Not a morning walk this time but a morning drive brought me my first photo for today's blog. I am a great procrastinator. For a few springs, we have driven past this shrub debating what it might be. Though it looks a bit like an elderberry bush, and is growing near past elderberry bushes, there were obviously no elderberries on it once the flowers turned to fruit. Maybe some sort of wild hydrangea, but I don't think so. It even looked like a vibernum but I didn't know of any wild vibernums in our area. Finally I looked it up in one of my many identification books. Viburnum prunifolium, blackhaw or stabbush or sweethaw. So I guess there is a wild viburnum here in the Ohio valley after all. It makes a nice shrub along our dirt driveway. I need to mark the two bushes so that in fall, when Jeff weed-eats along the road, he will be sure to leave them growing.
Last night, after a day of doing very little, I sat in the fern garden where I like to watch the day draw to a close. A pair of cardinals were flirting with each other with high-pitch "peep"ing while they flew in and out of the spruce trees and into the higher sourwood branches. I started the fern garden three summers ago by first laying large sandstone slabs as pavement and path. Then I took my black garden cart into the woods and right-of-ways to find plants. Many of the ferns are seeing their second summer in my garden having been transplanted that summer. It is nice to see them maturing as fronds unfurl to fill in spaces in the garden.
The now bright green woodland ferns did not completely die back during the winter but were often hard to distinguish from surrounding leaf matter. Now they shine as one-by-one fiddleheads roll out into green feathers under the slowly greaning canopy overhead. In front of these common ferns are the prehistoric looking sensitive ferns. Instead of distinct fiddleheads, the fronds of the sensitive fern open like the many arms of a Hindu goddess, beautiful as she opens her to the world, still guarded by the chestnut sentinal fertile stems that have stood steadfast throughout the long cold winter.
At one time this area contained mostly daffodils and Green and Gold Chrysogonum virginianum which struggled with grass and virginia creeper for growing space. Slowly I'm moving the Green and Gold into small spaces between the paving stones. I think the plan is turning out well though not quickly. Luckily, Spring Beauty is present everywhere and also blooms between the stones. Yesterday I found an intrusion of Lesser calandine which was quickly removed. The yellow invader must have sneaked in with some compost dirt used to lay the stones.
I have a deadline of May 15 to have the garden "opened," meaning that I have put things in order, removed the majority of weeds and cleaned most of the debris away. I've started the work but only slowly. There's still time. . . for now, I'll just lean back and stare into the tree tops listening to the avian symphony overhead.