I got 100 “scarlet Baby” tulip bulbs last fall from Colorblends, and planted them all along the pathway in the square garden. They are very early, blooming with the earliest daffodils. I remember very well the cold autumn day I planted these. I had redone the bed extensively, putting in the log path edges and adding many wheelbarrow-loads of old manure to build up the soil. As the next picture shows, I missed some of the daffodils when I cleared the path–you can see them on the wrong side of the log and I don’t want them to be stepped on all summer–I’ll move them out of harm’s way after they’ve finished blooming.Elsewhere in the garden the daffodils are the main show.This is in the back yard this morning, and you can see that the first daffodils to bloom are mostly the big yellow ones. There are also a few hyacinths and other spring bulbs here and there. I don’t have nearly enough hyacinths. I think I’ll order a few hundred this coming season and do a major planting. I think they look best planted in groups of a dozen or so.
On the garden tours I also noticed with pleasure that the columbine plants I originally got from my friend Eleanor are finally self-seeding in a serious way. Here is one of them snuggled up against a rock wall. This is a good spot although technically it’s growing in the path–it’s so close in to the edge that it’s safe from heavy human feet.I am also very happy whenever I see a self-seeded bleeding heart. I can never have enough of those. I am not sure but I think that bleeding heart, or dicentra, are not native. I’ve been learning more about how various insects need certain plants to propagate, such as moths and butterflies. I learned that violets are great for many insects. There are lots of violets growing in my garden (predated my arrival) and I’ve often ripped them out to make way for other plants. But now I plan to pay attention and leave as many as possible. Violets self-seed riotously, so I don’t have to worry about that! I also have some beautiful yellow wood violets that I brought in from across the street. These pictures of blue and yellow violets were taken a few years ago in late May. Right now violets are getting green but are still tiny, and not blooming.
One plant that never self-seeds for me is delphinium. Every year I start some from seed. Last year’s seedlings are now in a “nursery bed” in the vegetable garden. A dozen of them are growing strong there and will be moved in a month or so. Around the garden the previous generation is coming up. Here’s one of those: I’ve been out there doing the usual “spring cleaning” this past week. I snap off all the last-year’s phlox stalks, same for daylilies, peonies and turtlehead (chelone) and others. Soon I’ll get the leaf rake out and sweep away some of the leaves and other duff that has accumulated. Here’s the result of the cleaning–big piles of stalks:We’ve just picked up our order of shrubs from the county sale. We got ten baby highbush cranberry, ten Arrow-wood viburnum, and ten bayberry bushes. Our goal is to have a lot more shrubs in the gardens, for birds to shelter in, for winter bird food, and for insect life as well. Also they are good for wind breaks. I’ll have a slightly shadier garden, but over all it’s the direction we want the garden to go in.
This weekend is cool and sunny. Tonight it’s supposed to be 25 degrees (F) so I hope the daffodils that are out are going to survive. The scarlet tulips I know will close up tight and should be fine. They open up wide for the warmth and sunshine, but in rain and dark they close up.