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.
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’.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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.
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!