27 May 2008
The Garden Symphony: Prelude and sonata
First of all, I hope all my American friends had a wonderful, long, relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully the weather cooperated for you as nicely as it did here, although I had a bad few minutes watching a live video feed of a tornado on Saturday. Good grief. My hat is off to everyone who lives in Tornado Alley, because that is the stuff of nightmares!
I was thinking this morning, as I strolled around the yard and listened to the music of the wind and birds and frogs and bees under the sheltering sky and its warm smiling sun, that our garden is like a symphony performance. When not listening to really loud rock or pop music, I'm a bit of a classical music nerd (goes along well with being a Word Nerd, hah!), with Bach, Mozart and Chopin being my favourite composers, depending on moods. While I don't profess to be a music expert, this time of spring seems like the opening and building of energy in a long musical performance.
Despite my preoccupation with other things over the past several weeks, even when unable to do anything in the garden, I've been watching it carefully as it goes about its natural unfolding of life. The amelanchier that has already bloomed and gone in most of the rest of the province (at least the mainland) is just opening in our garden and in the wild places around our garden. This is one of my favourite of native plants, and one I highly recommend to everyone with a garden and a little space.
The lily-flowered tulips I planted in my former mother in law's memory garden are doing very well, I must say. From being quiet green buds just a few days ago, they've erupted into this gracefully flowing display of floral fireworks. Must plant more next year!
One of the most curious plants in my garden is Darmera, which sends up stalks with pretty pink and white flowers on it, THEN puts up its leaves--its ginormous, umbrella shaped, handsome leaves--from an equally ginormous and enthusiastic rhizome. You need a LOT of room for this plant, not because it runs but because its leaves do cover a lot of territory. And you need a pickaxe and saw when it's time to divide it.
The Chocolate garden is a good demonstration of how things are doing. The Stellata magnolia is in bloom, as are more tulips and the daffs are winding down; the ornamental rhubarb is getting ready to flower, (unperturbed after I rudely moved it several weeks ago) and the cranesbills and monarda are doing very, very very well; while the copper beech has yet to unfurl its leaves. I'm glad that everything doesn't happen at once here, or I'd be more overwhelmed than usual.
These primulas tickled me tremendously when I planted them and they're doing terrifically this year. I need. More. Primulas. It could be a spring obsession, but watching a big happy bumblebee burrow into a primula flower this morning, I just found my love for these happy plants growing all the more.
These graceful windflowers will form nice clumps in time, IF I stop inadvertently digging them up; they're slow to emerge here, and I (ahem) forgot where they were!
The hummingbirds arrived just over a week ago now- first the males, who came looking in our windows as if to say, "Well! Get those feeders out here!" I've been filling the feeders daily--sometimes twice--and though I had the wrong lens on this morning for catching them, it was fun to watch them divebomb me and each other.
Most of the annuals in our garden are planted in containers and with hummingbirds and other pollinators in mind. I've mentioned before that I don't care for petunias at all--in MY garden--but I love love love Callibrachoas. This is the lovely and well named 'Rose Star', a favourite from last year and already wowing the hummers.
The containers I have done so far this year tend to be in colours that attract hummers and other pollinators; lots of reds, roses, orange and purples, with nemesia, callibrachoa, verbena and lantana as some of the top choices so far. I have to go get more annuals for a talk I'm giving this weekend, so I'll be picking up some of my favourites, including Venidio, Anagallis and Agastache, of course!
We're not sure just HOW many hummingbirds we have, because they're really, REALLY active and voracious right now, but this one paused long enough for me to get her photo briefly. After my work is done, I'm going back outside with the long lens, to hide in the holly and see what they're up to.
Isn't spring wonderful!?