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A garden diary lets you look at the past and future

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Photo courtesy of Lynn Hunt.

(Read caption) The Bourbon rose Souvenir de la Malmaison is scheduled to make an appearance in early April in Lynn's Hunt's Maryland garden.

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There’s nothing like snow, blustery winds and freezing rain to make one long to turn the calendar ahead to May. Thumbing through enticing and beautifully photographed garden catalogs helps brighten these dreary days, but doesn’t completely console me. I fear it will take the sight of a jaunty jonquil or the intoxicating scent of a damask rose to melt away my winter blues.

Fortunately I know exactly how long it will be until I can get a sniff of my first spring posy – because, over the years, I’ve made notes of when my roses and other important plants will begin their new parade of blooms.

For example, in looking back at this year’s wall calendar, I’m confident that on April 13, 2010, I’ll see at least one showy Souvenir de la Malmaison in the garden. It has been blooming around that date since the late 90s and never disappoints.

I also know I can plan on seeing male hummingbirds zipping around the garden about four days later. And the next week, another Bourbon rose, Zephirine Drouhin, and the David Austin charmer Cottage Rose will make their spring debuts.

Fireflies will light up the evening sky beginning May 15 -- a sure sign that summer is on the way.

Anticipating the day the garden will burst into bloom can be a tonic on a cold winter’s day. But having a rough idea of when each variety will be at its best is helpful when planning special outdoor events.

Your “diary” needn’t be more time-consuming than jotting down a plant name on a standard calendar, then updating bloom dates yearly.

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