Category Archives: tulips

The long, cool spring of horrors

The horrors, of course, are the many manifestations of Covid-19, aka the coronavirus, aka the pandemic, the global pandemic, the quarantine, etc.  Starting around March 13, when everything shut down with only a few hours’ notice, we have been living a different life from anything we were imagining before.  No socializing, library and schools closed, businesses shut down, restaurants only providing takeout (and several with groceries available, too), curbside pickup at stores, no going out to eat, listening to music, having meetings. Don’t even think about traveling, not an hour up the road to Washington or across the ocean to Vienna, as was our plan for September.  It’s not so bad for people like me who have money and access to food and supplies, but it still wears a person down, especially given the criminal negligence of the government.  But that rant will remain unwritten here.

On the other hand, it’s been a lovely spring.  The cool weather has persisted with none of the 80+ degree days in April that cook the tulips.  Instead, long stretches of cool, sunny weather with even frost warnings a couple times in the last week.  We’re down for the year, but for the month our rainfall is right on track.  I can’t complain!

Narcissus ‘Sunlight Sensation’ and ‘Baby Boomer’ not only bloomed prolifically but lasted and lasted.  This is ‘Sunlight Sensation.’  Would definitely buy more next year to strew under the maple tree.

The tulips were a bit meager this year, with a few exceptions.  The ‘Happy Generation’ tulip that was supposed to bloom with this ‘Pink Charm’ narcissus barely grew a leaf or two. Tulips in pots seemed to be particularly weak or non-existent.  Voles??

On the other hand,  these dark pink tulips seem to be perennial (so far) and dutifully bloomed at the same time as the viburnum (just out of the frame).

The unfortunately named tulip ‘Bud Light’ was particuarly beautiful, though I don’t have a good picture from my garden.  Here’s one from Jackson & Perkins, and it’s just about how it looked for me, too.

Another one I’d buy again.

The oak tree garden, as always, was an absolute delight, starting with the winter aconites in January.  Here they are on February 9th, interspersed with snow drops. 

And a wider view, on April 11,

when the aconites are gone except for their foliage, and the bluebells, star of Bethlehem, columbine, Japanese roof iris and bleeding heart have taken over.

A closeup of the bluebells in late March: 

Not to forget the hellebores!  They bloom so early, last so long in bouquets, and are so incredibly lovely that I don’t mind that they breed like rabbits and self-seed everywhere.  This one was blooming on February 9th. 

So many beauties that I had to make a slide show for you.

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But wait, don’t forget the peonies and roses!  This was a hand-me-down from my friend Susan Hepler, known to me always as the Hepler peony.  The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ has tons of buds but no blooms yet.

‘Zepherine Drouhin’ is one of my favorites, though it seems to have a fainter scent this year.  Maybe because of the cooler weather?

The ‘souvenir de Ste. Anne’ is an Earthkind rose, the very palest of pale pinks.

Then there is this neglected part of the garden:

The oakleaf hydrangeas that were supposed to grow six feet tall and help to obliterate my view of the neighbor’s shed never did grow very tall.  Then last year we had lots of rain at one point, and this corner of the garden tends to get soggy.  I think they have given up the ghost, and a great culling will happen here soon.  Edging, obliterating the hydrangeas and forsythia (at least some of it) and cutting down the maple saplings that have taken root.  What a mess!  Welcome to spring in Virginia!

First round of bulb planting, part deux

The orders from M&Z and B&B are being delivered after Halloween, but I wanted to plant my containers now.  Off to Roxbury Mills, came back and emptied out the sweet potato vines and geraniums, and on to bulbs and pansies.

 

Kolpakowskiana tulips, apricot passion hyacinths and crocus Snowbunting in the front door pot, plus one other standard tulip that I have already forgotten!

 

Pink Impression, Ivory Floradale and Queen of Night tulips in the two blue pots

 

Texas gold tulips in the green pot

Tulipa Texas Gold

Bulb madness

Trying to note the bulbs planted this fall before it all vanishes from my brain:

24 ‘Blue Giant’ chionodoxa under the maple tree and in the front garden

24 Anemone Blanda mixed under the oak tree and under the akebia vine

4 ‘Spring Song’ tulips (above) free from McClure and Zimmerman in the walkway garden

In the blue pots in the driveway garden:  three each of Queen of Night, Maureen and Cape Holland.  Perhaps they will even bloom in unison!  Over-planted with pale yellow and white pansies

Spring Bulb Recap…

…which is a nice way of saying that I have neglected this blog in favor of the faster blip of Instagram posts.  The original purpose of the blog was to document my garden so that I could learn from my mistakes and notice changes.  Of course, over time I’ve included travels and quilting, but in the original spirit of things, here’s a whirlwind tour of what happened this spring.

When Your Plan Actually Works

The ‘Tête‑à‑tête’ daffodils did just what they were supposed to: add color to the early spring garden in front.  As a bonus, they bloomed with the grape hyacinths, great color combo.  These were perfect and I may get more to add under the maple tree next year.  tete-a-tetes

I love the English bluebells with the pale yellow daffodil ‘Sun Disc.”  Every few years they actually bloom together the way they are supposed to, and this was one of the years.bluebells and daffodils

When You Had No Plan and It Still Works

These pink tulips (French single late from WFF?) beautifully echoed the pale pink viburnum ‘Judd.’  I did not realize I was doing this but will take all the credit for it anyway.  Will they bloom at the same time next year?  We’ll see.

Viburnum and tulips

The yellow hostas and yellow ‘West Point’ are another striking combination for which I will also take )unwarranted) credit.westpoint2

Old Favorites Do Well

These are Tommy crocuses caught in just the right amount of sunshine.Tommies

And these are my favorite lily-flowered tulips, ‘West Point,’ that go on year after year.  I hope these do the same even though they’re in a pot.Westpoint

Echoing Ruth Krauss, daffodils are to give everybody enough.daffodils for cutting

Sometimes There’s a Mystery

The ipheion in the walkway bed seem to have petered out, so I ordered more.  Here is one, looking a bit different from the originals, in the bed by the sidewalk.  So I think it’s ipheion ‘Constellation of Blue Stars’ but maybe not?Ipheion maybe

For next year:  more anemone blanda, especially under the maple tree.  I also added more trout lilies and English bluebells under the oak tree, and that was a Good Thing.

Tulip trials

Emma Townshend recommended this elegant mixture, dubbed “In the still of the night,” in an article last fall.  I put them in a less-than-elegant spot, at the end of my raised vegetable bed, but I’m happy with the combination.  It’s time now to pull them all out and save them in the garden for next year.