The Springpocolypse

The weather has suddenly caught up to the calendar and we’ve been suddenly and brutally been thrown into our first hot (90F, 32C) days of the year.  I was battling cold and the chance of flurries Sunday and by Tuesday we’re turning the air conditioning on.  Go figure.  Better get some pictures and a post up before the tomatoes start ripening.

corydalis solida

The last of the corydalis.  These are in a shaded spot and later than the rest, and of course I’m already looking for new ones since I love the darker tips on short little ‘Domino’ 🙂

I was enjoying the long, cool, spring, but with two days of hot winds and beating sun everything has jumped ahead again.  I always fall behind on posting at this time of year, but this post has really got to go up quick since by tomorrow morning I suspect most of these flowers will have been done in by the weather….

corydalis solida

Plain old Corydalis solida.  I was a little ‘meh’ for the first few years, but now that they’ve settled in I must say I like them.

The hellebores will hopefully still have another week or so in them.  Without any late freezes it’s been a great year, and I’m suddenly itching to grow a few more!

hellebore seedling

Seedlings out in the street border.  The heavily speckled ones are some of my favorites, but then so are the dark ones, and double ones, and yellow, and….

I grow a few from seed every year, and would have started many more but lately it seems I’ve been running out of room.  The words ‘thinning the herd’ have come up, and now I’m looking at a few plants with a critical eye and an eager shovel.  I need room for more seedlings, my favorites deserve a chance to spread their seed ;).

hellebore golden lotus

These are purchased doubles from the O’Byrnes out in Oregon.  It’s ‘Golden Lotus’ in front and possibly ‘Peppermint Ice’ behind.  These would qualify as ‘favorites’.

I’m probably being delusional.  It would be a struggle for me to get rid of any of the hellebores, even the ones which might deserve the ‘less pretty’ title, and in case it’s not already obvious,  I really lack the focus and conviction to ever draw a line with plants.  Who knows though, one afternoon anger management might fail me and out they will come.

hellebore seedling

The queen bumble bees are out, and hopefully they’re getting plenty of the nectar and pollen they need to start this season’s family… and doing a little pollination on the side of course.

This spring even the messiest, most unevenly colored hellebore ends up being a favorite.  Green flowers in particular win me over immediately.

hellebore seedling

The first year flowers on a new hellebore seedling are always the most exciting.

Green flowers and other ‘curious’ blooms are always welcome here and this year I’m seeing a little success in that always curious plant group, the fritillarias.  Fritillaria uva vulpis, aka fox’s grapes, is back for a second year and even though it took the convincing of a friend to sway me towards keeping them, I’m glad now that I did.  They at least look a little ‘interesting’ rather than the straight ‘blah’ I saw last year, and perhaps they’ll continue to improve next year as well.

fritillaria uva vulpis

Fritillaria uva vulpis.  It might not hold up to a bank of golden daffodils but surely it still makes the garden a better place.

The snake’s head fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) are showing off as well.  I love them, and and it makes me happy to see seedlings and clumps forming as they settle in to the soggiest parts of the garden.

fritillaria meleagris

This clump really lives up to the name snake’s head fritillaria.  I can even see eyes!

The white ones add a little contrast, but the checkered patterns and colors of the darker ones really wow me as they unfurl each spring.  Fyi I’ll need to spread the seeds of these around as well!

fritillaria meleagris

Fritillarias have some of the coolest flower patterns.

By the end of last week the front border was at a peak with all the leftover hyacinths, corydalis, and the start of the midseason daffodils.  From the right angle the bed looks packed with color and I was thrilled, and a few days later it still looks nice but half of what was in flower has been melted by the heat.  Now the first tulips are coming on, and hopefully in a few day you’ll tolerate a few photos of that as well!

daffodil garden

The front street border.  Spring is here 🙂

Here are a few highlights along the curb.

daffodil garden

Maybe ‘Red Rascal’ and and definitely ‘Pistachio’.  The pale yellow ‘Pistachio’ has been a favorite for years.

lunaria annua rosemary verey

The first flowers on one of the moneyplants (Lunaria annua ‘Rosemary Verey’).  This is the first year I’m seeing the purple stained foliage and stems for which this strain is know.

magnolia stellata

A magnolia cutting swiped from a layered branch on the neighbor’s tree.  It’s nothing special I’m sure, but having grown it from a cutting makes it absolutely special.  Of course I need more.

Behind the house the back garden is showing off as well.  In three days all the green has turned to flowers!

daffodil garden

Vegetable beds are much more successful when not filled with daffodils.  My bad.

Flowers aren’t the only color out there.  This spring I’m finally seeing the awesome foliage which inspired me to hunt down my very own plant of Iris x robusta ‘Gerald Darby’.  Thanks to Nan Ondra and her blog at Hayefield, I’ve been coveting this plant for years.  Now I’m seeing that the wait was worth it.

‘Gerald Darby’ also has pale blue flowers which follow the purple foliage.  As the shoots expand, the color will fade to green.

I’ll spare you most of the other foliage photos, and the overabundance of daffodil photos to just leave you with a few more scenes from around the garden.  The primroses enjoyed last summer’s rain and look promising for once in their (short) lives… such a refreshing change from their usual near-death appearance.

Some of the first plants to come in to bloom. This peachy sunset flower doesn’t show up well in the garden, but close up it’s delicious 😉

Under the weeping cherry the three day cherry bloom is over, and the spent petals are now decorating the ground.  It’s a perfect complement to the last of the hardy cyclamen, which (not to rub it in) have been blooming since March, through storm and ice and heat, -unlike the short lived cherry.

The last flowers on the Cyclamen coum.

While the earliest bloomers are still up and growing and building energy for next year, it’s a great time to do a little moving around and dividing.  I created what I hope will soon become my very own trailer park snowdrop bed.  It’s filled with the most messy and common double flowers, the ones all the classier growers look down on such as ‘Flore pleno’ and her variously marked variations such as ‘Pussey Greentips’ and ‘Lady Elphinstone’.  I’m sure someday they will grow to wow even the most rarefied galanthophile.

Snowdrops are classy but only if you avoid decorating the surroundings with plastic children’s toys, plastic buckets, and stray leaf bags. I’d also be more impressed with this new planting if the big rock at the front was already moved out of the new pathway.  Obviously it would be easier to put the path elsewhere.

Two days ago the tulips were mostly closed and the bleeding hearts still a deep, rich carmine. Today they all opened and the hearts are faded. Still nice though!

While I’m moving snowdrops and boulders hopefully I’ll still have the time to enjoy a few daffodils and tulips.  They’re opening as we speak and hopefully the winds and downpour which are barreling through this afternoon will spare a few.  I managed to take one last photo out the back door before the storm hit and as you can see it was full on spring today.

the spring garden

The potager on the verge of tulip season.  For the record there are onions and lettuce in there as well.   

My fingers are crossed for the weekend.  If things work out as planned there will be plenty of time and energy for all the things which need doing… if history repeats itself there will be plenty of sitting around and little work.  We’ll see who wins.

For the record I’ve spent $15 on pansies and then $14 on lettuce and more pansies.  The rabbits have already eaten about $8 worth of the lettuce.  It happens.  Have a great weekend!

$15 for an exceptionally restrained first visit to my favorite garden center
$14 lettuce, onions, and more pansies, also essential

$576 total so far for the 2018 gardening year.

23 comments on “The Springpocolypse

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Such glorious color in your garden, Frank. Your neighbors must love you!

    • bittster says:

      Haha, my neighbors never say anything. I’m afraid they see I’m far too obsessed and they just like to ignore it. I’m actually working on the backyard more now so that they don’t see me out there being plant crazy as much!

  2. Pauline says:

    What a lovely show of spring colour, I’m so glad your weather has warmed up at last. We had a few days of hot weather and that put paid to my snakeshead fritillaries, they just couldn’t cope with the heat. You must be so pleased with all your bulbs, you have waited so long for them to flower.

    • bittster says:

      How disappointing, your fritillaries usually seem to bloom forever, but I’m sure you got your time with them regardless!
      I’ve been moving snowdrops and hope to have my own snowdrop woods here. No massive chestnuts and oaks here but in some ways that’s a good thing.

  3. Stephen Shaw says:

    Excellent post. Love that last photo especially. $564? I’ve been known to spend that in a week.

    • bittster says:

      🙂 I’m planning another nursery trip this weekend. If I avoid the woody plants section (or at least put my hands in my pockets while I walk through) I can keep the expenditures down. But what’s the fun in that!?

  4. We shot up to 80 and high 70s for a few days and now heavy wind and rain and flash flood warnings. I’m getting used to crazy weather. But those high temps sure play havoc with early plants. Love the long view to the potager. Very impressive. I have those double snowdrops as well, but none of my garden friends are up on the fancies, so I can still impress them.

    • bittster says:

      The cheap snowdrops only need to impress me, and they’ve already done that so this will be even more of a good thing! The warmer wether is exciting, but I hate to watch the havoc it wrecks with the cool weather stuff. Nearly all the daffodil flowers are either spent or burned around the edges from the hot winds. Fortunately there are still the late season ones. There’s always a backup plan with gardening!

  5. Peter Herpst says:

    Ma Nature is sure having some mood swings this crazy spring. Your garden is bursting with vernal color and is gorgeous! I also tend to decorate with plastic buckets, some full of weeds, others containing plastic pots and rocks. Your summer house folly is expertly placed.

    • bittster says:

      🙂 maybe I should move the summer house over to the potager. When you’re going for a trailer park look ‘doubling down’ is always helpful!

  6. Yeah, summer showed up in a hurry. Snow on the ground on Monday, high 80s Wed and Thurs. It makes my head spin. All the packages of plants I ordered during my bout of cabin fever are arriving and I can’t plant them fast enough. Fun!

    • bittster says:

      I can’t wait to find out what you’re all adding this spring! As far as I remember there is only one plant package headed my way. As sad as that sounds it’s actually a good thing since there are already too many pots waiting on the side of the garage 😉

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Do those fancy corydalis spread like the native ones? Yours are so pretty. All of your spring flowers look great. I hope this heat wave doesn’t stick around for long.

    • bittster says:

      The fancy corydalis spread much faster her than the native ones. If I lived closer to a wild area I’m sure they would spread in within a few years, and I’d be close to calling the invasive… but they die down so quickly in May that nothing seems bothered.
      Or heat wave is on the way out. Yesterday was still muggy, but much more comfortable for people only just now shaking off their winter coats.

  8. Excellent Daffodil display! My Corydalis lutea doesn’t start blooming until late spring/earlly summer, much later than yours! We have had similar sudden turns to the warmth.

  9. Christina says:

    The hot, hot, weather is usually what happens here but so far it only happened while we were away and now it’s cool again. I love Iris x robusta ‘Gerald Darby’, what fabulous coloured leaves. The last picture of your garden is just that – a wonderful image of spring. Hope the weekend went well. Do post as often as you want in May, the last couple of years I posted almost every day I think, but I won’t be doing that this year.

    • bittster says:

      I always find it so hard to post in the spring. There’s so much to do and see that I just can’t focus on the computer! But it’s all fun regardless. Once I realize that not everything is going to get done (once again) I’ll be fine with all the rush.
      I’m glad things have cooled off for you. I’m really looking forward to seeing your new plantings take off this spring now that they’re established and well watered for once. No amount of hand watering ever equals regular rain in my opinion.

  10. Thanks for the link to Hayefield. I know what I’ll be reading for the next few evenings.

    ‘Geral Darby’ is new to me and looks like a winner.

    • bittster says:

      Hayefield is an awesome blog, I’ve stolen so much inspiration from her over the years and have spent quite a few winter afternoons scrolling through the posts.

  11. AWESOME! Your yard looks AMAZING!

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