Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spring Returns

Some people want expensive holidays, some people want fine cars, some people want designer clothes... I just want to spend my whole day looking at what is happening in the Spring Garden now that the warm weather is finally here.

rock garden daffodil
I love this miniature Daffodil. It is Rip van Winkle, a very old variety. I like to think he's been sleeping all this time and has just now wakened in my garden! Of course he does do it every year... Rippy is only about 8" high but his flowers last quite a long time. They start off rather green, and get yellower as they age.

dwarf bulbous iris rock garden
Iris reticulata 'Harmony' is always a surprise. I have it in three spots, and it is fun to watch as the first spot comes out from under the snow, the Iris appears, then the second spot is cleared of snow and the Iris appears there, and then, finally, the last spot is snow-free and the last Irises come up. So while each flower only lasts a few days, I have it in bloom for two weeks! There are a dozen or more varieties of this Iris and it's hybrids, I must get some more.
rock garden ground cover
Still in the Rock Garden, the Alpine Alchemilla is starting. The leaves are softly furred and edged with long white hairs. It makes a green carpet, but rarely blooms.

You may be wondering what this is. I bought a tiny prostrate White Spruce some years ago. It was so small my outstretched hand covered it. I tucked it into a sort of a crevice in the rock garden. It was happy there but unfortunately it soon took off across the main path where it kept getting stepped on. Either that or the poor garden visitor would be left trapped, not being able to see where the path went. I also got the strong feeling Mr. Spruce wanted to cascade down a hillside and it was headed for the nearest one. So I decided, reluctantly, to move him. Then of course I couldn't decide where to, so I changed my mind a dozen times last fall and in the end left it. So the other day I got brave and did the deed. Monsieur Spruce is now at the top of the rockfall area, where he'll be able to cascade at least 15'. That's a prostrate Forsythia behind him. The Forsythia may be an expendable crew member - it never blooms. The small rooted bits I moved up the hill all bloom, but not the main plant. Nice even green all summer, but b-o-r-i-n-g.

This is the other garden chore I did the other day. These early days are wonderful for difficult garden jobs like these, cool and no bugs yet. But what a job it was. The 'victim' (except that I feel like I'm the victim) here is Carex Morrowii. I may have the name a bit wrong, but that is the gist of it. Anyway, it is an attractive sedge, but do not be fooled by that sweet little plant in the 4" pot. In no time at all it will be all over your garden. This next picture shows why it spreads so fast, why it is so hard to remove, and why I don't like it:

It has amazing roots - so dense and heavy it resists every effort to remove it. And it puts out new stolons by the bushel, all summer long. I'm not sure it stops in the winter, actually.

The tops of the leaves are usually browned off.

Yes, that is an axe in the first picture. I couldn't lift the clumps and had to hack them apart.

I took out 4 wheelbarrow loads of Carex Morrowii.

Another spreader, but a much nicer one, is Chionodoxa Forbesi 'Pink Giant'. It likes any situation where it gets good summer drainage and some spring sunshine. Glory-of-the-snow also has a white form, and several lovely soft blue ones.
pink early spring rock garden bulb

At the far end of the rock garden I have a small patch of Anemone blanda 'Blue Star'. It started as one corm and is spreading nicely. The colour, in the early morning light, is so clear, so clean, so very totally self-possessed.
blue flowered bulb early spring

Around the corner from the Anemones, the Fragile Fern croziers are just peeking out from under the dry leaves. Fragile Fern does well in a rock garden and can even handle a sunny spot. It may go dormant in a dry spell, but it returns.

fragile fern fiddleheads croziers rock garden
As Spring does, as we gardeners do.

1 comment:

  1. Seeing the spring flowers in my garden is like seeing old friends after a long winter. It just makes my heart sing. Your Rip van Winkle daffodil is adorable - looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale.