05 May 2007
The presents (not presence) of spring
Cinco de Mayo, and you’d think that we’d be able to have some decent weather wouldn’t you? NOT. Another cold, dreary, wet, windy, dreary, depressingly unspringlike day here on the mountain—well, throughout the region, actually. It’s enough to make a person sneeze…yup. I made it through the winter without a cold. Made it through the winter without the flu, or Norwalk, or any of those other winter calamities. But now…I’m sneezing, sniffly, feverish and mopy. Oh well…maybe it’s a good thing that it IS cold and yucky out. No reason to go out grubbing in the garden, right?
Well…I have been out looking in the garden. Next posting I’ll do a bit of a report card on what’s growing on. But mostly I’m taking my comfort from visiting a couple of nurseries and picking up a few new plants to test out here. Taking photos in nurseries is a good way for me to remember what I saw where, and what I really CAN’T live without. Plus it brightens up blog entries on a cold May evening.
After the Saltscapes Expo, where Blomidon Nurseries did some plant décor, I KNEW I’d have to go get Juniperus horizontalis ‘Limeglow’. I was tempted by this low growing shrub last summer when it was radiant lime-green/gold at the nursery, but decided to wait. The Kingstec crew used it to great effect at their Wine and Trees event, and that further tempted me. So the other night when I was picking out presents for my mother’s birthday, I gave in and bought a Limeglow for the back evergreen garden. It’s three different colours right now, green, bronze-red and gold. Really. I’m not making this up. I’ll take a photo tomorrow and prove it. Meanwhile, go look at the entry in the Missouri Botanical Garden website to see for yourself. The photo isn’t great, but the description backs me up.
As readers of my newsletter know, I was visiting Briar Patch Farm and Nursery yesterday for the first time this season. This is a lovely nursery, a bit of a drive for me, so normally I combine it with doing several other things the same time. Lee and John have fascinating stock always, and it’s well worth spending an hour or more browsing through the greenhouses display areas and gardens (and stopping to ‘talk’ with the geese!) just to get a look at everything. A number of plants caught my eye; the Proven Winners Colour Choice shrub Coppertina really IS as copper coloured as the press hype makes it out to be. What is it about copper/bronze foliage that gets me? I don’t know, but I like it, so I’ll have to have it—soon as I figure out WHERE to put it, of course.
Two years ago Captain Dick Steele gave me a pieris to test in our garden. It might be getting a little too much shade, but it’s protected from the wind most of the time. I don’t think there will be flowers this year, so I may need to go back and get THIS beauty to go along with it.
Pieris Valley Fire. Oh, my. And it smells heavenly. Some people think pieris is overwhelming, but I find it intoxicatingly delightful. We always have a good mix of fragrant shrubs, perennials and annuals in our gardens, as I think that fragrance is a crucial part of gardening. And since pieris wafts its delightful scent at a time when a lot of other things aren’t yet blooming, it’s especially welcome.
When I was in Dartmouth at Lakeland Plant World on Tuesday, I spied several plants from my ‘must have these’ list. Several woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), which I love for their luminous blue-mauve flowers and sweet fragrance wanted to come with me, and did. But what excited me most were three Euphorbia. ‘Efanthia’ is a Proven Winners variety and an amygdaloides variety with evergreen foliage. Excalibur has red-edged foliage and a striking pale yellow midrib through its leaves, and apparently has great fall colour. And then there’s ‘Bonfire’, which I’ve been obsessing over since I spied it—the foliage stays burgundy all summer, and there are these flaming yellow flowers and bracts to crown it.
It’s a type of polychroma or cushion spurge, so it will remain politely in place in the garden.
It seems that I’m a person of many contradictions. I love heritage plants—am growing a host of them from seed in the living room, including tomatoes!—but also embrace new and interesting hybrids. We have a nice collection of native plants on our property, but also try things that certainly aren’t native. From funky new euphorbias to oldfashioned pansies like the antique shades at the beginning of this entry, they brighten our days. That’s the wonder of gardening—there truly are plants for every taste, (especially for those with a multiplicity of tastes) and so we can all bloom where we’re planted—and grow things that bring us joy.
To my mind, that’s what gardening is all about.