Magnolia, Plum, Viburnum…(flower, flower, flower)

Like every garden writer in the history of humankind, I’ve spent my entire career begging ” don’t blow the whole wad on spring. If everything in the yard is done blooming by the 4th of July, how boring is that.

But then every year about this time I’m glad the people who owned this house before us – in some cases WAY before us – believed in planting the usual.

Actually, for our first decade or so I DID have mixed feelings about the magnolia, which would routinely just start opening into a huge glorious pink cloud and then there would be a frost and believe me a huge brown cloud is not glorious. Then things got warmer and it routinely escaped; we got a whole month of being happy that this giant unit eats about half the side yard. This year, however, after about 10 days of splendor it’s already going over. Eighty degrees is not a whole lot better than 29 from the magnolia longevity point of view.

The amazing thing about plum blossoms is that they smell exactly like the cheap plum incense that perfumed so many groovy abodes in the 60’s. Bees love them, though, so when you stand under the trees you see and hear a very cheering assortment of these threatened creatures.

In contrast to the plum, the viburnum ( carlesii) smells wonderful. Like itself and only like itself, a sweet, non-cloying New Englandish perfume that fills the entire yard on warm evenings and justifies the existence of an otherwise unexciting shrub and if it really does freeze on Tuesday night and clonk it when it’s only about half-open I’m going to put face in my hands and weep. This post hints at my addiction – and offers a few seasonally appropriate garden tips. (Appropriate if you’re in the lower Hudson valley, anyway. And it doesn’t up and snow)

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