I took a stroll around the garden, and this is what I found . . .
- Double pink columbine (Aquilegia hybrid). This sowed
itself by our main door in a crack in the concrete where the steps meet the
final pad. It must be very happy there because it comes back bigger and better
every year despite getting trampled on every year. Truth be told, I don’t
really care for the washed-out purply pink color, but I just can’t pull out a
plant with so much gumption.
- Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis) Just starting in
various locations. Love the evening perfume from this.
- Pink arabis–almost done.
- Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) various
places. This crept in with some peony roots I was given.
- Blue flax (Linum perenne) Just coming into its own.
This is a gorgeous true-blue color. It tends to die out (for me, at least) but
always sows enough seed. Usually blooms with the tulips but is starting a
little late this year.
- Dianthus ‘Tiny Rubies.’ Cute and fragrant. Lost it the
first time I had it. Seem to be able to keep it since I amended the soil with
- Coral bells. (Heuchera sp.) Got this from a friend back
in the days before there were so many different kinds to choose from. This has
scarlet-red flowers (i.e., leaning towards orange) that look great but clash
with the purply-pink Tiny Rubies close by. Oh, well.
- Lavender creeping phlox. From a friend.
- A red columbine that I got from a friend. I think it is the
wild Aquilegia canadensis. It is, as I hoped, blooming at the same time
the purple-leaved smokebush is at its reddest, but there are so many weeds you
can hardly see it. Sigh.
- Perennial Bachelor’s Buttons aka Mountain Bluet (Centaurea
montana) A perennial garden standby. Blooms anywhere except where I want it
to, which is right behind the armeria.
- Sea pink (Armeria maritima) Grew this from seed. It
looks nice but almost dies out on me every year. Lifted it last year and added
grit. Looks like I need to add more grit if I want it to stay. It stands
to reason that a plant that grows naturally near the sea would want a sandy
soil, but it’s hard for me to judge how sandy. I unfortunately pulled a
lot of seedlings when weeding around it. A real pity, because it is a nice
spring bloomer and I would like to have more.
- “Pot-luck” pinks. Dianthus seed I got from the
now-defunct North American Cottage Gardening Society seed exchange. These
two-year-old plants have mucho buds on them. The single flower blooming was
redolent of cloves. Could be a very nice week coming up if it ever stops
- Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) The only survivor of
a “wild” seed mix.
- Vinca minor
- Narcissus poeticus
- All the lilacs are on the wane but still fragrant. An
especially long bloom time for them because the weather has been consistently
cool but not cold.
- Purple-leaved smokebush (Cotinus coggyria ‘Nordine
Red’) This is just coming into leaf, not bloom, but I love the ruby-red color
of the new leaves.
- Johnny-jump-ups (Viola tricolor)
- Joan Elliot bellflower (Campanula glomerata ‘Joan
Elliot’) A great purple. If you have a longer growing season than I do, try
deadheading this plant faithfully. It forms new buds in autumn, but the weather
turns too cool for it to actually flower a second time. I think I read that
certain Oriental cultures grow this as a food–they eat the root. (But please
get confirmation of this before eating it yourself.
- Globeflower (Trollius sp.) A beautiful buttercup
yellow. I have two plants, both from my friend Bub Morse. One was a division or
self-sown plant, the other was one she raised from seed. I have since read that
globeflower is supposed to be difficult to start from seed, but Bub didn’t seem
to have any trouble. She gave me 3 seedlings, only one of which has
- White violets
- Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) My sister Joanna
bought this for me on impulse. It was on clearance at either Walmart or K-mart.
I must have put it in a good spot, because every year it just gets better.
- Solomon’s seal. From Bub. Not variegated, unfortunately.
- Forget-me-nots. (Myosotis sylvatica) Some of it is
‘Victoria Blue,’ which is a deeper color but doesn’t seem as floriferous or
multi-branching as the basic strain. Maybe it just needs a second year to do
- Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) In it blue-purple glory.
- Aquilegia ‘jjh970746’ This is the columbine I just got from
Paradise Gardens Rare Plant Nursery. The blossoms are not as big as
teacups, unless we’re talking children’s doll teacups. The blossoms look like
my passalong granny’s bonnets columbines, though the foliage is smaller and
more reddish in color. Regarding this, Judy says, “I’m sorry. I have had about 35% break to smaller size flowers in the ones I dug & potted for sales here as well. (So much for my thinking they were isolated enough). Refund/credit, your choice.” Of course I want to try again. Flowers as big as teacups! Oh my!
- Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) Just starting to flower.
- Double narcissus poeticus. Sometimes called Plenus, or
Gardenia narcissus. This sometimes has blasted buds, but when it does bloom it
- Pulmonaria ‘Spilled Milk’ Near the end of its