It was a dreary day across the midstate Friday. But on Derbyshire Drive in South Middleton Township, dozens of bright spots peaked through the rain-soaked ground.

Ignoring last week's temperature fluctuations, Lucille Hillman's daffodils stood tall and ready - a fitting reminder that despite unpredictable weather, spring has extended its reach into Cumberland County.

"Well certainly, they're one of my favorites," Hillman said of the yellow flora that line her backyard. "And I have more than enough to keep me busy."

As the Carlisle Garden Club's April Garden of the Month though, daffodils aren't the only highlight of Hillman's garden.

There are peonies and azaleas, evening primroses and according to Hillman, "every kind of daylily you can imagine."

That's not to mention dianthus, lilacs, lily of the valley, dahlias, crocosmias, geraniums and bearded irises.

‘Absorb it'

"I've always been around gardeners in my family. I'm just one generation away from grandparents that were farmers ... and this was in upstate New York. So, it was very normal for me as a child to be around beautiful plants and planting," Hillman said of her gardening roots. "It just seemed normal to me, not that I was, at the time, terribly interested in it, but it was just sort of a habitat kind of thing."

That influence and familiarity can be seen throughout Hillman's garden today - from the window boxes around her patio, to the lenten roses and even the various statues scattered throughout.

"My grandma just always had glorious window boxes on her porch, and as a kid you do absorb it. You don't think you do, but you do," Hillman said, adding "The lenten rose ... a very dear friend of mine's mother always sent lenten roses, and I thought, I've got to have one. It's just nice to remember those things."

‘Reclaim it'

Despite being born with a seemingly green thumb, Hillman is quick to point out that cultivating her garden hasn't always been a walk in the park.

"Gardening is a contact sport and there's always something to do ... always. And you're always going to have an ugly patch," she said, citing the time that she broken her ankle digging up dandelions. "You trip and fall in your garden, and you have to reclaim it. You make it yours by doing that."

At the end of the day though, Hillman noted, she can always retreat to the peace of her patio.

"I have these window boxes all on my patio, and when your sitting down or when I'm having people over for dinner, it's like a private flower hedge and its just wonderful ... it's my little bit of heaven," she said. "There's just nothing nicer at the end of the day - whether you've been out gardening or running around or everything else we all do - than sitting on the patio and having some water, some lemonade or whatever else moves you. It really is divine to share that with your friends. It's just a happy place."