Walking through a deciduous woodland wonder, filled with daffodils and bluebells in early spring, is a magical experience…

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A stand of budding deciduous trees under planted with drifts of daffodils and tulips create a symphony of color…and promises full-filled by nature for another year.

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A picturesque patchwork of flowers and foliage, sunlit clearings, spots of shade and a work of nature always in progress…

From branches of delight to the old-fashioned shrubs of spring, you’ll find a traditional feast full of blooms and fragrance…vivid pink blossoms of Oriental cherry, pale red buds, purple plums, and later, in time for Easter…dogwoods, a sure symbol of new life.

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Crabapple blooms ^ waiting for continued warmth, the buzz of pollinating bees and then the fruits of summer…Cut a few branches before they bloom to bring inside.

Breathtakingly beautiful spring displays of bloom…the annual transformation of bare branches into blossoms and leaves…cherry, apple, pear, viburnum, lilacs, spirea, mock orange and so many more…promises kept that lift the heart and inspire you to put on your garden boots and get outside!

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Spread finished compost in garden beds and then rework your compost pile as needed…to really get growing strong.

Managing your kitchen garden/potager is as much about learning how simple it is to just do basic care & maintenance and then let Nature happen…This is one of the hardest things to do in an era of “instant gratification takes too long”! If you have created an organic kitchen garden, it should be a joy to just pinch and pick and keep watered…Oh, wait…you do have a potager, certainly?? The one shown below is a rustic example of growing in a country setting…my favorite. However, I promise, it is simple to adjust the plan to an urban environment.

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Such a clever use of space and raised areas along with a great group of herbs as companion plants...the garden ^ has been created on a 4 square basis. It’s a glorious spring morning, all is quiet in the garden and the woods behind the house except for an occasional birdsong…with longer daylight hours there is more time to enjoy routine tasks, to plan and potter in the garden…to share salad greens and spring peas…and soon organic eggs from my new flock…just getting started inside today.

I’ve reworked the old chicken pen to provide a safer space for containment if I’m away for a few days, otherwise, when old enough, they’ll wander the garden daily on pest patrol.

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The beginning of my new flock, the little chicks here, staying warm under a light, will stay in the trough until they are large enough to move into their new and improved living space…will keep you posted. ^

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Promise of Posies…Do you have a cutting garden? In addition to my garden of perennials, roses, herbs and such, a separate cutting garden…if you have the space and the sunshine…is a must in order to create a feast of flowers, both annuals and a few perennials, for enjoyment in vases around the home and to share with friends. I often plan such gardens for clients and some years, if not too busy, for me. My planning started in January and planting/sowing of some seeds started late in February …

The cutting garden year starts with daffodils, tulips, drifts of blue scillia and narcissus followed by Iceland poppies, scented stock & wallflowers, iris, love-in-a-mist/nigella, sweet peas, and lime green euphorbia!

Late spring to early summer brings snapdragons, calendula, dianthus, sweet rocket, sweet william, woodland phlox, Canterbury bells, bachelor buttons, and a continuation of more sweet peas.

And mid summer into fall…drifts of cosmos and daisies, zinnias of all colors, Mexican sunflowers, summer phlox, salvias, dahlias, amaranthus, coreopsis, verbenas, coneflowers, and chocolate cosmos.

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With all of the above...easily planted by seeds, bulbs, cuttings or starts…you’ll have wonderful drifts of flowers and fragrant blooms to pick from spring to fall. Who wouldn’t  love that, even on a much smaller scale?

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Experimenting is a good way to learn about flowers, how they grow, how long they bloom and how happy they are living in groups as shown above…A few  years ago I created a small cutting garden of all white blooms and silver foliage which offers a variety of bouquets from my cutting garden. It was such a success I then expanded with many more white and silver plants with a Moon Garden design…in a July post a few years back.

leekSome favorite ingredients from the spring garden are leeks and a few “new” potatoes, freshly dug from their growing baskets…the photo above shows a very creamy version of delicious leek & potato soup. When I make this soup it stays more rustic and a bit chunky…as I do NOT have an immersion blender. But, that’s fine, just personal preference. Leek and potato soup, with a glass of wine, a baguette and piece of cheese, is a simple, inexpensive and delightful meal served very often in Provencal country homes…and, at my country home in Virginia!

IMG_0485    Last March, springtime in Texas, with my French sister, Jeanine, we made Chicken pie and picked fresh salad greens from her potager! See how lovely the tiny bouquets are from her early garden of blooms.

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She keeps watch over the new flock…

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Happy Spring picking!!

Special hello and thank you to a blog reader in Texas, Felicia…she happened upon Jeanine at a local garden center and recognized my sister from the blog!!

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