Monday, January 30, 2012

Spring's First Flowers

I wanted to share a few pictures of some flowers that I took last year about this time.  I had just recently started my blog, and I took our trusty point-and-shoot digital camera out to take some photos about which I could write a post.  I went to a local estate called Reynolda House and Gardens.  It was a sunny, cool day, and I didn't have the time or the money to spend touring the house; but I did take some pictures of the gardens.

These gardens have lots and lots of daffodils in early spring, and I really went there to see if the daffodils were in bloom.  There were a few blooming here and there, but definitely not at their showy peak.

But I did stumble on an unexpected and pleasant surprise at the edge of a wooded area near the formal gardens...


Aren't they sweet?  I was so excited to discover them.  For some reason, I never knew these flowers grew in the South.  I've never seen any around here, and I've lived in North Carolina all my life.  I thought they only grew in colder climates.  According to the two online websites I checked, they can show up weeks before crocuses, making them the earliest blooming bulbs.  They can even bloom all winter long in the South.  At any rate, I'm glad I saw these; they were fun to photograph.

This was my first lesson in the challenges of photographing flowers outdoors.  There was a pretty strong breeze that day, and it was so hard to capture the flowers without them being a blur.  Every time I got in position with my camera and ready to take a picture, the wind would ruffle the flowers.  The same thing happened with the few daffodils that were blooming.  But I think I managed to get some decent pictures just the same.

If you're interested, you can read more about Snowdrops HERE and HERE.

It seems that across most of the nation, we're all experiencing warmer than usual winter temperatures.  While this is really pleasant on a day like today, the downside is that it's causing our spring flowers to bloom out of season.  I actually saw Japanese Cherry trees in full bloom in Greensboro last week...and this is January.  Come Spring and Easter, we'll be missing some of these pretty flowers.

Debbie at Words On Wheels posted about her Japanese Magnolia tree being in full bloom over the weekend, only to be followed up by nighttime temps in the 20's.  Our flowers and trees need a certain amount of cold in winter so as not to bloom too early and be ruined by a late freeze.  My point in all of this is that I was reminded of a poem I recently read by Robert Frost, one of my favorite poets.  It's called "Good-bye, and Keep Cold".

This saying good-bye on the edge of the dark,
And cold to an orchard so young in the bark
Reminds me of all that can happen to harm
An orchard away at the end of the farm
All winter, cut off by a hill from the house.
I don't want it girdled by rabbit and mouse,
I don't want it dreamily nibbled for browse
By deer, and I don't want it budded by grouse.
(If certain it wouldn't be idle to call
I'd summon grouse, deer and rabbit to the wall
And warn them away with a stick for a gun.)
I don't want it stirred by the heat of the sun.
(We made it secure against being I hope,
By setting it out on a northerly slope.)
No orchard's the worse for the wintriest storm;
But one thing about it, it mustn't get warm.
"How often already you've had to be told
Keep cold young orchard.  Good-bye and keep cold.
Dread fifty above more than fifty below."
I have to be gone for a season or so.
My business awhile is with different trees,
Less carefully nourished, less fruitful than these,
And such as is done to their wood with an axe--
Maples and birches and tamaracks.
I wish I could promise to lie in the night
And think of an orchard's arboreal plight
When slowly (and nobody comes with a light)
Its heart sinks lower under the sod
But something has to be left to God.

Robert Frost 

Thank you for stopping by House at Forest Manor.  I enjoy your visits!  I'm joining Laura at Happy Homemaker UK for the Post of the Month Club.  Please stop by her blog to meet some new people at home and abroad.  Thank you for hosting, Laura!  :)

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