April 6, 2010

Spring Pops, and, I've been nominated for a Mousie!

Corylopsis pauciflora
Technically a zone 6 plant, we have had luck with this gorgeous Corylopsis, a relative of the Witchazel. For six years now, our little Corylopsis has shared it's golden racemes that almost cover each and every branch. Planted in the garden we call the Ephemeral bed, where woodland plants and bulbs grow blooming mainly in early spring, it has managed to grow steadily into a four foot tall wide shrublet, and it blooms at the same time as the Primula acaulis species, and the Corydalis solida.

What's a Mousie? It's a Mouse and Trowel award, presented to various gardening blogs. Actually, more of a popularity contest, I am still highly flattered. Of course, it's only a nomination not yet a finalist, nor a winner, so I should mention that if you wish to nominate me for one of the categories, please go to their website and vote by entering in my url. You can vote at Mouse and Trowel. Apparently, for a garden blog photography award, and I am very flattered. But, these things are a big like popularity awards, so it's more about the number of folks who vote, rather then actual quality, I suppose, but since I've yet to win any blog award, I share the URL for you to vote, and voting is open until the end of the month.

This style of planting is very common in Japan, where magazines and books show elaborate pots and pans with mossy rocks, woodland plants and grasses growing along with small trees. I was inspired to try a larger interpretation in this contemporary white container, along with a tufa rock drenched in moss from the greenhouse, grows a Japanese coral bark maple, a variegated Ophiopogon grass, and a rare, immature blooming seedling of a rare Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema) grown from a seed collected from an expedition in China by our friend Darrell Probst , which I bought at a recent rare plant auction, but have not risked planting outside yet until the weather warms more.

A golden leaved Tradescantia emerges in the Gold and Blue garden. Such color specific plants display more intense coloring in cold weather, and this one really stands out.

When sowing seeds, I have only recently learned to really pay attention to the details, which is important with some newer hybrids where you only get 8 seeds in a vial ( like this Celosia). Read your seed packets and follow directions exactly, and you will have a much better chance of success. Some seeds require warm temps, such as a heating pad or intense temperature swings to sprout, and then cooler temps to continue growing in, others, prefer to be sown outdoors, in situ, where they are to be grown since they develop micro roots and hate to be disturbed. If you can perfect Amaranthus with long, cascades of flowers, or drifts of Larkspurs, or even clouds of bread poppies, follow instructions, and get over the old - tear the pack open and throw the seeds into the soil, thing. Hey, we all learn.

This really nice yellow Hellebore was purchased from Gosseler Farms last March, when I was visiting Oregon. I was drawn to it, and so was a friend ( plant guru John Lonsdale) so I figured if he liked it too, that I should get it. It is simply AWESOME!. And, it has survived our intense winter with no winter kill, so I am a happy dude.
I love the cobs of Japanese Petasites, this, a smaller species, a tiny variegated form with much smaller leaves than P. japonicus var. giganteus, this has leaves that are about 9 inches in diameter, and they are striped with golden variegation. An old purchase from Dan Hinkley's Heronswood circa 1996.
Hellebores are cool!

Corydalis is perhaps the most under appreciated spring bulb plant, put it on your list right now, and buy some this fall. Here, Corydalis solida 'George Baker', which has self seeded nicely into various colors in the Ephemeral bed.

Common hybrid crocus can be iconic and a joy, simply, spring. These, a few bags from Home Depot that were reduced to make room for Christmas decorations, that I bought at Thanksgiving three years ago. A few hundred bulbs for a couple of dollars, and now, they have spread.

These new Celosia hybrids cost nearly a dollar a seed, and I only got 8 seeds. So, as carefully as they we're shipped, I carefully planted them one seed to a pot. Stay tuned!
OK. Bunnies are cute, but come on! Damn you Cottontails! ( and, damn you useless Terriers!). No Easter Candy.

Here in New England, last week ( Holy Week for Christians) was more biblical than usual, We have survived wind, a flood of rain ( 11 inches) that broke all historical meterological records, and then as if a miracle occurred, the sun comes out, and suddenly, it's spring ( if not, summerish with temps near 80 degrees expected for tomorrow). Our cold rainy week has transformed the garden into a flooded pond, and our cellar into a swimming pool, but now, as the rivers recede and the soil drains, the plants literally explode in the lush, moist air of these spring days of intense moisture and warm, welcome, sunshine.

One must follow things quickly when such conditions occur, since many minor alpine bulbs and woodland plants that have been waiting for such weather, burst forth, do their duty and pass, in only a few days. If cooler weather comes, thier brief period of bloom may be extended for a few days or even a week or two, but for whatever reason, the early primula and miniature narcissus have emerged, bloomed and are beginning to fade within a week, making this one of the fastest springs ever.

Regardless, it is still lovely, and I share a few images from Sunday, when the sun was bright and warm, and one could literally see the plants open their flowers. I was able to catch up on some seed sowing, planted a few veggies in the beds, and transplanted some tomato plants in the greenhouse. It's difficult to believe that two weeks ago, there was still snow on the ground. I even got a little tan.


  1. Anonymous1:58 AM

    I cannot wait to see the Celosia hybrids! and awesome moss pile. Matti

  2. Anonymous2:12 AM

    I cannot wait to see the Celosia hybrids! and awesome moss pile. Matti

  3. Congrats on the nomination Matt. Just look at everything coming alive in your garden. Love the Hellebore's and crocus. Those nasty little varmints can sure be a nuisance. Your poor Hellebore. Glad to hear that you are also drying out up there.

  4. Did those bunnies try to eat your hellebores? Damn them is right!


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