Spring tinies

These last two days have been so spectacular — soft, sunny, and warm — that I can’t stand the thought of anyone being stuck indoors. I know I’m lucky (in a previous life I worked in a windowless office) and I wish you all could be out here with us. (If it’s any consolation, I’m inside now to work on this. But the door next to my desk is wide open and the greenhouse is behind me. I’m totally lucky.)

I had to include the above daffodil pictures in this post — they’re on their way towards peak — but before they blare every trumpet I feel justified in focusing on the spring tinies. Ephemerals like the trout lily (Erythronium americanum) that has speckled the Bosquet and every garden and is just beginning to bloom; tiny primroses (Primula veris┬ávulgaris), and European ginger (Asarum europaeum) blooming almost invisibly in the Rock Garden; weird octopus’ garden foliage and buds of Muscari armeniacum ‘Valerie Finnis’; and the innocent-looking flowers and newly emerged foliage of butterbur (Petasites japonicus). There’s no indication that in 2 or 3 weeks time the butterbur’s leaves will be as big as tea tables…

(Click on any picture for a showier show and/or mouse over for captions.)

Speaking of innocent-looking, we started taking out, dividing, and moving around perennials that have grown close together in the Idea Garden. Everything is still so tiny that it’s hard to believe they’ll ever be shoulder height (some of them) and a lot of them look exactly alike (to me) at this stage. It was like a memory test to remember what’s what. And in fact it was hard enough for me to distinguish between the mountain mint (Pycnanthemum verticillatum) — which we want to replace with a showier P. muticum — and the Monarda fistulosa ‘Claire Grace’, planted side by side that I had to resort to the sniff test. Mountain mint definitely smells mintier… And we had to do some fancy footwork to avoid stepping on all of the perennials still so tucked in that we can barely even see them. But this is the perfect time to start to play musical perennials. We can even get away with stashing The Unplanted in bags in the shade for a week or two (I don’t mind making daylilies and rudbeckia wait even longer) until we figure out where they’ll live next.

Please tell me you were able to get into your garden to dig into (or just enjoy) spring’s tinies. (I’ll feel better if you have.)