29 April 2011

My World Is Blue

It is that time of the year when most of the spring blooms are finished and the summer perennials have not yet come on. In recent years, I tried to collect some plants for the cottage garden that can fill in this period with some interest and activity. This spring, these plants are blooming, but I see an accident. All the plants are blue or purple. Oops.

This is the result of never coordinating plant colors, other than to keep pink things (which I don't have a lot of) away from yellow things. This combination makes me nauseous.

Filling in two rear yard beds, the ajuga is blooming. These were planted as a shady ground cover last year, so their spring blooming is a welcome surprise - much taller than I expected. Leaves are green, but turn a dark maroon in the summer.

The side yard has a new blue iris, blue muscari, along with some late-late show pink tulips. I waited two years for this particular iris to bloom. The pink tulips are leftovers from last year, and looking good considering that they are repeat bloomers.

The front has blue 'May Night' salvia and magenta drumstick alliums. The salvia and allium could do a better job of coordinating their colors. Blue and magenta are too close to each other. I wish foliage on the alliums would last until after they bloom, instead of dying off as they start to bloom. This allium is supposedly 'Persian Blue,' but their color says the nursery lied.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: azaleas, Clarence iris, ajuga, salvia, allium, macrorrhizum geranium, muscari

18 April 2011

Two Spring Favorites

Although these two spring bloomers have been highlighted in previous posts, I include a few additional notes about them this year. The Narcissus poeticus or poet daffodils were first planted for spring 2007 [8.4.2007]. These bloom a bit later than others, and have a distinct fragrance. And they have easily multiplied in the garden. Here are a few more tidbits about them:
  • Poet's Daffodils are cultivated in Holland and southern France for their narcissus oil, one of the most popular fragrances used in perfumes. Narcissus oil is used as a principal ingredient in 11% of modern quality perfumes, resembling a combination of jasmine and hyacinth.
  • The fragrant Narcissus poeticus has also been recognized as the flower that Persephone and her companions were gathering when Hades abducted her into the Underworld. This myth accounts for the custom, lasting today, of decorating graves with these flowers.
  • While all narcissi are poisonous when eaten, Poet's Daffodil is more dangerous than others, acting as a strong emetic and irritant
The Beauty of Apeldoorn tulip [24.4.2009] is a Darwin hybrid. Nothing seems to represent warm spring like red and yellow tulips. I prefer those that have some interest (such as this two-tone color scheme with black base) over solid color tulips.

New bulbs were planted last fall along side those left in from previous years. This spring, the new bulbs produced larger flowers, but they bloomed later than those left in the ground from previous years. And of course, not all of the old bulbs produced flowers. Planting new bulbs mixed in with the existing ones may be a way to extend the bloom time of a tulip bed. (As long as you don't accidentally slice and dice the old bulbs left in the ground when planting the new ones, like I seem to do.)

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: grape hyacinth, poet daffodils, peony & Darwin tulips,
   snowflakes, ajuga