Monday, April 29, 2024

"April With Its Showers Sweet"

Whan that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the root

The first phrase of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales has stuck in my ragbag mind, yet I had to search to remember the source.
[Did we struggle through the 'tales' in the Old English or in a modern transcription? That I can't recall. At least it was a more edifying assignment than the bloody Beowulf!]

I have marveled through the years at the phrases that have taken up lodging in my mind, words that swirl and surface when least expected: disconnected bits from English literature; a line from an old hymn; the annoying repetition of a song blaring from a radio; sonorous phrases from the King James Bible.

We have experienced an early spring this April in south-central Kentucky, gentle rains, warm days and only a few very light frosts that haven't blighted the first rush of leaf and bloom.
Walking the loop of the upper meadow, down the grass-grown lane past the small old barn we call the 'snake shed', back to the house, changes are almost daily evident. 

Mayapple emerged along the edges of the south ravine, tight green parasols that thrust upward in spreading clumps to shelter the single white blossom that huddles at the base of each stem.
Dogwood bloomed in a petticoat froth as redbud faded to a pale pink haze; now the white petals drift down to lie lightly on the mown grass.

Spring is a fickle season, seeming to advance in fits and starts of chill sparkling mornings, afternoons that hint of summer heat. Hummingbirds arrived on April 14th, bluebirds, goldfinches and cardinals are busy. 
From the ravine the distinctive voice of the pileated woodpecker is interspersed with his determined hammering on a dead tree. For a few days I could sometimes catch a glimpse of him, now his activities are screened by the leaves of tulip poplar, sycamore and maple. 

Swallowtail butterflies appeared in time to drift over the blooms of lilac and hybrid magnolias; they linger to enjoy the flowering sage. Small blue butterflies dart up from the meadow grass, light on the swaying clumps of pink-stained fleabane.

Along the east boundary fence and where the south ravine widens into a deep gulley, blackberry brambles and wild rosa carolina edge into the verge that Jim attempts to keep in check. Walking at twilight the perfume of their delicate blossoms almost compensates for their invasive ways.
I carry my camera or my phone as I trudge along the paths, recording the daily changes: the wild blue phlox that bloomed in a tangle of under-story brush then disappeared without a trace; spiderwort in the deep shade, a swath of lyre-leaved sage just beyond the shed, the stiff papery blooms of the tulip poplars.
Of all the seasons spring is the welcome time that finally arrives after the long dormancy of winter, the season that rushes headlong into the humid heat of summer. 
'Slow down! Wait! Give us a few more days to notice and enjoy!'

Scrolling through my photo record of an April quickly receding into time and memory the words of a Psalm drift to the surface.
"As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more."

Dogwood in bloom.

Dogwood petals strewn on the grass that borders the south ravine.

Wild rose.

False Solomon's seal.

Lyre-leaved sage.

Peony buds.

First rose of the season, Hawkeye Belle.

Centranthus ruber/red valerian.

Pinks and foxglove, grown from seed and spreading. 

Clematis Samaritan Jo and Candida, tied now to the fence and trellises but overlapping in territory.

Clematis Arabella, peeking between leaves of Candida.


This nameless survivor of the bargain plants from Spring Hill. It resembles Candida.

Standing on tip-toe to capture Candida at the top of the trellis.

Samaritan Jo.


Tuesday, April 23, 2024

April Flowers

Redbud in bloom--now only a memory until another spring.

I don't recall that yellow violets were in such profusion during other years. These flourished through cold and rainy weather. 

Oxalis--it opens in the cool of morning, folds its petals during sunny afternoons. 

The green umbrellas of May-apple. I noticed today that the small white blossoms are beginning to open--they grow at the base of the plants, difficult to capture in a photo.

Like the redbud, the lilacs have had their brief and fragrant time. 

Long-spurred violet, viola rostrata. This is the first year I've found these on the property--a clump of them in the wooded edge of the north ravine.

Oxalis, folded for the afternoon.

Iris opening outside the lower level window.

Clematis Dr. Ruppel in first flush of bloom. 

Clematis, Samaritan Jo

My favorite, vintage Candida.

Photos taken and loaded into a draft a week ago. I intended being more faithful to the blog this month, especially as April brings such exuberant bloom to our area.
I've been taking photos with my new iphone 11--the process of transferring them to a post was a mystery. These are from my faithful point and shoot Canon.
Thanks to the tech expertise of my grandson, I may be advancing on the learning curve and hope to share better photos.