22 January 2008

Bright colours to chase the chill

Still in the deepfreeze, and still dealing with wicked winds blasting more cold in. It's enough to make a person--feline or human--want to just stay close to the stove and snooze, isn't it?

That's true enough, but I figure our longing for colour and garden dreams is at its pitch peak when the weather turns this stolidly frigid. So to help drive the cold winter away--or at least warm the gardens of our minds--here are a few brilliant blooms for your viewing enjoyment.A few rainbows to begin; first a flower arrangement done by someone at a garden show a couple of years ago. I don't know who did this, just liked the colours. And because we can never have enough rainbows...a brilliant presentation of potted Asiatic lilies caught my eye this summer at the Truro Farmers Market.

Although my ericas and callunas are presently slumbering under a blanket of hay and snow, some of them turn to blazing colours over winter, like this copper-foliaged wonder, possibly Cuprea or Con Brio.

I was salivating over epimediums in one of my earlier wishlist posts last week, and this is why. Look at the wonderful froth of flowers they produce, and that heartshaped foliage is beautiful all year long. If my notes are correct, this is simply Epimedium X rubrum.

I find that St. John's Worts, or Hypericum, are underused, both as shrubs and as perennials. This particular wonder is 'Brigadoon', and while its flowers are fantastic with those long stamens (this one is also called Aaron's Beard', the foliage is the real prize--gold to bronze leaves that keep their interesting shades all season long.

Some gardeners don't care for cranesbills. I'm not one of them--I LOVE all that we have, which include various species like this G. phaeum, mourning widow, but also somewhere around a dozen others. This plant's flowers are more subtle in colour than others, but I think it's great. Last spring I got a second cultivar, 'Springtime' with varigated foliage and the deep chocolate flowers...I see Tony Avent's Plant Delights Nursery carries that particular cultivar, for those of you in the US.

Won't it be nice when we can lose ourselves in the rich colours of bearded irises like this?

Or rejoice in the jewel tones of Corydalis elata and Meconopsis x 'Hensel Violet'? Okay, that was a tease. But isn't it a beauty, especially with the corydalis's electric blue to compliment it?

Well, that's about enough for this post...it's heading for 4 am (it's just too windy to sleep, so I've been tending the stove and reading instead) I think it's time to opt for the snoozing option, like the sweetly sleeping Simon, catching the rare bits of sunlight yesterday.


  1. What a lovely new frock your blog is wearing Jodi, very springlike. ;-)

    Like you, I love cranesbills and we have G. phaeum in common although I have Samobor, with gorgeous variegated leaves (green and purple).

    The pic of those gorgeous irises remind me of many a holiday spent in France. It's not for nothing that van Gogh painted loads of Irises. ;-)

  2. So beautiful

    I've been doing the same with the Veseys Spring catalogue - There is nothing a like a flowery fantasy to chase away the winter chills.

    Stunning flowers Jodi, quite stunning

  3. Thanks for the kaleidescope show. I too have that epimedium rubrum, along with several others. Their old foliage was just cut back this week in preparation for the flowers to strut their stuff. So far all corydalis attempts have failed, but it looks like the attempt should be renewed after seeing your lovlies. Simon looks so peaceful and sweet, give him a scratch from us.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  4. That sweet Simon. He looks so comfy.

    OOoooo that rainbow of color you have here is so exciting. I am beginning to feel that need for color. Even your new blog format is so cheerful to open.

    I have Epimedium Rubrum and it must have been miss marked because it has a pale yellow bloom. I have often wondered why it was called rubrum and thought perhapes it was because the leaves have a touch of red. Ha... wrong again.

    I have the yellow blooming cordyalis. It did so well for me the first year or so but now it comes up but it doesn't bloom. The foilage is still a nice bluish green.

    I hope you got enough sleep when you finally got to sleep. It makes for a long day if not.

  5. What beautiful pictures and a welcome bit of color! I feel so intimidated by the chat, because I'm just a average gardener who buys what I like, plants it anywhere it will grow, and doesn't know the Latin names. I do have Cranesbill! I think I should start a garden blog called "Let's just stick it in the ground and see what happens". I envy those with the true gardening talent, but don't have the patience :-) That's why I love blogs like yours where I can see what my gardens should look like!

  6. I hope you were finally able to get some sleep. Simon looks so cute. It is funny how cats will lay anywhere that has a spot of sunshine. My kitty was sunning on the edge of the entertainment center yesterday, I was concerned she might fall off if she got too sound asleep.

    I love the flower arrangement pictures, especially the first one.

  7. Too funny, Jodi. I had that very Hypericum on my "list" that I posted earlier today and because I thought maybe the list was too long, I took it off. But it's on that mental list still. LOL.

    And I'm already forming an addendum of those that I forgot about. I TOLD you my list was going to be long! And I guess that's okay; I just have to realize that I can't have all of it. Not that I don't have the room for it, because I do. I just don't have the $$$$$.

  8. Just what the doctor ordered! I like the way you think and I like your new 'frock' also! Hope the winds have died down by now. It is warming up here and, let's see, the wind speed is currently 1 mph! LOL

  9. Love the irises! They remind me of Spring in my yard, which seems so far away right now. You really know how to chase away the cabin fever! I really like the new look of your blog - it was well worth all the effort.

  10. Yolanda, I don't think I've seen Samobor locally, though I've read about it. Now I want it, naturally...I'm such a foliage nut.

    Adrian, I read that catalogue, but I never, EVER order from it anymore. I'm feeling tempted by GardenImport, though.

    Frances, some of the corydalis species are more hardy than others. The yellow C. lutea is one such option, and if you're looking for blue, and are in zone 5 (or warmer), go with C. elata rather than C. flexuousa. I'm in 5b, and lost C.f. several times, but C. elata does just fine, and I don't even winter-protect it other than whatever brush slops over from the blue poppy.

    Lisa, yes, sounds like someone did a mismatch on your label. Which yellow corydalis do you have? There are at least three different species, probably more. C. lutea is the tough one, but there is a wildflower one in the US C. flavula, and then there's C. ophiocarpa (I think I have that one too), and htere's a hybrid called Canary Feathers which doesn't self-seed....um, I can see a post coming on these plants!

    Mary, please don't ever feel intimidated. The garden blogging community--at least the ones I call friends--are a helpful lot, and we're here to encourage and cheer you on, not grump at you for not knowing a botanical name. You have a garden and you love it--and that's the main point.

    Robin...I did get a bit of sleep, thanks, and even some last night too. It's funny where the catchildren will sleep (sun or no sun). Some of them just want to be where we are, no matter what.

    Kylee, glad you put 'Brigadoon' back on your list. And your addendum...well, I found more plants I need, too.

    Catherine, you're welcome! Your blog brightens my day with your wonderful paintings.

    Layanee, the weather is crazy. Last night it rained after being so cold in the morning; then it turned to snow, and today it's a picture-perfect winter day, with slow-motion snow, no wind, and happy birds on the feeders and shrubs.

    Victoria, I love those irises too. The real spring fever will hit here late next month, when those in warmer climates start showing how their gardens are waking up, while mine is still buried. Glad you like the lok of he blog...still re-adding links, but I gotta work too...;-)

  11. Jodi - heads up here! I was just watching Martha Stewart and she featured a bulb dealer who carries all kinds of unusual bulbs. Check out the corydalis he's got!

    Odyssey Bulbs

  12. Thank you for the lovely bits of color, jodi. Simon is adorable. :)

  13. In winter I love all colours...even those I'll never have in my garden ;-)! And I'm also dreaming when seeing all these colourful seedcatalogues....Aren't they made for it???


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