Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day Tidbits and Previews

Here it is May Day, and it seemed like it would never get here! Today, all over France, people are already celebrating the arrival of Spring (as well as Labor Day) with the Fête du muguet, when practically everyone gives someone they care for a nice bouquet of Muguet des bois, aka, Lily of the Valley. We're a bit behind here in Iowa (and regular readers know what a protracted winter we had this year!), so we don't have any just yet, but I'm sure it will be arriving soon in the odd spots around the house where it has always grown since we've been here. So, I'll offer you some other pretty tidbits and encouraging previews of flowers just arrived and more to come...

Remember when I posted this shot back in March after the snow finally melted in the Primrose Bed by the front steps?

Here's how it looked on this late April day (late afternoon when there was actually a bit of sun poking through) ... what a difference a month makes when the weather finally improves! After all the rains we've been having the past several days, the Primroses have been soaking it up and revving up to burst into bloom ... these blooms have just appeared within the last two days and there are many more yet to come. And the two rogue Tulips that I swear we never planted have emerged and are strutting their stuff proudly. The Snowdrops and Crocuses in this bed have finished their show for the year and only the foliage remains at this point, but there are other things preparing to take over the show ... the variegated Solomon's Seal is up (and multiplying) as well as the 'Gilt Edge' Toad Lily, Meadow Sage, Bee Balm and Lavender ...but for the moment, the Primroses will rule the roost for the next several weeks.

This tenacious little Muscari armeniacum has persevered for many years now, having been originally planted when there was still a bit of yard along the front steps before we dug it up and created the front boulder bed (back in 2003). We lost quite a few bulbs when we filled in the area, but a few have persisted (crocus and squill) and this little guy shows up in exactly the same spot every year, peeking out from under the rocks. This year it looks like he brought along a friend to keep him (and us) company, so welcome to the garden, little fellow!

Ah, consider the gentle little native wildflower that many consider the bane of their yards and garden ... but the humble Viola papillionacea is such a pretty flower that always reliably blooms for May Day (I used to put them in the May baskets I gave out as a child). At least it does have enough admirers that it was chosen (in a rather odd manner) as the Wisconsin State Flower. We love these little beauties but have to be a bit harsh with them in the garden after they are done blooming or we would have nothing but Violets remaining if we let them have their way. We do allow some to remain (come on, no one could ever really eradicate these!), but we dig as many as we can and dispatch them to the compost or to bare areas in the back yard, where they can perform a useful function without choking out our more prized plants....

Just a couple of weeks ago, our Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) hadn't even broken ground, but look at our original plant today! It has just lept from the Woodland Garden and sprung immediately into bloom, and our others aren't far behind, so you'll be seeing lots more of them soon.

A couple of weeks ago I was fretting because I hadn't seen any signs of our Trilliums yet, but just in the past three or four days they have appeared magically and are gearing up to bloom. We originally planted three of them several years ago and last year we had five appear, so we know they are multiplying ... we've only seen five so far this year, but are hoping that more will join the party soon and start staking out their territory among the ferns in the Woodland Garden.

Fernymoss was thrilled to see these unfurling shoots today when he was out with the camera ... they're his favorite fern, the Maidenhair, and every spring we marvel at the many odd shapes they take before they fully develop into their mature fronds. Here you can see them surrounded by their neighbors, the Leatherwood ferns who have been steadily greening up in the past few weeks. Soon they will go vertical and abandon their prostrate ways of early spring and the Maidenhairs will take over the territory quickly for the rest of the summer.

Ok, for a bit of fun here, I'll leave it to you readers to guess what these emerging shoots are, although if you're familiar with the denizens of the Woodland Garden, these should be pretty easay to identify. Let me know in the comments what you think they are and we'll see who can ID these first!

For those familiar with the oddities of our garden, this last one should be really easy ... and it appears that it has successfully produced about five offshoots from last year's growth, so we are hoping for multiple blooms this year! We'll see if that happens, but this one has arrived quickly ... last weekend before the rains arrived, I was out looking for signs of this plant and found none ... so look at it now!

So happy May Day to all you fellow gardeners (and garden admirers) out there! I hope you're fêted with a lovely day to celebrate (looks to be another cloudy one here, alas) and that your gardens are springing back to life as vigorously as ours is currently doing! I've got lots more to post in the next few days, so do stop back for even more colorful flowers now taking their positions on the Spring Stage!

All photos taken on April 30, 2009. Courtesy of Fernymoss

22 comments:

FARfetched said...

The wild violets are pretty well history here, bloom-wise. I'm thinking about digging up a few of the little bulbs & sticking them in a pot; nothing else kills 'em so they might find office life more tolerable than I do.

Crazy Rhodo is blooming here, now. It buds out, the frost kills the buds, it shrugs 'em off and starts over until it gets flowers. I'll post pix tonight.

CONEFLOWER said...

Love your progress photos. I'm looking forward to seeing those in my own then one year old garden next spring.

Violets are one of my favorites. You have beautiful shots here.

Thanks for sharing all these lovlies.

olivia said...

Hi IVG...wow, things have really come to life there. (We're still waiting on the arrival of the tulips and daffs in the back garden, though the hyacinths are up.)

I love, love the Muscari ... esp against the rock. And can I say one of the things I look forward to every year is the first sightings of you-know-what! :)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Happy May Day to you both. I don't know why we don't celebrate it in Illinois either. There should be a holiday, no work, no school. Mandatory gardening only on May 1;)
I like the violets too but you have to lay flat on your belly on the ground to see them;)
Marnie

Shanster said...

So pretty! You are giving me hope... sigh. I'm in CO and I'm trying to create something out of nothing.

So far it's bindweed as far as the eye can see - oh, wait - there is some kocia weed in there too... along with hard packed clay soil.

Wish me luck! :)

CONEFLOWER said...

Shanster, can you find out what the plants are that are native to your area? They would probably have the best chance of working out for you. You may be able to find out from your nearest county extension office.

boran2 said...

Wow, IVG. It looks like you've got lots going on. Love those ferns. Ours have yet to even make an appearance.

But there's not a Hanna photo to be seen! ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
I was just over at your place and saw that you are going to uproot violets as well. I sure hate doing it, but ... I might feel differently if they bloomed all summer. Good luck on trying them inside, I doubt they'd survive but if they did, the foliage alone would be pretty enough!

Looking forward to the RhodoMonster pix when you get them up. That's one plant we just don't have room for or much interest in, but I've been assuming that yours were inherited, so not such a bad deal!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower!
I see you have a new post up and I'll get over soon to check it out!

It's exciting to think about what you'll have in just one year, you'll be surprised how much progress a garden can make! Did those crocus you planted late put up any foliage at least?

I love the violets, but they can be such a pest, alas. We just don't have the heart to go ripping them out at least until they've bloomed and we've been able to enjoy them! Any time you want some, just let me know, LOL! Oh, and I just saw some coneflowers that need to get new homes today ... wish I could pass them along to you!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Olivia!
Stuff has just been rocketing out of the ground in the past couple of weeks, and alas, the daffodils are on the wane now, but the tulips (what's left of them) are just getting going. We'll still have more bulbs going for a while, then it's on to the perennials.

Oh, and you-know-what ... we're thinking we may get more than one bloom this year, given how big those offshoots got last year. Won't that be ahem, fun?

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I agree, we should have the holiday too! At least in France you get Lily of the Valley and a day off! BTW, I noticed today that our Lily of the Valley are up, but nowhere near blooming yet...

Bluebells and Violets were my favorite wildflowers as a child, and still are!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shanster,
Nice to see a new visitor here! I checked out your blog and must say you certainly are challenged garden wise! Sounds like xeriscaping might be the way to go for you given your conditions. But a few things that might work for you are any number of the Mallows (Hollyhocks, hibiscus, etc.)depending on your zone. They're pretty clay and drought tolerant. Here we have the yellow (not red) clay, though not much in our gardens, but our neighbor across the street is fitfully gardening in it and has some success.

If I were you, I'd observe some local gardens and pick their brains on what they've been able to get to grow. If I come up with more ideas for you, I'll pass them along. Meanwhile, you might want to check out Gail's blog at Clay and Limestone (in my list) ... she gardens in heavy clay in TN and has a great garden, so you might get some good ideas there.

As for bindweed, it's a horrible problem here too ... at least we don't have Kocia!

Best of luck and do stop by again!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
Yep, there's a lot going on out there, so we're now in the busy planting/blogging season for sure.

I hope your plants start showing up soon ... you've had a long winter!

Sylvana said...

When I was young I would candy violets. They are quite tasty!!

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