Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring, Glorious Spring!

Bright Crocus and Tulips ... Spring, Glorious Spring ... It Finally Got Here!

The weather today gave us a wonderful official re-introduction to our long awaited friend Spring! We had a very busy day, starting bright and early by going to get our taxes prepared ... happy, happy, joy, joy! Actually, it wasn't that painful (both of us are getting refunds) and it's virtually done, all but for the signing and payment ... at least one less banal worry during the time we want to get kicking in the gardens. Of course Princess Hanna accompanied us on a couple of errands for groceries, so she was enjoying the going fast machine ... but our main accomplishment was getting almost all of the front boulder bed, sidewalk and the front gardens cleared out, cleaned out and raked. Some fantastic news to report: we were both seeing quite a few Tulips coming up, and to our memory more than last year, so we are cautiously optimistic they may be making a comeback..... Though we haven't yet found any bulbs coming up in the Woodland Garden, that's not surprising because it always stays coolest there and they usually arrive later than those planted further in front or the parking.

Today's photos were taken by Fernymoss ... You'll notice I changed the header photo again ... it now displays a Crocus that is actually blooming at this time ... The same variety you see in these first shots is called Specie crocus 'Dorothy' and was planted way back in 2005 when we really worked ourselves and planted hundreds of bulbs we had ordered, the same year we planted the 200 Tulips, 100 Spanish Squill and a bunch of Daffodils, Hyacinths, Alliums and Crocus. Many of the bulbs planted that year are now starting to spread nicely, especially these 'Dorothy' planted in the back with the snowdrops. We'll be seeing more of the progress of the rest of that year's class over the coming weeks and are looking forward to the show, given the number of bulbs coming up we uncovered or discovered today, which is only the start!


Golden chalices filled with sunshine ... that's what this shot evokes for me. A view you can only get if you're willing to get down, up close and personal with your crocus ... it's essential, I think, if only because their yearly visit is so brief, indeed ephemeral. Yet, they're such a deceptively complex flower when examined up close. To me, the outstanding features of this Crocus, aside from the brilliant gold accentuated by sunshine, are its hardiness (zones 3-9) and those dramatic stripes on the outside of the petals. And the nice bonus is that this Crocus naturalizes readily, and quite rapidly. As you'll see in the following shots, it has spread quite nicely in this part of the back corner bed.

These Crocus and Snowdrops are clearly establishing colonies in this bed, where they were originally planted on the periphery ... they've moved inward a bit, as you'll see in successive shots. At first glance, I missed the "baby" in this shot ... further proof that the colonies are reproducing nicely. You go, Crocus!

Here's a bit wider view of two small colonies of Galanthus elwesii and 'Dorothy' not far from the parent planting but moving inward ...in the forest of Monarda and Coneflower stalks, and if you look closely at the enlarged image, you can see the Monarda 'Blue Stocking' (purple) already up and growing ... in fact, the Monarda all around Casa IVG is already up and growing, despite the recent cold weather. After all, it is a member of the mint family, and one doesn't get rid of those easily! We make major exceptions for this one, however!

This is obviously the parent planting of the Snowdrops in this area of the garden, and it sure looks like things have gotten crowded enough that some have set off to establish homes elsewhere in the area, much to our delight ... the more the merrier as far as early spring bulbs are concerned!

Let's go a bit wider in this area to get some more perspective on these plantings and colonies ... now you can see how they've moved around a bit over the years ... naturalizing is what it's all about for me when it concerns bulbs ... yes, they're a lot of work to get started, but if one is patient over the following years, that's when the reward really starts to pay off. Of course, any perennial gardener already knows this, but I think it's worth reminding ourselves about this at times, especially when it relates to early Spring bulbs!

Despite my recent laments about the spotty performance of Dwarf Iris in our gardens, three of them have managed to sneak above ground since I last visited this area with the camera on Thursday! What a great surprise to find when we ventured to the back garden today! They came up remarkably quickly (I didn't see them on Thursday!) and have bloomed apparently the last two days, testimony to their ephemeral nature, as the one that looks purple is already a spent bloom ... the blue is fresh and current. These are such incredible little flowers, but I still wonder about expending much time, money and energy into growing them, given their spotty hardiness for us so far. We'd love to have a great mass of them ... but don't want to have to be planting them every year, so again, if anyone has great success stories to share about growing these Iris, please let us know. We'd love to be able to count on seeing them every year!

All in all, it was a great first Spring day here at Casa IVG ... the front beds got cleaned up and are sprouting all sorts of plants (including dandelions!) and the big wind up to Summer is starting with our earliest bulbular friends' (imminent) appearance. By this evening, all three of us were exhausted from today's work after dinner and conked out in our respective nesting places (recliners and couch) for a good portion of the night, so no Saturday Cinema here this week. But we all had more than sufficient fresh air, sunshine, warmth and work to wear us out, and when you add in a big dinner, it's easy to see why we all conked out for a while!

I think we're all contented with the arrival of Spring and all we got done today ... but it's going to be that yearly adjustment to the season (e.g. work and fresh air makes you sleepy!) that will send us into the full swing for the next few months in terms of planting. Weather permitting, we hope to get some more clean up done tomorrow, and perhaps even some seed planting ... we'll see how it goes, since the next few days are being forecast as fairly rainy. No matter what, we had some great flowers blooming on this, the first day of Spring! Let's hope old snow has finally been sent packing!

28 comments:

CONEFLOWER said...

Good morning! Wow! Your yard is really waking up. It is always such a thrill to first see the tiny greenies and then the blooms. Joy, joy! I love the red (violet) iris. Haven't seen that before. I'm so glad you're seeing tulips coming up.
I just went back and reread about the purple iris. Oh well, still lovely.

I see what you mean about a forest of monarda. What color is the bloom?

Thank you for sharing the joy of returning life in the garden.

olivia said...

Morning IVG, Fernymoss and Coneflower.

Yay for spring! Yay for your lovely colourful flowers emerging, and yay for getting out into the fresh spring air and working in the garden again (ours is still snow covered, but soon!) ... :-) You're right about that yellow -- a cheery sight to see.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

About those refunds...I hate to tell you that you can't claim Hanna as a dependent. ;^P
It's great to see your little bulbs spreading about. They look great! I wish I had some advice for you about the Iris reticulatas. I love them, but don't have any here. At my old house they did very well in a southern exposure at the top of a hill. I suspect they like well drained soil during the winter. Beyond that, I can't say.

boran2 said...

IVG, these are mouthwatering photos, if one can drool for flowers. Not fair, how can you have so much beautiful color in March? I saw the first shoots starting to pierce our ground today. We are so many weeks behind here. How could us sophisticated NYers let this happen? ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower,
Yes, things are definitely waking up fast ... I just hope the cool down this week doesn't get too cold for those new bulbs shooting up daily. We discovered even more tulips coming up today as we were cleaning up more out in the front boulder bed. Aren't those Iris gorgeous? That's why I was whining about them disappearing ... maybe we'll get some more and try again in the fall...

There are two varieties of Monarda back in the back, a deep red one and purple one ... if you lived closer I'd certainly offer you some for your garden, but that would be quite a haul for you. If you do find yourself going through Des Moines this summer, we could set you up with some!

My pleasure to share the joy of Spring!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Olivia,
You know there's lots more in store as the weeks go on! That fresh air has really worn us out the last 2 days though, but it's great to be able to be out without a jacket again! Sorry to hear you're still buried, but it's not as bad this year as it was last is it? That was awful for you guys!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MMD,
What do you mean Hanna is not a dependent? She depends on us, lol! And she is our little girl... :-)

That's an interesting thought about the iris, but that area of the yard does stay pretty well drained, though other places where they have failed might have been too damp. That made me recall the dictum that Iris "don't like to have their feet wet" because that can cause them to rot. I just wonder if they just not a very long lived perennial ... seems like Columbines behave that way in our garden, though the Alpine Blues seem to be the most reliable.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Glad you like the photos! There's tons more color on the way, though whether it will arrive in March is debatable (except for the crocus). That's great news to hear that you saw some shoots breaking ground ... it won't be that long then, and if you get a few nice sunny warm days, they'll really start to pop! Hope you post some pictures when they do!

katesmudges said...

I love the colour of the Crocus ~ they are gorgeous! The Snowdrops look wonderful. You have a nice full clump of them. Iris reticulata tend to do well here. I haven't planted that many, but so far, they have returned each year. We are still a good month away from seeing them though!!

Sue said...

Hi from Nebraska! I am also excited to see what all is greening up. We got the leaves off the flower beds the last few days, and uncovered some daffs and other bulbs that were starting to turn white from lack of sun. I hope everything will be OK when we got down into the 20s later this week.

I planted some German Iris bulbs in the fall. They are coming up, but don't look like they plan on blooming. It sounds like you are having fun with Hannah. When I read the latest post first, I was wondering if she was a pet or a child. :o)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Katesmudges,
Thanks for stopping by and please do again! If you're a fan of crocus (who isn't??) be sure to visit in the coming weeks as the rest of the hundreds we have join the show....

I'm more encouraged about the Iris now because I found another one today out back, and I think we're going to plant a bunch more this fall, now that we feel a bit more confident. Sorry to hear you have a wait ahead of you for your bulbs, but patience (like it or not) is a virtue we gardeners have to try to cultivate, along with our flowers and veggies! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Sue,
Nice to have a visit from a neighboring state! I hope you like what you see here and feel free to come back...

We found the same sorts of sun deprived bulbs this past weekend too... but they're quickly recovering. I looked today and everyone had turned green, so they're well on their way now!

Hard to say if your Iris will bloom this year or not, usually when we've planted them they are spotty the second season, but come into their own the third. Ever hear that gardening saying "The first year they creep, the second they leap?" Hopefully yours will leap into bloom this year!

Sue said...

Hi! The lady at the garden center used a saying like that for the hellebores.

But, guess what? When I went out later in the day, I noticed most of the little irises are going to bloom! I think at least one will be open today. What fun!

Shady Gardener said...

Yea Spring! Your photos are lovely and I like what you've chosen as your header photo. I must take time to change mine one of these days!!

I have no idea why my iris reticulata are doing well. They've multiplied somewhat, even. Yours look identical to mine. :-)

I have no snowdrops blooming yet, even though I planted a few last Fall. Perhaps, yet.

Happy Spring, again and again! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Sue,
That's great news about your Iris! You will love them, but enjoy them while they last, which isn't very long ... that's what makes a digital camera so essential these days! Glad you're having fun watching your plants pop ... such a great time of year, isn't it?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
I've decided that one way or another I'm putting in more Iris Reticulata this fall! That's weird your snowdrops aren't up, since you had crocus before we did down your way. Maybe they just haven't gotten enough sun yet?

There's TONS of Monarda coming up out back now ... we have to thin that patch this spring, so should I put some purple aside for you?

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