Saturday, May 02, 2009

I Just Love An Embarrassment of Riches!

As I noted yesterday, it seems like such a relief that May is finally here and we can banish (most) thoughts of snow (and hard freezes) and concentrate on enjoying the rewards of Spring ...the bulbs are outdoing themselves so far this year and I feel like I can hardly keep up with them at this point, thus the "potpourri" format once again. Though I prefer the single focus on plants in most of my posts, that will come soon, because there are certain plants I definitely want to highlight, but for now, let's just enjoy the many colors now on display at Casa IVG.

Great weather in the high 60's is forecast for today (and no rain for a change!!!) and we plan to get a lot more of the clean up done and get some things in the ground, notably the entire flat of Snapdragons that Fernymoss brought home today after work! We also have a trip to Petco planned for Hanna (her favorite store!) and either today or Sunday we're going to hit our favorite garden center for more plants ... Tonight we vowed that we won't make any major purchases of plants without having gotten the previous ones in the ground first, so that means that we have to get 2 Serrano Pepper plants, some 'ginormous' Italian parsley and that flat of Snapdragons in the ground before we go bringing more things home with us ... we'll see how that works out!

So let's take today's tour ... these are some more of the many Grape Hyacinths we have planted around in the front boulder bed ... this little stand has multiplied nicely since they were planted several years ago (quite late as they were forgotten in the fall and I stuck these in the ground in December!). Though Grape Hyacinths aren't really Hyacinths at all, you can see two real ones in the background, the variety 'Peter Stuyvesant,' which is probably my favorite of all of them, and of course it has that lovely Hyacinth fragrance that perfumes the area, something we don't get from many of the spring bulbs. If you enlarge this photo, you can see the now withered remains of a few of the Species Tulip 'Persian Pearl' in the background as well. That's my only minor gripe with them, they only last a bit over a week, but they're so pretty while they do last!

Let's round the corner and enter the Woodland Garden area where the Daffodils are gradually winding down and take a look at some more Hyacinths ... this is another 'Peter Stuyvesant' along with the other variety we have planted, 'Jan de Bos.' For some reason a couple of the latter have disappeared this year (alas) unless they're just going to be up really late, but anyway, I really like the color of 'Jan' with its almost fuschia shade (though it's typically considered red). I love the combination of these bold colors with the Daffodils, but then, I've been known to appreciate rather "loud" colors once or twice in my life....

We were hopeful that our Darwin Tulips would finally recover somewhat after the disastrous last two springs that had late very cold spells after they had come up ... and though they're nowhere near as numerous as they once were (in 2006 there were about 300+ planted out front), at least they are making a comeback. This is one of the masses we have in the corner Boulder Bed and if you look closely you'll see a few Grape Hyacinths have survived as well (we lost a lot of those in 2007 and 2008 as well), so we'll just keep hoping for future improvement in these areas. I'll have more of these soon, once we can get some shots of them when they are actually open during the day (hopefully this weekend).
Here we have some newcomers to the Boulder Beds ... these are Fritillaria uva-vulpis, (aka, 'Fox's Grape') that were just planted last fall. Though they look similar to the Fritillaria michailovskii we have planted elsewhere, they are much taller (apparently they can reach over 12 inches at maturity) and the colors are a bit more muted, they do share the same sort of lampshade shaped blooms, and instead of single blooming, these little foxes of the garden often bear two or more flowers per stalk.

According to most sources I've read, Uva-vulpis also tends to naturalize much more readily than Michailovskii, so we are looking forward to seeing many more of these in future years. When they first emerge they look pretty insubstantial, much like a long blade of grass, but these have quickly matured over the last two weeks and are just now popping into bloom in various places, so you can probably expect to see (and hear more about) them again soon....

From the better late than never department ... we now have three Hellebores in bloom, two for the first time! Finally, our patience is paying off, and these tiny plants we put in way back in 2005 are starting to bloom for us. Since they were sold as a mix, I really have no idea what varieties they are, other than they belong to the "Royal Heritage" strains (which doesn't really tell one much). We're just happy to see them blooming! Though the plants have done pretty well over the past few years, only one has deigned to bloom for us until this year so this represents a bit of a milestone for this particular area of the Woodland Garden. And, as any garden blogger with Hellebores knows, they're not particularly easy flowers to get good shots of without literally getting down on the ground and looking up. Though they're beautiful flowers, they don't make it easy for us to appreciate that beauty, so hats off to Fernymoss for getting down and doing some "wet belly photography" to bring these to this humble blog....

Ok, I'll admit that this shot makes me feel a bit voyeuristic because my first impression was that I was invading the private space of this Hellebore bloom ... for some reason (maybe because I'm so immersed in iconic film imagery?) this reminded me of that famous picture of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt being blown upwards by a subway grate. Maybe I just have a dirty mind (heh, like I try to go looking up women's skirts!), this shot just seemed so overtly sexual that I had to include it in this post. Not that this is a prurient blog at all, but let's just remind ourselves that the whole reason that flowers bloom in the first place is to reproduce themselves, so we have to give them some (ahem) license in what they do! I do think that this is one of the more creative and stunning shots Fernymoss has gotten in a while, and hopefully we'll have even more Hellebore pictures soon....

Finally, I've gotten a few comments lately that I've been neglecting the "gratuitous puppy shots" in my posts, so we did some quick improvised "cuteness" shots tonight for this post. And just for Marnie, who remarked recently that she thought Hanna looked like such a calm dog when I had said that she was so often in motion that she was challenging to capture in still shots ... here she is running across the living room after having retrieved her favorite Kong. Though Hanna definitely knows when to be mellow (amazing for such a young pup), her usual mode is in motion and jumping and running. We love her all the more for that, and especially when she knows that it's inappropriate behavior and calms down. Once again, we thank our lucky stars that she chose to come and live with us and brighten our lives after our recent losses of Pepa and Rolly....

Make of this shot what you will ... though Hanna still doesn't spend all that much time on Pepa's old bed, she does take advantage of it on occasion, and here she seems to be enjoying some "loungy" time.... Hopefully, if the weather cooperates this weekend, we might be able to get some cuteness pictures of her outside this weekend, so stay tuned!

17 comments:

Gail said...

Love your embarrassment of riches! The hellebore shot is stunning. If they insist on lowering their heads so, we have to take Marilyn Monroe shots of their skirts! Thank you for the puppy pics! She is a doll.

I am seriously bummed...I thought I had captured the seed heads of the beautiful Dark Caracus... alas there were none!

Gail

FARfetched said...

Wow, quite the color riot (appropriate for MayDay, huh?). I agree with you about the Grape Hyacinths, those are interesting.

Lemon balm is planted… just need to find good places for the other herbs. I might set the oregano out in the back garden where it can invade just as much as it wants.

Beth said...

LOVE the tulips - apparently you don't have any deer problems! I like the rock edging too - I did that with some beds last year.

How can you go wrong with pictures of your dog?! :O)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks, I'll pass the props on to Ferny about the Hellebore shot.

Big news on the Hellebore front ... we were at an upscale nursery today and found this enormous (easily 12-14") 'Ivory Prince' Hellebore, very big bushy and healthy for a relatively reasonable price ($22) and snapped it up! And it puts on blooms that face UP, so will have pics soon as it goes into the ground tomorrow!

Hopefully your Caracas dropped them around the parents ... I'd be looking for seedlings. I think I found a couple today when we were working out front digging dandelions and planting Snapdragons....

Hanna: *blushes*

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Glad you liked the colors, too bad there wasn't more Red in the mix though. :-)

Do you use the Lemon Balm as a culinary herb? I've never grown it but have seen it in the garden centres. Still no signs of life from our sages, so I'm a bit worried we'll have to buy new ones again... *sigh.*

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Beth,
Glad you like the tulips, there are going to be a lot more of them on view soon ... was going to take pics today, but between Petco, a nursery and planting 54 Snapdragons and 2 primroses, it just didn't happen while the sun was still at its best. Mañana....

Glad you like the pup pics because you'll be seeing a lot of Hanna. :-)

Shanster said...

Such nice pictures! Great imagery of Marilyn with that shot! Wonderful puppy pictures!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shanster,
Glad you like! The Marilyn imagery certainly wasn't intentional, but the more I looked at these photos it just came to mind ...

Hanna is such a great subject and we have all sorts of silly ideas for photos of her (little does she know!), we'll see if they ever happen!

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