Articles for the Month of April 2012

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day for April 2012

Tree Peony — White with Pink overtones

Well it’s very appropriate that this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day leads off with a blossom that is two to three weeks ahead of schedule.  I went back to look through previous years and April 30 was the earliest I saw the Tree Peonies in bloom before.  Their flower size and wonderful foliage are always amazing if you haven’t encountered them before.  It’s been that kind of year with most plants well in advance of their expected performance date.  It’s been very dry which is the only thing which may retard some of the plant growth.  I know that I’m still waiting for some Arisaema’s to stick their heads up.

It’s always a pleasure when something new shows up on our hill, especially if it’s been here for some time without flowering.  This year I found that Gentiana acaulis ‘Krebs’ has put forth several incredibly blue flowers.  It’s been hidden among the species tulips and may have flowered in the past without me catching it in the act.

Gentian amid the tulips

Gentiana acaulis 'Krebs'

The blue is every bit as outstanding as one might hope for from a Gentian.  The markings inside the trumpet are almost like a digital code.  I can see that several little babies are in the vicinity which makes me suspect that it has bloomed before.  This is one plant that I’ve very happy to have spread.

Another beautiful blue is on the Camassia which is just starting to flower.

Camassia leichtlinii

This a particularly strong blue from a set of mixed Camassias that I purchased a few years back after seeing them for the first time at the Garden in the Woods in Massachusetts.  At the same time I was very taken with the little Iris cristata and came back with violet and white versions.

Iris cristata

They are a very strong and determined spreader with a continually expanding mat of iris plants.

Another choice little item that we brought back from Massachusetts is the common blue Forget-Me-Not.

Myosotis sylvatica

The odd thing about these little beauties is that they grow rampantly on the kids’ property in Boston but when we tried to transplant them here nothing showed up in the garden beds where we put them.  Nada, not a one.  And then this year as I was tending the flower bed I noticed that there were several Forget-Me-Nots growing vigorously in the grass.  Still nothing in the garden beds.  So maybe they just like a little adversity.  No matter.  We are happy to have them competing with the dandelions and buttercups.

Another little plant doing well right now is the Creeping Phlox.

Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe'

We’ve always liked this little Phlox plants that remind us of the mountains but we couldn’t seem to find the right spot to show them off until last year.  Now they seem happy on the hillside next to the garage in a bright sunny spot that is actually kind of dry.

At the back of the garage the Fothergilla is in bloom.

Fothergilla 'Mt Airy'

I have questioned the garden space given over to this shrub but I have to admit the funny little white flower buttons are growing on me.

The Sieboldii Primroses are starting to bloom now.

Primula sieboldii 'Chubby-One'

This one came from the now unfortunately closed Seneca Hill Nursery.

Next to it sits a nice little spread of Lathyrus vernus.

Lathryus vernum - light pink

A little stroll in the woods produces one of the last of the daffodils to bloom — the wonderful little La Belle is dainty and charming but survives a rugged setting in the woods.

Narcissus 'La Belle'

And the Virginia Bluebells are just about done.

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia

While the Spanish Bluebells are coming into full stride blooming in many spots in the yard as well as where they have been scattered in the woods.

Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) in the woods

Also in the woods right now are Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Black Haw.

Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium)

Just a few others to mention in this compendium of April flowering.  I picked up a tiny little Androsace at Stone Crop’s Alpine sale last year and, most wonderfully, it has come into flower for me.

Androsace sarmentosa 'Rock Jasmine'

I’ve put this in a little dry sandy spot that I’ve labeled the stone garden and, at least so far, it seems to be working.

And while not in flower anymore, I wanted to share this image of the Himalayan May apple that I imported from Canada this year (Fraser’s Thimble Farms).  The flower was exotic but the leaves are equally so…  I’m looking forward to the fruit.

Himalayan mayapple (Podophyllum hexandrum)



A Post-Easter Post

Iris japonica 'Eco Easter'

It is only appropriate that I begin this well overdue posting with this little woodland Iris that bloomed right at the Easter holiday this year.  It is a very hardy Iris that overcame being stepped on during deer fence construction to come back with lovely blooms.  It’s thriving in total shade and a relatively dry environment.

I have had so many postings that never got past being mental constructs the past few weeks.  It seems that every day has been beautiful sunshine (not much rain) with temps in the 60’s and 70’s and it’s hard not to be outside planting.  At this point I am nearly caught up with all the purchases for the spring and the plants that we brought back from Boston a week ago.  In many senses our garden is a joint project with our kids’ Boston garden.  We now have many plants that were originally started in Boston and for various reasons got evicted or propagated southward.  An example is this Lamium orvala which I had never seen before having it bloom in our garden this year.

Lamium orvala

Another surprise arrival is an Iris koreana, one of several small irises that I picked up at Stonecrop’s Alpine Perennial Sale last year.

Iris koreana

There were many other treasures found at this event which features plants from vendors like Evermay, Wrightman Alpines, and Garden Vision.  Some of the plants obtained from Garden Vision are in bloom right now.

Epimedium 'Domino' from Garden Vision

Epimedium 'Saxton's Purple' from Garden Vision

Epimedium 'Bandit' from Garden Vision

Note the exquisite foliage on Bandit.  Another Epidmedium that we’ve added from a local nursery is Purple Pixie.

Epimedium 'Purple Pixie'

Epimediums are hard to beat for sturdy reliable shade plants that have wonderful little orchid like flowers.  The leaf coloring can be especially intriguing with Epimediums.

To round out the description of some of the treasures in the garden right now, two favorites are the Anemone nemerosa ‘Bractaea Pleniflora’ and the Anemonella ‘Shoaf’s Double Pink’.

Anemone nemorosa 'Bracteata Pleniflora'

Anemonella 'Shoaf's double pink'

In just a few years this little Rue Anemone has grown into a delightful little mound of beautiful long-lasting pink blossoms.

Anemonella 'Shoaf's double pink'

Planted nearby is a little cluster of double-flowered bloodroot that are much longer lasting than their single-flowered cousins.

Sanguinaria canadensis 'multiplex'

And in the front garden we have the species tulip daystemon which continues to expand it’s cluster in the sunny space we have given it.  They open brightly in the noonday sun.

Tulipa daystemon

Tulipa daystemon

Our first Molly the Witch to flower turns out to be more pale pink than the yellow I was hoping for.  But the foliage is still wonderful and I will pretend I never expected a yellow flower.

Paeonia mlokosewitschii

I should also note that because of the mild winter the Euphorbias have been looking wonderful, especially this Blackbird by the deck.

Euphorbia 'Blackbird'

We came back from Boston with a new respect for the Corydalis genus and I’m planning to add more as the opportunity presents.  The first such addition is a hybrid, Blackberry Wine.

Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'

I do have to mention two other things before closing.  The apple tree bloom has been amazing this year.  The trees are into biennial bearing and we have a cloud of white surrounding the house.  In particular the Mutsu, a personal favorite, looks ready to have fine crop.

Apple Blossoms 'Stayman'

Apple 'Mutsu'

And I will close with a walk in the woods that takes you to one of our most unusual daffodils, just perfect for a woodland scene.

Narcissus 'Arguros'