Sunday, February 26, 2012

Season of Plenty?

This is one of my favorite hellebores that I have.  I saw this blooming in its pot at a nursery in Maplewood a couple springs ago and was blown away by its dark purple coloring and lack of any spots or mottling.  I felt like I had found a $20 bill.  I couldn't believe that no one else had picked it up.

Being helleborus orientalis, it seeds freely.  If it was the summer, and a different plant, probably I would be annoyed by its proliferation, but since I love hellebores (especially this one), these seedlings feel like a gift.  I'm kind of excited to see such a bounty each spring, maybe because hellebores don't come true from seed.  I look forward to the variety of blooms to come in a few (long) years.  

In another bed, I have hellebores grown from seed blooming.  I get a thrill meeting each new face.  It's been three or four years since I planted them out.  I've lost track.  When I see that first closed bud on a plant, it feels full of possibilities, like a lottery ticket.  I figure I'll keep the good ones and give away the others.

I'll dutifully try to find a home for as many of the purple spawn as I can.

Here's a few from last year, tucked between a hydrangea and the fence.  I kind of forget about them after I stick them in somewhere.  Once the foliage riot of summer is over, the hellebores are visible again.  They'll still be puny this time next year.  I'm always amazed at how tough these guys are.

And speaking of plenty, who could ever resent the multiplication of the tommy crocuses?  They are so polite and discreet, like a well-mannered dinner guest that arrives punctually and goes home early.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pot Culture

This is my son with chamaecyparis pisifiera 'Boulevard', planted three years ago, in a whiskey barrel out front.  The tree was only $6 at Home Depot so I stuck it in the barrel, not really expecting much.  The barrel was given to me by a neighbor, and it sits on a stump given to me by the city when they cut down the callery pear tree in front of our house less than a year after we moved in.   I'm no fan of callery pears, especially 30' monsters looming dangerously over my house, but I was pretty sad when they cut it down.  The city planted a lilac tree the next spring but ignored my calls to grind out the stump.  Oh well. At least the stump is level and wide.

This is another $6 Boulevard chamaecyparis planted the same year.  It's much more vigorous when planted in the ground, as opposed to the barrel.  It's hard to say anything bad about a tree this tough.  It always looks the same, but that's not bad when"the same" is lovely.  My son will outgrow the one in the barrel, but he's already lost to the one out back. 

I think I got my money's worth on the trees.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello Lovelies

A gorgeous hellebore that our wonderful neighbor Ray gave us four years ago.  It's a beautiful thing right now.  Since it's in the front of the house I get to see it coming and going during the day.  I suspect that Ray has some regret that he gave me such a nice selection.  I'm pretty sure that he grew it from seed.  It's a good-sized clump now and could be divided.  Maybe I'll give him a chunk back...

Snowdrops (galanthus elwesii), but no snow... 

Arnold Promise witch hazel.  I always think of this shrub as being the opening act of the gardening season.  It's about a month earlier than normal.  Kind of scary...