A pretty red cardinal visited our front yard this morning.


End of April and the Dianthus are in full bloom. Somehow we ended up with a lovely mix of Neon Star pink and a more salmon toned shade. They are beautiful together and the Neon Star sure lives up to its name when the sun lights them up.


First roses of, spring

I don't remember the roses ever blooming this early, but after a 90-plus degree day, we went out this morning and there they were! I love how this rosebush (which the garden store GAVE us, thinking it was dead or nearly so) has kept on giving while one we paid quite a bit for gave up the ghost a couple of summers ago.

Greening up

April is almost over and we are way ahead of schedule with spring. What gorgeous, gorgeous weather we've been having. (Pay no attention to that sickly blue spruce hiding behind the lacebark elm. We're hoping it will make a comeback after last summer's extreme heat.)

My favorite thing blooming in the garden right now: four little Cosmos plants we put at the edge of Rockwall Garden.

The Umbrella is UP

I don't consider it officially spring until we get the big market umbrella up on the deck. That's where I'm sitting now with a great book and a cup of tea enjoying the planted pots and watching the gardens come to life.

A Productive Evening

It finally quit raining so we could get the lawn mowed and get out in the yard to pull weeds. Lots of weeds. But they came up easily and the yard looks so much better now.

We're amazed how well the sedum handled winter. We left all these containers of mixed sedum out all winter (granted, we had a very mild winter) and with just a little fresh potting mix sprinkled over the top of each, they've come back lush and colorful. 
The green plant with pink tips is Dappled Willow, one of our favorite shrubs. We wish it could stay like this all year. It has a tendency to get gangly by the end of summer, but spring and early summer it is stunning, with the new foliage looking almost like pink and yellow flowers.
If you look closely, you can see bleeding hearts behind the pink Columbine. The hint of purple on the slopes of Rock Garden Hill come from Winterperry Blue Speedwell.
The rock border that runs the length of the back fence was built with limestone and sandstone from Ken's grandpa's pastures in the Smoky Hills of Kansas. Backbreaking work to bring those home and place them, but we've sure enjoyed the reward of having them frame our plantings.
The hanging plants are Petunias awaiting potting for the flower cart my dad built as a housewarming gift almost seven years ago. Can't wait to fill it with a splash of Petunias and sprigs of Sweet Potato Vine in chartreuse and burgundy. 
The Barberry Bush by the back garage door is at its best in shades of green turning red. It's a terribly prickly thing, but we sure love the way it looks. Alas, if you look closely, you can see a very sad Blue Spruce in the background. I don't think it's going to make it.

A Spring Surprise

This is the happiest surprise of our spring so far! This poor Japanese Maple has been moved so many times we've lost count. It's hard to find a good spot for this species in Kansas, but this tree has defied the odds––despite being beaten down by wind and heat every year. This spring it is a credit to its species. We're prepared for it to suffer the elements again, but in the meantime we're enjoying the bright spot of color it adds to the side yard, and cheering it on, hoping maybe one day it will be strong enough to hold its own against Kansas weather.

Another, smaller Japanese Maple is growing nearby, between the house and the Dwarf Peach Tree. It will soon be much too large for this spot, but we have our eye on the perfect spot to transplant it next fall where it will be more protected from the elements and where we'll be able to see it every day.

Easter weekend

As we celebrate the holiest days of the Christian calendar, our gardens seem to be declaring the glory of the Lord with every leaf and bloom. What a beautiful spring it has been. And so much earlier than usual. Here are the views around our yard today.

The weeds are taking over and we need to get out there SOON or we'll be sorry! But with all the rains we've had it's been hard to find time. At least they'll be big enough to grab and the earth soft enough to give them up. We're afraid our valiant little Blue Spruce (in the background above) gave up the fight in last summer's heat.
Columbine and Bleeding Hearts are blooming their hearts out on Rock Garden Hill. 

We love Speedwell (Waterperry Blue variety) and have planted it numerous places all around the yard. It blooms beautifully spring and again in the fall, turns a beautiful red late fall and winter, before blooming again. And in the meantime, it forms a tight groundcover that keeps most weeds at bay.
This is a new plant we put in last fall, hoping for some variety in color––and boy did we get it, even before it blooms! This is Penstemon (Beardtongue) Dark Towers variety and will have lavender pink flowers on it early- to mid-summer. It's supposed to attract hummingbirds, which we would love!
More Columbine on Boulder Hill. It's always a race to see if the Columbine finishes blooming before the Wild Bergamot overtakes it.
I'm so pleased with this row of shade trees that are finally big enough to do their job! That's an Autumn Blaze Maple in the middle, flanked by two Lacebark Elms. The one in the foreground was a birthday gift to me from my hubby last year. Lacebarks are wonderful, fast-growing trees and we're delighted to have two of them shading our back deck.