April 22, 2015

The First Floral Arrangement of Spring

Spring has progressed far enough to provide flowers for a floral arrangement, so I put this vase together earlier this week.  After enjoying a sunny high of 77 degrees F yesterday (25 Celsius) yesterday, the temperature has dropped down to chilly levels this morning.  So it's a good time to be sitting at the computer, letting my sunburned arms recover, instead of shivering in the garden.

Six-year old white 'Mount Tacoma' tulips still send a few blooms up each spring, so I cut a couple for the vase.  I don't recall the name of the pink tulips, as those bulbs are also six years old.  Tulips really like the sandy raised beds in my front yard, as the bulbs don't get soggy and rot in summer the way they might in clay soil.

Korean spice viburnum (V. carlesii) flowers add a delightful scent to the arrangement.  The fragrance reminds me of Oriental lilies, though it isn't as overpowering.  I love this shrub for its fragrant spring flowers, glossy green leaves in summer, and kaleidoscope fall coloring.

A couple of stems of white bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba,' add a sweet touch.  I also have the old-fashioned pink type in my garden, but the blooms on those plants weren't quite ready to be cut.  My daughters love to pull the flowers apart and tell the story of a sword and a heart . . . I can't remember the details, but it's a fun little notion.

Double white 'Sparkling Diamond' hellebores (from the Winter Jewels series) nod on their stems to soften the upright lines of other parts of the arrangement.  I have learned that hellebores can't be cut when they first start blooming, as the young stems wilt quickly in a vase.  But after they have been blooming for a while (at least a few weeks), the stems harden up enough to stay firm when cut.

The vase looks a little wild thanks to a few stems of curly willow (Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa').  I have four curly willow plants growing in large pots to keep them from taking over the garden, and they made it through the winter even though I left the pots outside.  I added a soft green ribbon around the top of the canning jar after taking these photos.

Here is one more shot of a little hellebore flower at the back of the arrangement.
Spring is really pretty this year, with the flowering trees looking better than ever and plenty of tulips and other small flowers adding color.  I'm taking photos to share soon!

April 16, 2015

April Bloomsday - Tall Tulips and Short Phlox

Tulips and phlox are the stars of the bloom show in mid-April, though a few buds on the backyard  'Spring Snow' crabapples are starting to peek open. 

The garden gets greener by the day, though you see above that the trees have yet to leaf out.  The little white Grecian windflowers (Anemond blanda 'Alba') are still blooming well among the taller plants.   I am impressed at how long they have been in flower when so many bulbs come and go so quickly.

Several years after planting, 'Salmon Impression' tulips continue to bloom strongly.  Yellow 'Jaap Groot' tulips have also proven to be good perennial bloomers, and they are just starting to open in some spots.  White 'Maureen' tulips are the last to bloom in the front yard show.

A 'Coral Supreme' peony provides the backdrop in this shot.  Next month when it blooms the flowers will be huge and gorgeous.  Notice the attractive white edges on the 'Jaap Groot' leaves.

There are fewer 'Emerald Blue' creeping phlox plants than in previous years, as I decided it looked too polka-dotty (that's a technical term, LOL).  But the ones that remain have expanded and continue to provide lots of cheerful lavender flowers.

To the left of the photo above you can squint and see the orange tulips blooming on the west side of the house.  The front yard has a softer color scheme, but the west is more vibrant.  I don't think I've ever taken a shot of the house from this angle before, but my neighbor's blue spruce tree seems to fit right into my landscaping.

I'm pretty sure these orange beauties are 'American Dream' tulips, though I thought I ordered a different variety a few years ago.  The orange and vibrant purple 'Axcent Blue' aubrieta play off each other nicely.

I will close with this wider view of the west garden.  Next week the tulip show in the backyard will really get going, as a few purple 'Negrita' tulips are starting to color up in the main sunny bed, and two types of deep pink tulips aren't far behind.  There are already buds reaching up from the dozens of globe alliums I planted last fall in the back.  If I remember to participate in the May Dreams Bloomsday next month, the alliums will definitely be the stars.

April 7, 2015

Spring Daisies: Anemone blanda 'Alba'

Right now the front yard is brimming with little daisies, Anemone blanda 'Alba,' also known as Grecian windflowers. 
It has been a few years since I planted them, and they have multiplied prolifically.  The flowers set seed, and I assume the tubers are also dividing below the surface.  The plants are so small (6-8" tall in bloom) that they don't take over the other plants in the area.

I haven't seen many bees around the garden yet, but they would enjoy the frilly yellow centers.  The blooms open when the sun is shining and close at night or when it's cloudy.

These sweet spring flowers grow from tubers that look like chocolate-covered peanut clusters . . . or some sort of animal droppings (see a photo in this post).  The tubers should be soaked in water for a few hours before planting or they might not grow.

There are also pastel blue-violet and pink versions, but I only have the white.  They are hardy in zones 5-9.

In the photo above, you can see that the outside base of the flower is tinted pink, but from afar they look pure white.

Anemones don't like heavy clay soil, so they are very happy in the sandy amended soil in my raised flower beds.  They will grow in sun or part sun.

It's wonderful to have these dainty daisies filling the bloom gap after the croci (crocuses) finish and before the large tulips begin.  Soon they'll finish blooming and disappear until next April.