4.26.11 Born Again

Melissa 790 xxx
iphotos by gluttonforlife
Still no camera (I'll retrieve it when I go into the city tomorrow), but G is clamoring from Southeast Asia for evidence of incipient spring in our garden so the iphone will have to do. (I'm actually impressed with the quality.)It's been nothing but rain rain rain for the last several days, though things have cleared up somewhat now and the bugs have already begun their relentless onslaught. Lots of new life is unfurling. Today I will venture into the woods on my first foraging expedition of the season. I'm obsessed with finding ramps, morels, nettles and fiddleheads. Last year I had no luck, nor have I been able to find a mentor in the area. All I need is a little nudge in the right direction. Meanwhile, in my own backyard, many things are cropping up. In the damp, shady bed beneath our bedroom window, the lemon balm you see above (also known as melissa) is off to a good start. This wonderfully fragrant member of the mint family will be pressed into service all summer long for tea, to flavor panna cotta and in poultices for soothing bites and scratches.
Bleeding heart 790 xxx
old friends, returning after a long winter
In another nearby shady spot, under the big pine, the bleeding hearts have sent up their first tender shoots. In the back you can see the the beginnings of a columbine, and one lone daffodil.
Chives 790 xxx
chive talkin': these are among the first to pop up
In the herb garden, chives are already looking hale and hearty. The mint seems to have spread its leggy limbs over the winter and will apparently be taking up more space than ever.
Mint 790 xxx
i use this mint for tea, mojitos and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream
Anise hyssop 790 xxx
anise hyssop, with its faint aroma of licorice, is a bee magnet
And thanks to the early-showing hellebores, we've even got a little floral action going on. There's something a little emotional about this time when we turn our faces to the sun, shake out our rusty limbs and prepare to dance around the maypole.
Hellebore 790 xxx
purportedly used in witchcraft, hellebores are certainly bewitching


Oh hellebores, I love these flowers. We call them christmas roses in Scotland.
ruthie@thethwicebitten on April 26, 2011 at 11:39 am —
I adore hellebores and have gathered a little collection in my own garden. If you search places like Plant Delights Nursery, you'll find some amazing serrated leaves, lime green, double flowers - it's a wonderful genus. Lovely to see your garden coming to life. I'm about a month ahead of you and already feel wistful for the earliest blooms.
Cathy on April 27, 2011 at 4:44 am —
Cathy, I've been trying to stick solely to native plants in my garden but it can be a bit limiting. I see Plan Delights has wonderful natives though, so thanks for the tip!
laura on April 27, 2011 at 4:59 am —