As it is with most things here, the gardener is not exactly on schedule with his gardening. He’s not exactly on schedule with many things, but the late freeze and the discouraging damage it did to so many spring greens has left him slightly unmotivated. Then the relentless rain and cold damp brought on rot, and now dry weather is bringing spider mites to the phlox. So the gardener will restart his spring in mid May and deal with the mites. He’ll also accept that many projects will again not happen, and will just clear his conscience and move on. Iris are beginning to bloom after all, and once the iris start to fill the flowerbeds with color and perfume it’s hard to hold onto a black mood.
One minor project (which seems to be the only project type I’m capable of tackling this spring) which was finally taken care of was the long suffering heuchera plantings. A few summers ago I dipped my toes into the hybrid heuchera world and since then they’ve been suffering along in my garden. My planting beds get too dry, my shade isn’t as high and dappled as they’d like, and my soil is too heavy for their roots but I try nonetheless. They still have plenty of filling in to do but if you saw the before picture I’m sure you’d agree this is an improvement. Unfortunately the tan lawn clipping mulch doesn’t do much to set the foliage off, but it’s better than weeds I suppose.
As summer heat settles down on the garden this holiday weekend, I just wanted to celebrate the meadow and a few of the newer plantings which did well this spring. Number one on the list were the tulip clusiana bulbs which planted into the turf. They looked perfect out there and I hope they return just as nicely next spring.
A few Anemone blanda look nice in the shadier parts of the lawn. I tried throwing them around in several of the outer edges of the garden and then promptly forgot until little sparkles of blue started showing up here and there. My goal for this one is to recreate the neglected show which used to pop up each spring around my first apartment in upstate NY. If this plant can naturalize around a ramshackle college boarding house I think it stands half a chance here.
Muscari is practically a weed everywhere so I added a few of those as well. The flowers on these grape hyacinths were nice enough but now I keep looking at the seed heads with their kind-of aqua tint. I wonder if it was the cooler temperatures or if they’ll always have this attractive look…. or is it just me that thinks they look cool?
Most of the bulbs were brought in as bulbs, but if you know me you know there are a few seeds coming along as well. My little gravel covered pots are bursting with new plants this spring and even though the last freeze did a few things in the majority seemed to enjoy our mild winter. I’m always a bit surprised anything will grow up through gravel, but in some pots even the tiniest of seedlings make a crowded moss of new green sprouts…. which will soon desperately need thinning!
With new seedlings coming along each spring there are always new surprises as youngsters open their first blooms. A couple years ago I thought I’d dabble in a few species anemones and see how they do in the meadow, and although I’m not sure they’re all correctly labeled, for now I’m just enjoying them for whatever they are.
One seedling which has a positive ID is this cool little Japanese Jack-in-the-pulpit or snow rice-cake plant (Arisaema sikokianum). I was surprised to see any of these three year old seedlings flower, and although the actual flower is definitely on the small side for this species they say size doesn’t matter in these things and I’ll just keep admiring the fancy little bloom.
So that’s the basic update. I promise this will be the last time I moan about freezes and such, but I can’t promise some other weather event won’t come along shortly to take its place. Whatever happens it’s a great iris weekend and I’m sure I’ll be going on about that next 🙂