Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Early Spring in the Garden

Now that Spring seems to have taken hold over the late spurts of Winter, the Gardens are starting to take off. It's so nice to see things popping in to bloom. I'm pleased to say that as of right now, it looks like we may have lost only a few plants. My perrenial snapdragons have yet to bud out, but I haven't given up hope yet. The clematis we put in last year had a rough year and I don't think it will return, and it's too early to look for hostas yet. Our Wood Poppies are probably my favorite native that we have. They live in our partial shade bed, liking wooded edges in their normal habitat. They've done so well over the past few years. I shared a picture earlier this week, but here's a better shot of the plant, now that the flowers aren't bent over.

Our cushion spurge (Euphorbia epithymoides) is some of the earliest color in the garden every year. It's bright yellow foliage belies the fact that it's flowers are actually tiny little things set in the middle of the riot of color. (They are related to the pointsetia, which has the same characteristic.) Our flower lady recommended these when I first had the garden set 3 years ago and was looking for anything I could put in in the earliest days of April. I haven't been dissapointed. As it fills in, it will create a mass (cushion) of these yellow "flowers", that really create a nice chunk of bright color in the early garden.

The last of my favorites to emerge is our Indigo. This is actually a lovely hybrid of two natives, and is known as Baptisia Purple Smoke. I sought our it's lovely shoots under their blanket of wood chips, and was finally rewarded with the lovely purple spears. As they open up their leaves, they lose some of the dramatic color, so these shoots are one of my favorite stages of the plant. They're quite pretty after they go to bloom, and it looks like they're happy where they are--lots more shoots this year than last. Beo loves it too because it's a nitrogen fixer, so every year we add a few more indigo to our gardens.

Last fall we finally decided to plant bulbs, and we've been rewarded with some spots of color as most everything else fils out it's leaves. This narcissus just opened up today to contrast it's yellow cousins. I look forward to continuing to share as our gardens grow and new things come in to bloom.

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