|Fritillaria imperialis 'Aurora'|
Last autumn, you may remember that I wanted to start planting larger groups of bulbs, and that instead of buying 6 or 12 of one variety, that I would limit my choices, but but many dozens of only a few varieties - a more serious way to design a garden, and indeed, the right way if you want nice sweeps of bulbs. This is particularly true for the more unusual bulbs, such as these fine Fritillaria imperialis var 'Aurora', a bulb that we typically see planted alone, as a sentinel in a bed of other bulbs, but one which only recently, I discovers grows in massive sweeps in the meadows of alpine Iran, where this bulb comes from. In the wild, they look natural, yet for years, I thought that this Frits were just over-hybridized monstrosities.
I purchased a dozen with the plan to buy 30 more this year, all of the same color. Fritillaria imperialis is available in at least 6 named selections, ranging in golden yellow to brilliant carmine red, and even a variegated form. Be prepared for their scent, for every part of this bulb plant has a strong odor that drifts in the air, and one which I feel is not unpleasant, but can be interpreted as 'skunkish'. The gardening books will tell you that it smells foxy, but here in the US, that means little to us. I kind of like it.
Keeping a garden notebook is essential, if you want to remember what to order later in the season. For example, every spring, these gold-leaved Tradescantia look so nice with the few yellow tulips that I planted once in the gold and blue garden, that I need to remind myself to order lots of yellow tulip bulbs in the fall, so that this display can improve. Notice my new Itoh Hybrid peony that I just planted on the left? It was a present to myself. I needed another one ( right!). There are now four in this bed ( all yellow, naturally.
With well needed rain arriving tomorrow, I needed to catch up on some garden chores, such as painting the benches with a fresh coat of black glossy paint. I though of trying a color like a French blue, or plum, but decided to play it safe with black, besides, it matches the greenhouse enamel.
|Cornus controversa 'variegata'|
|A bumblebee visits a nectar rich Fothergilla gardenii shrub, near the gravel walk which leads to the greenhouse.|