Vortex of gloom might be slightly dramatic, but the endlessly overcast days really seem to be extending far beyond the usual April showers. Last I checked it’s May and this nonsense should have been all worked out a week ago.
‘Pink Impression’ tulips doing well along the street, even though the shrubby dogwoods are beginning to take over.
No matter. The ground has still not degenerated into the slimy muck of last year’s endless monsoon so there’s still hope… but considering the growing season is only just off to a start, there better still be hope!
Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. The form can be so elegant, and the colors and patterns so intricate.
I didn’t know what to expect this year as far as the tulips go. For the past two springs I’ve been dealing with the fungal infection called tulip fire, and when I say ‘dealing with’ I hope you understand I mean more of an emotional coping rather than any kind of actual physical activity. This lazy gardener did go around and pick off many of the most infected leaves (spotting and distortion) and dug a couple hundred bulbs to thin and replant in the fall, but as far as sprays and other more sure-fire solutions… meh.
The carpet of corydalis is disappearing under the next wave of plants. They next wave would probably look better dry and not-windswept, but you get the idea.
All in all it’s not a bad show. The earlier part of April was dry which helped, thinned out clumps probably helped, and since it’s a soil-borne pathogen I think mulching helped as well. Add to that my insanely strong resolve last fall and the fact that I didn’t add a single new tulip (in spite of clearance sales, flash sales, and glossy catalogs galore) and there might have been a good enough combination of culture and luck that things worked out. Now if we can only avoid a fungal fueling month of dreary, wet weather there might be some hope for next year as well.
I’m not sure how I like smoky rich tones of ‘Muvota’, but they might look really cool in a more elegant garden as opposed to my 8-pack Crayola colors garden.
To be honest the ten day forecast does not look good. For now we’ll just have to enjoy the raindrops and lack of watering chores and look forward to the jungle which shall rise over the next few weeks. Hopefully it won’t all be weeds.
My tulip plantings are a mess and I’m fine with that. Smarter gardeners would pull them each summer and enjoy a cleaner palette of new color-coordinated bulbs planted each fall….
This almost looks planned. I could dig them after the foliage dies back, thin out the smaller bulbs, replant in the fall as a mix, and it would probably look even better next year… but that does sound like a lot of work considering new bulbs can be bought for under $10.
As far as useful information in a blog post goes, again I apologize for not providing any, so here’s one bit of selection advice. Most of the early doubles and parrot tulips don’t appreciate day after day of heavy rains and overly rude winds, so if you garden anywhere that weather happens you should expect these to get floppy.
More advice: Don’t plant your new snowdrop bed over where you ‘thought’ you dug up all the tulips, and while we’re at it don’t throw spare bulbs in the compost and then use the compost before it’s done.
You may have guessed by my tone that it’s still too damp this Saturday morning to get out in the garden, but to be honest it’s still all pretty awesome. I love spring, rain and rot and everything!
Wherever the blueberries have outgrown the reach of the local bunny population, the branches are full of flowers. Advice alert: you should do better than me, put a little fencing around in the fall and all of your bushes might flower as nicely.
Primrose are on the way. Many are still a little too insulted to grow well in my miserable soil, but a few hardier souls are thrilling me to bits.
Primula veris, the cowslip, doesn’t mind a little summer drought and rooty shade. Gardeners in better soils might even accuse it of weediness.
The last two rainy years have almost tricked me into thinking I can grow a bunch of shade loving things such as native woodland wildflowers, but I won’t fall for that. The ones I have can enjoy the moisture while it lasts, but let me say it now… I WILL NOT BUY ANY TRILLIUMS.
My amazing bigleaf Magnolia (M. macrophylla) seedling. Individual leaves can range from 1-3 feet in length and hold the title for largest simple leaf of any native N. American plant. Sadly a few hours after this photo was taken a surprise freeze shriveled this foliage, but new ones are on the way!
Come to think of it I shouldn’t buy any new plants, but who seriously expects that? If there are any promise I can keep this year it’s to actually buy more. Someone chilled me to the core by mentioning my favorite nursery was actually considering closing after a terrible season last year. It was a landslide of personal tragedies that can effect any small, locally owned business where the employees are more a family than a work-force, but combined with the bad weather and its influence on outdoor sales, things start to add up and seem overwhelming. I don’t pretend to know all the circumstances, but I do know I can buy more plants! Fair warning that rain of shine I’ll be scheduling plenty of visits to Perennial Point this season. Once a week sounds like a decent start, and after spending a billion dollars to take a couple kids to a movie and buy a few drinks and popcorn, I think a minimum budget of
$20 $30 a week is very reasonable 😉
Arisaema sikokianum looking a bit rain-battered, but still impossibly white inside.
I’ll cram the new plants in wherever they fit. I’m never happy with where I put stuff anyway, so why should I always stress over it, and unless I suddenly become gifted with the powers of good-design sense, it should all work out anyway. Case in point and also Advice Alert: Move/remove small tree seedlings that sprout too close to the house and you won’t be faced with having to deal with big tree seedlings that have sprouted too close to the house. If the tree wasn’t there you also wouldn’t have to feel guilty about cutting it down, but on the other hand (and sort of trying to get to the point), it doesn’t seem to matter anyway. The gardener mentioned that he has to remove it. The boss stated that she likes it. The boy claims he likes seeing it out his window. The tree remarked with some enthusiastic blooms. The boss restated that she likes it. Case closed.
I didn’t get authorization to trim the evergreen down a few years ago and there words exchanged, so when the dogwood appeared and also grew too big, I figured I’d mention the deed before doing the deed. It’s staying… but I wonder what will happen when the little Japanese maple seedling at the bottom right of the photo becomes large enough to get noticed 🙂
That’s it from here. It’s still gloomy, but I’m pretty sure the front porch step is dry enough for sitting with a second cup of coffee, and the birds seem happy enough and the tulips still glow. I’m sure within a few minutes I’ll be wandering about and the neighbors will again wonder how I can spend so much time looking at dirt, but I’d like to suggest I’m now looking at weeds as well.
New this year, Allium karataviense ‘Red and Pink Giant’. I love it already!
I guess I do have to deal with the weeds. Looking only does so much.
I think I said all the blue fescue grass needs dividing and replanting…. but not now, it looks so nice with the grape hyacinths (Muscari).
Have a great weekend!