Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Rain that Gardeners Dream About

Today we're having a dream-rain - that wonderfully soft, steady rain that brings the garden to life. Looking out my window, the dark edges of the bare branches are starting to glow with that marvelous chartreusey green that only spring can bring.

Yesterday was a good clean-up day in the garden. Made some progress. My favourite part of doing the spring clean-up is the point where I sit at the edge of the bed and take time to really look at all the little buds breaking the surface. There's always a surprise or two - 50% my Rudbeckia 'Cappuccino' appears to be coming back for the second year. Listed as an annual - I'm about a USDA 5B - 6A Cda - so I'm really pleased to have this pretty plant back. Was too zonked to take photos after I'd done my bit in the garden, but did take these early in the morning before all my industry.
My neighbour's glorious magnolia.

Abeliophyllum distichum - its period of bloom is the same as forsythia in our area.

This is one of my happy surprise plants - Dicentra 'Gold Heart'. Chartreuse leaves, and the same bright happy pink flowers as the regular Dicentra spectabilis. And, I suppose I can understand how this might offend some peeps, but, here's the story about this fellow: I put him in a container two summers ago with a bunch of other perennials, summer bulbs, tropicals and annuals. I figured like any other D. spectabilis he'd poop out and be the messy giant ephemeral in the pot. However, he bloomed all summer long and only declined in late August - at which point who cared, because everything else was so fabulous. When I took apart the pot at the end of the season - there were still leaves on 'Gold Heart'. I tucked him into the garden and promptly forgot about him, thinking he'd probably just grown and bloomed himself to death over the summer....well, not at all. He's fabu. Back in the garden he's behaving like a D. spectabilis. Great now, stupendous in a couple of weeks and dead from the neck up shortly thereafter. Almost tempted to put him back in a pot to see if I could coax him to bloom again all summer....Looks like there's going to be some Anthriscus 'Raven's Wing' in the hort sale!This is H. 'Ivory Prince' in a protected area. A little sorry I removed the leaves so early.And here in the front garden - ok, but much fewer flowers and a lot smaller in size.This is the area to my immediate left I call Aunt Win's Garden. When I was little, she took me off to the woods to collect some woodlanders to bring home to my own garden (this was before we knew that 'collecting' from the woods was evil). So, when she left me a little money when she died, I made this little woodland garden in her honour. I can't believe the size of the Japanese Maple now - it started out no bigger than hip height.I was unaware that Podophyllum peltatum was such a masculine looking plant this early in its growth period. You can certainly understand why it's called Manroot (mandrake). I've seen at least 10 internet references that all look like they've copied someone saying "it was believed to be alive and screamed when pulled from the ground - rendering a man permanently insane." If I wasn't so fond of it, I'd almost just go out there today to see what would happen.Very sweet primula - lost the tag - but such a cheerful yellow.The photographic equivalent to throwing all the dishes in the sink....shot one - leaves and tulips, oh my.Shot #two - it's all in the perspective - sure there's too many leaves, but look at those nice little tulips!I adore orangey-red tulips - and variegated leaves....terrific!

After today's rain, just think what's going to be out there tomorrow.


Ellie Mae's Cottage said...

I love to see the garden come alive in the spring! I agree with your comment on my blog about the moss! We've got it all over, which I actually like except on the lawn. Thanks for the warm welcome to Blotanical! --Jackie

Kim and Victoria said...

That mandrake is quite the impressive looking plant!
So nice to be able to enjoy a neighbor's magnolia tree. Wish our neighbor's had one.
Your garden is looking great.

easygardener said...

I agree - the Podophyllum is an odd looking thing. Nature does come up with some weirdos!
I like the Dicentra. Amazing that it flowered for so long in a pot, given how short lived their flowering season usually is. I wonder if you would get the same results a second time :-)

Outside In said...

Your garden is looking great, I like those beautiful hellebores and Tulips. Spring is here finally...
happy gardening!

Teza said...

So nice to see the garden springing into life.... such a wonderful time of year as the new growth is often as exciting if not moreso than later in the season. I tried a Podophyllum plianthum which grows 4' tall but only managed to have it for a yeat. I am now trying P. hexandrum, with a gorgeous pink flower! Yours does look truly ominous at this satge in the growing season!

Gail said...

Hey Barbara...What do you mean you wished you hadn't cut the leaves off the hellebore? He looks good to me! Gail

Lucy Corrander said...

Never fail to be moved by magnolia.

Have only ever heard of mandrake - never seen one in real life (or even on a blog!). They are almost the plants of myths.


Barbarapc said...

Jackie - I'm going to be dividing perennials today - was shocked to see how much the moss has increased in the flower beds. A different sort of ground cover perhaps?
K & M. Thanks, and isn't it though. Nothing like a find like that to make me want to do even more poking about with my camera!
EG - was half tempted to put it in a pot again. Sort of chickened out - although if it increases in size again, I think I'll yank half of it just to see what happens.
Cathy - like you, I really feel I earned spring this year - and am going to enjoy every moment.
Teza, have two P. Hexandrum I started from seed - thanks for the reminder....where the heck are they? Had to transplant them far earlier than I would have liked. It is remarkable isn't it?
Gail, thanks for that. Because I have two - I discovered the leaves still are beautifully green - hadn't had a chance to cut those off the one in the front. Maybe less critical eye and more just enjoying is needed.
Lucy, and to see them later in the season, they really are so much more feminine looking. Will be sure to post on its progress.