Warm & Wooly

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

The Pasque flower is blooming now and so silky furry that I can’t resist petting it when I go by. The huge purple blooms are full of golden stamens and very showy, but it is really the fuzz that attracts me. It reminds me of other furry plants: Clematis’ seed heads; the mullein growing around the barns that I use as bandages in a pinch as the leaves are not only thick & soft like blankets but stick together when wound around your finger; pussy willows of course; and some of the hardiest species tulips like T. biflora, whose papery tunics are furry inside. As I would want mine to be. I have read somewhere that fuzziness in plants is an adaptation to cold climates and that would make sense, though I think perhaps the Clematis’ seed fuzz is for dispersal.

About the Author

USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b/5aLocation: rural; just south of British Columbia/Idaho borderGeographic type: foot of Black & Clifty Mountains (foothills of Rockies–the Wet Columbia Mountains in BC climate- speak)Soil type:acid sand (glacial lake bed)/coniferous forestExperience level: intermediate/professionalParticular interests: fragrant & edible plants, hardy bulbs, cottage gardening, alpines, peonies, penstemons & other blue flowers, primulas, antique & species roses & iris; nocturnal flowers Also: owner of Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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