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Quick spring note

We're experiencing a spell of May-June style warmth while the drought continues: we're now entering the second half of the second year of drought, with no rain in the forecast. Disquieting, but everything is green, green, green. The warm climate roses are leafing out vigorously. Around the house, 'Archduke Joseph' and 'Mrs. B. R. Cant' are both full-blown climbers trained into trees and onto pergolas, 'Clementina Carbonieri' (of commerce) sprawls far and wide over the shrubs on the escarpment; and there's more and more that I won't bore you by listing. Down in the big garden, matters are different: the roses there are far more likely to suffer the heavy soil, blazing sun, and, I suspect, ongoing lack of water. I'm seeing roses failing that had been in place for years, and am wondering whether sheer lack of water may be the cause, as it's been going on for so long now. I don't know.

Temperatures are forecast to drop to more seasonal levels in a week or so. Drought or no, I'm seeing plenty of vigorous growth. I've been working for a while now down in the shade garden and in the top of the woods. I've been clearing out lemon balm, having finally gotten sick of its winter untidiness and invasive tendencies, as well as Bermuda grass, the occasional bramble, etc. While I've worked I've had time to plan development of the upper part of the woods, planting to resume this fall, of course, always assuming we've gotten some rain by then.

With our heavy alkaline soil we don't have azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, those queens of the spring garden. Instead, we have spring bulbs and woodland flowers, currently snowflakes, violets, lesser celandine, daffodils, the last pale yellow primroses. The trout lilies, of which there are far too few in the woods, have mostly finished blooming and are setting seed, while the hellebores continue in flower, also setting seed. I'm particularly happy to see the native green hellebores that I introduced into the woods surviving and reproducing; they're an elegant, long-lived plant, less common at our elevation then the (likewise attractive and desirable) stinking hellebore, though you see colonies of them here and there.

Forsythias are in full flower, glorious yellow torches, and fruit trees, including a peach that seeded itself in a corner of 'Mme. Antoine Mari''s bed, grew in a bend to get itself out into the light, and perhaps may now grow well along with its companion, though this isn't peach country. It's a happy world.

I'm still struggling with the aftermath of Covid, though at least the rib I apparently cracked back in February, or whatever it was, has healed. Mainly my energy level remains low. Fortunately the garden works hard for itself, and disasters caused by lack of maintenance (I do worry about the yew hedges) have so far been staved off. The shade garden and the woods below are beautiful. And the Lady Banks roses, masses of airy pale green, are setting buds.

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