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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia Bluebells’

On the 15th of every month, Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, which allows garden bloggers around the world to compare what is blooming in their gardens. These pictures were taken on Saturday and Sunday, but they do show that many plants seem to be racing to make up for lost time. We have reached that part of spring where there are masses of bloom in every direction, in response to which I say: hurrah.

Brick path into the back garden.

Brick path into the back garden.

Let’s start in the back garden. From the entrance you can see two of the stars of my garden in May: Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum).  These are mixed with lots of wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), which is not blooming just yet.

 

Virginia Bluebell and Celandine Poppy

Virginia Bluebell and Celandine Poppy. The foliage on the poppy, bluish green and deeply indented, is also nice.

This corner of the back garden, set between the garage wall and the back porch, looks like a little flowery meadow at this time of year. The bluebells and poppies are great companion plants. Some people look down on celandine poppies as a weedy wildflower, but I think this is very unfair. Sure, they self-sow enthusiastically, but so do lots of other plants, and their spreading habits can be a virtue in some circumstances – and the seedlings are not hard to pull. And how can you dislike those cheerful yellow flowers? Plus the foliage is quite nice.

Close up of Virginia bluebells.

Close up of Virginia bluebells.

Here’s a close up of the Virginia bluebells. Beautiful, no? I suppose I should warn you at this point that this post is going to run long. I usually try not to use more than 10 photos or so in any one post but I’ve been so flower deprived by the long winter that I have lost almost all restraint.

False forget me not interplanted with Allium 'Purple Sensation'.

False forget-me-not interplanted with Allium ‘Purple Sensation’.

There are lots of false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) blooming now. Here I am using it as a companion for ‘Purple Sensation’ allium (Allium aflatunense), which should bloom in 1-2 weeks. I’m not sure this is a successful combination because the tall allium somewhat inhibits the Brunnera, but I’ll see how they do over the summer when the allium dies back.

White Corydallis

White Corydallis

Here’s a new purchase from this spring: Corydalis ochroleuca, or white corydallis. I used this to replace the Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra), which the rabbits had treated as the highlight of their private salad bar.

Wild Currant in bloom

Wild Currant in bloom

The back garden is full of wild currant (Ribes americanum), which is blooming now with dangling strands of Chartreuse flowers.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

My new Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis) continue to bloom sporadically. This is their first spring, I’m sure next year they will put on a pretty good show.

Wood Lily Trillium

Wood Lily Trillium

Moving along, we find these wood lily trilliums (Trillium recurvatum). At least I think that is the right species, these were in the garden when we moved here.

 

Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder

Elsewhere, the Jacobs ladder (Polemonium caeruleum and P. reptans) has just started to bloom. I like using this as an edging plant and for underplanting roses.

Serviceberry flowers

Serviceberry flowers

After delaying bloom for weeks, my surviving serviceberries (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’) opened their flowers and dropped most of their petals during a one day spell of hot weather that left as quickly as it came. Just a few flowers remain, but it looks like we will have lots of berries for the birds in June.

Great merrybells along the east side of the house. Damn, I keep forgetting to move that basketball. I think it has been there since around 2008.

Great merrybells along the east side of the house. Damn, I keep forgetting to move that basketball. I think it has been there since around 2008.

OK, then, let’s head back to the front garden the way we came. You can see that the great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) are still blooming. I have patches of the merrybells in all parts of the garden.

Tulipa 'Little Princess'

Tulipa ‘Little Princess’

So I realize I just did a whole post about species tulips, so today all I’m going to do is show you one more picture of ‘Little Princess’, one of the late bloomers from this tribe.

Container tulips line the walk to the front door.

Container tulips line the walk to the front door.

And I intend to do a post on this soon, so I’m not going into a lot of detail regarding my hybrid tulips. I’ll just say that the early season bloomers are done, the mid-season ones are starting to get blowsy, and we are awaiting the late season tulips with eager anticipation. Plus, I will add that the container tulips did pretty well this year.

Tulips and other flowering containers on the front steps.

Tulips and other flowering containers on the front steps.

Between the hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis), stock (Matthiola incana), and sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), you are met with a seductively sweet mix of fragrances just outside the front door.

Bleeding hearts in the front foundation bed.

Bleeding hearts in the front foundation bed.

I’m really pleased with the foundation bed I planted at the front of the house. The bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) are looking very robust and are blooming their, well, hearts out.

Ostrich ferns with bleeding hearts.

Ostrich ferns with bleeding hearts.

The ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) also seem pretty happy, as do the false forget-me-not and great merrybells. Actually, for some reason in this spot the Virginia bluebells are putting in only a tepid performance.

Grape hyacinths with celandine poppy.

Grape hyacinths with celandine poppy.

Oh, and I have to mention the grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) that are blooming now. Oddly, though, there seem to be fewer this year than last. They make another good companion for the celandine poppy.

Front garden and house, May 15, 2014.

Front garden and house, May 15, 2014.

OK, I’m going to close now with a view of the front of the house. To see more blooms, check out May Dreams Gardens.

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All avid gardeners feel compelled to inspect their gardens after any sort of lengthy separation. In fact, the separation may have been only between 8 am and 6 pm of the very same day. So you can imagine how I felt after returning from my prolonged hospital stay.

 

The early species tulips are past their prime, but the later-season ones, like these Tulipa tarda, are reaching their peak.

The early species tulips are past their prime, but the later-season ones, like these Tulipa tarda, are reaching their peak.

 

The English garden writer Beverly Nichols called his inspections The Tour. For him, The Tour had to be conducted in compliance with ironclad rules, most important of which was that each patch of the garden must be viewed in the correct order.

View of the front garden, May 3, 2014.

View of the front garden, May 3, 2014.

If this rule is not observed, according to Nichols: “… you will find that you rush wildly around the garden, discover one or two sensational events, and then decide that nothing else has happened.”

False Forget-Me-Not

False Forget-Me-Not

For myself the exact sequence of the garden inspection is not so critical. Nichols is correct, though, that a garden inspection is not about highlights, but about an infinite number of details gleaned from gazing intently at every square foot of ground. What matters most to me is that the garden inspection must not be rushed, no matter how much you are irritating members of your immediate family.

The early hybrid tulips in containers have begun blooming. In front is

The earliest of the hybrid tulips in containers have begun blooming. The really short red and yellow is ‘Keiserskroon’, the taller is ‘Flair’.

Virginia bluebells are blooming in warmer or sheltered spots, such as here behind the back porch.

Virginia bluebells are blooming in warmer or sheltered spots, such as here behind the back porch.

Also, time is needed during a garden inspection to apply the Stare of Life. The Stare of Life is an intense gaze that warms the soil and hastens processes of cell division and photosynthesis. It can be applied only by gardeners with pure hearts within their own gardens, and scientists are still struggling to understand the phenomenon. I have found it to be most useful in encouraging plants that have not yet broken out of dormancy or whose new growth is frustratingly slow.

Celandine poppies have begun blooming among the spicebush.

Celandine poppies have begun blooming among the spicebush.

Not infrequently neighbors have found me staring intently for long periods at apparently barren patches of frozen earth. I do not try to explain to them about the Stare of Life.

Great merrybells with Narcissi.

Great merrybells with Narcissi.

On yesterday’s tour, there were signs of the transition to the latter part of the season. Many Narcissi have begun fading, but the merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) have come into bloom.

Great merrybells - Uvularia grandiflora - is a fine spring wildflower native to North America.

Great merrybells – Uvularia grandiflora – is a fine spring wildflower native to North America.

In a shaded spot, the merrybells’ foliage fills in and makes a nice groundcover for the remainder of the season.

Ostrich fern fiddleheads.

Ostrich fern fiddleheads.

I was also pleased to see that the ostrich ferns (Metteuccia struthiopteris) are now making up for lost time.

A foundation planting of ostrich ferns along the front of the house.

A foundation planting of ostrich ferns along the front of the house.

You can see how they respond to the warmer soil closer to the house. I can tell that soon I will be supplying free ostrich ferns to whoever is willing to take one.

In future posts I will write in more detail about what is happening in different parts of the garden.

How do you conduct The Tour in your garden?

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At this time of year the blooms of the spring bulbs tend to get all the glory. But it is also worth paying attention to the tender green growth of later herbaceous plants, as well as the woody plants that are just starting to break bud. This new growth has a freshness and sweetness that isn’t always fully appreciated.

'Donald Wyman' breaking bud.

‘Donald Wyman’ breaking bud.

The trees and shrubs are late in leafing out this year. Here is our crabapple ‘Donald Wyman’.

Clove Currant

Clove Currant

And clove currant (Ribes odorata). I am eager to see if this year’s flowers live up to their reputation for fragrance. Last year was disappointing.

Common Lilac

Common Lilac

Here are the breaking buds of our common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), though this picture was actually taken on April 12th.

Tulipa praestans 'Unicum'

Tulipa praestans ‘Unicum’

Some of the bulbs themselves have interesting foliage, like the variegated leaves of Tulipa praestans ‘Unicum’. This is another picture from the 12th, they are blooming now.

Celandine Poppy

Celandine Poppy

Among the herbaceous plants, I like new foliage of celandine poppies, downy on the undersides (Stylophorum diphyllum). The leaves seem to open like to hands unclasping or a clamshell opening.

Virginia bluebells young foliage.

Virginia bluebells young foliage.

Virginia bluebell (Mertensia virginica) foliage has a lovely blue green color. These are all over my garden now, and the flower buds are just forming.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

I am particularly fond of the ferny foliage of Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans). I can imagine miniature people pulling themselves up the stems, leaflet by leaflet.

Bleeding Heart.

Bleeding Heart.

New foliage of bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) is almost frothy, and you can see the promise of the pink flowers in the red stems and leaves.

Take me to your leader. New peony foliage.

Take me to your leader. New peony foliage.

Peonies, on the other hand, look rather extraterrestrial when they first come up. Not sure which one this is.

Garden Blogger Foliage Day (GBFD) is hosted by Christine at My Hesperides Garden. She has an enviable garden in Lazio, Italy, worth checking out for the foliage and much else.

What’s your favorite new spring foliage?

 

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Carol of May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of every month, giving gardeners around the world an opportunity to show what’s in bloom on their home ground. So let’s get to it! May has been a good month for color in my garden.

Tulips in Containers on the front steps.

The lily flowering tulip ‘West Point’ is now blooming, adding its cheery yellow and elegant shape to ‘Flair’ and other varieties..

Tulip 'West Point'

Tulip ‘West Point’ and ‘Flair’

And the late species tulips are showing off. The orange and white ‘Little Princess’ …

Tulip 'Little Princess'

Tulip ‘Little Princess’

And the blue and cherry red ‘Little Beauty’ …

Tulip 'Little Beauty'

Tulip ‘Little Beauty’

And Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’, with petals colored red on the outside and a rich yellow on the inside.

Tulip 'Cynthia'

Tulip ‘Cynthia’

Tulipa orphanidea flava is a wonderful tulip, really interesting coloring.

Tulipa orphanidea flava

Tulipa orphanidea flava

The grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) are also blooming well. I can’t wait for these to spread more to create wider clumps, but the delay is partly my fault as I keep disturbing the beds to change perennials.

Grape Hyacinths

Grape Hyacinths

This has been an incredible spring for celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), the delicate yellow flowers blooming profusely over lush blue-green foliage. They are beginning to show more aggressive tendencies, though, I’m going to have to watch these guys more carefully.

Celandine Poppies

Celandine Poppies

The clove currants (Ribes odoratum) in the sidewalk border are blooming. I planted these because they are supposed to have a strong fragrance. The fragrance is in fact very nice, but you have to put your nose right up to the flowers. This is their third spring, maybe when they are more mature … The much more modest Chartreuse flowers of wild currant (Ribes americanum) have also begun bloom.

Clove Currant

Clove Currant

The tiny blue flowers on Nepeta “Kit Kat’ have just started to open. In my garden, the various Nepeta cultivars are essential plants for edging in areas that absorb hot afternoon sun.

Nepeta 'Kit Kat'

Nepeta ‘Kit Kat’ edging the raised front walk/driveway border.

I thought the Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)  had reached their peak last weekend, but I was wrong. The cool weather has been kind.

Virginia Bluebells

Virginia Bluebells

In the shady back garden, Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans) works well as an edging plant. It also has blue flowers.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

False forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophylla) has tiny sky-blue flowers like real forget-me-nots, but this is a reliable perennial.

Brunnera

Brunnera flowers poking up through Allium foliage.

I devoted the last post entirely to old-fashioned bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). Even so, I have to include one more picture for this post.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart with Celandine Poppy.

There are quite a few other flowers blooming now: annual stock, violas, and pansies; great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora), starry solomon’s plume (Smilacina stellata), wild strawberry (Fragaria virginica), and probably a couple of others I can’t think of. Some of these I will include in my foliage follow-up.

In the meantime, happy Garden Blogger Bloom Day to you all!

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The old-fashioned bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in my garden are looking very happy this year, the moist cool spring must agree with them. They are bushy and robust, with many long stems lined with dangling pink and white flowers.

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart

Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart.

The unique shape of the bleeding heart flower certainly suggests the origin the plant’s name, though it is odd that the drop of “blood” is white. However, this common name makes more sense than some others that have been used. For example: lady in a bath, Dutchman’s breeches, and lyre flower. As to lady in a bath – if the white part is the lady, then the name should be lady in a bath upside down. Now that I think of it, lyre flower is a good fit, though not as evocative as bleeding heart.

Note that the taxonomists have been at their mischief again. The botanical name was Dicentra spectabilis until recently, very suitable and appealing if you ask me. How they came up with Lamprocapnos I don’t know, but it is a very ugly genus name for a lovely flower. Lamprocapnos sounds like one of those parasitic eels that attach themselves to fish and suck out their vital juices.

Bleeding Heart with Virginia Bluebells

Bleeding Heart with Virginia Bluebells

Another reason my bleeding hearts may be looking especially nice this year is that they are just another year older. This is a plant that spreads gradually by rhizomes, the clumps becoming more and more impressive in size.

Bleeding hearts like shade and moisture. They are considered ephemeral because they die back after blooming. In my experience, though, bleeding hearts in the right sort of spot will keep their foliage looking fresh until July or August.

Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not

Bleeding Heart with False Forget-Me-Not

Blue flowers go particularly well with bleeding heart, especially Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) and false forget-me-not (Brunnera macrophyla).  A note about false forget-me-not. This is not to be confused with forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). False forget-me-not is a longer-lived perennial  with flowers very similar to Myosotis. It also goes under the common name Siberian bugloss. Which would you rather be called? Enough said.

Bleeding Heart with Ostrich Ferns

Bleeding Heart with Ostrich Ferns

Ferns are another excellent companion for old-fashioned bleeding heart.

Do you have bleeding heart in your garden? Is it having a good year?

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