One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

May Showers


It’s been raining.

Pretty much since the day I got the mountain bike tuned up and out on the trail, it’s been raining.   It rains a little, and then rains some more.    In between that, we’ve had a few showers, with a bit of mist and fog thrown in for good measure.   Every now and then, when one least expects it, it stops raining and the sun almost comes all the way out.

And it stays out just long enough to consider the idea of putting on shoes and grabbing the camera and/or hand trowel and heading out into the garden, or the big world beyond.  And just when its starting to seem like that’s actually a great idea, it picks up raining all over again.  Pouring, usually.   It’s almost biblical.

Or it’s the polar ice cap coming home to roost.  Something.

Sure.   Blah blah blah, it’s good for the garden, yadda yadda yah, everything’s so nice and green.   But ugh, color me stir crazy, and eager to get back out to some garden/yard type activities without becoming totally covered in mud.  The grass is growing like crazy.  And I thought I saw an alligator or something swimming in the driveway the other day.


Since I moved in last September, I’ve idly wondered what the tree outside the front door was.  It’s an older tree, with a nice broad trunk, but it suffered storm damage a few years back and has lost all of it’s older upper limbs.  Now there’s a hollow in the upper trunk that might serve someone or other as a nest and it sports a fuzzy crown of thinner branches and while I’d wondered after it’s genus and species, I hadn’t actually gotten around to asking.

And then last week I looked out the pantry window and saw…APPLE BLOSSOMS!  Here’s a view of that treetop and the kitchen window, as seen out my bedroom window.  From that same window, there’s also a pretty sweet view of my fence garden and it’s tulips and such in the yard below.




Here’s one of those times when the sun sort of came out.   It’s a shame about all the rain and cloud cover this week, as it sounds as though there are plenty of interesting things going on beyond our view.   In addition to the oncoming full moon, this week the sun resumed what looks to be a nice cycle of sunspot activity, after a fairly strong pause.    The earth has also been passing through a band of meteor showers of debris from Haley’s Comet, which was supposed to have put on a somewhat lovely spring sky show in the pre-dawn hours these last couple of days.

But that’s just what I hear.

Despite the rains and the clouds and the cabin fever, it’s still been a good week.  Foul weather always offers a good opportunity for some of those housekeeping things I can sometimes too easily overlook on the way out the door to the sunny garden.  And there’s this snuggle-cat who’s always fond of extra attention when rain keeps me in, too.


Additionally, I’ve been enjoying some wonderful reading, alternating between May Sarton’s Plant Dreaming Deep and Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN series.  In different ways, they are both satisfying a host of personal needs for me this spring, from enhancing recent reflections on homemaking and garden creating to revisiting flights of fantasy in the lands of Faerie and the Dreaming and other magical places…and in a few convergent moments, all of that at once.

Money plant is totally having its moment this week.   Great drifts of the delightful purple stuff color every corner of the landscape it seems and it’s rich tones just glow on these dim, overcast days.  I don’t know enough about this stuff yet.   Anyone wanna chime in?  Does it grow where you are?  And where is that, anyway?

There is a similar flower blooming at this same time of year called Dames Rockets, which blooms in purple and white.  But it’s been a few years since I’ve had the chance to see some up close and I’m not remembering what the differences are between the two.


In a sweet contrast, the pear trees are all blooming with sweet white flowers this week and they too pop out on these dismal and gray days.  In fact, every where you look, it is the flowers that save us from the gloom and murk of this long rainy patch.   Their colors definitely keep the days cheery.

Yet another variety – and the showiest – (though I can’t be more specific than that, sorry…) of the cherry trees have begun their show around town.   It’s a particularly spectacular site, since so many of the local streets in town are lined with these froofy confections.

Despite the weather – or somehow in between bouts of the wet stuff – local road crews have been grinding and resurfacing assorted thoroughfares around town.   While this has meant a few minor delays here and there and the hazards of deep bumps and ruts, in some places we are already enjoying new smooth and easy riding roadways, which help us get around to see all these bloomin’ trees.


On a trip to the Outer Cape this week for a medical check-up and a haircut, I visited one of my favorite nurseries out that way.   They generally have some annuals which are just a smidge off-beat from what you can find in lots of other places, so I always like to pick up a little something there each year.   Sadly, the Rains of Ranchipore were pummeling when I visited, so I only gave the besodden-ranks of annual sixpacks the most cursory glance as I dashed for the cover of the store, a place I have rarely explored properly on sunnier visits.

I was able to pick up some bulbs, as they had a nice supply of pretty reasonably priced Casa Blanca lilies – those oriental beauties in pure white that are scented of heaven – and also a dinner plate dahlia that caught my eye.   I’ll refrain from telling you anything more about that just now, since the opportunities for suspense here at the garden blog are so few and far between.  Now I just need a proper break in the rain to get out there and plant them.


For every person who has ever lived there has come, at last, a spring he will never see.

Glory then in the springs that are yours.

— Pam Brown



Comments on: "May Showers" (5)

  1. Salina said:

    Not one of Flora’s brilliant race
    A form more perfect can display;
    Art could not feign more simple grace
    Nor Nature take a line away.
    ~James Montgomery, On Planting a Tulip-Root~

    Oh, thank you, Salina!

  2. Oh, I like the Pam Brown quote! You are seeing all the pretty floriferousness that we had a few weeks ago. I miss it. One of these years I would like to begin Spring in Florida in February and follow its path up the coast. I could get spring to last for 4 or 5 months like that! Wouldn’t that be cool?! Then I could stay up north where the summers are more or less comfortable, and follow autumn back down the coast. Sounds like a migratory bird flight plan, doesn’t it?

    I hope you get some good solid sunshine soon.

    A javabird. Heh. I like the sound of that, dear, and what fun it would be to come up the coast with those beautiful, bright colored birds and flowers and trees and such. I expect that would be a most interesting and delightful journey!

  3. Hey Greg! Loving the tulips and the rhodedendrons!! Those are 2 flowers that do not grow here in Florida, and I sure do miss them! Oh, and the lilacs too…are they starting to bloom?? Hey…am I the only one who’s having a problem reading your new blog layout? I cannot read the black type on the dark blue background! When I click on to comment, I can see the whole thing with no background. Just thought you might like to know…your photos are awesome, as always! *elaine*

    Elaine, sorry to hear of your troubles reading the blog. On my computer, the writing is backed with a white field and the dark blue is only in the margins. I’m interested to hear if others are having such difficulties (tho I’m not sure you’d know of my interest, if you can’t read my comment for the dark background). I’ll change back if need be. I’m still not sold on this layout as the final choice, just trying new things.

    Glad to share some of your northern favorites for your viewing pleasure!

  4. I like what you’ve done with your fence garden. My favorite in the group is the bird with the grasshopper in its mouth. One couldn’t stage that. ;-)

    You had me going for a moment, wondering if I’d accidentally captured a Nature Moment without realizing. That wasn’t a grasshopper in the robin’s mouth, actually, but more contractor materials for the FOUR nests he’s building beneath my deck! I suspect he has been afflicted with the Cape Cod real estate mania and is hoping to rent them out weekly this summer.

  5. I think what you call Moneyplant might be what we call Honesty – a four petalled purple flower which has transparent disc shaped seed pods? If that’s the one, it’s a very traditional old cottage garden plant over here in the UK. I’m not completely sure it’s native to the UK but I think it is native as a wild plant in parts of Europe. But it’s very successful here and you will often find it growing wild!

    Bird, it IS the same plant! I forgot that it is also called Honesty (I guess I should be comforted there’s so much of it about in this day and age, eh?). It certainly pops up just about everywhere here, and I’ve found it does grow quite easily from seed, as you might expect.

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