April is half over, and just like clockwork, my annual spring arthritis flare-up has arrived - a not very welcome return guest. Fortunately I have learned a thing or two, like the importance of not giving into the urge to be in the garden all day every day because overdoing things only prolongs the misery. And that the worst feelings of self-pity can be alleviated by nothing more than a walk through the garden. There's enough there to make the most miserable person feel better.
The fawn lilies, for example. We're blessed with hundreds of them, in all the shady beds around the house. And this year it's a bumper crop, thanks (I think) to all that scratching and flicking and digging the chickens did before The Great Divide. These are spirit lifters nonpareil, with their gorgeous speckled leaves and the sheer whimsy of their slowly lid-flipping blooms.
The catkins of the curly hazel tree along the fence line have erupted, giving us a reason to stop and admire the berserk curly pandemonium. I have to wonder about what evolutionary advantage is at work here...
The huckleberry bushes growing near the coop are a favourite of the chickens - in the summer, once all the berries at chicken height have been eaten, Hector jumps up to grab more, then drops them on the ground for his hens to enjoy. And when even those berries are gone, Kim weighs down the taller branches with string and cinder blocks, so the chickens can enjoy every last berry.
Every time I visit our local nursery I'm captivated by the deep indigo hellebores they have. But I've been reluctant to fork out the money to buy a couple, especially since we have about half a dozen hellebores in the garden already. One, in particular, is blooming abundantly this year, working hard to show it can stand up to its showier cousins at the nursery.
I think this is a spirea. I love its colour, especially in the sea of green this time of year. We have a few shrubs in the woodland part of the garden, and they're letting us know they're feeling neglected and a bit crowded out by ferns and salal. Transplanting might be in order.
No, Frankie is not a plant in the garden, but he makes my heart happier than one. Unfortunately he's having a sore April, too, because of what might be a pinched nerve in his neck. So he and I are laying low together, content in the knowledge there will still be gardens to play in and balls to catch when we're feeling better.