you cook with star anise? Illicium verum.  This is the native shrub Illicium floridanum,  a relative of the Chinese shrub, but this one is toxic and not edible.

Star Anise scarletIts neighbor is star anise in scarlet.

ClematisNear the house, clematis twines around the balustrades.

Planter in blues and purpleThe last afternoon we were treated to two more gardens just to be sure we New Englanders were thoroughly jealous.  Another regal planter in the same garden with beautiful blues and purples is ready for the summer.

Sheltered tiered planterIn a sheltered corner, this three tiered stand holds a huge variety of shade plants in a wonderful variety of textures. Where will I next find Spring? After rains all day in the forties, it still won’t be in New England!


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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