The Amazingly Prolific Snow Crocus

prolific - Crocus Prins Claus April 21 2018 c small

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.

Multi coloured Crocus April 22 2018 small
Prolific

Six on Saturday – receding floodwaters

 

Chionodoxa luciliae April 21 2018 small 2

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.

Island April 21 2018

White Spruce cones falling onto back patio

The small cones from a large white spruce (Picea glauca) started to fall last week; I need to rake this small patio frequently this time of year.

Ice Plant flower April 21 2018

This lovely little Ice Plant (Delosperma) – was given to me in mid March and has been sitting in a sunny window.  Here is its first bloom — I’m not sure if the flowers are always so small or if, when planted, they will somehow be larger…it’s pretty none the less, supposed to be a hardy, drought tolerant perennial.  Needs good drainage so I’ll have to plant it well away from flood prone areas!

first real leaves ob Echinacea pallida April 21 2018

The first real leaves on the Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida) seedlings have emerged!

1st Tete a Tete daffodils April 21 2018

With today’s warm sun these tiny Tete a Tete daffodils will open fully.

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.

Layers of Bulbs and early Spring Foliage

Fritillaria imperialis April 14 2018 small

Fritillaria imperialis rising regally from the ground.

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.

Fritillaria persica & Crocus Prins Claus April 14 2018 small

Can you see the tips of Fritillaria persica starting to emerge through this drift of Crocus Prins Claus?

emerging Tete a Tete daffodils Apeil 14 2018 b small

A tale of two Narcissus — this one a tiny Tete a Tete getting ready to display buttons of yellow above ground cover Sedum, which is just starting to shift from its winter red hues to summer green…

orange crocus and daffodils april 14 2018

…and these much taller Narcissus ‘Ice Follies’ – which won’t bloom for another month or so – pushing through large orange Crocus.  Last fall, I dug a wide hole, planted Narcissus and Crocus around the edges and t=in the middle transplanted a mature clump of Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower).  This year, I’ll get many month of blooms from the same spot in the garden.

emerging Iris April 14 2018 b

I love the contrast between the bright green of newly emerging Iris leaves and the red leaves of fleshy Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) leaves.

Allium and Chianodoxa April 14 2018

There’s dozens of little blue Chianodoxa bulbs at the base of these Allium ‘Purple Sensation.’  The Chianodoxa will start to bloom in a few days (weather permitting) and stay in bloom until the Allium are set to start.  I’m thinking the rabbit damage to some of the Allium wasn’t life threatening and the flowers themselves survived!

Awakening

more Allan Garden delights

Allan Gardens March 7 2018 looking up

Under the main dome, filled with palms reaching up to touch the glass.

The wonderful thing about Allan Gardens Conservatory is you can be satisfied and invigorated by visiting for just 15 minutes or by spending as long as 45.   Take a quick walk through the entire complex to enjoy the colours, fragrance and humid air, or, leisurely stroll the meandering pathways, examining the large and sometimes tiny specimens, many of them exotics (for Ontario), all of them meticulously cared for. The city horticulturalists pack hundreds of species into the half dozen greenhouses; some seem to have been there forever and some are obviously seasonal.  Here are a few of my favourites from the permanent collection and the current Spring Blooms installation.

From the spring show – lots of Muscari, Narcissus, Hyacinth and Tulips, plus the occasional surprise, like Winter Aconite.

 

 

 

 

 

Rhodo and Koi Pond at Allan Gardens

This koi pond is there year-round, but the Rhododendron is now in bloom!

 

Also in bloom is Agapanthus – I’ve heard it being called a weed in more tropical parts of the world but here, not so much!  I love the blue flowers.  And this variegated Brugmansia is quite spectacular.

 

 

 

Surprising for me was this patch of kale, left to flower – the yellow flowers are really quite beautiful when massed like this – and the lemon tree!  I wonder if the staff enjoy G&T’s after closing time…

 

 

Cactus at Allan Gardens March 7 2018 small

There are lots of succulents and cacti in the desert house, some of them so tall they’re brushing the roof.  For me, this quartet epitomizes the look. If I lived in Arizona or New Mexico I’d likely have a bunch of them on either side of the front walkway.

Seen in the metal roof struts; I wonder what he’s found to chomp on…

Squirrel at Alan Gardens
Meander