Serendib garden journal: I love to travel, but it is hard to leave when the garden is blooming — I’m always afraid of missing something. When I left, the columbines and bleeding hearts were in full swing, but I could see that the irises were about to start, and the lilacs were beginning to bloom. I just planted those lilacs last year, and they hadn’t really gotten going yet, and I didn’t want to miss them.
I planted them for Kirsten, one of our best, oldest friends, who loves gardening, and especially loves lilacs. They always make me think of her. And then I went on my trip, and came back a week later, and it was okay — I hadn’t missed them. The lilacs were still just opening their buds, and I cut some, and brought them in, along with some columbines (aka granny’s bonnets) that had blown mostly down in the wind. And now my kitchen smells like lilacs, which is one of the best scents, and sometime soon, I will call my friend, and talk to her about her garden, among many other things.
(And speaking of friends, the columbines are freely self-seeding, as promised, and I already have quite a host of them, in a variety of colors, and can easily spare a few to other gardens. Locals, could you use a columbine? Julie, Nara, Toni?)
Serendib garden journal: I have moved: one metal arch, one stone water feature, two bunches of double tulips, two Raspberry Splash pulmonaria, one Jack Frost brunnera, five columbine, and one heuchera. It took about an hour, and the garden looks SO much better, I can’t even tell you. I can show you after pictures, but I didn’t take any before pictures, so the dramatic improvement won’t be obvious. Just trust me, many flowers were crowded in all the wrong places; everything is much happier now.
This is a sampling of what’s actually blooming now: Mount Tacoma, Angelique and Blue Diamond tulips, pulmonaria (Raspberry Splash, I think), jacob’s ladder, and Jack Frost brunnera, which really brightens up a shady corner. The Mount Tacoma white double tulip is an heirloom, pre-1924; I like to think that it’s happy to be here, with my 1885 house. Two old things that go great together.
These are from a few weeks ago; it got a bit hectic here! Viburnum, first in bud and then in bloom, peach blooms and apple (I think? maybe cherry?) buds, checkered fritillary with Ollioules tulips. The viburnum had a lovely scent; the peach buds are just a ridiculously pretty color.
Our local garden club had a topiary workshop last week — super fun. You start with a form, stuff it with damp moss, wrap more damp moss around the frame and tie it on with fishing line, which disappears into the moss. Then you use a dibbler (bulb planter – you can get them and all other garden tools and supplies on bestofmachinery.com) to poke holes in the moss, pull apart a small pot of ivy into separate smaller plants, plug them into the holes, and use garden wire shaped into little u-shaped pins to secure the strands of ivy where you want them. That’s it! Soak every two weeks or so, either in the sink or with a hose, give it a trim as needed, and your topiary should last for years (the moss will dry, contract, and darken over time). I’m a little teapot…
There are lots of pre-made forms out there, but they’re pretty expensive. But I know how to bend wire and using a soldering iron, and I admit, I’m a little tempted to make a dragon topiary for my garden. Or an alien. Too busy right now, but maybe someday… 🙂
It’s usually difficult to get a full pic of the house and garden because there are cars in the way of where you’d want to stand, but yesterday, a space actually opened up. So here’s about the best moment of the year in my garden — it was just a little better a few days ago, because now the Thalia daffodils are starting to go. But still, splendid. I think my spring garden is pretty well established at this point, a strong weekly progression from March through May; time to start working more seriously on summer effects.
This morning, I took the tropicals outside — it’s a lovely feeling. The house now feels less crowded (it’s a Victorian, so the rooms are small, and seem even smaller when crowded with my tropical plants over the winter), and the back deck is full of inviting greenery now. (Also some party detritus, which I need to clear away, so ignore that bit, please.) Bougainvillea, curry leaf plant, mandevilla, fig, hibiscus. There are a few more upstairs that need to come out, but I have to catch my breath first!
Later today or tomorrow, I’ll run over to Luurs, our local garden store, and pick up herbs and flowers for the window box planters and hanging baskets. I’m hopeful that this year, I can really get my drip lines and timers set up properly so that I don’t lose plants due to my inadequate watering; I’m honestly TERRIBLE at remembering to water such things, but we put in drip lines in the front baskets last year (using the snip-and-drip system from Gardener’s Supply), and I just have to make sure all the hoses have survived the winter and are working properly. Fingers crossed. If I could do drip lines and a timer for the back deck too, that would be amazing — we’ll see how ambitious we get!
Two nice neighbors this morning — one of them apologetically explained to me that the hyacinth she was picking from my garden was one that a dog had knocked over and broken (totally fine, of course, but it was a funny moment), and then said, “You know your house is our favorite.” And then another, just walking by now with her dog, called out to me (as I sat on the porch with my dog), “You make the whole neighborhood happy.”
The power of flowers. 🙂 And a colorful house for backdrop. Pictured below: Redbud tree in bloom with Mt. Hood daffodils on left, checkered fritillary and white Thalia daffodils, redbud with Ollioules tulips and blue scilla, and oh, one more tulip whose name I’m forgetting. Oops.