The Arch City Gardener

Journeys In St. Louis Gardening and Beyond


5 Comments

Timely rain

Farmers often talk about getting a timely rain, that much needed moisture that comes at just the right time for their thirsty crops.

My little patch of ground has recently received some timely rain. The sweet woodruff ringing the catalpa tree in the front yard dries out pretty quickly. It’s clearly grateful.

With temperatures warming–but still quite variable–plants just come alive. The ostrich fern have grown 4 or 5 inches. So graceful and pretty. And the rain barrels are replenished and filled to the brim.

And the peonies are filled with buds. I can’t wait for them to bloom. This is the third year I’ve had them in the garden and they have never looked so good.

And the azaleas just burst forth in all their awesome fuchsia glory. Mother Nature is amazing at this time of year.


1 Comment

The spring parade marches on

I don’t know about you, but this spring feels luxuriously long. Yes, it’s only April 20. And yes, we have just passed our estimated final frost date. But when every day feels like, well, yesterday, this lovely season feels like it has been around a while.

And to completely butcher a Martha Stewart phrase, that’s NOT a bad thing.

Cranesbill will bloom soon, right behind the azaleas.

That’s because I get to linger longer in the garden to watch the magic happen. I’m not running home for a quick bite at lunch while I enjoy my private oasis. I’m taking a conference call on the patio…all day! Who would have thought?

The ferns are one of my favorites to watch in spring…and I get to do this every day!

I get to see the secretive trillium tucked away in the deep shady recesses of my corner woodland bed before they disappear.

Of course, there is always the hazard of being distracted while on a call. Sometimes I find my thoughts wandering. For example, 2 of my leatherleaf viburnum struggled through a fungus of some sort last year. My Extension agent advised me to cut it back late this winter, which I did. But honesty, I worry about the poor things. They look pathetic! And I find myself staring at them during the endless line up of conference calls. Naturally I am distracted.

The hazards of working from home.

Healthy viburnum


There are signs of hope this viburnum will come back.

I had no intention of being all doom and gloom when I began this post, so I will end on a more upbeat note. The dogwoods are glorious in this corner of the world, and the azaleas are ecstatic as they burst into bloom.

The season may feel protracted but that’s just fine by me. How’s your corner of the earth?


1 Comment

Bloom time in St. Louis

One benefit of the coronavirus is I am walking, walking, walking. I walk in my little neighborhood in the morning, sipping coffe, checking in with co-workers. I typically get a much longer walk in after work.

It’s on this jaunt that I take in the deep fragrance if Korean spice viburnum which are in bloom. Today, I came upon the heady, sweet scent of lilacs.

There is so much to enjoy this season. Temperatures aren’t too warm–if you dont count Wednesday when the temperature has hit 90–and the humidity is at bay. On a good day, I’m happy to open all the windows and let the fresh air flow through the house. The Chinese magnolia blooms are nearly gone as are the bright yellow forsythia, giving way to the colorful blooms of redbud, all types of viburnum, cherry, crab and dogwood trees. The colors are spectacular and my walks are getting longer!

A glorious exple of a redbud tree.

I am fortunate to live in an area with many historic homes with graceful landscapes.

I am not sure what this shrub is.

Do you have a favorite flowering spring tree or shrub?


7 Comments

The unfurling, unfolding, uncurling of spring

This is my favorite time to marvel at the emerging plant growth in my gardens. The grass is greener, birds are nesting and all around nature is doing her thing.

Perhaps my favorite is the unfurling of ferns fronds. In a matter of days they go from brown stumps to tightly wound circles of green to soft graceful beauty.

The paperback maple has started its peeling of cinnamon bark. There are no leaves on its branches but I think that’s the point. The main attraction is its paper-thin bark curling away.

Also in a mere matter of days, the Japanese maple shed its leaves and its new leaves are unfolding. I’d been watching the tree for some time, wondering if there was something wrong with it. I didn’t recall it retaining its brown, shriveled leaves for so long.

A few leaves remain on the branches of the Japanese maple.

While I’m at it, here are a few more shots from the garden. I hope your garden treasures are as delightful to watch. Thanks for reading.


5 Comments

Spring blooms

I planted tulip bulbs last fall and love seeing them come up. Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. In addition to planting them under this tree, I have tried them in a pot. We’ll see how they do. They’re a little slower to bloom. I know Jason over at Garden in a City has had lots of luck with potted tulips. Fingers crossed I do too.

A real show-stopper (as usual) is the rhododendron under the eaves of the house. There are two more fat with flower buds ready to open. And the azaleas aren’t far behind. One advantage of working from home is I can sit out among all the spring time blooms during endless hours of conference calls. How is your garden a refuge during COVD-19?