Spring is Full of Surprises

We lost a few things in the garden over the winter. The southern magnolia might have taken a hit; I cut it back to a stem around three feet tall after looking at it slowly drop its brown leaves without even hinting at new life. I wouldn't call it a great loss. In the eight years it's been here it gave us around four or five flowers. Spectacular as they were, they were pricey, the tree having taken up too much space for the number of blooms.
What's having a great year are the spring bulbs I've planted over the years, with hundreds of daffodils reigning over the backyard and into the woods.
The great Daffs-In-A-Box experiment
Even my daffs-in-a-box experiment worked out. Actually, I'd just gotten tired of re-planting the ones I'd dug up last year and set the remaining bulbs free to fend for themselves in a cardboard box.

The bulbs got plenty of cold treatment, having spent their winter beneath a constant snow cover. At least this way, I'll know where to find them when it comes time to re-plant them.

I tend to disrespect plants that reward me with such undeserved increase. Okay, so they're not like lemon balm or The Ivy, but dying leaves left after bloom detract from the fresh growth of their neighbors.

Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' would look even better with some tulips hovering over them.

Tulip 'Montreaux' blooms near a tree peony.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, and giving me lots of bang for the buck is a clutch of Anemone blanda Blue Shades. Brent and Becky like to call them "socks and shoes" for taller spring bulbs. The tulips I meant for them to go with are not cooperating, and by the time 'Honkey Tonk' bloom, the Anemone will be finished.

I have some Tulips called 'Montreaux' in the same bed as the Anemone, but they're stubbornly staying closed up tight. Those planted elsewhere in the garden are already open.

Tulips seem to be extremely sensitive to location. Given the warmth and reflected heat from a structure or stone wall, they'll get a move on more quickly than the same varieties in the center of the garden.

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