Something ate the blue flag iris, and I am upset about that. I thought that the wild animals would stay away from the irises, as I understand that irises are mildly poisonous, but no such luck. So far they've stayed away from the daffodils, which are definitely poisonous. We'll see what happens with the lily-of-the-valley, which is quite toxic. I understand that the best thing to keep deer away is a good-sized dog, but Dad has been very resistant to the idea of getting another dog.
This past week: forsythia has been blooming. Ours is relatively late-blooming for the neighborhood -- I don't know whether that's from the particular exposure where it is, or whether it is fighting it out with all the wild grape vines and assorted brush. I cut down a couple of unidentified tree-like shoots coming up in the former rose garden. I checked to see if the cut stems were fragrant, for identification. One wasn't, so presumably it was just a trash tree. One was spicy-smelling, the scent of the sweet shrub, a.k.a. Carolina allspice. The original plant of the sweet shrub was planted outside the boundaries of that garden, and has spread into a thicket, so I didn't mind that I'd cut off one sucker of it. The other tree we have that you can tell by the scent of the cut branches, even before it has leaves, is the sassafras. We've got several of those.