April 21, 2010

Spring Sprouts in Living Color

Asian Pear Blossoms. Maybe this year, the bees will be able to pollenate, we have four varieties of Asian Pears, which are almost as pretty as the over-planted Bradford Pears, but these will give us fruit that we can eat - crispy Asian pears.

Spiderwort ( in yellow) and an emerging Peony, show just how colorful spring sprouts can be.

Ferns, native ones, uncurl their fiddle heads in the woodland behind the Pheasant house.

Japanese Maples, like this 'Sagu kagu' coral bark maple, are very attractive in the early, spring flush.

A more mature Japanese Maple, a Lion's Mane form, displays extraordinary color in the spring sunlight, which also comes at extreme angles as the sun sets, just as in autumn, illuminating the colorful foliage. Many Japanese maples offer such displays in the spring, as well as in the autumn. New leaves emerge either in a lime green, or bright pink or red.
Crambe cordifolia (Kramm-bee) is an interesting and rarely seen perennial that is in the cabbage family. If you want a cloud composed of thousands of tiny white flowers in your June Perennial Bed, look for this at your best garden center. It doesn't look like much here, but in a month, these crispy, purple stems will hold large, rhubarb-sized leaves, and a 5 or 6 foot cloud of white flowers. Another species, Crambe maritima is eaten in the UK, in the spring, where it is also called Sea Kale.
The umbrella-like foliage of May Apples, or May Pop ( our native f Polophyllum peltatum). Always fun too see.

A crop of Winter Rye sprouts in one of the raised beds, next to the sweet pea stakes, a woven fence of white willow branches. This winter rye was planted as a green compost 4 weeks ago. In a few weeks, it will be turned under with a pitch fork, where it will enrich the soil for a crop of corn. Green composts are one way to add more nutrition to a garden, even if it is a tiny, square-foot raised bed.


  1. Hi Matt! Emerging life... exciting and yes, colorful! Love the ferns! I have one crambe which has never bloomed yet.This is its third year in my garden. I'll be curious to see the picture of your crambe blooming. Woven fence on the last picture is neat!

  2. Love to watch all the spring buds here in Montreal, Quebec - we have a (very) little bumpy forested hill called Mont-Royal smack dab in the middle of the city and I've been going every few days to see the wild ginger, bloodroot and now dog tooth violets and trillium come out in succession with Mourning Cloak butterflies flying nearby. Very weird to then step back into busy traffic:)

  3. Thanks everyone. Skeptis - I love Mont Royal, had friends who used to live on it...I never realized that it had so many plant gems growing on it, it sounds so nice!

  4. Yeah, I'm always surprised at the diversity on that little green 'island' in the middle of downtown. I went again yesterday for a few hours (first sunburn of the season!) and we saw a huge pileated woodpecker, tiny bright blue butterflies and a half dozen hawks riding the thermals overhead. Lots of large white trilliums and a few red ones were in bloom along with lots of Dog tooth violets. False Solomon's seal are coming up now too. It's especially surprising anything grows there considering how badly managed the park is.


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