Posts Tagged ‘spring garden’


It’s hard to believe that just a few short months ago, the garden lay beneath a foot and more of snow. How quickly, how extravagantly, we have moved into the season of green. Here are a few photos of the early June garden.


Forget-me-nots! I wouldn’t be without them. While a lot of what passes for ‘blue’ in the garden, I would have to say, is really a shade of purple or lilac, forget-me-nots are true blue. They make a lovely ground cover while later perennials are just getting started. They do look a little messy when they go to seed, but the solution is easy! Just uproot the seeding plants and shake their bounty out around the garden, wherever you’d like a patch of blue next spring.


Speaking of blue, I’ve been enjoying the first blooms of this dainty little corydalis ‘Wildside Blue’. It was new to the garden last year and survived the winter nicely. The flowers are an unusual shade, very pretty, but even without flowers this graceful plant is beautiful.


Here’s the hosta dell. Hostas bring out my impatience in the spring. They are slow to start thrusting their spears of curled leaves skyward. But once they get going, they make an impressive display. These hostas are well-established mature plants, mostly Krossa Regal to the rear and Royal Standard.


The lupins are all volunteers. I’m not always happy with where they choose to seed themselves, but they do make a beautiful display. It’s hard to stay mad at them.


The elf Galen has returned from his stay in the garden shed to snooze the summer away. I’m quite enamoured with the hosta to the left of the photo, ‘Designer Genes’. The pale leaves really stand out in the shade, and if you look more closely, you can see that the leaf stems are red.


The little squirrel has returned to napping in his leafy hammock too. I placed him there, at the left of the photo, to remind me to avoid a low branch on which I have repeatedly cracked my head while surveying the garden and not paying attention.


I’ve added a few peonies to the garden in the last year, and am enjoying their first blooms. This is ‘Lesley Peck’, set against a background of Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’.


These peonies are ‘Krinkled White’.


Here’s a section of the shady border receiving a bit of morning sun. The giant leaves belong to Astilboides tabularis, which I wrote about here. I moved the astilboides to a better location a year ago and he has taken to his new home with vigor.


Here are columbine peeking out around the edges of astilboidies leaves.


The brilliant red poppies are stunning.


This attractive salvia is ‘May Night’, or Salvia nemorosa ‘Mainacht’.


I always enjoy the striking contrast of the purple flowers against the lime foliage featured by the spiderwort ‘Sweet Kate’, or Tradescantia ‘Sweet Kate’.


Finally, here’s our lone pink lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium acaule). Railguy transplanted it from the woods, where it was in the middle of a trail and in danger of being stepped on. We didn’t hold out high hopes for its survival, but it has returned for a second year. You’ll find the story of the pink lady’s-slipper here.

I hope you enjoyed this little sampling of the early summer garden.


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At last the snow has all been washed away and the grass pathways of my garden walk are greening up nicely. The April showers have carried over into May, but when the sun came out in the afternoon, I took a walk around the yard to check out the action. It doesn’t look like a lot is happening, but on closer examination, there is plenty to see.


The spring bulbs are well underway. My favorites are the little scilla, such a gorgeous shade of blue.



The crocuses have nearly finished blooming, while the daffodils are just starting.


The Pasque flowers didn’t quite make it for Easter, but are blooming now. That’s Pulsatilla vulgaris, above, and the hybrid Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Pearl Bells’ below.


Last summer, I added half a dozen new peonies to the garden, so have been watching anxiously for their shoots. They’re all present and accounted for now, but most just have little red tips poking through the soil. A couple are way ahead of the other peonies. This is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Starlight’ (A.P. Saunders 1949, Herbaceous Hybrid, Single, Cream, 26″ Early). You can see the flower buds forming.


Another early peony is the Fernleaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia), which features a display of charming mopheads.


The hellebores are all blooming. This is Helleborus niger. Many hellebore flowers face downward, and you have to lift the blooms to see their pretty faces. Some of the newer hybrids have upward-facing flowers.


And here is Helleborus ‘Peppermint Ruffles’. At least, that’s according to its tag, but the flowers don’t have as much burgundy as I was expecting, thus casting doubt on this attribution. Still pretty, though.


The shoots of spring-blooming Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) are well started.


Here’s Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense). It always amazes me that seemingly-fragile leaves can push through a thick layer of leaves and mulch.


This Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven) is so attractive, it doesn’t need flowers to show off. It’s a selection of Bill Cullina of The New England Wild Flower Society.


All of the geraniums are looking lush, though they won’t flower for a while yet. This one is Geranium macrorhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’.


The bergenias are also early starters. This one is Bergenia ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’. You can see the cluster of purple-pink flowers forming at the heart of the leaves.


And finally, here are some daylily (Hemerocallis) clumps. Although they won’t bloom until July, dayliles get off to a gratifyingly early start, in contrast to hostas, which make you wait for their first shoots. We had a pleasant, sunny day earlier in the week and I spent quite a bit of it resettling these daylilies. Over the years, their roots had been invaded by grass, and lupins and even a few hollyhocks had self-seeded themselves in the middle of clumps. The only way to effectively remove the invaders is to lift the whole clump and dig them out. Fortunately, dayliles are hardy plants,and not offended by this rough handling.


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Here’s a view of the garden taken from an upstairs window. We have enjoyed a few mild days this week and much of our two feet of snowcover has melted away. It’s amazing how quickly so much snow can disappear after weeks of feeling that it would never go! Even more amazing is how quickly the garden begins to return to life.


Of course, you expect spring bulbs to be pushing up. These are daffodils. But many other plants are already greening up. Here is a sampling from a walk around the newly-released flower beds.


Morningstar Sedge (Carex grayi)


Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)


Red Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale)


Angelina Sedum (Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’)


Columbine sp.


Mountain Lover (Paxistima canbyi )


Tansy (Tanacetum niveum ‘Jackpot’)

Nice as it is to see some greenery, flower buds are even more exciting. Check out the adorable fuzzy buds on this Pasque flower. I hope it will be blooming, as its name suggests it should, for Easter next week.


Pasque flower ( Pulsatilla vulgaris )

The first flower to bloom will be this pink hellabore. A garden blogger who enjoys the milder climate of the west coast once wrote that he couldn’t see the big deal about hellabores. It was clear that he had never waited out several feet of snow for that first bloom! It’s pretty exciting.


Hellebore or Lenten Rose (Helleborus sp.)

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Spring Garden

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We’ve had some nice, sunny days lately, but it’s sure been cold. The temperature has rarely made it above 0°C during the day and has been dropping down to -10°C or colder at night. But today, finally, we are being treated to some warmth. The temperature has crept up to 8°C and even though the pond is still dressed in a straight-jacket of ice, for the rest of us, it’s sweater weather! What a treat, to leave the winter coat hanging in the closet.


I took Mousie’s blanket off before she went out this morning. When I checked on her in the afternoon, she was relaxing in the sun, delighted, no doubt, with the warmth.


The trees don’t wait for warm weather. They know it’s spring. The pussywillows have been out for a while. For the garden, though, it is a different story. It is still too early to expect much. However, I took a walk around the yard to see what was showing signs of life.


I was pleased to see that the little Corkscrew Hazel has lots of buds. I set a sheet of paper behind a branch so that the buds would be visible in this photo. I purchased the plant at the end of the garden season last year. The poor thing had been passed over again and again while all it’s buddies were carried off to new homes. It looked pretty sad before I finally bought it, marked down to less than half price. I wasn’t sure it would make it through the winter, but apparently it took heart in its new home and is looking great.


A few bulbs are just beginning to poke through the soil. These are daffodils.


Among the first plants to bloom here are the hellebores. They’re sometimes called Christmas Roses. They don’t bloom in the middle of winter this far north, but they are still commendably early. Sure enough, I found a sturdy shoot when I removed a covering of dead leaves.


Here’s another hellebore. This one is even further along.


Primulas are pretty early too. This plant already has a whorl of leaves coming along. One of the best finds of the day was the catnip plants! They already have little heads of leaves and it won’t be too long before the cat army can enjoy a fresh spring treat!


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