Spring

 Time accelerates in Spring. Once the days start to lengthen noticeably the slow, sober pace of winter gives way to a headlong rush of change. One of the first signs of that change in the Tawes Garden Arboretum is Bloodroot, poking up miraculously through the dead leaves and bursting into fleeting bloom before it even unfurls its leaves. You have to catch this Spring ephemeral fast; the flowers come and go in days, and the plants themselves disappear not long after. These and other harbingers are followed in late April and May by Azaleas and Rhododendrons, hastening to bloom before the shade closes in above them. But when woodland shade becomes too thick for flowers the Garden passes the baton to the first sun lovers, among them the tall and spectacular Yucca, which always looks exotic despite being native to the southeastern Coastal Plain. Its effect is matched by the flamboyant Red-Hot Pokers from South Africa, already ablaze by early June. Branches veiled in yellowish green in early Spring give way in a matter of weeks to a lush, dark green canopy and sun-striped lawns. Meanwhile, in a forgotten corner by the patio, the seldom appreciated flowers of Common Violet add their iconic signature to the season. What would Spring be without Violets?