Day of Rest

10 Jun

Yesterday I promised myself I would take on the garden full force today to plant, prune, and repot, but something about a slow start to the morning and the warmth outside is convincing me to stay in and lull about. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect time for a post? Seattle has been warming up on time this year and the stretches of sunny, dry weather is growing longer and longer. So what’s happening in the garden? Though the Siberian Irises have just finished blooming, Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’ is still going strong and the patches of Boykinia major are beginning to bloom.

Iris 'Blue King' and 'Caesar's Brother' are blooming together in a 'wild' patch.

Iris ‘Blue King’ and ‘Caesar’s Brother’ are blooming together in a ‘wild’ patch.

Iris 'Blue King' is taller, lighter blue, and more floriferous than 'Caesar's Brother'.

Iris ‘Blue King’ is taller, lighter blue, and more floriferous than ‘Caesar’s Brother’.

This photo doesn't do it justice - 'Caesar's Brother' has a richer, deeper purple-blue.

This photo doesn’t do it justice – ‘Caesar’s Brother’ has a richer, deeper purple-blue.

As for the Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’, it popped out its first bloom in April and has carried on since. I received both these Astrantia from work two autumns ago as rejects and they have done beautifully in the clay soil. However, one Astrantia always appears to be darker than the other one. I’ve begun to wonder if one was mislabeled as ‘Abbey Road’.

The first buds in late April.

The first buds on the darker one in late April.

Here is the same plant in mid-May.

Here is the same plant in mid-May.

Look how dark those flowers got!

Here is the darker one of the two a couple of weeks ago and it still has this coloring – just scrumptious!

Here is 'Abbey Road' today with the Boykinia.

Here is the lighter of the two ‘Abbey Road’ today with the Boykinia.

Like I said, Boykinia major has just begun blooming and both of these were the same batch of rejects just as the two Astrantia. Remember when it was just rhizomes and shoots a couple of months ago? It has grown considerably since then! I love its small heads of puffy flowers – a nice contrast to all the whispy things in the bed.

Here is a close of the flowers.

Here is a close-up of the flowers.

Just a few steps down from the Irises, Astrantia, and Boykinia are the Primula bulleyana in full bloom. A mentor gave me these two years ago and they really have taken themselves to the clay soil. I struggled trying to transplant one last autumn, since its unusually massive roots (for a primula) really gripped the wet clay. I still haven’t had a slug show any interest in them and they haven’t been fertilized, except once weakly about a year ago, and they are doing beautifully! On a gray Seattle day, they really glow in the gloom and brighten up the shady corner where they live. Love it! I hope it seeds around a bit this year.

Here are the first two whorls just opening a couple of weeks ago.

Here are the first two whorls just opening a couple of weeks ago.

Isn't that the color of a kumquat? Good enough to eat!

Isn’t that the color of a kumquat? Good enough to eat!

I love how the powdery sepals give way to burnt orange buds that open up to that bright cheery orange.

I love how the powdery sepals give way to burnt orange buds that open up to that bright cheery orange.

Speaking of primula, remember Primula florindae? It has also been in the garden for about two years now and I still haven’t gotten use to how slowly it emerges in the spring. But look at it now! The leaves have completely expanded and every day they seem to get bigger and bigger. (Plus I’ve heard and read that with extra water or in standing water the leaves are ginormous!)

I'm sorry it's hard to tell who is who, but the rosettes of larged round (but toothed) leaves in the center are the Primula florindae.

I’m sorry it’s hard to tell who is who, but the rosettes of large round (but toothed) leaves in the center are the Primula florindae.

Plus I am also not used to when they are suppose to bloom. Last year it was late July, this year it’s showing signs of inflorescences already! I can’t wait to smell its heavenly scented blooms of rich nutmeg, which I unfortunately missed last year.

Here is one of the many inflorescences poking up.

Here is one of the many inflorescences poking up.

Another primula closely related to P. florindae – which I didn’t flower, but I bought at the FlorAbundance Sale in April at the Washington Park Arboretum with buds – is Primula alpicola var. alba. I have the white form, but this primula can come in purple, white, and red. Smaller than P. florindae, P. alpicola is also know for it’s wonderful scent: sweet lily with a touch of spice and jasmine/daphne. It’s beyond words. Luckily, I forgot I had taken photos earlier since the flowers are just about done now.

The first bud opened to this little beauty! It's supposed to be 'white', but I love that it has just the tiniest touch of gray-blue against that powdery cream eye.

The first bud opened to this little beauty! It’s supposed to be ‘white’, but I love that it has just the tiniest touch of gray-blue against that powdery cream eye.

This was about two weeks after the first bud opened. The scent was just amazing!

This was about two weeks after the first bud opened. The scent was just amazing!

Near by I planted some bulbs in containers a bit late last autumn. I guess the species daffodils really appreciated it because they decided to bloom for me! I picked up these Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’ from work on a whim and I am happy that I did! These charming ‘wild’ daffodils are native to the Mediterranean region where winters are cool and wet and summers are super hot and dry. Luckily, Seattle’s climate is considered ‘Northern Mediteranean’, thus giving us the upper hand to grow an array of spring bulbs such as these.

These were finished blooming about a two weeks ago, but I forgot to attach them to the last entry.

These were finished blooming about a two weeks ago, but I forgot to attach them to the last entry.

Oh! I almost forgot! I have an unusual plant blooming right now! My friend gave me this mystery plant in the autumn and I fell in love with its purple tinted, lance-shaped leaves. With Riz’s help, we believe it is a Helwingia chinensis. Helwingia is an unusual shrub/tree from China and what is even more unusual is that the flowers are produced on the leaves. That’s right, right on the midrib!  I accepted the fact that mine was a male plant and it would never produce berries, but to my delight it turns out I have a girl! Can you just imagine shiny black berries resting delicately on the leaves? Now I just need to find a male plant…

Here are the new leaves emerging about a month ago. I love that purple-bronze tint!

Here are the new leaves emerging about a month ago. I love that purple-bronze tint!

Here is the famed Helwingia flower. I know, a flower only a botanist would love.

Here is the famed Helwingia flower. I know, a flower only a botanist could love.

Oh gosh, so much to talk about, but not enough time. I think it is another time for a quick jaunt again! Here are a few things that have bloomed or are blooming right now in the garden. From all the shots of the Long Plot you can tell that Aruncus dioicus is quite the grower! This one has shot up to least 6ft. tall!

This shot was a couple of weeks ago during the height of bloom.

This shot was a couple of weeks ago during the height of bloom.

Daylily Hemerocallis flava, or Custard Lily, is an heirloom pass-along plant. This daylily only blooms once a season, but the clear yellow blooms release such a luscious sweet scent of jasmine that it’s just too precious to have all summer long.

I love the clear lemon flowers, but oh that sweet fragrance! It wafts on the slightest breeze. Mmm!

I love the clear lemon flowers, but oh that sweet fragrance! It wafts on the slightest breeze. Mmm!

Here is Kniphofia ‘Lightning Bug’ doing her thing in the front garden. ‘Lightning Bug’ is a Xera Plants introduction said to rebloom throughout summer if watered well and deadheaded. I love its pale yellow color.

If I was a little bit more consistent with the Sluggo on this one, it would have had at least three more inflorescences.

If I was a little bit more consistent with the Sluggo on this one, it would have had at least three more inflorescences.

That’s it for now, but hopefully in a week or two I’ll be back again. If you are in Seattle, enjoy that well deserved sunshine!

Here is apart of the Long Plot in bloom this week. My how things are progressing quickly to summer!

Here is apart of the Long Plot in bloom this week. My how things are progressing quickly to summer!

2 Responses to “Day of Rest”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Summer’s Early | Terry Gardens - July 3, 2013

    […] has caused plants to grow, flower, and shatter all too quickly for the Northwest. One example is Primula florindae which has rocketed into bloom in a few short weeks. This primula is quite the graceful giant. I […]

  2. Envisioning the Tropics | Terry Gardens - July 30, 2013

    […] combination of plants that worked out better than I imagined! I love how the fading flowers of Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’ is really setting the gold flowers of the Crocosmia ‘Gerbe d’Or’ aflame. On the other side, […]

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