The pollen is here. One week ago, the greenish-yellow powder began coating everything, from my deck to my brain. Consequently, I have been in a pollen-induced fog for the past week, which makes it quite difficult to string words together in a coherent fashion.
You may be unfamiliar with North Carolina's annual pollenfest, in which puffs of yellow powder spurt from the pine cones, form yellow dust clouds that float on the wind, and then land pretty much everywhere. Sensible people close their windows and turn on the air conditioner. In fact, many people here don't even put screens in their windows - why bother, if they are never planning to open them? But the weather is stunning in April and, with everything blooming, the air smells fantastic. We keep our windows open.
Unfortunately, pollen is very time consuming. Forget the deck - the rain will take care of it. But when the windows are open, the pollen naturally gets inside. No one would ever accuse me of being a neat freak, but even I have my limits, so I've been sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and/or mopping several times a day. (Confession: when it's late and I'm tired, I have been known to take a damp towel, throw it on the floor, and wipe the pollen off by pushing the towel around with my feet. Works like a charm.)
Then there's the dog. Schmoogie is highly allergic, and will chew himself raw unless preventive measures are taken. So every time he comes in from a walk, he gets a full-body wipe down, an anti-itch spray, and a Bag Balm foot treatment. When that isn't enough, he gets half a Benadryl wrapped in cheese.
Even if my brain were functioning normally, all this has left precious little time for gardening, let alone writing. So for the April edition of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dream Gardens, I am showcasing Ron's photographic foray into the pollen-laden wonderland that is my garden.
Everything looks healthy and fabulous, as things usually do in spring. I liken it to the first act of a drama, in which all the characters are introduced and nothing bad has happened yet. But then, I'm a pessimist.
In a few weeks, for instance, this azalea will probably have some powdery mildew. Today, I can say with certainty that the coating on the leaves is pollen, not mildew.
The Michelia figo, aka Banana Shrub, is permeating the garden with the delightful aroma of Banana Splits, a favorite candy from my childhood. It's evergreen and hardy from zones 7-9.
Two perennials new to my garden are Verbena "Snow Flurry," and Dianthus Barbartus "Heart Attack," which is just opening now. The mystery bearded iris is going gangbusters. A newly purchased Delosperma "Eye Candy" is getting a second chance to prove itself after last year's failure.
Spring is far too short in this area; in a week or so it will probably be good and hot. In the photo below, you can see the ornamental cabbage is flowering, which means it is on its last legs. The pansies will be droopy and leggy by May, when they will be replaced with the summer annuals that don't mind heat and humidity. By mid-June, even we will have to give in, close the windows, and turn on the air conditioner. So pollen or no pollen, we enjoy it while we can.
The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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