Spring is finally here and after a fairly mild winter the grounds are displaying vivid color and filling the air with fragrance. Near the plaza area we have winter daphne in full bloom and skimmia about to open. Both of these shrubs are very fragrant and a sure sign that winter is on the way out.
The daffodils we planted two years ago at the entry to the Peace Garden are up and in full display, and the bulbs we planted last fall are all showing signs that they, too, survived the winter and will be joining the others in putting on a show of color.
Another native early spring flowering plant that we have a great abundance of are trilliums; they can be seen growing along our pathways and out into the forest. We have a few early blooming rhododendrons near the St. Francis statue, an early introduction of things to come from our other varieties which will be in bloom from mid-April through May. The roses in the rose garden have been pruned back and are putting on new growth.
Speaking of new growth, the weeds also enjoyed the mild winter and are coming up in great abundance. Weed removal is something we address year-round but especially in the early spring; it’s best to remove them when they are small and before they go to seed. Moss is also something that we tackle this time of year. With the abundant shade and moisture that we have here, and the many miles of pathways and paved areas, it’s a challenge to keep it under control. We also contend with moss in our turf, but rather than trying to completely eliminate it, we work to keep it under control by using lime, and in some cases thatching.
I have noticed that just before sunrise the chorus of birds is gaining in volume with what seems like each passing day. The hummingbirds have also been seen visiting the many plants that are in bloom. In our Peace Garden we have a pair of mallard ducks that are nesting nearby. They appear every year about this time and before long we should see ducklings enjoying the various pools. The bees have definitely come out of hibernation and can be seen visiting the various blooms.
Spring has sprung here at The Grotto and I encourage everyone to visit our grounds and enjoy what nature has to offer.