Spring has a firm hold on us now – there’s no stopping the explosion of colour all over the garden. Tulips, Hyacinths and Narcissus are all starting to parade their seasonal, glorious display and our continued cool temperatures (a few days of warmth forecast for next week notwithstanding) will help ensure a lengthy blooming period. We’re expecting rain later today and all day tomorrow (not a bad thing unless one was wanting to get on with the spring clean-up) so I was out early to get these six photos. You can check out a lot more ‘Sixes’ by heading to The Propagator‘s page!
New daylily shoots are a few inches tall now – the perfect size, I think, to divide large clumps and spread the joy around the garden or with friends, if you’re able to tread lightly in the garden.
That last point is crucial – if your soil is still mushy from spring snow melt or if spring ephemerals are still emerging you don’t want to be clomping around with big boots, compacting soil, destroying the structure that many organisms need and thrive in.
Probably the most vigorous daylily in these parts is the much maligned Hemerocallis fulva – also know as a ditch daylily, tiger lily, orange day lily… The main complaint is that the orange is too bright. Huh? Orange is supposed to be bright! People also say it’s too prolific, spreads too much, is too tall, the leaves flop after blooming….the litany goes on. Me, I look forward, every year starting the last week of June and lasting throughout July, to driving along country roads and seeing large clumps of the cheery, welcoming flowers. Like any plant they should be properly situated. So no, don’t plant them if you have a really small garden. Even the cultivated varieties will spread, but possibly not with the same speed as Hemerocallis fulva var fulva – the more common, single variety that easily spreads and can be seen in ditches and at the edges of woodlots all over. These plants are so often seen in natural settings here people may think they’re native; they’re not. They originate in Asia.
Plant them with the expectation they will spread! Plant them where they will be seen by passerby! Plant them where you want a huge swath of colour mid summer! Take joy in their exuberance!
Earlier this month I posted a photo showing Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ from the side. I love the beautiful purple outer petals (up close, the purple is so velvety you want to reach out and stroke it) and the creamy white interior. What truly amazes me is how such a tiny bulb – typically around 1.5 cm diameter – throws up, every spring, three or four or five flowers. The larger Crocus (below) do this as well, but not, in my experience, with quite such abandon.
After last weekend’s ice pellets and freezing rain came a full day of heavy rain – which stayed on top of the ice and caused quite a bit of flooding in the yard. Flooding isn’t unusual in the spring here, we have pretty bad overall drainage on the property despite a contractor’s promise several years ago…
Here is my weekly selection for you, six things for this garden blogger’s meme started by The Propagator.
This is what the Island Bed looks like this morning – anything wet looking (including the grass I stood on to take the photo) was covered in water all week, finally receding a bit yesterday. The floods usually don’t bother me – I plan the gardens around it although this week’s water levels were higher than ever before, very close to water-logging bulbs and perennials. The water usually mainly covers much of the driveway and a lot of the grassy areas.
Finally – two Chianodoxa’s – each a slightly different shade of blue. I planted hundreds last fall and in a few years they will have naturalized to form thick carpets of blue each April.
Although I, like almost everyone else in Southern Ontario, have been moaning about how cold it’s been in April, there are ample signs that spring is progressing and the garden is awakening as it should. Yes, it’s been wet, but we all know what April showers bring, right? And there’s been snow and freezing rain, but with a normal last frost date in mid May, what else would you expect? Yes, temperatures on most days have not reached the ‘normal’ highs but the flip side of that is cooler weather means spring bulbs last longer. My Galanthus (Snowdrops), for example, have been blooming since the end of February and will likely last til the end of April. Remarkable!
Meanwhile, other spring bulbs, tubers, corms and perennials are waking up and starting to make an impression as the colours of the garden slowly morph from greys and browns to green and all other colours of the rainbow.
Tips to remember for the fall – layering and close planting.
When I plant bulbs I often ‘layer’ them to provide a longer bloom period – smaller Crocus and Chianodoxa, for example, bloom early and, in the planting hole, sit on top of larger bulbs like Narcissus, Allium and Fritillaria, which will bloom later. Or I’ll plant bulbs tight to the base of perennials so that the perennial foliage will grow and cover the dying leaves of the bulbs. This both lets the bulb gain strength for next years’ blooms and also helps nourish the soil.