Sunday, April 24, 2011

Garden news- April 24, 2011- A time warp


If you have to be stuck in a garden time warp, April in Iowa is just about the best time. With temperature between 35 and 55 all week, everything remains the same. We even had late bloodroot blooming today, both single and double. That makes two weeks they have been blooming. And the daffodils are staying around and now have the accompaniment of the early bluebells with a splash of tulip here and there.
I can wonder around and around with trowel in hand, filling up the weekly yard waste container with dandelions and other plants that do not belong.

I have been thinking about garden structure these days. I am not talking about trees or raised beds. I am thinking about the types of plants that form the backbone of a garden, the recurring plants that create themes by repetition. This does not mean that there are 30 plants all the same, scattered around the yard. This means that there might be 30 plants of one type, with different varieties scattered around.
You then think of the season as being the daffodil, bluebell, hellebore, epimedium and pulmonaria season. Did I leave anyone out? I don’t think so.
Later there will be the hosta/iris and poppy time.

These plants are the backbone of the garden for that time of year.

Once you understand your backbone, you see the plants where there are maybe 3-5 varieties. This is not enough to be a backbone plant. They are more than just a single specimen.
Right now my primroses and some non traditional bulbs are in this category. Remember leucojums? They are splashed around 3-4 places in the garden. But you do want to group them so you can compare the varieties, which will mostly be blooming around the same time. There should be 3-4 leucojum plants in one area, and that should be repeated in other parts of the garden.

Finally there are the individual plants where there is just the one clump. Julia has told me that I really don’t have anything in this category. If I do it is just because all the rest died. But any garden must have these plants, which you are trying out to see if you like them. Of course if you do like them you must get more, and then they move up in the classification.

But let me show you pictures.

For those of you who like to vote, here are four good pictures from this last week.

First here is hosta Sagae, in with the bluebells. This great clump performs year after year. The hosta is big enough that it gets above the bluebells, something that some hosta could not do.

Here is a tulip, maybe Mrs. John Sheepers. Unlike some tulips this one does come back, year after year.

Here is your favorite, the leucojum. Those green tips are nice.

Finally here is epimedium alpinum. I don’t know if I have ever photographed any flower so small. I have included the second picture just so you get an idea as to how tiny this flower is. The plant label is maybe 3 inches long.
This plant is in its third spring. It is a keeper.

Have fun with this vote.

In last weeks voting the tallies were
Double bloodroot 20
Hellebore 8
Daffodil 7
Purple anemone 6

For your bonus pleasure here are more daffodils, tulips, another double hellebore, and some anemones.

Have a good week. Remember our garden is always open so that people can just wander through. It is a good time of the year.

No comments: