Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons: April

Each month, those of us participating in this photo challenge return to our chosen location to note the passage of time through “The Changing Seasons.” I’ve chosen to document a year around my old house and gardens.


Phew. April has been one labor-intensive garden month, but I’d say the results have been worth it, wouldn’t you?

Okay, it’s too late for a true April Fool’s Day prank, so I’ll ‘fess up that this is Longwood Gardens in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. After all, who needs all that fussy upkeep of fountains in the home garden, anyway?

April is the month when Spring officially boots Old Man Winter out of the garden here in central Virginia. What better way to illustrate that point than with a series of before and after shots? The “befores” were all taken on April 7th give or take a day or two. And the “afters” on April 30th.

This is the before view of the big old oak in front of my bedroom window:

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And After:

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You could almost hear the leaves popping out!

Here is heuchera:

Peony:

Dicentra Bleeding Heart:

Contorted Redbud Tree “Lavender Twist”

April is the month we all wait for – the month in which the garden goes through its transformation from dormancy into abundant, vibrant life. And with it comes such a sense of satisfaction and joy to all of us who spend our waking hours performing deep knee-bends in flowerbeds. I always say “who needs a gym when they have a garden?”

I’ve been up and at ’em early each morning because it’s impossible to stay in bed past sunrise. The birds simply won’t allow it, especially a wren who has set up housekeeping in the boxwood under our bedroom windows. Her arias begin just as the sun rises, our little avian Maria Callas. So I thought I’d try my hand at a video to capture a bit of birdsong for you and let you see the scale of the biggest old oak on our land. I better stick to my day job.

And why did I not notice a plane is flying overhead until just this very second? My days as videographer are numbered and rightly so.

Westie Before and After:

Behold the splendors of a country dog doing what he does best. They say the terrier’s prey instinct is stronger than even the sex drive and although Max can’t exactly perform the latter, he more than makes up for it with the former:

And because I began this post with Longwood Gardens, I’ll end it that way too.

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How could I resist taking a picture of this little dumpling? You’re welcome!

And many thanks for reading and to Cardinal Guzman for hosting this challenge,

Barbara

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
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96 Responses to Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons: April

  1. The last photo with tulips (from Holland) best of all. Max looks cheeky but happy. So what, he seems to be saying?

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  2. I so enjoyed the before and after shots…how quickly Spring leaps into action once it gets the urge!
    I had to go to England in April to help my mother with a problem and on taking the coach from Heathrow was struck by the perfection of an English spring….the leaves of a green that always looks as if sunlit, bluebells in a haze under the trees and the gorse in full flower.
    Going back via central London it too was a picture….wisteria covering the facades of the houses in Maida Vale, the flowering cherry blossom for once not torn down by the rain…..I can’t say I had a Browning ‘Oh to be in England…’ experience as I don’t miss the European seasons, but I did appreciate it in all its splendour.

    I liked the before and after Max too….

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    • Hello Helen, I’ve missed you. Hope your trip to England was nicely balanced by good things in addition to problem solving. We have just returned from a visit to the Brandywine Valley in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The promotional literature described the Brandywine as our England. I wonder what you’d say to that, but it was magnificent and with the gorgeous DuPont mansion (rather castle-like, I must say) I did feel a little English moment here and there. Glad you’re home safe and sound.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, quitea transformation and thank you for documenting it. Not sure if its just me but your video wouldnt play. It just came up with a message saying it was private. A fun post nonetheless. Love that adorable dog of yours!

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    • Ha! Maybe just for the best when I consider the quality of the thing. But thanks for letting me know. I must have some setting somewhere that I didn’t know about. Thanks, Marissa.

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    • No, it’s not just you. I had stupidly set it on a private setting somehow. It’s really a mystery how I ever figured out how to enter a blog post. Thanks again.

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      • Oh, yeah, similar things have happened to me. Even though I have worked on computers for years, and took classes, there is some innate knowledge of computers in the newer generations that the older generations just don’t seem to have!!

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      • And it will probably be such a long time in between videos that I will forget to unprivatize it and the whole cycle will begin anew. Yes, the newer generation does seem innately hard-wired to handle these things better.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. redosue says:

    I think your video is lovely as is that ridiculously magnificent oak in spring leaf. WOW.

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  5. Just stunning, Barbara 😉 How stark the contrast from the first week of April to the last. Isn’t it just magical how quickly things grow once it warms up? Happy you had a good trip to PA, and hope all is well with you and yours. Just LOVE your white Azaleas near your front porch. How elegant! Giant hugs, WG ❤

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    • Hello, WG. Well, we’re into May now and still no meet-up. It’s just ridiculous how life takes over and I’m sorry about it, truly. The white azaleas are my triumph over the deer this year. I completely encased them in rose canes in February and VOILA, we have blossoms. Makes me so happy. Iris are coming on strong now and I’ve not forgotten about getting you some cemetery iris. XXX

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      • Life happens doesn’t it Barbara ? I haven’t forgotten either . What a brilliant idea to use roses to shield your Azalea ! Will hope to enjoy that visit soon-

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  6. Jodi says:

    Great to see the fruits of your labor! You have been busy!! You are weeks ahead of us, so it is exciting to see what will be emerging here soon. We are just into the leaves busting out and you can almost see them grow by the hour! Who gets to cut all the grass round there?! This time of year is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your little piece of heaven on earth! 🙂

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    • Hi Jodi, I have been working hard and have the fingernails to prove it. I get so irritated with these “gardeners” who are publishing their coffee table books this spring and you see them wafting through the gardens with their perfectly coordinated outfits and gardening clogs. Get real!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. suzicate says:

    Gorgeous…what a difference a month makes! I love peonies! Oh, the bleeding hearts, how pretty! And that little dumpling is adorable! Got a chuckle out of your pollen table! Some days I feel like if I etched letters through the pollen dust I’d fall in it’s so deep, ha!

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  8. Wow, Barbara. What a total transformation! It’s all so LIVELY! Just teeming with energy obviously you have been working very hard!

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    • Hi Torrie. After a long hard winter, there’s nothing more rejuvenating than to watch the earth come alive again. And to get outside and play in the dirt. Did you ever decide what to do with those raised beds on your property?

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  9. You didn’t quite fool me on Longwood..I know that greenhouse well. It was a family favorite. (My header picture, the water lily, was taken on my last trip with Mom to Longwood, months before she passed away).
    Your home and grounds are stunningly beautiful, and the hard work certainly shows. I love those 2nd floor windows over the porch. Silver in the Barn…a sweet place to be !! Van ☺

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    • Oh, I’m glad to know where the water lily was photographed, Van, and what a nice memory to hold of a day with your late mother. Longwood was teeming with people even though it was a non-holiday midweek day. I can only imagine what it must be like on a weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gorgeous garden. I can see Max was a big help. Lots of continuous work, but so worth it.

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    • It is continuous but I like to think of it as gardening, not work, which of course is the delusional thought process of the avid gardener. And you’re right, Kayti, so worth it as so many difficult things are. Thank you.

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  11. Eliza Waters says:

    I can see why you jump out of bed every morning – you have this idyllic country home and beautiful gardens to play in. I have to say I preferred the ‘after’ pics above the ‘before.’ 🙂 Loved the pic of Max fresh from the woods and the video – it was great to hear all the birdsong. Spring is grand!

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    • Max is at my feet in an exhausted heap cooling himself on the tile floor. He’ll settle down now that the heat is arriving and his excursions will be fewer and fewer. Another cycle of the garden life, I guess. Glad you enjoyed the video – I’ll try to improve my skills at that. Thanks, Eliza.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. dorannrule says:

    I have been to that magnificent Longwood Gardens but it never looked better than with that little cherub in the foreground! I love the changes in your garden landscape and the comparison with just a short time ago when everything was barren. Lovely time of year, Spring. 🙂

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    • Talk about your photo opportunity! Her parents had plopped her down in front of the tulips to photograph her and before you know it, everybody was clamoring to get their own shot of the babe. I wonder how many others are out there in cyber-space? She was six months old, by the way. Have you been to our own Lewis Ginter? I actually prefer it – less grand and more directed to the home gardener.

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  13. Behind the Story says:

    What a dramatic way to show us the changes that took place in April. I enjoyed it immensely. You live in a beautiful spot. And the bird sounds were lovely. You have much better bird songs than we do. I love listening to them when I visit my daughter in MD.

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    • Isn’t that funny, Nicki, I hadn’t really thought of the variations in birdsong depending on where we are in this huge country of ours. It’s one of the things I notice most when spring arrives….how very quiet the winter has been. Even though MD and VA are close geographically, they feel like two very different states. MD definitely more northern, VA more southern.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks. Very cheering images. Wonderful to feel that wheel of the seasons turn and that strong pulse of life. Regards thom.

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  15. I love these before and after photos. What a stunning garden you have. Amazing how spring goes on performing year after year. I can assure you, your video is loads better than mine (I tried to get the frogs croaking on a our recent French holiday).

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  16. Pingback: Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 04 | Cardinal Guzman

  17. KerryCan says:

    How clever of you to think ahead and take the before photos, so you could stun us with the transformation! It looks like we’re just about a full month behind you here but your photos give me hope for my peonies, heuchera, etc. Then you add cute dogs and babies and I think you have the recipe for a perfect post!

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    • Occasionally I actually think far enough ahead to accomplish something marginally clever. This does not apply, however, to meal-planning or anything else remotely practical. And yes, there is much hope for your peonies and heuchera which I sincerely hope you will post for our admiration. Thanks, Kerrie.

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  18. Your garden is beautiful. I love that huge oak tree and your video was nice too.

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    • Thank you, Max. See? I told you I would never forget your real name again. Glad you enjoyed the post. I know my photography skills leave much to be desired, but I’m still having fun recording the progress of the year. I can’t believe we’re already into May!

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      • An easy name to remember, especially for you and your four legged companion 🙂 Taking pictures and having fun is the most important thing, photography skills comes with practice (which we all get by shooting every month).

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  19. I am big fan of before and after. Especially seasonal images. But I have to remark on the pollen shot. That was fun.

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  20. joannesisco says:

    Oh wow. Just wow!
    I’ve said it so many times before, but your gardens are beautiful and obviously a labour of love.
    I loved the video – the sound is incredible. It reminds me of when we are hiking .. sometimes it is absolutely still and other times the birds are so loud and chatty, you almost want to tell them to keep it down!
    You really do have a slice of heaven!

    … and since I’m rather a perverse character, my favourite photo is the table full of pollen 🙂 Misery loves company and I’m fighting the same battle right now … a yellow ‘dust’ seems to cover everything. My troubled sinuses will be very happy when this stage of spring finally passes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ritaroberts says:

    WOW ! What superb photo’s That lovely Oak tree looked so sad during the winter but look at it now, so gracious !. Your garden is a dream with colour. Thanks for sharing Barbara. And of course gorgeous Max, he’s so cute. It looks like he enjoyed himself helping you with the gardening

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    • Yes, the little monster, Max, has been having one heck of a raucous time outside this spring. There’s just so much to chase between rabbits and squirrels. The old oak did look sad, you’re right, Rita. And then just like that, it shows us what it has stored up inside for another year. And how is a Crete spring? Much in bloom?

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      • ritaroberts says:

        Yes Crete is now showing all its lovely wild flowers which are endemic to Crete alone such as, the Rock Rose and Wild Orchid. And at last my garden is looking colourful mostly with Geraniums and Freshias .However with the July and August heat soon begin to shrivel.

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  22. Love, love, love the old Oak in front of your bedroom window! And the Oak in your videeohhh! Our Heuchera is happy I think… 🙂 Thank you for the nudge to get it… now I am all obsessed in a good way with them! I hope the deer don’t find them irresistible, or the squirrels… :/ The Huecheras are very tiny right now… I bought another one to pot. The pollen is ridiculous… so are the little brown stringy things (catkins) falling from the Oaks. BUT this has been the best Spring!!! 😀
    Good Morning Barbara!

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    • Yes, but Pix. We’ve already established you and I have an almost pagan-like devotion to big old Oaks, so of course you would appreciate mine. I am so happy you got some heuchera and I think the deer will leave them alone. I placed little wire shields over mine in early spring because something was nibbling their tops and that did the trick. Whatever was eating them has gone on to other things so I don’t think they are top choice. Early spring is a tough time for the foragers when nothing has started blooming in the woods yet for them to devour. And YES! Last month was pollen and this month is catkins. I am sweeping them up!! I am using my windshield wipers to swipe them off my car. They are in my hair!! Good afternoon, PIX!

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  23. Oh yes, birdsong is so loud, it will wake you up….beautiful and enlivening. This past month has been truly a month of big transformation; very slow at first, but then a snowball effect and all of a sudden the grass needs mowing! Loved the video with the views of your environment and the garden, lush and serene. enjoy it before the mosquitoes arrive 🙂

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  24. I want to live here. The sounds, the colors, the beauty. Your gardens. Oh, my. How tranquil and lovely and all of those adjectives that describe a place of paradise.

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  25. Ann Koplow says:

    Gorgeous!! What an enchanted April you showed us.

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  26. nrhatch says:

    Loved the transformation, the video with its gorgeous expanse of green ‘neath bird song, and that dumpling in the tulips. Thanks!

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  27. Great pictures, the one with the tulips is such a great shot. I had to laugh about your wren. We joked yesterday that the lead singer has a podium under our bedroom window, he starts performing around 4:30 am…not sure if he will survive :-).

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  28. Beautiful photos! I loved the bleeding hearts, which my mother used to grow in her garden… and of course the lovely baby!

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  29. Heyjude says:

    Stunning isn’t it the change a couple of weeks can make to the landscape. And some fine weather helps of course. I love the before and after shots. And I know what you mean about the birds! On holiday we had a finch of some description bursting into song every morning right above our bedroom window! Hard to sleep through that, but much better than an alarm clock…

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  30. If your sunroom ever looks like the top left photo, I’m going to invite myself down 😉
    It really is a wonderful time of year, I find I am so delightfully busy — and heaven’s yes, it’s exercise! I love it, just love it. Missed it so much when I was living in the sand trap that is southeast Georgia! Peonies are just magical — can’t wait til they bloom.
    Hurrah for our gardens!
    And — Oh that Max 🙂

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    • I’m counting the days until my peonies bloom. Big fat buds are tantalizingly close to popping open any day now. Will we be seeing pictures of yours? At least on IG, I hope? Wish we lived closer, I have so much to divide and share! Hurrah for our gardens, indeed.

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      • I can’t wait for the peonies, either! Yes, I will photograph mine, here and there.
        I have so much to divide and share too, we could literally double our inventory! 😛

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  31. reocochran says:

    I liked your April Fool’s belated prank on me, Barb! I was going to admire your green house and your fountain… the garden with water beds in between.
    Your home and gardens are every bit as beautiful and they are what I come here to treasure, absorb and enjoy. Your comical dog, Max, and the ‘dumpling’ were bonus joys you shared with all of us, my friend. Thank you so very much for the lovely, colorful tour!

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  32. markbialczak says:

    Your Virginia spread wins my heart, Barbara, from oak to redbud to peony to songbird Callas to dirt mover Max. You are blessed, even in the month you must write “Pollen” with finger on glass. Thought you’d get that one by me, did you, my friend? Great month recap. Really great. 🙂 Thank you for sharing these and giving me a great smile this evening.

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  33. shoreacres says:

    The variety of redbud you have is beautiful. I very much like the “before and after” approach, too.
    The little note about pollen amused me. It’s common enough to see “dust me” or “wash me” written in appropriate places, but the pollen’s a fun note.

    Did you happen to see any articles about the work of Wolfgang Laib, an artist who works in natural substances? From January 23 to March 11 of 2013, Mr. Laib’s installation titled “Pollen from Hazelnut” graced the second floor Atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His largest pollen installation to date, it measured approximately 18 x 21 feet. I wrote about him and his techniques here. You might enjoy the photos, especially. As for his motivations — who knows? But he certainly knows how to highlight pollen!

    I once had a friend who not only wrote his name in my house dust, he dated it, as well. We’re no longer friends.

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  34. Yadi OrdePro says:

    Beautiful insight. It inspires many spiritual journey. http://www.bellofpeace.org

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  35. This is so pretty. And, I must say, I love Max. Such a doll.

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  36. Sue Mayo says:

    So beautiful. Makes me smile.

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  37. I admit you fooled me….Your house and land are always so beautiful, I figured Longwood Gardens was yours, too. LOL! As far as the difference the month made at your house, WOW! And as for the before and after of Max, he’s such a cute little man! ❤ Great photos!

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  38. It looks as if we were shooting on the same day in April, though I posted in May!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Not on this challenge. Just noticed that we shot the same purplish tulips in April!

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  40. cat9984 says:

    Your flowers (and pictures) are beautiful. I thought my son was the only one the birds woke up anymore. It seems like everyone else has air conditioning.

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