Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mears Garden news- Spring week 12- June 14, 2009

As I bid spring a farewell it is time to reflect a little, thinking about what went right and what went wrong. Along the way I can think what I learned. Sometimes that can lead to what I plan for the future. One of the features of a blog is that you can go back to March and read the posts and look at the pictures.
Actually I never know how much you really want to read my musings, as opposed to simply looking at pictures. Why don’t I show you some pictures and then muse away.

Here is a columbine. I enjoy columbine. At the same time I find columbine not a real reliable perennial. Maybe they can be coxed back a second year. And then maybe they will send out seeds. But they can be started from seed inside and if planted one year they should come back a second year. They are really quite variable in shapes and colors.

This is one of the Iceland poppies, grown from seed. You may see an Iceland poppy each week for a while. I have this nice little clump that should give pictures for several weeks. I do find that they burn out in the hot weather, so I treat them like annuals.

Pink orchid cactus!!! It turned out that I do have a piece of the one that was stolen. See post from July 27, 2008. This particular plant had not bloomed for me before, so its color was a mystery. This plant can really stop traffic, which of course led to its downfall last summer.

This last picture is a Japanese iris. I have pieces of this variety throughout the garden. It blooms just about the exact same time everywhere.

In last week’s poll you preferred the white poppy.
This week’s poll should be interesting.
So let me muse about the garden spring.

In reflecting on the Spring a place to start is to remember what kind of spring it was.
It was a cool spring, staying cool right into June. At the same time there was no really killing frost that I can remember after the middle of April. As a cool Spring bulbs lasted quite a while, and certain plants like lupine were around for a long time.
What was good:
Winter aconite is just about the best way to start the spring. They are inexpensive. Just plant 50 a year for 5 years and you will have a good start. At some point they will start to spread on their own.
Dogtooth violets, erythonium, are on my get- more list. The variety I liked this year was Pagoda, but I think there are many more varieties to try.

Bluebells are good but several things should be kept in mind. First big daffodils make for a great companion. Tahiti was a variety that timed its blooms about right. White lion or Acropolis should do the same. Big hosta also make for good companions. Second, there are places that bluebells will crowd other stuff out. There really can be too many bluebells. But you should just identify those areas and pot up any bluebells that come up there.

Little bearded iris are just about the best. See the May 3, 2009 post. I really should divide them to keep their vigor. Of course the downside there is that you wind up with a whole lot of little iris.

I should get more Korean Fairy Bells. Of course like the Pagoda erythonium, the question will be how will they come back the next year.

Allium bulgaricum was in fact something that did come back the second year. I should get more. See picture on May 31 post.

Starting California poppies inside worked. I had established plants to go in places where the seeds would have taken way too long. Actually I should start some seeds July first and see if I can get a September crop.
What did not work?

Keeping the calla lilies in the garage when the temperature outside got to -25. Toast. Time to start over on the calla lilies.

Bringing the clivia outside too early. Those plants sunburned something fierce. They will be quite happy on the porch if they have to come outside. It just takes one 2-3 hour period to ruin many leaves for the rest of the year.

But now is the time to get this post up and running. I will talk more about plans next week. Here are some bonus pictures. The hosta is Pandora's Box and it is just about the cutest mini hosta I have ever seen. That is a regular sized hellebore behind it.
The lilies are called Lollipop. The two pictures give you a good contrast between a picture of a single flower and a picture of the group. The blue flower is a clematis that would like to get vigorous but hasn't done that yet.

Did I mention that the daylily stalks are looking real good so far?



Miriam said...

I appreciate your musings. It helps me have some idea what to do in my own garden.

Judith said...

Agreed, I enjoy the musings. Partly for what I could do if I gardened, partly because it's so distinctively your voice.

Pat O'Conner said...

That poppy is the most wonderful shade of peachy-apricot that I've ever seen. Looks good enough to eat!
What do you do about the awful-looking foliage once your poppies are finished blooming?

philip Mears said...

Pat- The poppy in the picture is an Iceland poppy. It will rebloom until the heat gets to it in July. The foliage is rather attractive till it dies. You may be thinking of the foliage of the Oriental poppy which shrivels almost immediately after it blooms. I cut that foliage off when it is done. That is nowhere near as long as daffodil foliage lasts. You should avoid the drug detection machines after you have been handling the old plants.