March 24, 2014

Little Spring Beauties


Small bulbs are popping up all over at the Spokane Temple right now.  Above is Iris reticulata 'George', which beat even the earliest crocuses to start blooming.  The rich purple color is so lovely.  I need some of these in my garden.
'Cream Beauty' crocuses are blooming next to the little purple irises.  We made sure to plant them in groups, since one by itself looks lonely. 

In another part of the temple gardens, Iris danfordia are adding a bit of sunshine even on cloudy days. 
Here is another shot of a group of 'George' iris.  What great eye candy!
Crocus 'Firefly' and white 'Ard Schenk' are blooming together.  I tried to plan the bulb progression so there would be at least two types of bulbs blooming together throughout spring. 

Here is one last shot from the temple of 'Ard Schenk' with 'Grand Maitre' in the background.  I'm really determined to get over there regularly to photograph all the stages of bulb bloom this spring.  Fingers crossed.

March 12, 2014

All Sunshine And Crocus

We are enjoying unusually fine weather this March in Spokane.  In fact, the past week and the forecast for the next ten days look more like April (average high 57, low 37) than March (average high 49, low 32).  We might even make it up to 60*F a few times, which translates to 15*C.  Today the crocuses are open wide and I could even smell them. 

Leaf buds are swelling on many shrubs, including the contorted Filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta').  Unfortunately many trees are starting to release pollen, so those of us with allergies are feeling them.  Sniff.  That hasn't stopped me from puttering around the garden every afternoon. 

Tiny but brilliant leaf clusters are sprouting on the Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem.'  This shrub is just south of the white back fence, so it gets reflected light and warmth to speed it on its way.  Hopefully it will not be too damaged when temperatures plunge again eventually, which is more likely than not.

The wooly thyme groundcover growing around flagstones in the front yard is sporting subtle shades of plum and chartreuse. 

Almost all of my hellebores were transplanted last spring during our backyard landscaping project, so they are not sending up as many flowers stems this year.  But there are a few getting ready to flower, like 'Pink Tea Cup,' above.

Columbine leaves are early risers, and in the cool temperatures the purplish shades are more pronounced.  Well, that is enough blogging for today.  I'm heading outside with my toddler to swing. 

March 6, 2014

Color Peeps Through Despite Beastly Weather

True to reputation, March started with a blizzard, near zero temperatures and six inches of snow last weekend.  But suddenly the lion turned to a lamb and this week we are enjoying highs in the 50's (Fahrenheit), so of course my crazy kids wore shorts to school today.  "Mom, it's already 45 degrees - that's practically summer!"
My earliest yellow crocuses might open by this afternoon, but 'Angelina' sedum (above) already adds a bit of sunny color to the landscape.

Red rockfoil (Saxifraga) sports Christmas colors and interesting texture, if you bend down low enough to notice it.

The sudden change in temperature melted the snow quickly and created swamp conditions in the backyard, though most of the puddles were gone a few hours later.  When it dried out a little, I went out to putter around and prune roses and winter-damaged leaves.  The sun even came out yesterday.  It was great. 

Here is another shot looking down from my window.  This is not a pretty scene right now, but in a month it will be much better. 

This view of the east side of the backyard includes a baby rhododendron and bare lilac, dogwood and crabapple.  After the below zero temperatures we experienced last month, I was worried about my three young 'Helsinki University' rhododendrons, but these uber-hardy shrubs just rolled up their leaves into tight scrolls and endured.  They are protected from the wind and afternoon sun, and none of them show any damage to their leaves from the cold.

This last shot is from last year - a reminder of what is to come as spring progresses.  The red rockfoil is blooming in the front with 'Axcent Blue' Aubrieta in back.  Happy spring!