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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring Just Keeps on... Springing!

Lilacs!  You can almost smell them right now, can't you?
It's been some time since I last wrote, but only because there have been so many other things going on in the Dapper and Dreamy world.  Making things, designing things to make, self-publishing...  the long list goes on.  If you are like me, you sometimes forget to stop for a minute or two to notice all of the wonderful things that already surround you...  and for free!

This time of year means the advent of a few of my favorite flowers.  In fact, you really can't beat late-April and early-May.  Why?  One word...  Lilacs.  Is there a more perfect flower?  Beautifully tinted, tiny and perfect little flowers clustered in giant cones of heavenly scent!  Just think of that amazing smell as you pass by an ancient lilac bush, or as you walk through a cool breeze carrying its heady aroma.

Lilacs are, to me, an old-fashioned sort of flower.  They are the kind of thing you'd find in a grandmother's yard, near the sides of country lanes, or around very old, abandoned farmhouses.  I once read about a man in Texas who went from ancient cemetery to ancient cemetery finding bowers of overgrown heirloom roses surviving beautifully with no help from nervous gardeners.  I rather think lilacs are like that.  Best left to their own devices, allowed plenty of room and sun to put on their marvelous annual performance.  And what a show it is...  Albeit a very short one.  My own lilac bush, tall, spindly and bare for the first six or seven feet, is always rather sad compared to many that I've seen.  Stuck between two pines by some unthinking person decades ago, now only the uppermost branches get enough light and warmth to burst forth each year.  It also happens to be in a part of the yard that I can't see easily from the house.  This has an upside, however.  I don't feel at all bad about cutting armfuls of blooms to bring into the house.  You have to capture them at just the right moment, though.  Rain and wind will cause the delicate flowers to turn brown or fall the the ground in a lavender flurry.  You must also watch them every day.  The last time I checked them, two days ago, they still seemed tightly furled.  But, today, they are glorious.

My lovely English bluebells!  Ignore that date...  They
don't really bloom in January and this was taken just
moments ago...  "Breaking Bluebell News!"

Lilacs aren't the only thing to enjoy right now.  English Bluebells are another absolute favorite.  Who can resist those perfect little bells, so sprightly on the stalks.  Imagine a woodland filled with an endless sea of their own particular shade of blue.  They truly are an English flower, don't you think?  When I was in elementary school, I well remember picking handfuls of them from a bed below our front window.  The stems would be wrapped in wet paper towels, and then foil, and carefully taken to school on Teacher's Day.  I loved the smell of them, barely noticeable but very, very sweet...  The smell of a wet, green, Oregon spring.

Dazzling camellias...  Bright, lipstick pink.

Camellias can't be left off of the list of spectacular Spring flowers, either.  We have a large, round, very old bush just in front of our porch.  The blooms are bright, lipstick pink with golden centers.  Each year, this bush attempts to fool us.  Saving its glory for the last possible moment, only one or two blooms show up in the first few weeks, making you think that you'll have a less than dazzling display.  But, just as you are about to give up, the dark green of the shiny leaves is broken by hundreds and hundreds of bright blooms!  Giant fistfuls of the woody branches are cut to be thrust into the magnificent blue and white vase that sits atop the piano.

Tiny, perfect flowers...  Shadowed by an
artlessly amateur photographer...

Finally, the diminutive English Daisy (can you see I like anything prefaced by the word "English"?)...  Like tiny, white stars, English Daisies dot vivid green lawns from home to park to pasture.  Everywhere you look, there they are.  Some consider them weeds.  I see them as a reason not to mow the lawn...  Or at least to mow around them. What bright, cheery little faces they present, speckling the grass in surprising little patches.  And to think...  I don't have to buy them, plant them, pinch them back or anything else!

Spring seems to linger, providing a parade of bright pinks, cool blues, brilliant reds and dazzling yellows, not to mention pinks and purples and greens of every possible shade.  It doesn't require much effort to enjoy the display...  Look up... Blooming cherries and plums and apples!  Look straight ahead... Camellias, lilacs, flowering currant, forsythia!  Look down...  Daffodils, tulips, crocuses and, of course...  Bluebells!

Welcome to the Dapper and Dreamy
Bungalow!

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