Saturday, April 19, 2014


Is a fine thing. Much better than ice and snow as the garden wakes to spring. The green is returning in slow increments. Tulips returned not to bloom as is most often the case. The varmints can eat them now and I won't care.

The creeping phlox on my driveway embankment have grown exceptionally well. Still, it may be time to speed up full coverage. My hope is some creeping phlox will end up in the discard rack post bloom.

There was no thought or hope for such a thing. I have counted 25 seedling phlox in the middle of my gravel driveway. All I have to do is let them be. Now I can hope that in a few years I may have a bright landing strip to guide me home in the spring and a short evergreen groundcover the rest of the year.

Surprises like this are not uncommon when you allow nature to be the assistant gardener. I even found some seedling phlox on the embankment.

Rain. Tomorrow is supposed to be a sunny day. At least I was able to get some work kind work done today before the rains started back up. Let's just say I am overbooked. I need to work an extra day to catch up.

There is no catch up needed in the wild cultivated gardens. The important winter chores got done. There is only editing to do and that is a decades long process. No one will really notice that but me. So I don't stress too much about not having more time to spend in my own garden before the big tour in June.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Trilliums In The Mist

My botanical garden plant sale trilliums started coming up about two weeks ago. I was most pleased that they survived the recent freeze intact.

The botanical garden plant sale trilliums are all different species than the ones that grow wild here. No sense in buying what we already have. It would make more sense to pot some of them up and sell them.

There are thousands and thousands of trilliums growing wild here. I think I settled on there being four different species. Or was it five? Only now have I begun to see the first of the wild trilliums begin to emerge. I'm still waiting to find the Painted Trillium that was gifted and all the large Trillium grandiflorum that I relocated into the garden becoming last year. At least they waited until after the freeze.

It was a cool gray day and the misty rain began when I got home. I'm all in favor of cool until the middle of May. Cool makes blooms last longer and prevents fast excessive heat induced growth that is susceptible to freezing should such a vile thing happen again and it most certainly can happen again before it's all over.

Maybe my yellow trillium will be yellow this year instead of chartreuse. It was labeled yellow. I wanted yellow. I guess I could just buy another one. I do need to buy some of the big red ones if I can find any.

The daffodils survived the deep freeze mostly intact. They did not freeze or have any frost damage, but some mangling was involved between the rain, ice, sleet and wind. It pushed the peak bloom over the edge into floppage with a lot of bent stems and crispy flowers. The late blooming daffodils that had not fully opened are finishing off the season.

The middle of April is the end of the daffodil season. By the first of May it will all be done.

I have plans. When the daffodils and trilliums out there in the vast expanse bloom in their turn, their numbers should be so massive that it will show up in a photograph. The naked eye can spot them out there now. The camera has more trouble.

That just means I need to plant more and edit around them as they multiply.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring At Client # 1's

I have not planted any tulips in this garden for three or four years after the great varmint feasting swept through one winter and ate hundreds of them along with all the lily bulbs and a few hosta. That spring's bulb show was cancelled. It was mostly daffodils planted from then on.

These purple tulips were spared. After all these years it is beginning to dawn on me that they have bloomed faithfully every year and the patches of them are growing thicker. I have a vague memory of ordering and planting these purple tulips. I just have no idea who they are.

This is the kind of tulip to have, one that multiplies and returns to bloom year after year. Now who is it?

It is the same purple tulip appearing in robust groupings in a manner consistent with my planting schemes. Now who is it?

They may even be returning from a bulb the varmints missed among the late blooming daffodil 'Thalia'. It might be worth an investigation and suggested bulb purchase for Bulbarella. Or I could just dig a few and test them out in another garden.

No one is opposed to having tulips among the daffodils in the wild cultivated gardens. It's that most attempts have been unsuccessful because of weak return of the tulip bulbs and heavy predation by the varmints. A vigorous and fast multiplying tulip surrounded by poisonous daffodils just might work.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Turned To Mush

There was significant freeze damage. It was very hit or miss. Some things got zapped and some didn't and it very much fell along plant species lines. Some plant species took the sudden freeze with a low of 20 in stride and others got zapped.

Any Asiatic lily that had poked its head up did not fair well.

My new Ostrich Fern with the unfurling fresh green fronds is mush. It came from Asheville in a state of  growth. None of the other ferns up here had begun to grow so they are fine. I expect next year it will be more in sync. It should start over with a more sparse batch of fresh fronds.

The Bleeding Heart is toast. I have no idea if it will try to grow again. It was a bit of a surprise. You kind of expect things that come up and bloom early as habit to be a bit hardier than that.

The ornamental rhubarb is flattened.

I was most sad to see that all the Angelica gigas got hit. We had a bumper crop this year and I was looking forward to the late summer show. My hope is only the outer leaves got hit and the center core and growing point survived. Time will tell. Angelica is a biennial so if they got completely frozen it's all over.

The creeping phlox was unfazed. Even the open blooms look fine.The hosta, astilbes and daylilies, a main crop in the wild cultivated gardens all took a hard hit. They will all grow back, but a hard freeze like this makes for less robust plants for the season, particularly the hosta and astilbe. I don't think you can kill daylilies even with dynamite.

The gardens will grow out of this freeze and grow on to their usual chaotic abundance. All this carnage is a bummer though. The gardener always hopes for the perfect conditions and unlimited success. This kind of killing spring happens often enough, and I have only been here for seven springs, that you can't get to worked up about it or you will drive yourself mad.

It just better not happen again this year. Then I will be pissed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Snowy April Bloom Day

We've gone from 75 to 25 in 48 hours. The last 25 degrees was lost very quickly this morning in a cold rain that changed over to sleet. We won't discuss the current wind chill.

Will the faint pinkish white blooms of the Serviceberry tree in the top left make it through the cold?  Flowers that open in 75 don't often make it through 25. Bloom seasons get shortened.

I didn't get far from the front porch for long today. I can see the daffodils blooming out there. Even the daffodils once touched by 75 are more prone to becoming toast in sudden freezes. Their resistance to cold gets baked out of them.

Japanese Maples are wimps by comparison. They leaf out too soon and get zapped on a regular basis. Gardy doesn't often baby things, but I had some frost cloth intended for other purposes and went ahead and covered the maple up.

Today for Bloom Day, all the flowers are fine.

I stepped out after the transition from rain to sleet when it was still 32 degrees

And covered the two other teeny tiny Japanese Maples, both of which have already been spring frozen twice because Gardy doesn't baby things. I'm not even sure if the grafted top of this maple is still viable. The tiny trunk looks girdled from last spring's freeze, but the few remaining branches had broken bud and started to grow. A sliver of cambium connection that could regrow may remain. It has one last chance before I let the rootstock take over.

Will the daffodils still be fine after this freezing cold Bloom Day? How will the leafed out Heptacodium miconioides fair? It always leafs out early too, but seems to take the late freezes more in stride than the Japanese Maples.

A pretty daffodil in the freezing rain.

And the best bloom I have gotten on the Bleeding Heart so far. Three nice bloom stems this year.

It was spring and now it's not. The wild cultivated gardens will grow on. This I know from bitter cold experience.

Some where out there someone is having a warmer Bloom Day. Miss Carol's Bloom Day directory will take you there.

Monday, April 14, 2014

In The Garden Before A freeze

There is a quick hard freeze, mid 20's, coming for Wednesday morning and a possible lighter freeze for Thursday. This is par for the course. It is only mid April, a full month before our last average annual frost date.

We shall see what will happen. Good or bad, the garden will grow on.

In the meantime, enjoy the abundance of a Bulbapaloozathon high on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top.

Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman's Breeches

An embankment of creeping phlox.

Small cup

Split cup

All kinds of cups and trumpets.

And looking in the other direction

The first early rhododendron to bloom. It is sure to get froze. Won't be the first time.

As far as the eye can see and beyond.

The bird's eye view of the sunny utility meadow.

The little house in a huge garden. Priorities.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Other Than Daffodils

The daffodils dominate the garden during their time. They are not the only things blooming though. Other floral forms can be found out there.

The double petaled Bloodroot has returned for a second season. I take this to mean it has settled in well. Now it needs to multiply.

The Bleeding Heart is back and blooming much better this year. In its first spring in the garden the bloom was shrunken and distorted. Much better.

Bulbarella keeps on trying with the tulips. This selection from last fall's bulb order escaped the bulb eaters.

This small species tulip is back for a second year. The species tulips do multiply and repeat bloom quite nicely unlike the larger more common tulips. But, they are quite tasty little bulbs if found by the wrong varmint.

This lovely little Bloodroot bloom will last for two days max. It can't be missed unless you want to wait a whole nother year to see it again.

There are legitimate reasons why one should stroll through the garden every single day.