Blackberry Winter

crocus in snow

We’d already rejoiced

With winter’s passing –

Left shoveling snow

On rock hard ground

and shivering through

blue-black nights

with a million stars.


We’d welcomed days

of endless sun

with gentle breezes

where daffodils danced

and robins played.


But it’s all come back now

Dreary grey clouds

bring an endless return

of icy rain

with shivering winds

and pelting sleet.

Just cold gloomy skies that

Over cast

The now browning

Peach buds –

no blossoms

left of summer’s



But there is hope

the days will lengthen

the sun will shine

the earth will warm


one day



Quickstop – Brent & Becky’s Bulbs

Okay, we knew our timing was off. We knew we would be hitting it late in the season to see the best display of spring bulbs at Brent & Becky’s Bulbs near Gloucester, Virginia but we had seen the sign so many times in the past as we had traveled down VA 17 on the way to North Carolina and we had always promised ourselves that we would take a little side trip and see the place. There was just no time like the present to just go ahead and make the stop. After all, Brent & Becky’s is just a hop, skip, and a jump off the main road and it was spring even if the daffodils might be gone, maybe we could see a few tulips.

entrySo we made the decision and we made the stop and we’re glad that we did. Yes, as expected, there just weren’t many daffodils to see but there were some tulips still blooming and it was a beautiful blue sky warm sunshiny day and the gardens were beautiful….well worth sharing.  And for those of you who thought I could not possibly write a blog that was less than 10,000 words, well……here ya go….a short one just to share a few photos of a beautiful garden and to get your spring gardening juices going….even without daffodils.

And, since I absolutely must, I will just add a couple notes here and there amongst the photos.

BB3No garden is complete without a beautiful water feature.

BB7The garden is comprised of several acres and right behind the main “store” with nice wide pathways and plenty of benches. You can never have too many benches in a garden. Some public gardens skimp on the benches and I have found myself walking and walking and just about praying for a place to sit and rest and enjoy the garden. You do not have that problem at Brent & Becky’s.

BB 1I particularly liked the way the beds were laid out. The main pathway carries you straight down through the garden and the garden “rooms” are laid out on either side. (No, that’s not the main path above…that’s just a border on one of the wide perennial beds….which you can enjoy while rocking in one of the rocking chairs on the back patio of the main building.) The individual garden rooms (for wont of a better word) are set up as long berms with foundation plantings that are mostly evergreens. This makes a lovely display area for the spring bulbs and is a great idea for home gardens. I hadn’t thought about it but  most trees are quite naked when the daffodils first come into bloom so having these lovely evergreens really provided a lush backdrop for the tulips and other spring bulbs.  Now, I am mostly imagining this because, as I previously mentioned, most of the daffodils peaked several weeks ago and we missed them. I can assure you that I have a good imagination and can vividly see this garden in full bloom in my mind….but then again, I am going to do my best to get back here a little earlier next year and see it for real.

BB4Of course, this is a four season garden and there are summer blooming bulbs and perennials which will certainly fill the gaps before too long. Timing is everything!

bb5Another technique I thought was good was that the berms were used throughout the garden to provide interest and to better display the flowering bulbs. I imagine that it also makes it easier to plant the bulbs in the fall and to allow the bulbs to naturalize the sides of the berms.

guineasAnd, who doesn’t love the funny antics of guinea fowl in a garden? Not to mention their habit of eating bugs, bugs, and more bugs all the livelong day. Of course, hearing them scream out like a banshee at odd moments can certainly give you a fright when you’re otherwise communing with nature and basking in the peace and not expecting it.

BB8One good thing about being late to visit the garden was that we didn’t have to share it with anyone. Okay, there were a couple folks but pretty much we had the garden to ourselves….well, the guineas and a few other birds were there but no people.

BB6I also loved the weeping willows with a swath of blue forget-me-nots flowing like water along the roots.

BB2The other good thing about going to visit a little too late? I didn’t find myself tempted to buy too many potted plants. Okay, well, I bought one Oxalis but that almost doesn’t count. Had I come during peak blooming time, I’m sure I’d have lugged quite a few plants for my own garden. Thank goodness, they were all sold out of the blue and red anemones that were potted up and could only provide me a catalog so I could order some in the fall for next year.

Just pick the ones you like in the display garden and they’ll help you order them right up for next year. What could be more convenient than that?

displayIf you’re down near Gloucester, then do stop by. It is a beautiful garden even when the daffodils are not blooming.

For more information:

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
7900 Daffodil Lane
Gloucester, VA 23061