And, so the garden season begins

With a flourish, Spring opens her petals and waves her branches in a cheery hello. Even today’s cloudy skies can’t dim her enthusiasm. And, so the garden season begins.

'Jane' magnolia is the star of the front garden. I fertilized the grass this week with Milorganite, but it will take a few days before it turns a brighter green.
‘Jane’ magnolia is the star of the front garden. I fertilized the Fescue lawn this week with Milorganite, but it will take a few days before it turns bright green. I also overseeded it in anticipation of the rain forecast for yesterday afternoon.

The fruit trees are gorgeous this year. Must be all that winter rain and snow. We’re still in a drought, but at least, we got some moisture. Even if we get a late freeze, and I don’t get peaches, the blooms are so exquisite I would grow them anyway. If you’re going to have one spring-blooming tree in your front yard, make it a fruit tree. You may need two if it isn’t self pollinating. I wrote about this at length in my book,The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff.

Peach blossoms are exquisite, and pollinators love them too. Garden season begins
Peach blossoms are exquisite, and pollinators love them too.
Forsythia x intermedia 'Linwood Gold'
Forsythia x intermedia ‘Linwood Gold’

Forsythia x intermedia ‘Linwood Gold’ is looking great in the front yard too. This is the first year it’s really bloomed with abandon. I planted it in 2011. That’s the same year I planted Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun™ redbud. One thing about the redbud that irritates me every year. Red Humped Caterpillars attack this specific variety with abandon so it looks terrible midsummer on. It must have the most tender leaves because the same caterpillar doesn’t ruin everything else. I will try my best to catch it this summer with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) before the damage gets too heavy. If you go look at that post and live in the middle South or Texas, don’t plant Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Fernspray Gold.’ I had to remove it this year. Chamis just aren’t happy here. I also killed Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Caress.’

I make these stupid plant choices so you don’t have to.

Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun™ redbud before it shows its leaves. I planted it next to the driveway.
Cercis canadensis The Rising Sun™ redbud before it shows its golden leaves. I planted it next to the driveway.
A closeup of the golden spring leaves of The Rising Sun™ redbud from 2011.
A closeup of the golden spring leaves of The Rising Sun™ redbud from 2011.

Crocus give way to daffodils, and soon, the tulips will start lining up for their Easter parade. Tulipa ‘Passionale’ is already abloom. Note that I usually suggest growing late tulips. ‘Passionale’ is a Triumph type and blooms mid to late spring. I would say more on the middle side here. I fell in love with the color.

Tulipa 'Passionale'
Tulipa ‘Passionale’

With highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s, Spring dances like Cinderella going to the ball. By the by, if you haven’t seen the new Cinderella, it’s a treat–especially when the Fairy Godmother goes shopping in the vegetable patch for a suitable carriage.

Leucojum aestivum, a bulb everyone in Oklahoma should grow.
Leucojum aestivum, a bulb everyone in Oklahoma should grow.

Leucojum aestivum, above, chimes in early with its white bells. I think Leucojum would make wonderful earrings for Cinderella, don’t you?

Narcissus 'Pink Charm' And, so it begins
Narcissus ‘Pink Charm’

I don’t remember planting all of these daffodils with pink cups. When on Earth did I do that? Actually, I went back and looked at an order from 2013. I bought ‘Pink Charm’ narcissus from Van Engelen that fall. It’s described as a great naturalizer. Yeah, I guess so.

St. Francis in narcissus splendor.
St. Francis in narcissus splendor.

Last night’s thunderstorm wasn’t supposed to create more than straight winds and hail, but I guess no one told the tornadoes. There were several, but most were small. I did hear there was one fatality near Tulsa which is terribly sad. More damage south of me in Moore. I think I’m glad I don’t live in Moore although I’m sure it’s a nice community. They see a lot of tornadic activity.

This jonquil growing again iris foliage is ‘N. Early Louisiana.’ I bought it from Old House Gardens in 2008. It’s a tiny thing.

Narcissus 'Early Louisiana'
Narcissus ‘Early Louisiana’
Narcissus 'Mrs. Langtry'
This is another heirloom, N. ‘Mrs. Langtry.’ Yes, that Mrs. Langtry, Lily.

Hellebores are still blooming especially in areas with morning sun. I need to move some plants where they will get more sun. I have a bad spot in the front garden bed where there is just too much shade to grow nearly anything. Need to rethink it and dig up two nandinas that died there. If you can’t grow a nandina in a spot, that’s bad.

Speaking of bad, Brennan dug up three more roses for me. I heard that Will Rogers Park’s historic rose garden has lost every rose to Rose Rosette Disease. I haven’t driven there to see if it’s true, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Helleborus x hybridus 'Berry Swirl' part of the Winter Jewels™ seed strain.
Helleborus x hybridus ‘Berry Swirl’ part of the Winter Jewels™ seed strain.

I’m only bringing this up because no matter how beautiful the garden, we all have our challenges and trouble spots. When trouble comes, I ponder what next to try, but I also don’t forget to enjoy the garden’s beauty one bloom at a time.

I wonder what Will Rogers Park staff has in mind for their historic garden. Happy Spring Everyone!



  1. Les says:

    I’m glad to see spring has found its way to your garden, everything looks good. I love ‘The Rising Sun’, but I am always tempted to remove any late flowers when that foliage starts to come out. It’s not a color combo I like.

  2. Rose says:

    What a delight to see all your spring bloomers, Dee! I’ve noticed a few buds on flowering shrubs and I have crocus blooming, but everything else is still a few weeks away from blooming here. A rose garden without roses?–so sad.

  3. I love visiting southern garden blogs this time of year, so that I can see what I have to look forward to in a few more weeks. I need spring to come here, and stay! No more of this returning to winter every few days! That is indeed heart breaking news about the rose garden. We have Whetstone Park of Roses here in Columbus, and I never thought of what they must be facing. I recently spoke to the landscaping service that handles our Homeowner Association landscaping, and he says they no longer install recommend roses. They’ve been substituting Sonic Bloom Weigela instead. Lovely, but just not the same.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Robin! No, not the same, but a good alternative. I’m glad we southerners can bring a little sunshine and flowers into your winter that seems to want to hang on forever. That’s just wrong. Snow, snow go away. It won’t be long now. Hugs.

  4. SK Waller says:

    Your garden is stunning!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you much SK.

  5. Kathy Sturr says:

    I’m oh, so envious! I planted snow drops and aconite for early blooms but they are still under snow! I know where to plant more now looking where some snow has melted. It is a rainy/icy/snowing mix here today without any sign of Spring – I swear I woke up to January! Thanks for letting me cry. I love, love, love Redbuds and think I can grow one here if I source it from this zone. I may try from seed because I’ll be forever young ha ha. Love that Magnolia. Hmmm, maybe I can tuck one in somewhere … I can’t wait!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kathy, I’m so sorry. I felt exactly the way you’re expressing your feelings only a month ago. I thought I would lose my mind when it snowed again. Now, all is much, much better. Hold on…spring is coming.

  6. Oh Dee I love when the trees bloom and your garden is a prequel for me as I should see these flowers in about a month….really gorgeous.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Donna, I am happy to help! I’ll come and enjoy all of your blooms when it’s so hot here. Hugs!

  7. Jackie Hendricks says:

    I wish I was at arbor gate today. Until 3 years ago I lived about 2 miles from it, and I can’t say just how fabulous the plants and employees are. In norman now starting all over with gardening. I have many new perennials for the new bed, spouse wants to plant them today, but I’m scared!!! When CAN I plant??

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Jackie! Don’t plant those flowers yet if they aren’t hardy. We may not get another freeze, but our normal last freeze date is around April 15. If you want to cover them, in Norman, you can probably plant after April 1. However, we had a late freeze last year around May 1. So, I would wait until April 15. I hope that helps. Remember that Houston is one month ahead of us. Plus, you now have alkaline soil instead of acidic. Whole different ballgame.

  8. I might have Mrs. Langtry. It was already growing at my old house, but wasn’t blooming because it was so crowded. After they started blooming again I called it ‘Kathy’s Sweetheart.’ Then I thought it was ‘Stella’, which I saw in the Old House Gardens website. Now I’m not sure. It looks very similar to your picture.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kathy, I tagged these for once when I planted them. I have so many that whose names I don’t know.

  9. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I’ve pinned the Leucojum photo for future reference.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Karen, Sweetheart, you pin anything you want! It helps my blog get traffic. Thank you so much!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think your Pink Charm is my favorite altho I love the helleborus too, such a pretty color. I heard about the damage in Moore on the radio. They also said that to date the number of tornadoes is much, much below last year’s storms. That’s one very positive thing. Last spring you couldn’t turn on the news in the morning without listening to reports of horrible destruction and death from storms.

    I’ve never used Milorganite to fertilize the lawn. Thanks for the tip. That should be far, far less toxic.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yes, the number of tornadoes is definitely down. I’m so glad. Sorry that your post was stuck in spam. I found you so maybe Akismet will get the message that you’re a real person.

  11. Matt says:

    Great pictures, I think no matter how much we plan and try not to make mistakes, thing happen no matter what. I think the good far out way the good in your garden and like so many other things. I wish things were flowering like that in my neck of the woods to say the least. Still to much snow on the ground.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Matt, I agree. We can’t control Mother Nature. We just go with the flow. I do love seeing the spring flowers.

  12. Your spring garden looks very cheerful! I do love the saucer magnolia’s deep pink blooms. I agree that fruit trees are stunning. Our plum trees don’t fruit well but they sure are glorious and make the pollinators happy. Happy Spring Dee!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hi Karin, thank you so much! My fruit trees don’t always set fruit either. If we have a late freeze, there will be no fruit. However, I like the blooms as much as the fruit I think.

  13. Beautiful and inspiring as always. I love that you keep such close track of your orders, Latin names, etc. I have a saucer magnolia too, also in my front garden, and it’s so fun to come home to! I’m really loving that daffodil with the yellow-orange center. All so pretty though, no favorites.
    Yes, a stormy start to springtime. Let’s hope it doesn’t get more violent. Hugs!! xoxo

  14. indygardener says:

    Happy Spring, Dee. You have many beautiful blooms!

  15. Pink Charm is one of my favorites but it does not last forever here. Most of our Daffodils were a tremendous show this year — the cold and all — but they’re mostly gone. Tiny ‘Baby Moon’ has bloomed, usually the last.

  16. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I love those minature daffs and jonquils. I have the mini daffs. They are always the first to bloom and the reproduce like crazy. I have killed yet another azalea. I can’t remember the name but it is supposed to be a native. They just don’t like my garden.My garden is coming along slowly this spring. Makes me sad when I see them blooming all over town. I am glad your area is safe from the tornadoes. Happy Spring.

  17. slgardener says:

    I think my Jane is the prettiest it ever has been with the most flowers and the largest. Is yours the best this year too? I did not have luck with Fine Caress either and a few others I know also did not. Marcum’s Nursery sells them and I keep wondering if they stay alive for someone. Oh, wonderful, I have that Early Louisiana daff. and have been trying to ID it. My Pink Charm is increasing nicely. I love it. Some pinks I have tried did not last long. Really awful about the rose garden at WR Park. Wonder how the Tulsa Woodward Park rose bed is doing. Enjoyed your piece here.

  18. Gail says:

    Thank you for making those mistakes so others are spared Dee 😉 I am making my fair share, too. ‘Jane’ looks gorgeous! I can picture Cinderella with her Leucojum earings. xo

  19. Anonymous says:

    Dee, I also planted the pink daffodils. They are lovely. Enjoyed your presentation for the Cleveland Co. Master Gardeners?

    1. Oh send it east please. Everything looks so lush!

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