Tag Archives: Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’

In Growth

27 Nov

Oh dear, I can’t believe I didn’t write anything for a whole growing season! I’m here to say that I am alive and the blog lives on, but I am hesitant to promise a more regular posting since I’ve made that promise a few times before without the best follow through.

One of my favorite little woodland plants, Maianthemum stellatum, looking fresh before the drought took its toll.

One of my favorite little woodland plants, Maianthemum stellatum, looking fresh before the drought took its toll.

Between the budding projects and responsibilities at work and the longest, hottest, and driest summer in Seattle history, there wasn’t much time left to write. (I really don’t know how other bloggers do it.)

Spring came incredibly early this year, so the Long Bed erupted into growth with amazing vigor.

Spring came incredibly early this year, so the Long Bed erupted into growth with amazing vigor.

My own garden suffered quite a bit, but this was the perfect year to leave the garden to edit itself. Anything what wasn’t well established or sited well would wither away allowing space for the more suited plantings to spread. Of course being a bit soft hearted I saved and doted upon a few select plants, but over all everyone had to make it through by their own devices.

Spring

Even before the normally reliable rains petered out the alternation of warm sunny days and mild rainy ones kept everyone looking quite good. Nearly everything bloomed all at once, so it was very difficult to photograph everything.

One of my favorite sights this spring was seeing the icy teal blue spruce and soft pink plumes of cherry blossoms against the wonderfully blue sky.

One of my favorite sights this spring was seeing the icy teal blue spruce and soft pink plumes of cherry blossoms against the wonderfully blue sky.

The (late) potted tulips sailed through the mild winter and began blooming a month early with a riot of color.

The (late) potted tulips sailed through the mild winter and began blooming a month early with a riot of color.

As usual the Bletilla orchids put on a great show though this year the chartreuse blooms of Euphorbia characias and ruddy flowers of Rosa 'Mutabilis' added to the effect.

As usual the Bletilla orchids put on a great show though this year the chartreuse blooms of Euphorbia characias and ruddy flowers of Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ added to the effect.

I received this Ranunculus ficaria 'Flore Pleno' from a friend in early spring...hopefully it doesn't have plants of garden domination.

I received this Ranunculus ficaria ‘Flore Pleno’ from a friend in early spring…hopefully it doesn’t have plants of garden domination.

I love the sweet smelling double flowers of Primula veris 'Katy Mcsparron' and despite the heavy blossoms the heads look up.

I love the sweet smelling double flowers of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’ and despite the heavy blossoms the heads look up.

The Long Bed always looks so verdant in spring, but if the lady ferns aren't well watered in the summer they crisp and brown terribly. I dig them out in late summer and planted other perennials in their place.

The Long Bed always looks so verdant in spring, but if the lady ferns aren’t well watered in the summer they crisp and brown terribly. I dig them out in late summer and planted other perennials in their place.

I find that the brooding blossoms on Geranium phaeum 'Variegatum' helps ground the splashy nature of its cream variegation.

I find that the brooding blossoms on Geranium phaeum ‘Variegatum’ helps ground the splashy nature of its cream variegation.

I love the long dangling pedicels of Mertensia bella - a lovely Pacific Northwest native.

I love the long dangling pedicels of Mertensia bella – a lovely Pacific Northwest native.

The only well-drained area in my garden is this long narrow bed about a foot wide. Everything Mediterranean lives here along with this lovely Iris 'Cloud Ballet'.

The only well-drained area in my garden is this long narrow bed about a foot wide. Everything Mediterranean lives here along with this lovely Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’.

After removing the Siberian irises back in February, I was happy to see that the fragrant Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus would bloom along side sweet Tellima grandiflora.

After removing the Siberian irises back in February, I was happy to see that the fragrant Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus would bloom along side sweet Tellima grandiflora.

Summer

This summer was quite the blur. I seemed like everything needed my attention, so I didn’t get many chances to photograph what was blooming. Plus most of the plants were stressed and ragged from the drought, so I spared them from the camera’s unflinching view.

I've been impressed with how hardy Osteospermum jucundum has been in my garden. I has survived at least four winters now, but unfortunately hasn't produced any viable seed while I've grown it.

I’ve been impressed with how hardy Osteospermum jucundum has been in my garden. I has survived at least four winters now, but unfortunately hasn’t produced any viable seed while I’ve grown it.

This is Taraxacum pseudoroseum, a pink flowered species of dandelion that I grew from seed and of course I was delighted by its first bloom this year. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a nut.)

This is Taraxacum pseudoroseum, a pink flowered species of dandelion that I grew from seed and of course I was delighted by its first bloom this year. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a nut.)

This is one of the flowers from an heirloom seed strain of carnations I started earlier in the year. Dianthus 'Enfant de Nice' is an old French variety with spicy clove scented flowers of mixed shades of red, pink, white, and purple.

This is one of the flowers from an heirloom seed strain of carnations I started earlier in the year. Dianthus ‘Enfant de Nice’ is an old French strain with spicy clove scented flowers of mixed shades of red, pink, white, and purple.

I started a bunch of dahilas from seed this year, but this seedling had the richest ox-blood red flowers which I can't capture on camera very well.

I started a bunch of dahilas from seed this year, but this seedling had the richest ox-blood red flowers which I can’t capture on camera very well.

Without a hard freeze over the winter Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea' was quick to bloom this year.

Without a hard freeze over the winter Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ was quick to bloom this year.

It was my first year growing this black tomato (Indigo Rose), but the marauding deer didn't leave a single ripe one for me to try.

It was my first year growing this black tomato (Indigo Rose), but the marauding deer didn’t leave a single ripe one for me to try.

Rosa 'Julia Child' really need a rejuvenating prune this year, so after a hard hack and feeding in early summer it grow back and bloomed all the way through frost.

Rosa ‘Julia Child’ really need a rejuvenating prune this year, so after a hard hack and feeding in early summer it grew back and bloomed all the way through frost.

Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses' grew magnificently in the summer heat. It was a joy pruning back the rich rose scented sprawling stems.

Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ grew magnificently in the summer heat. It was a joy pruning back the rich rose-scented sprawling stems.

Autumn

Autumn came late this year, but when it did arrive it was a drastic and noticeable switch. It was still quite mild and the sunny days were beautiful, but the cooler and damper weather gave many plants much needed relief from the straining summer.

Oddly the Rhododendron occidentale decided to blossom again in September. Maybe it was rejoicing the autumn rains

Oddly the Rhododendron occidentale decided to blossom again in September. Maybe it was rejoicing the autumn rains.

Another rebloomer was Veronica gentianoides 'Pallida'. I love the china blue veins on its porcelain white petals.

Another rebloomer was Veronica gentianoides ‘Pallida’. I love the china blue veins on its porcelain white petals.

As soon as Tricyrtis formosana 'Blu-shing Toad' started to bloom I knew it was the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

As soon as Tricyrtis formosana ‘Blu-shing Toad’ started to bloom I knew it was the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Thanks to the late mild autumn, Chrysanthemum 'Apricot' had a beautiful display. The shimmering peach color brighten grey days.

Thanks to the late mild autumn, Chrysanthemum ‘Apricot’ had a beautiful long display. The shimmering peach color brighten grey days.

Here is Chrysanthemum 'Matchsticks' - a new acquisition - in a blaze of scarlet and gold.

Here is Chrysanthemum ‘Matchsticks’ – a new acquisition – in a blaze of scarlet and gold.

Apparently a few of my pollination attempts took on my Helwingia chinensis. How odd seeing little berries growing on a leaf.

Apparently a few of my pollination attempts took on my Helwingia chinensis. How odd seeing little berries growing on a leaf.

The over growth of the Long Bed wasn't looking too rough despite the drought this summer.

The over growth of the Long Bed wasn’t looking too rough despite the drought this summer.

I could never grow tired of smelling the sweet, yet fresh apricot scent of Osmanthus fragrans. It lives in a pot by the doorway where its wafting fragrance can be enjoyed.

I could never grow tired of smelling the sweet, yet fresh apricot scent of Osmanthus fragrans. It lives in a pot by the doorway where its wafting fragrance can be enjoyed.

In early November I took a weeklong trip to LA to visit a friend. While I was there we stopped by the Huntington Botanical Gardens for a look around.

In early November I took a weeklong trip to LA to visit a friend. While I was there we stopped by the Huntington Botanical Gardens for a look around.

The gardens were amazing, but I wish they were open longer. Four and a half hours was not enough to see the entire place!

The gardens were amazing, but I wish they were open longer. Four and a half hours was not enough to see the entire place!

The Pollination Garden

One of the many exciting projects I got to take on this summer was creating “The Pollination Garden” out in front of the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse. The container garden was designed to be a fun display for visitors where they are invited to enjoyed the flowers as they learn how to infer what pollinators each species of flower was trying to attract by looking at form, color, and scent. The garden doubled as a urban oasis for pollinators passing through both animal and human.

The garden was mostly a mixture of tropical plants and the majority of them were of straight species.

The garden was mostly a mixture of tropical plants and the majority of them were of straight species.

Here is a view of the main border.

Here is a view of the main border.

A close-up of a portion of the main border.

A close-up of a portion of the main border.

Here is the main border but looking towards the gate on a warm afternoon.

Here is the main border but looking towards the gate on a warm afternoon.

That’s all for today. Hopefully I be back around soon, but until then wishing you well and if you are in Puget Sound stay warm out there!

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!

 

 

Spring Fever

27 May

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:

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

The first bud to bloom a week after:

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

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?

Bloomin' fools they all are!

Bloomin’ fools they all are!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

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!

It isn't what the tag promised, but it's absolutely lovely!

It isn’t what the tag promised, but it’s absolutely lovely!

Over on the other side of the front garden underneath the Edgeworthia, Calanthe x ‘Kozu Spice’ was in full bloom a few weeks ago.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

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.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

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.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

Notice how Camassia quamash is darker, richer purple-blue.

In person the hue of Camassia quamash is a darker, richer purple-blue.

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.

Yay, crosspollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow - no aborting please!

Yay, cross-pollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow – no aborting please!

‘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.

The large white flowers on Malus 'Karmijn de Sonnaville' were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

The large white flowers on Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

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.

The apricot flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the once int he background in on its second-third day of bloom.

The flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the one in the background is on its second 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.

Here is the first little flower of Rosa 'Julia Child'. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

Here is the first flower of Rosa ‘Julia Child’. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

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.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to red.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to 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.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

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.)

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

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.

Just look at those icy billowing petals!

Just look at those icy billowing 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!

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

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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