Summer Bloomers—The Early Birds

There is nothing quite like watching and waiting for the first blooms to appear. This spring was more colorful than usual because the scarlet and magenta verbena forgot they were annuals and came back in force. I love spring, but I planned the garden to peak in summer because of our yard’s sunlight patterns. The back part of the yard is shaded until late April, so plants there don’t take off until weeks after those closer to the front. The garden phloxes, a late bloomer, likely lags because they have to wait for the sun to reach them. 

As it happens, the main summer bloomers—black and blue salvia, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and bee balm— are tall, often reaching as high as four feet. They are in the middle and dominate their surroundings. The daylilies (at the front) always herald the start of the summer blooms. Somehow, they always start to bloom on Memorial Day weekend, and they disappear within a few weeks. However, the others stay on until autumn— the salvia and coneflowers, until the first frost.  

Every spring, it becomes a waiting game to see who will appear first. I thought my wife and I were the only ones doing this, but passers-by have also commented on the number of buds and when they are likely to open. For the past three years, the timing has been off. Everything bloomed three to four weeks early, except the daylilies. By the time the early birds are ready to bloom, the azaleas are spent and trimmed, and I can put down the mulch. During this period, I usually dig out cannas before they spread too far and yank weeds and maple saplings. I get to see the buds up close before they can be seen from a distance, and despite having had a garden since 2014, I am still delighted by every sighting. For some reason, it never gets old. Usually, images in posts are of mature flowers. However, this year I decided to capture photos of the first buds and opening blossoms and give them a proper welcome for returning once more and brightening my summer.  

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