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Garden Photo of the Day

Promises of Spring

First hints of warmer days to come

My camellias, the only bright flowering presence in my yard at the end of the season, are just now recovering from the last month's arctic blast, as the bitter cold turned their blooms to brown mush. Yet the promise of Spring appears in February --- when all hope seems lost for warm sunny days, clear blue skies, and gentle breezes playfully waving flowers about.

DeAnna Cobb shared these beautiful photos and an equally beautiful meditation on this time of year:

“Another winter is all too slowly coming to a close. February has long been my least favorite month as it is usually a rainy dreary stretch of chilly gray days, even in the deep coastal South. A huge case of Spring fever is upon me, so bad that I wandered the garden section of the local big box store in the rain this past weekend, umbrella in hand, just to see some flowers. My brain is spinning with plans for the season. What plants should I add for the hummingbirds, butterflies, and the bees that can take our hot and humid summers? How soon should I start tomatoes? Mustn’t forget to plant moonflower seeds this year as I surely missed those huge and haunting blooms that seem to glow in the dark last summer. I sternly resist the urge to buy plants by the carload. The roses in full bloom are horribly tempting but likely an exercise in frustration this time of year. Plus, I would need to research to see if they would do well in this area and where would I put them? We will have a frost or two yet I’m sure. I only bought one potted red geranium for the front steps figuring if a frost threatens I can move it indoors temporarily.”


The first hint of Spring I see is from the truly massive Japanese magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana, zones 4 – 9) residing in our side yard. We’ve been told the same family lived in our house since it was built in the late 1940’s and I have no trouble believing they must have planted it when they first moved in, or perhaps it was already there and they thoughtfully placed the house next to it rather than cut it down. It smothers itself in thousands of lovely pink and white blooms, which burst open from tightly closed buds seemingly overnight. It is a literal traffic stopper. I’ve observed people hit their brakes and exclaim over the loveliness.
The magnolia petals drift to the ground and give soft color to the sleeping lawn. The bloom is fleeting, in mere days the grand show will be over, but then bright green leaves swiftly appear and this is the signal for the rest of the yard to slowly awaken.
My eyes are desperate for color in this drab winter world. I scrutinize the “bones” of my yard as they are exposed in late winter. I content myself with weeding, mulching, and tidying flowerbeds, between raindrops it seems, for the warm sunny months to come.
My work is interspersed with daydreams of flowers in profusion, productive veggie and herb container gardens (pictured is my lettuce and parsley container), and hummingbirds galore. What are your plans this for this green and growing season? What gardening dreams are whirling in your mind? What new plants and old faves are you going to welcome into your space?


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/28/2018

    DeAnna, do you mind sharing what area you are in? Yes, your Asian Magnolia is gorgeous. Many of us in the south actually got to see some very good bloom from them this year due to frost holding off.

    1. user-7030791 03/02/2018

      Mobile, Alabama. Thanks!

  2. Maggieat11 02/28/2018

    Lovely photos! Good idea to photograph the magnolia petals. I wouldn't have thought of that. So pretty! yes, I too, have Spring Fever. And it is likely to kick into high gear when I get to the Philly Flower Show on Saturday!

  3. Chris N 02/28/2018

    Spring is coming. Thanks for reminding us with your thoughtful writing as well as inspiring photos.

  4. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 02/28/2018

    Hi, DeAnna, I very much enjoyed reading your narrative and certainly identified with your yearning for spring. I live a good bit further north than you (east TN) but I, also, am starting to wander the nursery area of the big box stores. Things are still pretty devoid of plants but I can tell shipments will be coming in soon...oh, joy!
    Your Japanese magnolia sounds magnificent and how glorious it must be in full but fleeting bloom!
    I'm currently fully obsessed with tweaking an area I call my hosta walkway. Because of a vole problem over the past couple of years, I've moved my favorite hosta up into large blue planters of various sizes and shapes. My challenge has been to arrange the containers so that the flow pleases me...my sense of Feng Shui has not yet been fully satisfied but this might be the year I finally get it right.
    Hope you have a great year of gardening.

  5. user-7017435 02/28/2018

    Good morning Ms. Cobb, Your post this morning describes a gardener's yearning for springs arrival very well. Soon we will have spring fever and " A little madness in the spring ,is wholesome even for a king" Emily PostThank you & good luck, Joe

  6. Cheryl A 02/28/2018

    Deanna, you have wonderfully described the tugging of our heart strings as we yearn for signs of new growth. Here in zone 6 we have the early daffodils, the Lenten roses, crocus, and MANY buds of leaves that look like they are about to break open. Loved your photo of the raindrops on the branch tips! Thank you.

  7. Sheila_Schultz 02/28/2018

    DeAnna, your words so tenderly articulate a gardener's yearning to be part of the growth process in our gardens this time of year. Beautiful, thank you.

  8. user-7017435 02/28/2018

    Good afternoon Michaele, I hope your Guacamole survived the vole scourge. Several years ago you suggested that plant for an area I was planning. I planted 2 & they are show stoppers. They thrive in containers in my zone 7 garden. Good luck with your plan, Joe

    1. User avater
      meander1 (Michaele ) 02/28/2018

      Thanks for your expression of hoping all is well with my 'Guacamole' hosta. Yes, that was the first one I rescued to a container and it is doing great. I also have an in ground 'Guacamole' planted in a different area that the voles haven't infiltrated. It is so big and I just love everything about it. I'm delighted that my evangelism for this variety of hosta was successful with you and you are not disappointed.

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