Seattle spring is a lovely waltz between warm sun breaks and cool rains and this year the weather has gotten the dance right! This perfect elixir of sunshine and rain is encouraging the garden to billow up and out (and causing some flopping). The succession of spring flowers are steadily progressing through, but Bletillas are definitely at their peak. Remember them two posts ago? Well here they are a couple weeks ago:
The first bud to bloom a week after:
Now here they are today. Look at all of those pink blooms – every year they take my breath away! They are starting to spread a little too fast, but it is a wonderful problem to have, right?
Right in the middle of all the Bletilla action my Papaver orientale ‘Miss Piggy’ just opened its first flower today, but something tells me that this isn’t the real ‘Miss Piggy’…hmm…
‘Miss Piggy’ is supposed to have huge pale pink blooms to about 10″ across, packed with finely cut, frilly petals – this one definitely doesn’t match that description. Even though it has turned out to be the traditional shape and size, I am not disappointed. I really love that simple elegant poppy shape and salmony pink shade. Mmm, delicious!
Over on the other side of the front garden underneath the Edgeworthia, Calanthe x ‘Kozu Spice’ was in full bloom a few weeks ago.
Oh remember the Camas? Both Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash have budded, blossomed, and moved on for a few weeks now. The fertilized flowers have turned into swelling seedpods and the entire plant will die back in a few weeks.
Sometimes Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash can be confused for each other, but when they are grown next to each other it is easy to see that they are distinctive. Overall C. leichtlinii is a much larger plant – 3 feet tall – with light blue starry petals, whereas C. quamash has fuller petals with a richer purple-blue hue and is half the size of its cousin.
During my undergrad I took two propagation classes and one of them I got to try my hand at grafting. Here are the fruits (literally) of my labor! I grafted Ms. Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ on a M27 rootstock five years ago and now she is bearing young apples! It bloomed for the first time this year and I hope at least one apple ripens before I have to leave in the autumn.
‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ was bred in the Netherlands in 1949 and it’s supposedly the most intense, complex, and sweet tasting apple you will ever encounter. It’s said that it stores well and the that the aroma and flavor actually changes and mellows as it sits and cures from week to week. Sounds amazing right? Why aren’t they commercially available? It turns out it’s not a “pretty” fruit by supermarket standards and it’s not very disease resistant. I love it either way.
While we are still in the rose family, my Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is in full bloom and Rosa ‘Julia Child’ is not too far behind! I love the fun and wild form of the Mutabilis rose and it’s playful ever changing colors is so uplifting on a dreary, gray day.
What’s not to love about ‘Julia Child’? The old-fashioned, butter yellow flowers are fragrant, the leaves are glossy mid green, and very disease resistant. I just love her! Although her first flower is small, I spied many fat buds swelling and rising up and out of her foliage.
Oh and speaking of sweet scents, both Smilacina racemosa and Smilacina stellata have long finished with their blooms, but their clean sweet scent floated through the garden whenever a warm breeze blew by. Plus, come fall their olive mottled berries will turn a smoldering red.
Again like the Camas, both Smilacinas are related, but definitely different. S. racemosa is bigger in every sense: taller, wider leaves, more flower, whereas S. stellata is the opposite. S. racemosa is a clumper, while S. stellata is a spreader.
Oh man, there are so many things blooming I wish I could share them all! Here’s a quick jaunt threw the rest of the garden of things that are blooming I can’t ignore.
Paeonia lutea-hybrid ‘Alice Harding’ is in full bloom and right on time this year. She is the grandmother if all Itoh Peonies (a miraculous cross between tree and herbaceous type peonies) and it is an honor that I have her growing and blooming in my garden beautifully! She is a low and compact peony perfectly suited for smaller gardens and her warm and slightly musky fragrance can waft a ways down the garden path on a warm day. Her flowers are a sweet lemon yellow with a brilliant red blotch at the base of every petal. The only trait that may be seen as a fault is that her flowers are nodding and usually nestled in her foliage. Unless planted higher up, one would have to lay on the ground to look right into the flowers. (I remedy this “problem” by cutting them and bringing them into the house.)
And on the other end of the color spectrum Bearded Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’ just popped open its first blossom! I’ve been waiting for two years! Its icy blue color and supple, but soft fragrance is so hard to resist! This was also a reject from work that I am glad I saved. I wish I would just smother myself in those silky dreamy petals.
Anyway, again I gotta run and it will probably be another week or two before I can write again, but here is a shot of what the Long Plot in the back garden is doing now. I’ll write you soon!