Six on Saturday – 01/05/2021 – May Day

It’s been a cool and wet last week of April. It’ll be a cool and wet first week of May. Yaay! The garden doesn’t care; in fact, the cool temperatures mean spring bulbs will last a bit longer, and the rain means trees and shrubs will get a good start on the growing season. Every Saturday, The Propagator encourages gardeners around the world to share six things that are happening in their garden. There’s lots happening right now – here are just six…

Allium jungle – I guess the reason Allium karataviense is so inexpensive is they set seed, some would say, like weeds. Here are three year’s worth. I hope to have time in the coming weeks to dig out a lot of these and plant them where the bulbs can grow and flower.
Fritillaria meleagris – in my garden, these tend to disappear from where I plant them, then reappear in unexpected places. Because the foliage looks so similar to a thick blade of grass it’s easy to miss until the flower suddenly expands and pops open.
These tiny violas are a bane in many urban yards, spreading easily in semi-shaded areas and invading lawns. They’ve popped up in recent years at the base of a Serviceberry I planted about 10 years ago. Perhaps there were seeds in the potting soil of that shrub that took a while to germinate. Fun Fact – you can make a lovely looking, colour changing simple syrup, perfect for adding to summer drinks, from viola petals. Here’s a YouTube thingy, created by Alexis Nikole, aka The Black Forager.
This cute primrose, or Primula acaulis, was purchased to brighten my office three winters ago. I planted it outdoors that spring, in a semi-shaded spot that gets quite dry in the summer, and it has pleasantly surprised me by returning every year, a bit larger, with a few more flowers.
Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ – or Summer Snowflake, has started to bloom even though it’s almost two months before summer starts. It’s like a daffodil looked down and saw a lily of the valley flower, and thought ‘that looks neat.’ Apparently they prefer damp meadows but I have several happy clumps in semi-shaded areas that get bone dry in the summer.
If you squint you may see the robin (our North American version, a bit different from the English robin) nesting in this young pine tree. I’ve heard that robins are less fearful of people than starlings, so they like to build nests close to houses in the hope that human activity will keep away starlings that might take over their nests. As long as I don’t pause and look directly at her, this little bird will stay still while I work away in the gardens surrounding the tree. (She flew away an instant after I took this photo.)

I hope to get some gardening in this weekend but our weather is unsettled. And quite chilly today. So, like my friend the robin, I’ll be ‘winging it.’ Stay safe everyone!


  1. Ah, you got snowflake too. A few years ago, I noticed how popular snowdrop is. I was told that those in snowy climates like it because it is the first to bloom after months without bloom, which is something I can not identify with here were we are never completely without flowers of some sort. Anyway, I had been quite satisfied with just snowflake instead, which we know as snowdrop here. It can bloom early, like snowdrop does, but can really bloom whenever it likes.
    Robins used to be more common when there were still orchards here. They followed any discing or cultivation that exposed worms.

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    1. You’re absolutely right about snowdrops – they’ll even appear in January if there’s a thaw, although won’t bloom in profusion until March usually. I discovered that robins here don’t eat bird seed, they just like worms and bugs and things. So the only way t attract them is to have healthy soil with a good worm and bug population.

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    1. We always have a lot of robins in the spring, often trying to nest by the back door, or above a light fixture by the back porch. I talk to them when I see them and maybe that’s why they’re quite fearless. Yes about the Forsythia eh? Mine just dropped their last petals in yesterday’s wind. I think I need one or two more…

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  2. I loved this:” It’s like a daffodil looked down and saw a lily of the valley flower, and thought ‘that looks neat.’” It took me a while to figure out that snowdrops and snowflakes are two species. I’d thought the very few I found here were simply oddities, with a little green added to them.

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      1. If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that we can’t always have it all. Or, perhaps better — we can have it all, we just can’t have it all at the same time!

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  3. I quite like the idea of an allium jungle, looking forward to seeing it in full flower. Lovely to see all the spring beauties doing their thing and the glimpse of your robin, I’m going to google to find out more about it.

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  4. I love alliums, but the ones I have here are all tall. I had never heard of Allium karataviense and had to a bit of research: I don’t think it would be readily available here. I hope you post a photo of yours when they are in flower, as I’m sure they look splendid.
    Leucojums (often called snowdrops here) flower quite well in my garden as they seem to be quite tough.

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