We are wrapping up our fourth week here since entering quarantine and the garden is still surprisingly unkempt and disorganized. The gardener likes to suggest it’s because he’s busy double timing as a common core math teacher to a 6th grader, and in spite of holding a minor in Mathematics it’s a daily struggle, but it’s also been pointed out that the gardener spends a lot of time “thinking”, and often that thinking is interpreted as “just sitting around”. Obviously sitting around does not get jobs done.
Chiondoxa continues to spread. These are all clones off a bulb moved years ago, and seem to be waiting for a partner to set seed, but each time weeds are pulled or the gardener thinks the spot is empty and tries to plant something else there, a few bulbs get moved a little further.
The gardener has been thinking the weather has been great, and the gardener has been thinking the sky is bluer than normal, and the gardener has been thinking it’s nice to have time to sit in the springtime sun without some desperate need to get just one spring chore done before dark. But the gardener has also been wondering if there have always been so many snakes in the yard.
One of the garden’s garter snakes reading a snowdrop label. It’s ‘Three Ships’ Mrs Snake.
I do like the snakes. One chilly morning I came across three little balls of snake out in the morning sun and I was surprised. A good surprise though, not the EeeAhhhugh Oh! surprise you get when one of these slithery serpents zips away from your reaching hand or approaching step. I think there’s something primordial in our natural fear of snakes, and I don’t entirely trust a person who just shrugs them off. Pick them up, fine, handle them, fine, you can think your way through that, but when one zips across your path you better jump a little.
The raised beds are coming together in the potager. It’s going to be very neat I suspect. I hope I don’t miss the late summer mayhem of overgrowth and decay, but who’s to say that won’t happen anyway.
It’s been taking forever it seems to get the raised beds built. There are a number of plants to move or pot up, but I really do blame the gardener. Not to dwell on the snakes, but work was called off entirely the other day when rustling in the boxwood hedge turned out to be an inappropriately writhing ball of snake procreation…. with an embarrassingly plural number of participants… it was watched for longer than it should have been, but it was interesting to see and of course if that’s what they need to do amongst the daffodils then lets just call off work for the afternoon to give them some privacy.
The cool days and cooler nights are bringing out the richest colors in many of the narcissus clumps. Here’s the daffodil ‘Glaston’, looking luscious and tropical with its fruity cup colors.
So rather than work hard, the gardener looks at daffodils.
Daffodil ‘Beersheba’, a pre 1923 daffodil (according to Daffseek) and nearly 100 years later, still a wonderful thing to have flowering.
Honestly the daffodils here have been tortured by poor drainage and neglect recently, and the show is not nearly as impressive as in other years, but the fewer words on that the better. What does warrant a few more words are the corydalis. They’ve enjoyed the cool weather as well and still look great. Mostly. Rabbits gave most if the ones in back a haircut, so….
Corydalis solida, some named. The pink in front is the highly acclaimed ‘Gunite’, while the darker red in back is ‘Milda’.
I do like poking through all the corydalis seedlings. Some are great and plenty are nice, and there’s not that pressure you get with snowdrops to pick out and consider naming every next great thing. I guess corydalis don’t offer the same wild diversity that snowdrops hold 😉
Even with all the nice seedlings, I’m still willing to try a few new named ones here and there. This new one was described as having exquisite “sky-blue lips and white spurs”… and I suppose that’s possible.
Of course why stop at a good thing? If you can killed expensive named forms, why not try knocking off a few harder to find species? These next two prefer summer-dry, Russian steppe/rocky woodland type environs. The gardener isn’t sure if he should be insulted that the garden contains these types of planting areas, or pleased that the garden has made these happy for a third year, but in any case each spring could easily be their last.
Corydalis schanginii ssp. ainae growing well in the same conditions that favorTaraxacum officinale. Apparently much of my garden is well suited to Taraxacum officinale.
Many gardeners crave blue corydalis. I’ve discovered a knack for killing blue corydalis. It’s kind of silly knack considering how easy blue scilla are, and hyacinths, and grape hyacinths, but if you know a perfectly perfect flower also comes in various blue shades, of course you need that color, and this gardener is no different.
The first blue corydalis to last more than a spring or two (and not look completely miserable while doing it) Corydalis fumariifolia might even be expanding its reach. I could use another clone. Maybe seeds could happen with cross pollination…
Lets get back to easier things. A few words for the front border as daffodil season hits its stride.
Perhaps spring flowers can distract the neighbors from a shoddy cleanup and an un-edged and un-weeded front border. Seriously, what does that gardener even do around here?
As I think on it (there he goes again not really doing anything measurable), the gardener spends way too much time on nonsense. To mention a few words on the front border we could say ‘hyacinths and daffodils are easy and they look great’, but there goes the gardener again poking around and making things complicated. Amongst all the daffodil color he’s most excited to see a few purple leaved moneyplants (Lunaria annua ‘Rosemary Verey’) finally showing a good amount of purple. It was hard yanking the all green seedlings which used to rule, but over the years they are finally as purple as the strain should be.
Those are not weeds, they’re the much anticipated purple leaves of Lunaria annua ‘Rosemary Verey’.
I’ll leave you with even fewer words. Hellebores are up.
A nice picotee yellow seedling.
Another year without a late freeze and they’re all looking good.
‘Golden Lotus’ and ‘Peppermint Ice’ with a mess of less showy things.
Hope this post finds you well. Snow squalls are keeping the gardener inside today so rather than clean the bathrooms he’s blogging, but in spite of that he still gets fed three times a day. Not bad.