Tag Archives: Spring

Spring Blooms at Sanctuary Acres

Dogwood tree in full bloom.

With the advent of some warmer weather, plants are really starting to take off around here. Finally! From my Facebook memories, I can see that the plants and trees are nearly a month behind where they normally are. But growth proceeds and I know it is only a matter of time before I will be complaining that it is too hot.

The dogwood in our front yard is at its peak right now. The picture of it in full bloom in front of the house is one of the things that drew me to this place when I was looking for a new home 19 years ago. The animals that have come and gone over the years have been hard on the place, but a home of such age, built in 1830, is up to the task. Lots of living goes on here.

Blueberry blossoms

This is one of the bushes from my blueberry patch. This particular one is in its third year. I am hoping for more than the handful of berries that it produced last year. Most of those were consumed one by one as we walked past on our way to or from the vegetable garden. None the less, they were appreciated. We have five blueberry bushes of varying ages, all young. A couple bushes did not thrive, and we replaced them rather than wait and hope for them to recover.

Redbud trees

Our redbud trees are also at peak bloom right now. They were such small sticks when we got them from the County Extension Office that we planted all five of them in a clump to wait and see which would survive. They all did. And they grew so beautifully that we left them in that original clump. These trees reseed so prolifically that we find them everywhere. We let the one that sprouted in my rose bed grow for a couple years and then gave it to our neighbor. We have a few others that we will transplant around our home.

Traditional lilac

Our old-fashioned lilac is blooming now. My husband transplanted it here as a shoot from one of his grandmother’s lilacs. It is getting old and doesn’t produce as many blooms as it once did. It is time to cut off the main trunk and let some of the newer ones take over. Then we will be awash in that lovely lilac scent once again. We also have a Miss Kim lilac and many Royal Lilacs. They bloom later in the season, so check back then.

White violets

We have violets growing throughout our yard. There is a patch under the huge pine tree near the house that grows densely with white flowers. We also have many of the purple violets and very rarely some that are white with the purple centers. When we hike at a nearby state park, I’ve seen a few with yellow blooms. I’m not sure exactly how they proliferate. They have transplanted themselves to my rose bed. For a time, I let them go. I enjoyed their delicate flowers and having color so early in the year. Now, I have begun weeding them out of the rose bed because they are taking over and encroaching on the roots of my roses. I tend to like plants that decide to grow in unusual place, but these have gotten out of control.

Azaelea bush

This bush was supposed to be an azalea but seems like it is crossed with a rhododendron. It is a nice little bush that always flowers but never seems to get any bigger. It doesn’t require pruning, just occasional weeding. It knows its place.

Viburnum bush

I passed one of these bushes on one of my many trips to the library years ago. I didn’t know what it was, but it smelled so heavenly that I had to have one. I researched until I discovered what it was and got my very own viburnum. It is an attractive shrub, not overly showy to look at, but it has other merits. I cut flowerheads from it every couple day and put them in a vase in the house where I can catch a whiff of the scent every time I walk past.

Bleeding hearts

The bleeding hearts we have are not the flashy domesticated ones. We have the good old woodland type. They grow under the very old, very large rhododendron near the side door and also under a pine tree near the woodworking shop. I enjoy the delicate lacey leaves and dusky pink flowers. They are one of the few flowers that can survive the battle with the bishop’s weed that was here when I moved in. I have been trying to eradicate it ever since. I suspect the previous owner spent their time in residence trying to eradicate the bishop’s weed too.

Trillium growing amongst the myrtle and trout lily.

Last, but not least is the majestic trillium. At one time it was endangered, so I am honored by its presence. I leave it alone since it is a fussy plant, and it graces us reliably with blooms year after year.

This is just the beginning of the growing and blooming season here, so click to follow along with the blog or sign up to receive emails. Not only will you see flowers and gardens, but also stories about our dogs and cats and general daily life here at Sanctuary Acres. Blessing to you.

Spring at Sanctuary Acres

Elizabeth Magnolia

Hi Friends! It is spring here, sort of, so time to share a few pictures of what is currently in bloom around our yard. Warmer weather is slow in coming to northeast Ohio this year. It has been much cooler than normal with a few days of warm weather thrown in. Enough to confuse the plants and set them back in their growth. My Facebook memories shows plants in full bloom at this time last year that haven’t even begun to make an appearance this year. But they will!

The most recent addition to our flowerbeds is the Elizabeth magnolia. My husband has been wanting a magnolia for some time and found this variety he had been looking for when we were out searching for a plum tree! We never did find the Toka plum tree that we were looking for, but we did find this magnolia which went into a bed in the walled garden last week and is currently flowering as seen in the photos.

The new Elizabeth magnolia is putting on a show!

We found another type of plum tree that will do the job. We already had a Superior plum tree that we put in last year. We discovered that you need two types of plum trees for successful pollination and fruiting, preferably two different types of Japanese plums. They should be of different varieties, not the same variety. Who knew? Probably lots of people but I was not one of them. The plum trees must flower at the same time so they can cross pollinate. We already had American plums, which are more of a bush, but we were not sure if they would do the job. So, I expect bushels of plums this fall! Ha! Not really, but it would be nice if we got a couple small plums this year to see what they taste like.

We also found a small cherry tree that is self-pollinating. It bears sour cherries that are good for pies and jellies. We… ok, my husband…it would take me an hour to dig a hole big enough, planted it behind the house in the area where our plums and blueberry bushes also reside. We have one other fruit bearing cherry tree behind the garage. It was here long before I bought this house. It has sustained a lot of damage over the past few years from other trees falling on it. We hope to find one of its young offspring to cultivate. It has the type of cherries that are yellow with a red blush and very tasty.

Service berries starting to bloom.

We also have service berries that are starting to bloom. They are planted along the road. We bought them as six inch sticks from the County Extension agent a number of years ago. The goal is prune them after fruiting season this year. The yield was lower last summer and most of the berries are so high up in the trees that only the birds can reach them. You have to pay close attention to get to the fruit before the birds. The berries are a coveted item. I have had birds sit in the top of the tree squawking and carrying on as I stand below picking berries and tossing them into my colander. A colander is my preferred container when I pick berries of any sort. Mine has a flat bottom that sits on the ground while I use both arms to reach the higher branches. And I can transport it directly to the sink for rinsing and sorting the fruit.

Hellebore flowers

We have other things besides fruit trees in flower now too. This hellebore was given to us by my mother-in-law last summer. It was a sprout from a large plant she had. They don’t like to be moved, so we are pleased that it is blooming in its first spring here. Another name for this plant is the Lenten Rose because it blooms so early in the season. They will even bloom with snow hanging on the leaves. Don’t be confused by the leaves in the bottom of this photo. Some stray pachysandra got transplanted with it.

Daffodils blooming in a raised bed.

And of course, we have the obligatory daffodils. I moved these to one of the raised beds surrounding the patio two years ago. They did not bloom the first year but are in fine form now. I wanted some early bloomers for us to enjoy on the few days we have that are warm enough to sit on the patio. I do enjoy looking at them while I am doing the early spring cleanup jobs in the patio gardens. Normally, I bring lots of daffodils indoors to enjoy in the spring. I have foregone that this year because we have an 11 month old kitten who knows no bounds. I will have to figure out a kitten proof set up before peony season arrives because I refuse to have a year without the scent of peonies in my house! It will be a tall order. The house plant and its ceramic pot that I had on the mantel bit the dust. Jasper kitten can reach the mantel via the desk that sits underneath. I am the human, I can outsmart him, right? The jury’s still out on that one. Time will tell.

Shelby by the hyacinth.
Baxter taking his turn by the hyacinth.

I didn’t feel this post would be complete without a picture of dogs, so here are Shelby and Baxter posing in front of the hyacinth at my brother’s house. They went along to celebrate my niece’s fifth birthday. We can rely on these two to be well behaved. When it was time to leave, we had to go find Shelby. She was having a nap in a corner of the sunroom where we had been sitting earlier.

Spring is just starting here and there will be more pictures of flowers, trees, and vegetables to come. And it is a certainty there will be pictures of dogs. Join us and follow along. You can sign up to receive updates at the top of the page!

You Have Survived!

Self-portrait
Me after my first shot today.

 

I got the first dose of my Covid vaccine yesterday. This is so exciting. It’s the first step toward freedom! I have to wait a month for the second dose and then two weeks more for full immunity, but the process has begun. We won’t return to life as we knew it before any time soon, but will feel safer going in some places while wearing masks and adding a few activities back into our lives.

The act of getting vaccinated seems so simple, but it has momentous results, for us and for our country. Things that we took for granted pre-Covid will be special treats now. For me, going to the library is one thing I am looking forward to.

If you had told me last March that a year later, we would still be isolating and wearing masks, I would have been hard pressed to believe it. Yet, here we are. It was actually a blessing that we didn’t have the foresight to know this would still be going on. I don’t think I could have done it, if I had known at the outset, just how long this would last. I would have been lost in despair. But we did do it. All of us. We have survived.

I can’t imagine forgetting this feeling and enjoying so many freedoms without appreciation again. Time will tell. It’s easy to think that you will never forget while in the moment. But life has a way of moving on and dulling memories.

Knowing that I am going through the vaccination process, changes my outlook and gives me new hope. It renews my appreciation of life in so many ways. I came home from getting my shot and it was nearly 70 degrees outside in mid-March. I took some time to sit outdoors on the steps by the side door to read the current issue of Yankee magazine and enjoy the weather. (I couldn’t sit on the patio because Zekie was in the pasture and that would have put me out of his sight kicking in his separation anxiety. Much barking would have ensued.)

Mama and Zekie
A girl and her dog, Zekie.

While I was sitting there I noticed so much life. The spring peepers were singing on our neighbors pond. I love the sound of the peepers. I could listen to them all year. They are the sound of the spring thaw and a return to the growing season to me. Soon there will be daffodils, followed by budding trees. I heard birds chirping all around me. One was even rustling in the rhododendron next to me. Or it could have been a resident chipmunk.

I imagine I will forever tie the memory of my first Covid shot with signs of spring. In our state of Ohio, every adult is eligible to receive the vaccine starting on March 29, so I am not in an elite group and any can join me on this journey. I hope it means as much to you as it does to me.

Remember, you are a survivor!

A Satisfying Weekend

It was nice enough to sit on the patio this weekend. It was enjoyable to sit and appreciate all the hostas and other plants that we moved into last year’s new raised beds. In fact, after a long winter and disappointing spring, we are enjoying many plants.

New growth is everywhere at this time of year. On a walk through our little township park, we saw many May apples. They remind me of little parasols.

The last of the viburnum blossoms overlapped with the first lilacs of spring.

And the large scarlet azalea is once again a showstopper.

Spring Plantings

The weather was sunny and relatively warm, so we got back to gardening and working outside today.

I transplanted blue flag irises, Solomon’s seal, a fern, and a columbine into our new raised beds. I also dig up narcissus bulbs that had multiplied so much that they didn’t bloom anymore from being so crowded, and planted them in various locations.

Then I sat on the patio and read, followed by a walk around the yard. The photos above are of my plum tree in bloom. We have yet to eat any plums from it. Despite being covered in blooms, it only yields two or three plums and the birds beat us to those.

The row of serviceberries is blooming too.

The redbuds are nearly ready to burst forth with their glorious pinky-purple blooms.

The hostas are well on their way for the season.

Even the oriental lilies are off to a good start.

I like to get lots of gardening done early in the season. It really seems to pay off. The weeds are still small and the garden is damp and soft so they come loose with an easy tug. And any plants that are moved when small, grow to be enjoyed later in the summer. Plus, it is not hot yet!

Be Prepared!

Shelby had her annual health check at the vet’s yesterday. She received her booster shots. Her fecal check was negative. Her heartworm check was negative.

And the portion of the test for Lyme disease was only faintly positive. This was a relief to me as it was strongly positive the past couple of years and she had a flare up the first year she had it that required a second round of antibiotics.

So, just a reminder that tick season will be right around the corner. (Ticks can transmit Lyme disease.) Stock up on those preventatives. You may want to do some research first, or ask your vet to recommend a preventative. Ticks have shown resistance to some of the products that I have used. I understand that fleas can also develop resistance to certain products. Be prepared!

Etsy Shop Additions

Brown Felt Bunny

I added some new merchandise to my Etsy site today. These new offerings are themed for Easter and Spring. They are some of my favorites. You can find my Etsy shop at the following link. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SanctuaryAcresShop?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

I have some other items available that are not pictured here. All of the items are custom designed and hand sewn by me here at Sanctuary Acres. Have a look and see what you think.

White Felt Bunny
Blue Felt Egg
Felt Cross with Flower
Felt Chick

Flower Walk

Early spring always calls for a walk around our property to look for signs of life. And it is so exciting when you find some. It means winter is on its way out. And while I like winter, there is a time for everything and this is the time for gardens and warmer days. Above is the lungwort nestled amongst the vinca vine. It is a native perennial. You can identify even without the flower, by its mottled leaves.

These are the only trilliums we have. Trillium were once endangered in Ohio. They do not like to be disturbed so I have never moved them. They are also nestled amongst the vinca vine. The lungwort and trillium like to grow in shade. They reside in our pine grove under the tall trees.

Pale pink blossoms belong to the viburnum. The bush and its flowers are not particularly showy but the smell is amazing. Worth growing for the fragrance alone.

This is the beginnings of flowering on our red bud trees. I was not familiar with them before we bought these from the county extension office but I am a big fan.

These trees are also from the county extension office. They are river birches. It amazing what you can grow from sticks not even as big around as a pencil.

We have many plants from the extension office because we like the try new things. Their offerings are selected to do well in our area. We have several of these bushes from one such experiment. They are plum bushes that grow little football shaped plums. So far the bushes have only produced a few fruits and the birds enjoyed those before we had the chance.

Onward spring! I look forward to many more blooms.

Daffodils in Spring

And so it begins…

We have many daffodils, and soon narcissis too. This is just a small fraction of the daffodils we have blooming today and they are just getting started. Many more to come.

This lady vase is special. She was given to me by a friend and former co-worker. The vase belonged to her parents and she chose to share it with me! I reserve the Lady Vase mostly for spring flowers which are special after a long winter. I keep the vase up on our living room mantel so it is safe.

This is why. Kitties love biting and batting flowers around. And I cannot be around 24 hours a day. So up out of harm’s way she goes.

May you have spring flowers to enjoy and friends to share them with!