Today wasn't as warm as earlier this week, but at this point, even a sunny day with a temperature of 54 seems balmy! So I quit work at 4:30 and headed outside to survey our messy garden that's definitely starting to wake up ... even though I tied Hanna to her long lead in the backyard, she certainly seemed to enjoy the late afternoon sun while I strolled about the gardens ... except for that chattery evil tree rat that tormented her from the spruce. Actually I was amazed she didn't bark at it because it's already clear that she has no tolerance for such vermin! They better be on notice, because she's quick enough she may just nail one some day soon and that won't be a pretty sight (for the tree rat)!
Though these first few photos may look a bit like reruns, they actually have new flowers popping up in them ... this is the same area in the far back garden where the first snowdrops and crocus have appeared, but now you can see that additional clumps of both have sprung up since we last visited this area. Those crocus have definitely been moving around a bit, as have the snowdrops, so just click through to the larger version and let your eyes wander and find the splashes of gold and white ... also note the increasing numbers of Monarda (Bee Balm) starts coming up ... I think this will have to be the year that we thin this patch out! We have both the deep red and purple ('Blue Stocking') planted together out here and with all of the Phlox Paniculata (Pink) that took over back here last year, this corner is in serious need of some thinning. As for the Monarda, we'll probably just give it away to interested gardeners, and our tentative plan is to dig a lot of the Phlox and move it along to our back fenceline and hope it doesn't offend our neighbor, but we hope she wouldn't object because when it blooms, the scent around it is just delightful!
Here's a closer view of the same area, and I think I can spy some other things breaking ground here ... I hope one of them is that blue dwarf Iris! We would be two very happy gardeners to see it reappear this year, despite our doubts ... you'll be sure to see it here if it does!
Out front, the snowdrops are finally, slowly, showing up ... this is a shot of the Primrose bed by the front steps, complete with the "Round Tuit" that Shady Gardener gifted me with during her visit last summer (thanks again, Shady!). There are only about 4-5 Snowdrops in this bed, but I'd like to add more ... the ones that are here ended up getting planted because they were dug up inadvertently from other positions and I didn't want to lose them, so I put them toward the front of this bed where they are multiplying slowly.
I could see today that the Primroses are greening up and pushing up through the leaves, so this weekend, I plan to carefully rake out this bed to give them more air and sun ... I'm anxious to get a handle on just how many we have this year because last year they had practically doubled in number from the previous year and that would be a fantastic discovery to make again this year! I've been toying with the idea of ordering more from Spring Hill Nursery, which was the original source for these Primula polyanthus hybrids, which have been the only Primroses I've ever had any degree of success in growing. They're not cheap (3 for $12.99), but they're pretty foolproof as long as you pamper them a bit during the dry months and these have even been known to produce a brief flush of re-blooms in the fall as long as the hard freeze doesn't come too early. They're hardy from zones 3-8 (yes, Boran2, you could grow these!), and aside from needing a partial to shady position in moisture retentive humus rich soil and some watering during dry periods, they're very hardy and these hybrids have multiplied pretty rapidly for me. This will be their fourth year here this Spring.
I fell in love with Primroses over 30 years ago during my first trip to France in 1978, where in the spring one sees these planted in huge masses in public gardens and many people also buy them on the streets to grow in windows and balconies ... seeing a mass of these planted by the hundreds, all blooming simultaneously is truly a beautiful sight! When I made my first hike in the Pyrenees (near Andorra) that spring, I also saw them growing wild and profusely everywhere (the "Cowslip" variety) and I still have a project I did for my exchange program --a notebook of dried mountain wildflowers-- that contains a yellow primrose I collected ... along with other flowers of Le Midi such as the famed Violettes de Toulouse, the native flower from my home base at the time. Little did I expect at the time that one day I'd own a home where I'd be striving to make them happy enough to bloom for me! It may have taken me a few years, but I'm glad I finally made it....
These next two shots are the first two snowdrops to show up in our "original bulb bed" that we started 10 years ago (yes, these were Martha Stewart bulbs, lol!) and are usually the first to appear, but this year this bed was piled high with so much snow over the winter it must have really frozen things down deep because even the many crocus in this bed haven't shown themselves yet, but won't be much longer I hope, because there are some real beauties planted here! I think I'll give this a light raking this weekend as well just to get the leaves off of the ground to encourage the ground to warm up a bit quicker ... aren't these two "twins" cute together nodding in the same direction?
This one had actually "speared" a leaf on its way up from beneath the ground, and it's funny, because though I had taken a (not so great) shot of this same flower while I was out, once Fernymoss got home from work, he grabbed the camera and took a few photos as well (he took these two) and he removed the leaf! Galanthus elwesii is a determined little flower and though it may take its time to show up, when it does, it's not going to let something like a leaf keep it from doing its floriferous duty! Now, if the rest of the crocus would just get busy and spear a few leaves of their own, I'll be a happy gardener!
This is actually an inadvertent puppy picture! The real subject of this shot was supposed to be one of our Chives plants in the little herb bed behind the house, but Hanna decided to walk into the frame just as I took it. So far the chives are the only thing that have come back to life, but there are also several varieties of Sage and some Thyme planted back here ... we'll also probably have some volunteer Cilantro and Basil as well because I let some of them go to seed last summer with just that in mind. It's good to see the chives back up, not only because I like to use them in cooking, but if you've ever grown them you know how pretty the flowers can be when they bloom in the spring, just one more reason to have them in the garden! One of many....
There are other things breaking ground here now that I saw today and I'll have another post sometime this weekend showing what I've discovered ... we also plan on spending some time doing clean up (it's supposed to be in the mid-50s this weekend) in the garden, so I'm sure we'll discover a few other Spring surprises ... just one more day until the solstice! It's about time!!!