We had our earliest 90+ degree day ever last week (33C) and I was unimpressed. Daffodils melted and hyacinths fried and the gardener turned on the air conditioning and did nothing in the shade. Three days later he froze standing around at a track meet with a brisk 41F (5C) breeze and the occasional snow flurry. Such are our springs. As usual things are busy and people are probably relieved that photographing snowdrops had to take a back seat to work and trips and home repairs, but I did take a minute Sunday to photograph a few things. Lets start at the end… the end of snowdrop season 😦
Here’s the double snowdrop ‘L.P. Short’ holding on to a last bloom while a sea of Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) bring on the next show.
Galanthus ‘Narwhal’ is still hanging on in spite of all kinds of weather and me stepping on him at least once…
Of course the end of snowdrop season is always a sad time, but at least there are plenty of distractions to ease the trauma. Actually as things come on so fast and furious it will be at least another month or two before the reality sinks in, and by then I can start digging a few bulbs and buying a few new ones, and dreaming of next season 😉
I might have added an Epimedium or two over the last few years. Shade tolerant, drought resistant, deer and rabbit resistant, nice all summer… I’ve been avoiding them for a while, but what’s the harm in adding another two or ten? This is ‘Purple something’ since I lost the tag and possibly didn’t write the name down anywhere…
As trees grow, this full sun garden is becoming shady in spots and I kind of like the early flush of spring bloomers.
Some dogtooth violets (Erythronium americanum) a friend gifted me a few years back. I was shocked to see them blooming this year, I thought for sure the cool speckled foliage would be all I’d ever get in this crappy, rooty, dry as a bone all summer, growing location.
From far enough away the somewhat-shaded part of the garden actually looks nice.
Shade is nice, but full sun is still something I treasure most. All kinds of bulbs are now filling in the beds and it’s awesome to see the return of color and growth, even if at times it seems to move along too fast.
The grape hyacinths are absolutely common, and somewhat weedy if not dead-headed, but the blue color is perfect and lasts a while.
For all the treasures I see in the garden, most of the people coming and going from this house don’t mention a thing about the garden. You can imagine my shock then when not one, but two people commented on the ‘pink tropical looking flower growing alongside the porch. Species peonies are nice enough but two people? Honestly I think they’re just messing with me, but when they immediately lost interest upon hearing the blooms only last a week or so, I knew they were authentically interested… even if it was only for a minute…
Peonia daurica by the front porch.
No one mentioned the dandelions, not even the fancy white Japanese version I’ve been pampering along in the front border. I wish it would seed around a little, that would surely draw more attention.
It’s a favorite of the rabbits at least. Taraxacum albidium must have a better flavor than the regular dandelions since I practically have to cage it to keep the bunnies off.
The daffodils might draw attention even if it’s never mentioned by anyone. I need more, and I need to move a few bunches back into full sun since they’re sulking in the shady spots I tucked them into. They’ll bounce back, but I was so proud of myself when I found all that room under the trees along the side of the yard. I guess there was a reason for the empty spaces since apparently nothing really wants to be there including the daffodils.
Narcissus ‘Bravoure’ front and center near the door. It’s very nice and refined and I can’t find a single fault other than I’m not so crazy about it. Maybe it’s too stiff. I really shouldn’t try and find faults.
Narcissus ‘Stella’ aka Kathy’s Sweetheart is not too stiff. She nods and sways and has joyfully twisted petals which fade from cream to white and I’m surprised how she’s grown on me. I was trying to be a show-daff kind of person but I guess I’m not.
This one just showed up. It doesn’t match anything which used to grow here yet I’m pretty sure it had a name at one time and I either never knew it or lost it. It’s a keeper though, I like how the color of the trumpet bleeds into the petals… something which I believe show-daff people frown upon…
Newer, fancier daffs which are not doing as well in the ‘terrace’ as I thought they would. It’s frightening to think how these should also be moved to a better spot.
I don’t remember ‘White Collar’ from last year, but this year he’s living up to the name and I definitely approve. Behind him is ‘Bronzewing’. Bronzewing is again amazing.
To be honest the shaded daffodils escaped the worst of the heat and are still somewhat nice when compared to the fried daffodils in the main beds. But what fries the daffodils grows the tulips, and from here on it’s the tulips which will shine.
Darwin tulips in the front border.
Years ago I took out the double tulips, but I must have missed one and over the years the one bulb has been clumping up nicely. I suspect it’s the tulip ‘Abba’.
Most of the tulips here come and go as I add new ones or accidentally dig up and then divide old ones, but the potager is filled with the tulips I intentionally dig and divide each summer. There are a couple hundred and although I planted them too thickly (entirely because I was too lazy to plant them properly), they still seem to be coming along nicely. There’s no room for lettuce or onions but by the weekend all I’ll care about is how amazing it looks.
More (mostly Darwin) tulips in the vegetable beds. Another warm day and the main show will start.
Honestly the tulip show is nothing when compared to the big shows where bed after bed is filled with a curated display of color echoes and blends, but I like it, and on a beautifully sunny day all the color is just a celebration of spring.
One day I’m telling my sister in law that this is one of the less-interesting, sloppy forms of tulip, and then two days later I think it’s one of the nicest in the garden. ‘Orange Emperor’ has a delicious color and I like the touch of green on a few of the blooms. Thanks Kimberley, I like it!
There is a little bit of a stink hanging over the display. The pear tree is covered in blooms and without a freeze in the forecast I’m anticipating a good deal of pears this summer. Fortunately this ‘Bartlett’ pear doesn’t seem to stink as much as the yucky stench of those Bradford pears planted all over the place. This one only comes on as a wiff here and there, the Bradfords stink up your whole car if you drive by with the windows open.
Plenty of pears to be.
While on the topic of flowering trees, the magnolias were amazing this year, but the heat pushed them over far too quickly. I’ll have to get photos next year of two new ones but for now the new standard magnolia ‘Ann’ is still putting on a great show. New flowers open for a while and the fruity fragrance always wins against the stink of a pear.
‘Ann’ will never be more than a small tree, and that’s a perfect size for this side of the yard.
The side of the yard where ‘Ann’ is planted is somewhat mucky in spring when runoff works its way down from the yard next door and the front of this house, and for a while the spring muck followed by summer drought rejected pretty much everything I planted here, but finally two plantings are doing well. Spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) and Snakeshead fritillaria (F. meleagris) rebel against good drainage and don’t mind sitting in water when water sits. Both are actually happy enough to seed around.
Fritillaria meleagris seedlings are blooming here and there below the magnolia and my plan is coming together perfectly except for the fact you don’t notice the purple flowers under the purple magnolia. Hmmm. But at least they’re happy 😉
Plenty of things don’t work out to plan here, and plenty more things don’t work out without a plan so miss-colored fritillaria are one more thing which needs moving but will probably stay put for decades. I’m fine with that. The thing or two which do work out keep me happy enough and for the next couple weeks I’ll be swimming in tulips and that’s more than plenty.
A mess of tulips
I hope your spring is also filled with plenty. Have a great weekend!