What a spring we're having here in Nova Scotia! Although today is chilly enough that I put a fire in the wood stove to take the damp and chill off inside, we've been treated to what I can only describe as a real, old fashioned, normal spring. You know, where May actually is warm and pleasant for most of the month? I don't know when we last had frost, but it was long enough ago that I feel confident in putting out the annual containers. More on those in a bit.
It's always nice to watch a plant flower in one's garden for the first time. I bought this spring clematis, 'Fragrant Spring' last summer at Bunchberry Nurseries and it's now covering itself in fragrant, softly pink flowers. And yes, it has a pleasant, spicy-sweet scent. This is the first clematis to flower here, but others are forming up buds and I look forward to a wash of colours throughout the growing season.
The secret to growing great lewisias? Perfect drainage, and a gravel mulch to keep the leaves from rotting from being against wet soil. Since learning this, my lewisias have done brilliantly. The upper one is from the Rainbow mix collection; the salmony coloured one is 'Little Peach.' They bloom for a long time, too, and I'm hoping they'll multiply now that they're happy.
Betty magnolia is in bloom--and has huge blooms this year, about the size of dinner plates, with their long, sprawling petals. I love this shrub, though I may have planted it a little too close to the walkway for comfort.
'But you mentioned Meconopsis in the title,' some of you might be complaining. 'Why is this about pink and orange flowers?'
Patience, patience, everyone. We'll get to that, presently.
As I remarked to someone recently, although I love irises in other people's gardens, I don't have a lot of them myself. But this one tried to seduce me at Briar Patch earlier in May, and I had to have it. It's called 'Cat's Paw', of all things. That's why I needed it. Yes, it is.
I seem to have developed a fondness for pink-orange-yellow flower combinations, which is curious because I'm not normally fond of pink. But these plants in one container do please me--dahlietta 'Cherry Sunrise', lantana 'Sunrise rose' and there's another lantana peeking around the edges of the photo, but I can't remember if it's 'Sunrise Red' or another strain.
Every year I think I have organized my plant purchases well enough that I can find their names and where I got them again. Hah! This is a double primrose, but I have absolutely no idea where it came from. None at all. It's pink and yellow, continuing with that curious colour combination.
Aquilegia 'Firecracker' caught my eye at Den Haan's earlier this spring, and I bought two of them. I'm glad I did, as they are festooned with many colourful flowers, and have wine-tinged foliage to add to the pleasure.
Although we're barely into June, all of my tulips are in bloom. That may not be surprising to many people, but quite often, I have tulips flowering into July. But that isn't going to happen this year. So the garden is festooned with plenty of colourful tulips, including this delightful fringed tulip that I'm pretty sure I bought at Blomidon Nurseries last fall. I love fringed tulips, and they often flower for three or four years before they dwindle away.
All these hot, bright colours are getting hard on the eyes, aren't they? Let's cool down with some cool blue, shall we? Like this Gentiana acaulis, the spring flowering gentian. I bought this little plant last summer, recognizing it as a gentian but not sure which one it was. I whooped and did a happy dance when it started blooming several weeks ago. That rich colour is just soooooo...well, you know.
Equally delightful, although more contrary to grow for me, is California bluebell, Phacelia campanularia. I have several of these in containers, as they are annuals here, and cranky annuals at that, but Laura Budde of Glad Gardens said that they need a little sweeter soil than do many plants. So I've added a little lime to the containers they are in, and hope they'll oblige by blooming for a while. That periwinkle blue is wonderful, isn't it?
And...here it is, what you've been waiting for. Meconopsis grandis, one of the blue poppy species. It's about three weeks earlier than it has been in other years, and it popped open on June 1...about 5 days earlier than I thought it might. I was expecting it tomorrow, which would have been my beloved's Lowell's birthday, but I guess he thought I needed a little cheering earlier, so he arranged for a much needed 'gift' from him. This meconopsis has several more buds on it, so the show will continue for a week or more yet. It'll be done by the time of my Open Garden on June 30-July 1st, but you can enjoy it indefinitely here.
Happy June to all of you. Happy plant hunting and planting...