Tag Archives: Galanthus nivalis

Emerging

23 Feb

Oh my god, my last update was in August! Sorry I haven’t written anything for a few months, but I hadn’t quite settled in at home until recently. I returned from my year abroad in November and now I have a new job at the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse. (During my undergrad I regularly volunteered at the greenhouse, but I wouldn’t have thought I would return as an employee in the future!) I’ve been caring for the research and collection plants, and since the the greenhouse will be demolished by the next year, I have been also helping with fundraising and preparing the collection plants for their big move. Dr. John Grimshaw has written a wonderful post about the greenhouse and the collection on his blog: johngrimshawsgardendiary.blogspot.com. Besides the greenhouse post, the blog is full of plant musings and wonderful pictures – it deserves a follow!

This will be the final year this plum tree blooms, and it will be removed the next few weeks. I will miss it.

This will be the final year this plum tree blooms, and it will be removed the next few weeks. I will miss it.

Now that I’m settled, of course I took a busman’s holiday and spent my entire weekend in the garden doing damage control. Nothing has been done to it for over a year and it’s been interesting seeing what has survived and what has bit the dust. Most of the garden has survived, but there were a few plants that had disappeared while some had begun to take over the beds.

Magnolia ashei is still alive, which I am excited about.

Magnolia ashei is still alive, which I am excited about.

I’ve decided that anything that hasn’t been preforming well in the garden will be lifted and given away to a new home or tossed if it is beyond saving. The first on my list were the Siberian Irises. Though beautiful in spring, the flowers and shoots are a favorite among slugs, and without full sun the leaves flop onto neighboring plants and look quite messy. Yesterday morning they all came out. (But not without a fight!) Once they were all dug up it was a wonderful feeling knowing that I will not have to fight them next year. Now that the irises are gone, I shuffled in some plants that would appreciate the room and extra sunlight.

These are all going to a new home where they will be able to spread and bask in full sun.

These are all going to a new home where they will be able to spread and bask in full sun.

Aside from two cold snaps, this year El Niño has graced Seattle with a mild winter and as a result many plants are blooming ahead of schedule. Almost everything is a month ahead, but since my garden is about 600 feet above sea level the effect is slightly less dramatic. (I am high up enough that when there is a threat of frost in Seattle my garden will freeze, so compared to sea level my flowers have been kept back.) While the snowdrops and hellebores have been blooming for a couple of weeks now, the daffodils and ranunculus have just started to bloom this week.

The snowdrops have bulked up a little, but I just wish the sweet flowers weren't so appealing to slugs.

The snowdrops have bulked up a little, but I just wish the sweet flowers weren’t so appealing to slugs.

Looking towards the hellebore bed, the ever cheerful tête-à-tête daffodils have started to bloom.

Looking towards the hellebore bed, the ever cheerful tête-à-tête daffodils have started to bloom.

Here the ranunculus have started to bloom and even the Primula veris.

Here the ranunculus have started to bloom and even the Primula veris.

When the hellebores first started to bloom a couple of weeks ago, I noticed there were many white ones blooming. I found it strange since I only had one white flowered plant. It turns out all the extra white ones were self-sown seedlings that have finally reached blooming size! (Without feeding they took a while to reach flowering maturity.)

The hellebores are looking  presentable after their leaves were clipped and the their bed raked of excessive pine needles.

The hellebores are looking presentable after their leaves were clipped and the their bed raked of excessive pine needles.

Here's a bowl of the hellebore varieties I have in the garden. The white flower in the 3 o'clock position is the original plant, and other two at 10 and 2 o'clock are its children.

Here’s a bowl of the hellebore varieties I have in the garden. The white flower in the 3 o’clock position is the original plant, and other two at 10 and 2 o’clock are its children.

After some more clearing the other beds around the garden are starting to look better as well. The Long Plot is beginning to look a bit more defined than its early stages and it is exciting to see most of the plants are taking well to the clay soil.

Here's the Long Plot now after a thorough clearing.

Here’s the Long Plot now after a thorough clearing.

Though the front garden is starting to come to life, the Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ practically hasn’t stopped growing all winter (it didn’t even drop a single leaf).  Even though I just pruned it, it is still twice the size of when I left it and there isn’t any signs of slowing. I can’t complain since a bigger plant means many more flowers this summer!

I love the burgundy tint of the new foliage of Rosa 'Mutabilis' against the acid green flowers of Euphorbia wulfenii.

I love the burgundy tint of the new foliage of Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ against the acid green flowers of Euphorbia wulfenii.

By the front door the potted plant collection is starting to grow as well. Many of the them will be planted in the grown once they are done or given away, but the plan is to eventually have just annuals in pots. That way I can easily moved them into the garden when color is needed and when the growing season is over I can compost them without any guilt. Knowing me, it probably won’t go to according to plan, especially if I attend any plant sales…

I love potted plants, but I am trying to keep them to a minimum this year, or it will be a busy summer of watering.

I love potted plants, but I am trying to keep them to a minimum this year, or it will be a busy summer of watering.

Just a short update for now, but now that I am home and settled I will be writing more often. See you later!

 

 

Bloominocity – Part II

14 Apr
Here is Geum x 'Marmalade' with it's citrusy nodding flared flowers.

Here is Geum x ‘Marmalade’ with it’s citrusy nodding flared flowers.

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!

Here is a close-up of the sweetly flared flowers in glowing apricot.

Here is a close-up of the sweetly flared flowers in glowing apricot.

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.

The open flowers have a pleasant flared shape.

The open flowers have a pleasant flared shape.

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.

Tulipa humilis 'Odalisque' enjoying the sun along with the other bulbs.

Tulipa humilis ‘Odalisque’ enjoying the sun along with the other bulbs.

Butter yellow against the rich beet root purple just glows.

The butter yellow against the rich beet root purple just glows.

These bright little stars lifts my heart every time I see them.

These bright little stars lifts my heart every time I see them.

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!

The leaves and flowers of Galanthus elwesii are much larger than the typical G. nivalis and the leaves have a beautiful glaucous cast as well.

The leaves and flowers of Galanthus elwesii are much larger than the typical Galanthus nivalis, and the leaves have a beautiful glaucous cast as well.

Galanthus nivalis is still blooming?! Yes, because I planted these late too.

Galanthus nivalis is still blooming?! Yes, because I planted these late too…

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…

I love the pleated new shoots of Bletilla striata in the early spring.

I love the pleated new shoots of Bletilla striata in the early spring.

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!

Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' is such an easy grower, but it's wild habit can be a pain (literally) for people that like more formal plantings.

Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is such an easy grower, but it’s wild habit can be a pain (literally) for people that like more formal plantings. She has been pruned in this photo.

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.

My how they have grown! I love they young coiled flowering stems.

My how they have grown! I love they young nodding flowering stems.

Detail of the swelling buds.

Detail of the swelling buds.

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”.

Tiarella trifoliata is the epitome of woodland.

Tiarella trifoliata is the epitome of woodland.

Saxifraga x urbium is also known as London Pride. When it blooms a cloud of airy star flowers hover high above that glossy green foliage.

Saxifraga x urbium is also known as London Pride. When it blooms a cloud of airy star flowers hover high above that glossy green foliage.

Seriously, that’s a lot of vertical and a lot of Saxifrage.

Seriously.

Seriously.

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?)

Mitella ovalis sending up flowering shoots. It's only 4.5 inches tall.

Mitella ovalis sending up flowering shoots. It’s only 4.5 inches tall.

Oh and speaking of native, all the Camas are sending up their spikes now and even the Mertensia has tripled in size!

Look at all that lushness!

Look at all that lushness!

I can't wait for those blue start flowers too!

I can’t wait for those blue start flowers too!

Mertensia bella just a few weeks away from blooming.

Mertensia bella just a few weeks away from blooming.

Ready for a flashback? Look who is still blooming:

I just can't get enough of it's hot orangey-red color and its fresh, sweet scent!

I just can’t get enough of it’s hot orangey-red color and its fresh, sweet scent!

Viola 'Duchesse de Parme' has been blooming since November!

Viola ‘Duchesse de Parme’ has been reigning since November!

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!

This is an older blossom, but look how full they can get! Plus they have that elusive sort of ripe-cherry-esque fragrance.

This is an older blossom, but look how full they get! Plus I can’t resist that elusive sort of ripe-cherry-esque fragrance.

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!

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