Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

It is such a joy to be outside these days with the birds calling from nearly every tree and bush, I’m thrilled to be alive to witness the renewal of another spring. After this past, bitterly cold winter, these warm, sunny days and blue skies are balm for the soul.

Red-wing Blackbird

Red-wing Blackbird

I hear a redwing blackbird call from the river’s edge and the warblers, who returned a few days ago, sing from the woodland trees. Flashes of yellow, they establish new territories and hunt for insects in the thick brush. I hear and see robins, cardinals and catbirds and I heard my first wood thrush last night, always a highlight to my day when I hear their melodious song.

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

Along the woodland paths, the dog-tooth violets/adder’s tongues/trout lilies (Erythronium americanum) bloom. Their many common names refer to features like the fang-like shape of the bulb and the brown and gray-green mottled foliage.

Another wildflower currently blossoming are red trilliums/wake robins/stinking Benjamins (Trillium erectum).

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

The latter common name refers to their unpleasant scent, which attracts carrion flies that pollinate them. ‘Trillium’ suggests the three petals and leaves of this common woodland native. Their rich, red color is a sight to behold.

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

With the warm weather we’ve been having, the leaves are unfurling almost overnight. The long vistas we enjoyed over winter are about to disappear for the next six months as the leaves extend to exploit every bit of sunlight. The woods will become hushed, shady retreats once again. I look forward to hearing the whispering of the wind as it gently tosses the leaves, a sighing sound that holds peace for me.

Musical accompaniment

Musical accompaniment

The waterfall adds its quiet rushing to the music of our yard. The spring melt, which always swells its flow, has finished and it is not as noisy as it was. The stream and river are  a blessing, attracting wildlife to our land.

Pastels in Sunlight

Pastels in Sunlight


Striped Squill (Puschkinia libanotica)


Tulipa biflora

Clean laundry flaps on the clothesline, nature’s free drying service that offers the freshest of scents. Nearby, violets and self-sowed spring bulbs dot the lawn. With no chemicals to knock them down, our lawn is alive with color and scent. Monocultures are not healthy for us or the land, and I find them rather disturbing and boring when I see them. Nature’s way works best for me.

I love this time of year, as the whole of the warm season lies ahead of me. Months of open windows, breathing the fresh air, with days spent outside in sunlight and under shady trees, drinking in all the abundance that nature generously offers. What a blessing!


About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
This entry was posted in Country Living, Field Notes, My Photos and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

86 Responses to Renewed

  1. seedbud says:

    What a wonderful spring interlude with you. Thank you.
    The laundry on the line, dancing in the wind! Extra special.

  2. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful glimpse into gorgeous flowers, ferns, and streams. Enjoy the sunshine, thanks for sharing!

  3. Treah says:

    Beautiful pictures…….& a lovely read. Ain’t life grand in the spring??!! 🙂

  4. Trini Lind says:

    Such a beautiful spring-post!! I love the pastels in the sun and the musical waterfall 🙂 ❤

  5. Kate Houck says:

    Beautiful post, Eliza. Brightened my day.

  6. Jewels says:

    I feel ‘renewed’ just reading this, so thank you! Oh, I so miss hanging my laundry out on the clothesline, I may need to figure out a way to rig something up somehow in my little yard here. 🙂
    Such a lovely post, Eliza…

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you so much, Julie. I was shocked to learn that many suburbs have clothesline bans. I hope yours doesn’t and you can get a space for your own ‘green’ dryer. 🙂 Hmm, fresh sheets!

      • Jewels says:

        A clothesline ban?! I’ve never heard of such a thing. How ridiculous! I’ve always used a clothesline, up until I moved back to the city – it’s just a matter of not having the space for one here, that’s why I’d have to ‘rig’ one up, maybe I can get a retractable type.
        Hmm fresh sheets off the line = bliss! ❤

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Even when I lived in ‘burbs of Boston, I had one. One was strung from the 2nd floor out to a pole. Maybe New England, being kind of old, kept the old ways. It is the newer post war development communities that ban them. God forbid you have to look at someone’s underwear! Personally, there is something so human about seeing clothes on a line. I can’t really articulate why I like it so much. Maybe it is the feeling of ‘home’ – Mom, apple pie and all that. Speaking of Mom, have a great Mother’s Day, Julie. 🙂

  7. I’ll trade you the long vistas for warmer weather any day!

  8. dorannrule says:

    Lovely. Just lovely. !

  9. mk says:

    A delightful walk through Eden led by a knowledgeable and eloquent guide. I hope this is a page from your upcoming book.

  10. ladyfi says:

    Oh, I love to hear all the bird song telling me it’s spring! Lovely scenery and shots.

  11. What a beautiful spring flowers you have over there!

  12. Cathy says:

    Oh yes, it’s wonderful to have the doors and windows open isn’t it! Such a lovely post Eliza. I have never seen trillium, and your red one is quite something. Do you smell them before you see them or do you need to get up close to them first? It seemed to turn green overnight here too. I think we are only very slightly ahead of you now judging from the last photo.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Cathy! The trillium thankfully do not scent the air and once you get down to smell one, you’re not likely to do it again- lol!
      It jumped from days of 10C to 25C suddenly last week and everything has leapt ahead. Prior to that, it was creeping along. It has been rather dry, so we’re beginning to get fire warnings. I don’t complain, the rain will probably come soon enough. I’m taking the sunny days while we have them! Have a great weekend!

  13. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    How wonderful to feel I have just been immersed in one of your spring days Eliza – your descriptions of the sights and sounds are beautiful.

  14. Robin says:

    Thank you for sharing your spring with us. Beautiful sights, and I can well imagine the sounds (especially of the waterfall). I am currently revisiting Spring. I’m at our old homestead in NE Ohio (where our youngest son and daughter-in-law are now living). It’s been wonderful seeing the spring flowers again as we are practically into summer on the Eastern Shore.

    I’ve never seen a trillium before. It’s beautiful.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Robin. Trilliums are the cardinals of the wildflower world. I would love cloth or wool that color, imagine a scarf or nice jacket?How nice you get to visit your old home and get two springs! What’s happening in the pond?

      • Robin says:

        The old carp (known as “Jaws” because he was huge and all you saw was his fin when he would slowly swim by) died. Our son picked up four young carp at a pond clinic to make up for him. The bass and blue gills need to be fished out because there are tons of them. They have made their shallow bowls in the bottom of the pond and have laid their eggs (judging by how they were guarding the “bowls”). Green frogs were ponging. And most exciting of all, I heard a bullfrog! The last few years we lived there, it seemed as though the bullfrogs have given way to green frogs so it was nice to hear a bullfrog. Bluets, violets, ground ivy and dandelions are blooming like crazy. We never chemically treat our lawn, either, so there are always flowers of some kind in the grass. We always delayed the first mowing because of that, and some mowing in the summer months when the summer wildflowers are blooming.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        That’s exactly what I do – lol! I mow around wildflowers until they set seed. There is a patch of naturalized daffs that I used to mow the end of June, but it became colonized with fleabane, black-eyed Susan, clover & yarrow, etc. so I don’t mow it until late summer. My mini-meadow in the lawn. 🙂
        The pond sounds like it is teeming with life – how wonderful. I expect you miss it, but the ES estuaries have a lot of life as well, I suppose.
        Enjoy the rest of your visit with your family. HMD!

  15. Kathy Sturr says:

    Oh Eliza this is so beautifully written! I, too, am enjoying the dewy mornings and the songs of birds and I just planted a trout lily in my garden! The hummingbird showed up last evening. The Serviceberry is in full bloom. The dogwoods are leafing out and my Pin Oak is just budding. I love to sit evenings in the garden and stare up its handsome trunk. I saw my first Wood Thrush ever at the North Carolina Arboretum – so beautiful! I would so love if a Wood Thrush visited my garden. What kind of Warblers Eliza? I’m guessing Yellow Warbler based on your description. I love those. At the Park where I’ve gone back to work, there are fields of Spring Beauties.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Kathy. Sounds like spring is awesome in your neck of the woods as well. The wood thrush’s voice is that of angels, I do believe. We have mainly three types of warbler: yellow, common yellowthroat and chestnut-sided. But we’ve also seen blue, black & white and redstart. I LOVE their music!

      • Kathy Sturr says:

        Lucky you! Last year a small flock of Blackpoll warblers came through the garden. Yellow and Common Yellowthroat have visited, too. I feel so lucky, and like I’m doing something right, when a warbler stops by. I have to go to Cornell’s site and hear the wood thrush now …

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Water and thick, brushy growth are optimal for attracting yellow & CYT warblers. The chestnut-sided I see most often in the tall cherry trees that edge the river banks.
        I have CDs of birdsongs (mixed with gentle music) that I often play in the winter so that I can hear the songs I long to hear. One of my favorites starts with the wood thrush – pure heaven!

  16. Hallelujah! Eliza, we’ve just returned from the famous DuPont gardens at Winterthur. What a celebration of native plants. Absolutely no tortured parterre gardens or topiaries. The forests and meadows are teeming with all native blossoms including millions of trillium(s?) I didn’t know this plant before now. Also just acres of a type of anemone, if I remember correctly Grecian. It was such a revelation. Also, clothesline bans are everywhere here. None of the planned communities allow them. I remember as a young wife yearning for the day we could afford a dryer as I pulled frozen diapers off the line. Now I’m casting an eye about for just where I could I place clothesline. The sheets, if nothing else, the wonderful smell of sun-dried sheets.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Winterthur sounds fabulous, a place I’ve never managed to visit. I’ve been to Longwood and Duke Gardens and recently the Biltmore, of course. There’s the far-off dream of touring the National Trust gardens in the UK. If I wait much longer, I’ll be doing it in a wheelchair!
      I would not be happy about not being allowed to air dry my clothes. Particularly the sheets, what a delight to slip into that fresh scent! I like that you used cloth diapers, not many of my contemporaries did. I loved seeing them on the line and sun was a perfect sanitizer, nothing like it. Now, more young mothers are turning to cloth for healthier and greener reasons. And the new designs make it pretty easy. Did you ever read my ‘Laundry Meditation’ post? It pretty much sums up why I love it. I hope you are able to string a few lines up. Have a great MD weekend!

      • I’m in the minority here but I prefer Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden to Longwood. Don’t get me wrong, Longwood is fabulous but Lewis Ginter presents things in a more approachable way to the home gardener. Longwood is high drama and opulence and a huge WOW! factor. Both have their place, that’s for sure.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        I’ll have to put that garden on my list! 😉

  17. Sue Vincent says:

    Lovely pictures, Eliza! I love the trillium… but your balckbirds are far showier than ours! 🙂

  18. Oh, there is so much that I love about this posting. The waterfall picture is wonderful. But I was mostly attracted to “Pastels in Sunlight”. Brings back memories of freshly-dried clothes 🙂

  19. M E Cheshier says:

    Ditto! Spring finally arrived!

  20. M E Cheshier says:

    Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    Spring finally arrived!

  21. Laurin Lindsey says:

    Lovely photos…doesn’t laundry dried in the sun smell so much better!

  22. Jenna Dee says:

    Your words and photos are beautiful Eliza. As you welcome some warmer weather it is growing cold as we approach winter in Australia. Luckily where I live the winters are mild compared to what you experience. Enjoy the springtime my friend. Love Jenna

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you so much Jenna. So nice to hear from you! I suppose you are getting all cozy preparing for the winter ahead. It is amazing to think about our seasons being opposite, another of earth’s marvels. If not for its tilt, we wouldn’t have the seasons. How boring it would be to have only one type of season all year long!

  23. arlingwoman says:

    I’m so glad you’ve got full spring! Your fiddleheads are a definite sign, along with the other woodland flowers. I’ve always loved dogtooth violets, them and spring beauties on a forest floor. What a beautiful post and that last photo–with all the green coming up–just marvelous.

  24. Rebecca says:

    I don’t like monocultures, either, Eliza. Nature is filled with variety. It’s all the more beautiful for it.

  25. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    Thank you for sharing your piece of heaven with us! Your pictures are beautiful and your words, fit so wonderfully. I recently went to the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky last month, and noticed white and red trilliums for the first time. I do so love the wild violets, fiddle heads, ferns of all sorts, solomon seal, and all the flowers you shared. We don’t have any of those here in NM. I am going to New Hampshire next week to see my goddaughter graduate from college. I look forward to seeing some of your sylvan friends there.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Mary. You will be in for a treat as May is the best month to be in New England, IMO. In what town is your goddaughter’s college? Congrats to her!

  26. There’s nothing like sun and wind dried clothing! And bedsheets!

  27. Such a wonderful post~I dearly love May, with all of its potential… 🙂

  28. Thank you for the walk around your garden, Eliza 😉 So happy to see it has awakened and is renewed for another season! You’ve taken me back a few weeks into that exciting period when you know that spring has settled at last and snow is now only a memory. Love all of your photos today, and especially your waterfall and wildflowers. I hope the air is sweet and warm today. You have such a long wait for spring each year. Now that you have flowers, will you be cutting a few for a vase today?
    Best wishes,


    • Eliza Waters says:

      Good reminder about the vase. I have so many photos to process from the weekend, that I may pass this week, but I keep thinking about it every Monday!
      The air is sweet, but a bit hot and humid today. Not fun to be outside, so I’m working on my next post instead. 🙂 If I can get through the photos!

      • The photos take the time they take 😉 It took me hours with the OR photos, and they still aren’t all edited. I hope you aren’t like my partner… he wants all of the flowers to live out their natural lives in the garden. He cringes whenever I cut one still in bloom 😉 An inside day here, today, too. We may go into the 90s tomorrow and it is very humid and rainy with the storm still close at hand.

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, I saw that the storm was swirling just off shore and you were getting some rain. Seems a bit early for hurricane season, doesn’t it?
        I don’t mind cutting if there are many of something, but if there are only a few, I let them be. I tend to follow the thought that the ones I pick are specially honored to be viewed close up in the house. It is a gift they give us! And as you & I know, the end is the same whether we cut them or not. 😉

      • Exactly… I can cut them today and enjoy them inside where they may be appreciated, or let them fade and dead head them in a few days. Such is the fate of flowers… Such an early tropical system does not bode well for the coming season, Eliza. A strong front passed through yesterday afternoon, but so far we’ve had mostly gentle rain. It is good to be inland a bit 😉

  29. Val Boyko says:

    The unfolding of Spring is so special this year … the warm temperatures caught me by surprise too. I love how your captured the ferns unfolding.
    There is so much to open up to 🙂

  30. May is a beautiful month. My Christmas fern looks just like your photo. Makes me smile. 🙂

  31. Your pictures are the epitome of renewal. Lovely post!

  32. Debra says:

    Beautiful photos and I have to agree that laundry smells SO nice when it is hung up to dry.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Debra. Fresh laundry off the line is under-rated, definitely. I feel badly for those who live communities that don’t allow it. Criminal. 😉

      • Debra says:

        Truly. Same for the places that won’t allow rain water collection. Total insanity.

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