First Blooms on a Fine Spring Day

Mystery tree

I think it may be service berry or choke berry, but don't know which--anyway, one of the mystery trees has bloomed. These are all of the flowers, by the way, so it didn't bloom all that much ....

Have a run set with Theresa later, but in the meantime have had too much to do to train much this week. I better get in gear, because an old man cannot afford to not be ready for a long, hot, hilly run.

Anyway, although some plants are being stubborn—no Sargent crab apple blooms this spring, though tree seems robust—there are some new things breaking into bloom for the first time.

Well. The first new one is “new” only because it has never bloomed before—one of the two 12-foot mystery trees near the clothes line has little white flowers. Just a few, and its partner has none—so I don’t know if there will be any fruit to aid in identification this fall or not. At least, it’s nice to know that this blooming tree will, after three or four years, start to bloom.


One of two clusters of flowers on young, 5-foot redbud.

I planted two little redbuds that came in the same Arbor Day Foundation package of 10. The one that died back to the ground and sprouted from the base last year seems good and dead this spring, which makes me wish more fervently that a catalpa survives (four sprouted, two have subsequently keeled over). But the other one, in a shadier corner of the yard actually bloomed, just a little bit. Shown is one of two remote clusters of pink flowers.

The older, taller redbud that is south of this little tree is in full bloom mode, and hopefully will encourage this little one. At least, if it has a few blooms this year, there is hope for more next year.

Most spectacular is a new lilac bush Audrey had me plant under our bedroom windows last year. It is blooming like crazy this spring—nice. It was already 3 feet ball when planted and grew to close to 6 feet last year, so it should have bloomed, but my record with lilacs is a bit mixed, so this one blooming is good to see (and smell).

Finally—on to the front yard. Many of the bulbs purchased last October the day Elizabeth was born and planted in the wall garden are doing well. Red tulips are in bloom, some crocuses have come and gone and a few are still on the way, and daffodils and hyacinth are doing fine. The lacy peonies in the background of one photo are indeed the “Martian” ones from the farm, not yet blooming, but looking like red is the chosen color.

New lilac

New lilac is blooming quite well. Nice spring perfume.

We also dug up an overgrown evergreen that was threatening access to our front steps, and planted two rhododendrons. One of the two is in full bloom. The other looks slightly sick, so we’ll see.

We have more old overgrown evergreens in front that will come out this summer.

Any ideas for shade-tolerant bushes to replace them?

Flowers in wall garden

Hyacinth, daffodils and lacy peonies in "wall" garden.


In Clinton, they brought in an old steamboat, the "Rhododendron," as a museum when we lived there in the 1960s. One of two rhododendron bushes in front is blooming well.



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4 responses to “First Blooms on a Fine Spring Day

  1. We had good luck with a variegated dogwood bush under an oak tree when we lived on Elmhurst. It was still there the last time I checked – see the house that’s one up from the corner of Elmhurst and Hazel (the one on the corner is gray stucco, and very distinctive – our old house, not so much – but the dogwood was flourishing). Anyway, that’s my shady bush contribution.

    • crgardenjoe

      I’ll have to look it up. Dogwood was on my list–they have some tempting looking yellow-twig ones at Menards. I was thinking of a red one and a yellow one not too far apart (and not too close together, they can get pretty tall) at the “corner of the area.

  2. Toni

    Wow, the martian peonies have really grown since you gave me the garden tour!

  3. crgardenjoe

    You and Cate and Paulette should pop over soon sometime when it’s not raining. The backyard is something to see while the crab apples are in bloom, and their season is short!

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