Found a great deal at the dollar store for 3-1/8 size pots - perfect size for me for seeding. I prefer to start my seeds in a pot and then transplant them to 4-packs. They were 12 for $1.00 at Dollarama - made in Thailand. (Do you ever wonder how on earth it is cheaper to make a bunch of pots on the other side of the planet; pack them into a container; ship them across the Pacific Ocean; load them on a transport truck or train to send them from Vancouver to Toronto (4500 kilometers, over 3000 miles); offload the container; take them to the warehouse; pick and pack them for their store; put them back on a truck; deliver them to the store; unpack the box at the store, stack them on the shelves; and ring them through the till.) I'm not feeling nearly so virtuous about packing the pots in my own handy-dandy bag at the moment. I'm going to have to go out and plant a forest to make up for my transgression of finding a good deal on plastic pots.
Where I wanted to go with this post, because it is still beige out there and the stuff on the light table with the teeny tiny seed leaves would make photographs that only a plantmummy could love is to go back through last year and decide based on my photos - what my favourite plants of each month were. At first I thought I would just give you one fav per month. While this plan worked brilliantly for a month like February - no snickering - it started to get harder and harder as more things popped open and the garden took shape. So I'm going to condense the first few months and then, and until it's nicer, a selection of my favourites, taking us through the garden month by month. And maybe when I get to December 2008, it will be time and there will be real bits of garden to show you growing here in my own garden.
I really hadn't understood the value of a grass that stayed green all winter, until we had a winter that was devoid of January snow. This would be enough to endear this perfect little Carex to me all season - and yet, there's more. It grows in full shade; takes drought and heat, and always looks fresh no matter the season. So, it ranked #1 in January, and is well worth finding a spot for as it looks great all year long.
February 2008 My Favourite Plant - Pinus Strobus Eastern White Pine
The mighty Eastern White Pine - tallest tree in Eastern Canada (up to 30 meters, under 100 feet). It is the most valuable softwood lumber tree in Eastern Canada and was reserved in Colonial Times for Royal Navy shipmasts.(Trees in Canada, J.L. Farrar). I'm lucky enough to have 2 of these giants on my property. While the sap is sticky; the needle shed is unbelievable every two years; and the fact that are prone to lose branches in wind storms - I find there is something so very magical about them. And let's face it, what else can you see growing in my garden in February?
My Favourite Plant - March 2008 - Hamamelis - Witch Hazel
Any plant that blooms while there is a foot of snow on the ground, will win my favourite plant of the month hands down. Not only does it bloom in the snow, it has an otherworldly scent. Smelling floral scent when the landscape is blanketed in snow is beyond fabulous. And, this wonderful shrub also provides shrieking colour in the fall. A++
My Favourite Plant(s) - April 2008 -
(1) Abeliophyllum distichum - White Forsythia
(2) Rijnveld's Early Sensation Daffodils
(3) Helleborus 'Ivory Prince'
I've disparaged this plant in the past, but now have done a complete turnaround. It blooms before anything else. It is dainty, white tinged with pink, has a pretty scent and it isn't a forsythia - so four good things to say about it. Yes for the rest of the season it is pretty dull, but look at in April - so sweet. Grows here about 1 meter high and wide. Needs to be pruned to keep its shape - snow cover has a tendency to bend and flatten outer branches.
Frances at Faire Gardens had a great post about moving these wonderful early bloomers around her garden this week. My blooms are about four weeks away - and they truly are the earliest daffs in my garden. Because nothing else is in bloom, people assumed I cheated, dug a hole and plopped a grocery store daff pot in. And I suppose they do look a little weird, because truly - nothing else is really blooming - but the colour and their ability to stand up to really cold April blasts make these an April fav.
I think if I had a very little garden and only room for one plant - this would probably be it. Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' was sent to me by a grower on the west coast to trial. I figured it would last for half a season and be gone - it is now in year five - in bud now as I write, and it's blossoms, leaves, stems are just the best - hence it's up in my top 3 for best flower of April 2008.