Tag Archives: lily of the valley

What It’s Like To Plant With 3-year-old Helpers

One of my helpers. Not 3 yet, but master of her universe. She has a cousin of about the same age, and he and she helped me plant today.

One of my helpers. Not 3 yet, but master of her universe. She has a cousin of about the same age, and he and she helped me plant today.

Well, I don’t think they are technically 3 yet—since both have birthdays later this month—but they are 3ish. They are certainly a dynamic pair, my two young garden helpers today. I had met the grandkids at a park and given one nearly 3 something a ride home on my bike, then took the other on a short ride before sprinkles called us home.

And then it was planting time. Phlox are still on the way, but pink Lily of the Valley and a bag of 25 Asian Lily bulbs had arrived in yesterday’s post. I don’t know where my not broken trowel is, so I had instead a handle less blade from a broken trowel, a shovel, a hoe and two energetic “helpers” as I headed out to the back door.

She: “I want to hold the scoop.” Apparently, “scoop” is 3-speak for “broken trowel.”
He: “Where is MY scoop?” He looked at me suspiciously when I suggested that instead he hold the flowers, and merely marched off toward the garden empty handed.

We arrived at planting site number one. It was lucky there were three Lily of the Valley, so I give one to him, one to her and put one in the hole myself.

That went well. The hoe cleared gravel, the broken trowel make a narrow, shallow trench, and into the ground went the hope of future pretty pink flowers. I’ve got a lot of white Lily of the Valley, which I really enjoy, but I’m looking forward to the variety of these pink ones.

The Asian Lilies, which involved deeper holes (rather than going 1-inch underground like the roots for Lily of the Valley, these bulbs were to be buried 6 inches deep) proved a bit more problematic to plant with ornery children as my posse.

Me: “Dig here.”
He: Digs in random place 6 inches away.
She: Tromps through daffodils to stand next to him and demand: “When is it MY turn?”

Actually, she had a bit more focus than he did, so her turn came up way more often than his since he was off randomly playing during some of the planting. I almost laughed out loud when he came up once, huffing with indignation that she had gotten to put all the bulbs in one hole. I hadn’t sent him off, he had wandered off, and it wasn’t her fault that she stuck around and got to do more planting. Anyway, he was quickly mollified when he got to hold the scoop and randomly fail to dig before I got my turn and actually made a hole.

It’s a bit of a trial planting stuff with young children. On the other hand, it’s totally worth it. There’s something deeply binding about planting with kids, and both of these young rascals are a bit more in tune with nature due to experience gardening with parents and grandparents.

He even has asked for flowers to plant for his third birthday, a request that seems unbearably sweet. I’ll have to find an actual trowel to take to his party along with some flowers.

And, in the end, the plants are in the ground. Here’s hoping they will produce more than rabbit chow!

I liked this bee image so much, which I shot Friday afternoon at Mount Mercy University, that I'm using it on both blogs. So there.

I liked this bee image so much, which I shot Friday afternoon at Mount Mercy University, that I’m using it on both blogs. So there.



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Columbine Shows June Is On the Way


Blue Columbine in front wall garden--have orangish red ones, too.

June isn’t busting out all over, but the gardens are starting to get a bit of early summer look to them—what survived the winter is growing robustly, the back yard is starting to “shade up” and helicopters are beginning to drift down from the huge maple that will bombard us in June.

Still a few tulips in bloom, and only the early Chinese peonies are flowering yet—but the first shift of lilacs is being taken over by the second shift (pink ones bloom later than blue and violet ones, and the miniature bush isn’t in bloom yet). Bluebells are in their prime, and the subtle sweet perfume of Lily-of-the-Valley is in the air.

And pretty Columbine are starting to bloom.

Foreshadowing of later garden news—the “rose that never blooms” from last year is covered in tiny flower buds! Well, good for Audrey for insisting that I not remove this bush. Roses are several weeks away—and Audrey and I plan to buy a better camera this summer. Maybe I’ll have it by the time roses bloom.

Making wish

"I make wish" she says, and blows the seeds all over the yard.

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Mid-April, Buds Show How The World Will Change


Fern ready to unfurl, looks like it could be an alien about to bite

Crocus have been in bloom and many are already faded. Daffodils are coming into their own, and all kinds of flowers/plants are starting to show themselves.

It’s mid-April, an in between time in the garden. The early phase, the first signs of life, are ending, and some serious plant sex is ready to kick into gear.

Here I present a few images shot during a quick tour of my backyard in the morning of April 14. Your taxes are due tomorrow, and by this time next week, green and shade will start to dominate my temporarily sunny yard.

In my quick loop this morning, I was struck by how odd the ferns look, which is why “Fernie” gets the main spot. Before their fronds unfurl fully, they look a bit like the evil plant in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

New lilac


Lilacs will be a mixed bag, which they always are. A fairly young one that we planted 2 years ago and that bloomed last year looks like it’s going to bloom its heart out. As you can see, at least one other bush will be in a reproductive frenzy, too. But looking down at the bud nearer the ground—well, this pretty white lilac doesn’t seem to have any flower buds yet. Next spring, I hope. A few other shy bushes seem like they’ll continue their shy ways. Oh well, I’m going to have plenty of lilacs to see and smell (and chances are, I’ll need them).

Some of the traditional peonies are showing well, but not budded yet. The frilly early ones have formed buds already and should bloom soon.

Lily of the valley and hostas, which always seem like the last flowers to awaken, are just starting to poke their conical first folded leaves above the ground.

Crab apple trees have their tiny early leaves, which means they are getting set to bloom very soon. Redbuds are swollen with pink buds that will be gorgeous tiny flowers in a matter of days.


Pear tree. May be a bit stinky ....

Sadly, the pear tree that bloomed just a little last year looks ready to put on a real show—with pears, that’s sometimes a stinky show, too. I hope the scent of lilac proves more robust than the pear stench.

And a few other early flowers, plants that are part of the end of “wave 1” of spring.

Grass will need mowing soon. New grass is starting to sprout. The larger trees are still fitfully snoozing, but showing signs too, with maples long since flowered and buds swelling on oak and ash.

The in between time is poised to give way to dramatic new flowers shortly! Hooray, spring!


Side view of Fern. Scary looking little monster, but will be pretty plant.


Traditional color lilac near house.

Moscow lilac

Pretty little Moscow lilac, will bloom white. But not this year.


Both redbuds, older one and young pup, are going to be very showy this spring.


Another view of pear buds.

Shady groundcover.

Shady plant in bloom.

Early flower.

Early flower in garden by deck.


Final photo, daffodil in bloom.

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