In my lawn, the grass-like foliage from Crocus and Muscari bulbs is still ripening, so it's not yet time to mow. I really do wish I had explanatory signs to tell folks why it is that instead of having the compulsory "kill everything else and mow what's left" company fertilize and mow at constant intervals, we choose to spend our hard-earned money on bulbs and plants! So we stand out conspicuously from the row of evenly green, evenly mowed putting-green lawns on our street.blue-purple muscari

Claude Monet was a founder of the Impressionism school of painting in France in the late 1800s. Tubes of paint, like toothpaste tubes, had just been invented; previously painters had to mix their own paint colors on a palette. Monet found that by dabbing little small brush-strokes of un-mixed, straight color, he could more accurately capture the sense of light and color he found in the real world. Monet is famous for his garden in Giverny, France, where he planted swaths of Japanese irises. This is the garden captured in the painting at top right: The Artist's Garden at Giverny.

white daffodils

At my house, we've been planting one or two or more like fifty bulbs a year, every year, for years now, and some of them are multiplying enough to be called "swaths," so I have swaths of white daffodils hiding the iris buds at the moment. (As I write, I can hear lawn mowers in stereo now—one on each side of me.) Soon we will have swaths of irises—as did Monet—and the bridal veil spiraea will bloom and the yard will smell delightful.

I remember when we planted that bridal veil spirea. My husband was building a wheelchair path from one side of the yard to the other. His plan was to make it go straight across, poor dear, bisecting the front lawn (it was still lawn back then) parallel to the street. I insisted that it must meander a little, so after a straight start, the path meanders around a dwarf almond (blooming now) and the bridal veil. That has grown larger than even I anticipated, cutting off a quarter of the lawn which my husband named (for some reason) The Annex. He started randomly sticking flowering perennials in there without regard for anything relevant, like my all-important color scheme!

For instance, we hawet mauve tulipve a lot more hot pink Monarda than I care for, way more. But then, our azalea is a hot pinkish mauve. It came with the house, but I'm not going to rip it out becauseclose-up of azalea it's not my favorite color. So it's a cross-season color echo, from the April azalea to the August monarda. And this year's tulips turned out to be a mauve-y sort of purple, so you just have to blur your eyes a liittle when viewing the whole.

But if I had my way, rather than "keep off the grass," I would have tiny teensy little bright yellow signs made up that say "come on in, but think Monet!"