Friday, January 22, 2010

Sing it, Maria!

"I have confidence in sunshine ... I have confidence in rain ... I have confidence that spring will come again! ..." (THE SOUND OF MUSIC, Rodgers & Hammerstein)

We've had 2 days of sunshine, clear skies and temperatures in the 70s ... perfect weather for gardening. I decreed that the Head Gardener must spend most of her time outside, despite the lingering traces of bronchitis, believing that Vitamin D would be good for that which ailed her. I was right: I felt much better after spending those days working in one area of the garden and another. The work itself not only made me feel better physically but was also mentally and emotionally uplifting. Clearing out foliage and stems that were damaged by the recent hard freeze was therapeutic for the garden and the gardener. Everywhere I looked I could see reasons to be optimistic that spring will indeed come again.

The Oriental Poppies (Papaver somniferum) are poppying up all over: the cold weather didn't faze them in the least. Many of them are self-sown from last year's plants but I did scatter a few seeds here and there. ACK ... that reminds me, I have seeds sent to me by Mr. McGregor's Daughter and I must plant them post haste!


There are Toadflax (Linaria maroccana) seedlings (yes, I ought to thin them but I rarely do and they seem to tolerate overcrowding pretty well). Toadflax is my favorite spring annual, bar none. The blooms aren't big and showy like those of the poppies but I can't imagine my garden without them.


The first of the Hyacinths from Brent & Becky's Bulbs is up. I hope it will grow to the proper height before it blooms instead of blasting as so many Hyacinths before it have done. Brent & Becky pre-chilled the bulbs for me (thanks, y'all!) and I hope they're not sulking about how much warmer it is on my corner of Katy than it was in their cooler!

Narcissus 'Avalanche' are poking their heads up. These are supposed to naturalize for us down here in Texas and I certainly hope they will. I dream of having Narcissus scattered throughout the back garden and these are a step towards realizing that dream.

The Delphiniums have buds! I purchased 4 inch pots of Delphinium x belladonna 'Connecticut Yankee' at a local nursery and planted them out in December. Last year's Delphs did so well that I'm hoping to repeat that success. I saved seeds from last year's plants and scattered them a while back. I see some seedlings that look more like Delphs than Larkspur so I'm hopeful they made, as we say in the South.


I'm really excited that the Calochortus bulbs my sister sent me are sending up shoots. It's a start ... now to see if I can get them to bloom. 'Golden Orb' is the variety. I've never grown these but my wonderful, generous, indulgent sister, Dr. Laura, sent me a box of several different kinds of bulbs from Easy to Grow Bulbs. Thanks, baby sister!



Also in that box from Dr. Laura were Babiana stricta, commonly known as Baboon Flower. The name comes from their being a favorite food of Baboons in its native locales. Babiana are South African in origin and should grow well for me, if weather conditions provide them with dry winter dormancy. We'll see how that goes.


This is the first of the Byzantine Gladiolus to make an appearance. I'm hoping they will indeed naturalize and grace Wit's End for many years to come. It might help if I mark the places where they're planted so the HG or I don't inadvertently dig them up while in a planting frenzy. These small-flowered Gladiolus are the most wonderful shade of magenta, absolutely shocking in the intensity of the color.

Buttercream Poppies reseeded last year: we have a grand total of 2 seedlings! Shock and awe, right? I'm not sure what works against germination of the California type poppies here at Wit's End but I continue to buy more seeds each year and celebrate however many choose to stick with me from germination to bloom!


There are other plants quietly going about their business, growing and thriving despite the worst winter had to throw at them. The Engelmann's Daisies (Engelmannia peristenia) did lose bloom stalks to the cold but the rosettes of foliage are healthy and unaffected. A variegated Myrtle (Myrtis communis) that was planted in November heaved out of the ground a bit, exposing its roots, but the foliage is unscathed. What a trooper! It doesn't really surprise me that spring bloomers like Hinckley's Columbines (Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana) and the native Ranunculus macranthus suffered not a whit. It does lift my spirits to see them and know that it won't be that long before they're blooming.

I have confidence that spring will come again!

5 comments:

Linda/Central Texas Gardener said...

I sure am sorry about the bronchitis. But I agree, a warm day digging in seems to make things so much better. I'm so excited to see your bulbs coming up. I find new ones every day: everybody should plant bulbs. Oh, just put in an order to B&B's today for Sulphur Queen hymenocallis. Go get some for summer! Yummy! I love my toadflax, too. We'll have to compare pictures: is yours the yellow & white?

Diana said...

Cindy - So glad you got some much-needed Vitamin D to boost your spirits. Everything is popping up around your garden -- you must be so excited! I love Narcissus, and have many of them scattered around. I don't think you can have too many, frankly. Seeing your poppies poppying up reminded me of that beautiful field of mixed colors in Chicago and the lovely picture of you in front of it. Can't wait for the next trip to Buffalo!

EAL said...

Daffodils and poppies--what a beautiful combination. I do hope your hyacinths come up OK.

I can hardly wait to see SG's double poppies in your garden. I am trying them too, but my conditions aren't great for them.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Thanks for the link love! If you think it's too late for the Poppies, you can start them in the freezer. They want a bit of cold before they germinate.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Linda, I'll go look at the Hymenocallis. Heaven knows I had a lot of space open up thanks to the recent cold spells.

Diana, I'd love to plant daffodils into the lawn. Every year I say I will & forget!

EAL, I'm watching the hyacinths. I already see a bud stalk in one of them, which is a bit soon. Not much I can do, though!

MMD, I'll make a note to put the poppies in the freezer. How long, though?