Warm & Wooly

– Posted in: What's up/blooming
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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

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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