It's been cool and dampish and it's been raining a lot. I am tiring of gray gloom.
The blue beech saplings (Carpinus caroliniana) out in the meadow are budding out. That's a pleasant surprise. They dropped all their leaves last summer in the drought, and were simply dead looking sticks all summer and fall. I thought I might have lost them, but I see new leaves coming out now on all of them. They live.
I noticed that when I sit on the glider in the gravel garden on a cool day I smell a sweet perfume. It's one of the daffodils behind me, I don't know which one, but one type of narcissus is really fragrant.
There are tiny white blooms on the low Mukdenia plants along the edge of the gravel garden. They are not much to look at, but kind of cute sticking up over the barely visible emerging foliage. Like a lot of early spring small plants, they won't photograph. All my camera can see is brown mulch. They are almost invisible, last only briefly, and you really have to look to notice them.
But the stand of flowering bishops' hat (epimediums) under the dogwood is quite noticeable. They make a nodding, delicate carpet of creamy yellow flowers, very small but pretty.
The pink flowered epimediums under the maple in the back garden are also blooming. That variety of epimedium (E. rubrum) died out last summer in the drought, and all but a few clumps disappeared. Most are coming back now in this wet spring, and they will be fine, but they are patchier looking than this lovely swath under the dogwood.
I noticed, however, that the stretch of dwarf goatsbeard (Aruncus aethusifolius) that died out last summer under the Japanese maple in the Birch Garden is not making a recovery. It's gone. No happy surprise there. One lonely tuft of ferny green foliage has emerged, but the large area that it had spread to has become a bare patch.
Purpleleaf sandcherry is putting on a delicate pink and red show in the gloom.
And there is the oddest sight in the meadow -- just over the bridge a river of gold leads to a cauldron at the base of the hill.
It's a patch of dandelions blooming where Jim mows a path in the meadow's weeds. And the cauldron is a big pot that I painted black sort of by mistake, and put out at the end of the mown path years ago after deciding it was too evil looking for the garden.
Doesn't it look like something out of the Wizard of Oz? Come this way my pretty. Cross the bridge and follow the golden path. There's something for you there in the big black cauldron . . . .