In the front garden Geum x ‘Marmalade’, a Xeraplants selection that I rescued from work about a year ago, is flowering now! It started out life as a 4″ potted plant and it received one too many drinks during the summer and all that was left was one weak shoot grasping onto life. With no compost I left to amend my heavy soil, so with slight hesitation I plugged the little Geum into the slick earth. Throughout winter and well through spring, summer, and into last autumn, it tripled in size and hasn’t looked back since and now it’s blooming! Seriously a tough plant!
The infloresnces started rising slowly above the foliage at first, but once the weather stopped threatening to freeze they all shot up. At nearly two feet tall, each inflorescence gracefully arcs outwards ending with a few syrupy apricot flowers. The flowers themselves are not like typical modern hybrids with full petals and acid colors. Rather the petals are heart shaped and delicately attached to the hypanthium allowing the flower to open into a flared bell.
Also in the front garden, I have some Tulipa humilis ‘Odalisque’ and Chionodoxa blooming in the Japanese Maple Container where I also planted my Saffron Crocuses. Tulipa humilis is one of the species Tulips that will multiply and reliably come back year after year. Chionodoxa is just as tough and reliable, plus it also seeds around gently creating a small drift over time. I love their bright colors in early spring when things can be so gray.
I was a little behind on planting last fall, so I planted a majority of my bulbs in mid-late winter (I still have tulip and daffodil bulbs I still haven’t planted yet…). As a result some of the bulbs didn’t bloom this year and some bloomed later than they typically would, such as my Galanthus elwesii. The majority of flowers didn’t make it past the slugs – even with Sluggo – but some patches did bloom, which was definitely a bonus. More than anything I wanted their energy to be put towards establishing and bulking up, but hey, I shouldn’t complain!
In the front garden I am being overrun by Bletilla striata. I saved these from the compost pile for one of my volunteering gigs. Being the (overly) sympathetic gardener that I am I grabbed ALL of them. When I got home I realized I was way over my head, I had no idea where to plant them. The only available space open at the time was in the long bed of the front garden. I threw them into the heavy clay later regretting I sentenced them to death. I eventually would forget all about them. Winter rolled past and in spring all of these mysterious shoots started to emerge out of the slick soil. What could they be? Wait, are them – no it couldn’t be! The Bletillas were not just up and growing, they also had doubled in size! It’s now about four years later and they have been expanding their hold of the long bed. Apparently Bletillas have a penchant for heavy soil and I’m not complaining…
At the end of the same bed where the Bletillas live the Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is getting ready to bloom. I bought her as a 6 inch twig about two and a half years ago from the Pat Calvert Greenhouse at the Washington Park Arboretum. She’s now grown to about 4.5 feet tall and well on her way to 6 feet and up. Though she is reportedly a vigorous grower, mine (so far) has be well behaved. The name ‘Mutabilis’ comes from the ever-changing color of the rose’s flowers as they fade. They first bloom in a soft apricot fading to a soft orange-pink, then a dusty pink and finally ending in cerise. It’s quite the show!
As if over night, the inflorescences of Tellima grandiflora in the back garden have shot up and flower buds are starting to swell. Just a few weeks ago they were only rosettes. Hopefully, the Siberian Irises growing with them will catch up and bloom with the Tellimas like they did last year, but I feel like last year was an off year for everyone. Hm, maybe I should name this the “Vertical Bed”, since I just realized this bed is all vertical interest.
The Tiarella trifoliata is also thinking about blooming and not to mention the Saxifraga x urbium too. Wow, I have a lot of representatives from the family Saxifragaceae. Scratch the “Vertical Bed”, it should be named the “Saxifrage Bed”.
Seriously, that’s a lot of vertical and a lot of Saxifrage.
Oh wait, another Saxifrage that is sending up inflorescences is Mitella ovalis. I got this one and another, Mitella pentandra, from Botanica at the Saturday U-District Farmers Market. These native plants can be found growing in mossy, wet forests and their crazy, though small, flowers have distinctive antenna-like petals. As some would say, “A flower only a botanist can love.” These diminutive flowers are always welcome in my garden. (I’m a botanist, can you tell?)
Ready for a flashback? Look who is still blooming:
Edgeworthia chrysantha ‘Akabana’ and Viola ‘Duchesse de Parme’! Can you believe it? They both have come a really long way and with such bloominocity! I feel like the mild winter had to do with a part of their fervor, but I am still in awe!
With each passing day new plants pop up, and everything grows faster and faster – I just can’t keep up! I am going to have to make Bloominocity a trilogy, otherwise this post would never end. Now I must take advantage of this sun break! See you all in Part III!