Tag Archives: Primula florindae

Summer’s Early

3 Jul

I’m sorry it’s been so long! I’ve been away on a short vacation and quite busy. (Getting a visa to the UK is more involved than I thought it would.) Here in Seattle we are going through our first heat wave of the year and it’s definitely earlier than usual. (Usually those hit in late July and into August.) Day time temperatures have been reaching from the mid-80’s well into mid-90’s. All this glorious heat and  left over rains from a typhoon that broke up over India 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 wish I had more room otherwise I would plant at least ten more of these primulas!

P. florinae a few days go when it was cool enough for dew drops to form.

Primula florinae a few days go when it was cool enough for dew drops to form.

Here they are today. I love how the tall graceful and slender stalks gently hold up the delicate bell flowers.

Here they are today. I love how the tall, graceful and slender stalks gently hold up the delicate bell flowers.

Oh I wish you could smell its soft, powdery fragrance rich with smooth nutmeg. Mmm!

Oh I wish you could smell its soft, powdery fragrance rich with smooth nutmeg. Mmm!

With this early hot weather Crocosmia ‘Gerbe d’Or’ is very confused. These perennial bulbs (corms, really) typically bloom mid summer through fall here in Seattle, but many crocosmias throughout the city are starting to bud or are in bloom – everyone is a month early!

Seriously, buds already?!

Seriously, buds already?!

My Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ has also started to bloom and she has overwintered very well and grown considerably from her initial 4 inch pot. I love her burning red sepals and black-purple petals against the cherry stems and chartreuse leaves – such a delicious combination! The hummingbirds in the the garden think so too.

I love simple design of species fuchsias; easy to mix with other plants and the colors can shine center stage.

I love simple design of species fuchsias; easy to mix with other plants and the colors can shine center stage.

Oh goodness, already out of time. Sorry for an uneventful post, but preparing for my fellowship to the UK is taking much more time that I previously thought. I promise a new post next week. Enjoy the sun, folks!

Here is a small section of the long plot this week that survived the deluges, the heat, and now the dry.

Here is a small section of the long plot this week that survived the deluges, the heat, and now the dry.

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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!

Bloominocity – Part I

9 Apr

GeumSorry for the mini hiatus! I always forget how everything garden erupts all at once in spring leaving not enough time to tend to everyone. Pruning, weeding, transplanting, seeding is on my mind and the precious free days I have are spent doing all of those things. For plants however, growing, blooming, and setting seed are on the top of their list. The mixture of cool rainy days and warm sunny ones has been a recipe for a rambunctious garden. So what’s been blooming? Let’s see!

The Oemleria cerasiformis in my garden is a male plant.

I love the chains of flowers on Oemleria cerasiformis in the early spring.

The Oemleria cerasiformis started out as a little sucker I dug up on the side of a road and in one year it shot up to 3 feet. It bloomed in early spring this year revealing male flowers. Though I was hoping for a female plant for the fruit, it’s a part of rolling the diecious plant dice. Some people find that the flowers smell like cat pee, but I don’t find its green fragrance deterring. (Its scent reminds me of hiking trails in early spring through the understory of the Pacific Northwest.)

Epimedium fargesii in early March.

Epimedium fargesii in early March.

On a gray day in early March, I spied this Epimedium fargesii at work. Its pale pink stellar flowers glowed in the gloom, and the airy inflorescence gave each flower enough room to hang and stretch out. It’s been about a month and it’s still blooming! There are even new inflorescences emerging along with the new leaves. The triangular leaves start of small, supple, and deep burgundy. As they mature and expand the leaves fade to a rosy bronze, then to a fresh apple green. Swoon! I am not usually one for Epimediums, but the effervescent flowers and delicate stems lighten the heavy evergreen leaves unlike some of its heftier cousins.

Epimedium fargesii about a month later. Look at those new leaves! Mmm!

Epimedium fargesii about a month later. Look at those new leaves! Mmm!

Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ is reaching the end of its show, but not before putting on a pale blush.

Bergenia 'Bressingham White' aging quite gracefully for a white flower.

She’saging quite gracefully for a white flower.

Yet another plant I am surprised by: Erythronium oregonum. I received two from work as dormant bulbs and I planted them under my blue spruce without any expectations. The bulbs were tiny non-blooming size. I figured the voles would get the bulbs first and if they happened to dodge that bullet, the slugs would enjoy marring the leaves and taking bites out of the immature buds. Boy was I proven wrong! Every year the two have returned and flowered for the past few years. This year they are exceptionally lovely, though I wonder it the Sluggo had a hand in this…

I love the patterned leaves on Erythronium oregonum.

I love the patterned leaves on Erythronium oregonum.

I love the reddish bands on the base of each petal.

I love the reddish bands on the base of each petal.

Remember the Dodecatheon pulchellum on my past post? Well they are definitely up now! This is just the beginning, there are more buds on the way. It amazes that that all of these clumps came from three 4″ pots three years ago.

There are a few more blooming clumps to the left of this drift.

There are a few more blooming clumps to the left of this drift.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ is fully awake and beginning to flower. I hope one day to have a billowing mass of lacy gold foliage, but starting life as rescues in 4″ pots they are growing quite quickly and nicely.

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' with her graceful habit and beautifully contrasting pink and chartreuse colors.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ with her graceful habit and beautiful bright colors.

Our native Dicentra is also in bud. Yes, much more humble than his larger cousin, but it’s a (tough) friendly spreading ground cover.

Dicentra formosa is a few days away from blooming!

Dicentra formosa is a few days away from blooming!

Oh! Remember Darmera peltata? It’s sending up its first inflorescence! It won’t be long until the large lotus leaves are up and unfolding.

The inflorescence is a mere 4" tall, but I am still excited!

The inflorescence is a mere 4″ tall, but I am still excited!

The first Fritillaria meleagris is now in full bloom. I love their nodding flowers and that checkered snakeskin pattern. One of the few Fritillaria I can successfully grow in my clayey soil.

Looking so mournful, but beautifully so.

Looking so mournful, but beautifully so.

I could get lost in that mesmerizing pattern!

I could get lost in that mesmerizing pattern!

Alright, and now for the Primulas, are you ready?

Primula veris with some grass.

Primula veris with some grass…

Some more Primula veris amongst wild strawberries.

Some more Primula veris amongst wild strawberries…

And some more Primula veris still in their pots.

And some more Primula veris still in their pots.

Yes another Primula veris, but this time it's Primula veris 'Katy Mcsparron', a double form!

Yes another Primula veris, but this time it’s Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’ – a double form!

 Detail of a single flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’.

Detail of a single flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’.

A bisected flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’. Someone's got junk in in their trunk - she's stuffed!

A bisected flower of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’. Someone’s got junk in in their trunk – she’s stuffed!

Primula 'Belarina Cream' doing her thing. Plus she is super fragrant!

Primula ‘Belarina Cream’ doing her thing. Plus she is super fragrant!

Here's a fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in my front door.

Here’s a fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in my front door.

Here is another Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in the back garden (this one is about 4-5 years old).

Here is another fragrant Primula acaulis hybrid blooming in the back garden (this one is about 4-5 years old).

Primula polyanthus 'Gold Lace' the dainty stature and bright yellow really highlights the moody, deep maroon.

Primula polyanthus ‘Gold Lace’ the dainty stature and bright yellow eye really highlights the moody deep maroon.

Primula denticulata such soft blossoms like lilac cotton candy.

Primula denticulata such soft blossoms like lilac cotton candy.

Primula bulleyana stretching out with tiered kumquat-colored flowers to follow in June.

Primula bulleyana stretching out and with tiered kumquat-colored flowers to follow in June.

Primula sieboldii 'Snowflake' will also bloom a little later. The flowers will look like paper cutouts of snow!

Primula sieboldii ‘Snowflake’ will also bloom a little later. The flowers will look like paper cutouts of snow!

Just waking up is Primula florindae, which is the latest blooming and of them all. The nutmeg-scented flowers may appear as early as June and continue through August.

Just waking up is Primula florindae. The latest blooming and biggest of them all primulas. The nutmeg-scented flowers may appear as early as June and continue through August.

Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. I know I look like a Primula Nut, but I assure you this is just the beginning of a possible obsession (which I am trying to pull the reins on). Anyway after all that I’ll leave you with a house plant to cleanse the palette with: behold, Clivia ‘Golden Dragon’!

I've had this Clivia 'Golden Dragon' for two years, and this is his second time blooming for me.

I’ve had this Clivia ‘Golden Dragon’ for two years, and this is his second time blooming for me.

Yellow flowering Clivias are still highly sought after and comment a high-price, but they are more available than they have been in the past. I’m just happy to have one that blooms consistently (so far). Time to go, but do look for Part II tomorrow! Spring is certainly here!

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