Tag Archives: Spring

May Time

There are very few blog entries for May in the archives. There is so much to do it makes my head spin, but the garden is positively enchanting at this time of year! Here’s a look at what is happening right now:

ericaceous garden

Azaleas and Rhododendrons blooming together.

Ruth May Azalea

‘Ruth May’ Azalea –interesting color…

Geisha azalea

‘Geisha’ Azalea, one of my favorites, just because.

Davidia involucrata

The flowers of the Dove Tree / Davidia involucrata.


Bright red new growth on Pieris japonica ‘Mountain Fire’.

Calycanthus floridus

Woody flowers of Carolina Allspice / Calycanthus floridus.

May 22 2014 059

Cold-hardy banana (Musa basjoo) survived the winter!


Also looking good after a very tough winter: Opuntia humifusa, the Eastern Prickly Pear, native to RI.

shady side

Shade garden…Solomon’s Seal and more coming up through a carpet of Sweet Woodruff / Galium odoratum.


Catching Up

plants in greenhouseWe started early Friday morning, loading plants into the stake body truck borrowed from Agronomy (as well as two pickups). Off to East Farm! (it’s only a mile.)

plants in greenhouseLauren on truckIt rained a little (of course). Two large loads in the stake body and two loads in each pick up, then we set it all up and went home. Saturday started bright and early again, with a hundred or more people lined up before the gate opened at 9 am! We talked plants nonstop all day and sold most of them. Brought the leftovers back in one pickup and now we are catching up in the Botanical Garden for Commencement this weekend!

virginia bluebellsazalea

Count Down: Plant Sale 2014

plant sale

The countdown is on to Saturday, May 10th!

Come see us at the East Farm Spring Festival! The URI Botanical Gardens will be selling Annuals, Garden-dug Perennials, and vegetable seedlings. All-America selections, heirloom varieties, and more. All proceeds benefit the Botanical Gardens!

Free parking, gardening demonstrations, vendors, food, children’s activities.

Saturday May 10th, 9 am to 2 pm

East Farm Spring Festival

plant sale

News from Yesterday

First I went into the greenhouse and took pictures of the seedlings coming up, because they make me happy.

scallion seedlingstomato seedlingsSome are mine, for the Garden and the Plant Sale, and some are Andy’s, for Agronomy.

pepper seedlings

parsley seedlingsThen I looked out the window and saw Louis taking the cover off the overwintered perennials, so I went outside. I was glad to see that not only are the plants alive (I’m a worrier), but have even been thriving out there, under the blanket (which is now off).

pulmonarialeopard's baneOnce I was outside, an advance scout for Spring caught my eye. Hands freezing, eyes tearing from the cold, I walked around the Garden. I found just a little bit of color to share with you.




Springtime, by the Calendar

Today is the Spring Equinox, Happy Spring!  (just a few minutes ago, on March 20 2014 at 12:57 pm for latitude 41.47.)  It IS warmer today, but the advancing signs of Spring are not where we usually find them on March 20th. OK, no more complaining about the long cold winter. Since the usual flowers are not blooming yet, barely poking their noses out of the still frozen soil, I will show you pictures from other years.


Snowdrops, March 13, 2013

Iris, aconite

Dwarf Iris, Winter Aconite, March 15, 2012

Blue Squill

Scilla, March 22 2011


Hellebore, March 17 2010

You can see that we have a lot to look forward to! As soon as there is something besides grey and brown out there, I will let you know. In the meantime, I marked the Spring Equinox this morning by balancing an egg on its end.  What are you doing to celebrate Spring?

At the End of the Year

For the last blog of the year here are a few favorite pictures from 2013. Some of them are of beautiful things and some of them just make me smile, like the picture of all the seedlings coming up for the plant sale.  Happy New Year!

Jan 24 2013 012

January 24th 2013, frost patterns on the glass inside the Conservatory. Temperature outside was -3 F.

blizzard 2013

February 8th, 2013, the Blizzard left about 18 inches (?) of snow in South County and damaged many, many trees

hamamelis/witch hazel

March , signs of spring!

seedlings in greenhouse

April, seedlings for plant sale.

solomon seal


May is glorious!

June, midsummer, green.

June, midsummer, green.

July, full of colors.

July, full of colors.



August 8 2013-012

sedum 'Autumn Joy'


PLS 351

October–fall is the best time to plant!

dahlia tubers

November, putting away the dahlias for the winter.



Where We’ve Been

Where have we been? Mostly out in the garden….

Shortia galacifolia

Oconee Bells, Shortia galacifolia. A rare plant from the Appalachian Mountains.

Spring is upon us and we have been raking, weeding, admiring  the plants coming up through the slowly warming soil, moving stones, cutting down trees, and edging the beds.

Ligularia dentata

Ligularia dentata coming up among the Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum).

Edging is heavy work but I love the way it defines the gardens and makes them look cared for (as well as keeping the grass from creeping into the beds).

Newly edged garden bed

Freshly edged garden bed.

April 17 2013 010

Inside the greenhouse, there are flats upon flats of seedlings. Some are for the garden, some for the All-America Selections Display, and some for the plant sale.

seedlings in greenhouse

Seedlings in greenhouse.

We also made a few trips to the unheated overwintering house at URI’s East Farm, where perennials in pots stay for the winter. Now they are inside and coming up beautifully, ready for the garden and the plant sale.


Perennials in the greenhouse.

solomon's seal

Solomon’s Seal, a beautiful spring perennial.

SAVE THE DATE: Plant Sale Friday May 3rd, 8AM to 2 PM, at the greenhouse on campus, then on Saturday May 11th at the East Farm Festival, 9 AM to 2 PM at URI’s East Farm.

Vegetable seedlings, All-America Selections annuals, and Garden-dug perennials!

My Imaginary Garden

dwarf iris

Today I am daydreaming about an early spring garden. It would be against the south-facing stone wall, for winter protection and early warmth. The sun would embrace it from dawn to dusk. All the earliest bulbs and flowers would be growing there, encouraged to rise and bloom for springtime cheer.


Being so close to the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay,  springtime here is cold. The water temperature warms slowly, leaving a chill in the air as our March and April breezes pass over the water. (Of course, the flip side to that is a long warm autumn, September days at the beach with just us year-round residents, and tomatoes holding on til October…) After last year’s “non-winter” and early spring, this year Old Man Winter seems to be hanging around for an extra long stay.


Back to my early spring garden: It would be full of crocuses and snowdrops, witch hazels and hellebores, tiny dwarf irises, winter aconite, and the earliest daffodils. All these beautiful flowers are here at the Botanical Gardens, but not all together in my imaginary garden. They are scattered about, each creating a tiny spot of color in a  landscape just beginning to awaken from winter. Walk through the garden and welcome them, and welcome spring.

purple crocus