Its a chilly darkish morning here in Charlotte. The temp is currently about 43 degrees, though I didn't think it was that bad when I went out to pour some sink water on a few potted plants, refill the birdbath and fill up my big party bird feeder. The robins have been here several times this morning hopping about on the ground. Yesteday I watched several of them splashing about in the bird bath. I'm always glad my bath is small, I think it encourages birds to use it as they do not need to fear slipping into the drink. This morning I saw a bright red cardinal perched on the swimming pool rail, I suppose he was contemplating how to reach the water without serious injury, or maybe he just thought it a nice place to rest. The pool looks inviting, but its much too chilly right now, a few more weeks and we'll be using it I'm sure. I hope to get a good 4 or 5 months per year out of the pool. It is a cheapy pool--so if it makes it through 2 years we'll be pleased. Of course we will try to stretch it further than that.
The little tree I see from this window is in bloom, now I can see it is a dogwood. I think it is a wild dogwood cultivar, I've seen some growing along the roads that look similar. Up close the blossoms are very delicate and pretty, almost oriental looking. From a distance they are not terribly showy compared to many of the other trees in bloom in Charlotte right now. Last year I recall at some point in the spring the sidewalk was yellow from pollen. I know from listening to Felder Rushings Weekly Radio show The Gestalt Gardner, that it the yellow stuff is already all about in his part of the world, here I think it is not yet at that stage, but is coming. Our last frost date is supposed to be April Fools Day or the day after, but I think this year it seems cool enough that a surprise frost wouldn't be too far fetched. I'm cautious about which plants are going outside yet. Mandevilla is still in the house, she'd like to get out there, but I'm waiting a little longer for her--maybe I'll let her out on the porch during the days. I saw all the shiny new mandevillas at Home Depot yesterday, already in full bloom. I know that's kind of artificial. My plant having overwintered in the living room has been growing but has not budded at all. She will make it all up though when she gets outside and the weather warms up. I was so happy with her performance last year I hope to buy her some cousins of different colors. As for that little dogwood in my backyard, I cut a sprig and have put it in a little cream and pink Irish Beleek vase that my hubby bought me years ago when he went to Ireland for a business trip. I've put it atop a piece of my hardanger embroidery. The first photo I took of the little sprig atop the hardanger doily I had the doily upside down! That's how nice hardanger looks, you sometimes aren't sure which side is the good side. Hardanger is a Norwegian embroidery form. When we were in Fargo ND I worked at Nordic Needle a wonderful little needlework shop that specialized in Hardanger patterns and supplies as well as other embroidery items. I've done a few nice pieces of hardanger since then, its a wonderfully relaxing embroidery form because all you have to be able to do is count to 5! Much less difficult than cross stitch for me.
Other things blooming right now in Pokeberry: The Carolina Jessamine is in full bloom on the arch trellis, bright pretty yellow flowers. The Sweet William in my pots are all waking up and blooming in pink and white and red and white. The little halloween orange/purple violas in the laundry basket garden are STILL blooming since last November. Around the neighborhood pansies look great right now, daffodils have been showy for several weeks and some tulips. The prettiet things I've seen is the bright carpets of pink and lavender phlox. I bought myself a little pot of drummond pink phlox too. :) There are also pink and white blooming trees and yellow forsythias and creamy hellebores are all showing off in concert. Charlotte is lovely in spring--its only just begun though. I think for me April in Charlotte is just the best time of year. So looking forward to that!
Yesterday I puttered about a little bit in the garden and visited Home depot for a few things, I'll post more about my plant choices and garden chores later on. Technically it is spring here, or almost. We should be able to plant just about anything outside now, but I'm ok with waiting a little longer for warmer weather, the season is very long, what's the hurry?