Sunday, April 21, 2019


Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem,
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains
Jesus' resurrection.

Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb's dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
that thy peace which evermore
passeth human knowing.
200, "Come ye faithful, raise the strain," 3-4.

Happy Easter, readers. It is the feast of of the Resurrection, the greatest day of the Christian year, the time for our unrestrained rejoicing. The sorrows of Good Friday have passed, our forty days of soul emptying are done. Grace has overcome sin. Good has defeated evil. Life has vanquished death. Light has banished the darkness. The world is new again.

To be sure, here in the south spring has been going on for weeks now. The new life has been evident for a long time. This year, with Easter at a late date, there is a discordance between the church year and the natural season. I am one of those who thinks Easter should have a fixed date, as the first Sunday in April, so that it would better correspond to the natural order. Celebrating new birth in faith long after the new birth in nature seems misplaced.

At any rate, let us walk around my garden as it appeared in the past few days and enjoy the beauty of God's creation in this glorious springtime.

A walk path on the smaller side looking toward the lawn. Purple shrubs on  left are loropetalum, on right Francis Mason abelia. The small tree on right is weeping Mulberry (Morbus alba). It has an umbrella shape.

The weeping mulberry is on the right in this picture. Evergreen is Spartan Juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Spartan'). Palm is windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). In home cultivation, windmills grow to 15-20' tall. They are the cold hardiest of all of the tree forms of palm and makes an excellent garden specimen in zone 7B up. I have two behind my house that are about 15' high. The walk path is between the palm and the loropetalum.

Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis) in foreground. Behind is Grancy greybeard. Deutzia is an old and reliable favorite small shrub in southern gardens. One can see why. Grancy greybeard is another common small yard tree in the south, an eye-catcher in the spring.

Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus). In the spring it is covered with clusters of white "fringes." This one is full grown at about 20 '. The bush palm on the lower right is Needle palm, cold hardy.

On the smaller side of the garden looking toward the central lawn that divides the two parts. Lower left is Deutzia, upper right the Grancy greybeard. The small tree on left is Corkscrew willow.

The larger part of the garden from the lawn. The Knock Out roses are out in full bloom early this year. The walk paths are to the right and left of the picture.

Mock orange, aka English Dogwood (Philadelphus coronarius). Mock orange is well-named. The appearance and aroma of its flowers in spring reminds one of orange blossoms (I once lived in Orlando). This small tree is full grown at about 12'. 

Looking down a walk path, toward the lawn, in the larger part. Shrub on lower right is Alabama croton (Croton alabamensis), an endangered species. It grows in the wild now only in several spots, mostly in northern Alabama. It is on the verge of extinction. (If you want to help save a noble shrub, plant one; however, they are rare and hard to find.)  On lower left is a dwarf form of Russian olive (Eleaganus), Eleaganus pungens 'Hosoba fukurin'.

A perennial bed in the larger part. In foreground is Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii). The small tree is Eve's necklace (Sophora affinis). The banana trees are shooting upward. The palm on the left is a shrub, Louisiana palmetto.

My best wishes to you on this happiest of days in this "queen of seasons, bright." Enjoy the glories of the new life all around us as we remember what is really important in life.