Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Columbines and a Public Park Rant

The late June flowers are now taking over from the glorious show of the tulips. Columbines are blooming in full sun, with the shaded plants yet to bloom. Columbines (Aquilegia) are generally recommended for part sun, but mine seem to do okay in full sun, perhaps because of slightly cooler conditions here.

This is an unknown downwards-facing tall pink flowered aquilegia.

I just started a bunch more columbines from seed under lights in the basement. They are a mix from the "Songbird" series, because I decided at some point last year that these definitely were the most beautiful of columbines, with their long spurs, and upwards-facing blooms. I got them from Swallowtail seeds, which has a nice listing of various aquilegias. Most aquilegias are extremely easy to grow from seed.
I have several of these purple aquilegias, several of which grew from seedlings of an old plant that was in the yard when we moved in.

The "rock garden" plants are keeping this steep bank intact and looking pretty while doing it. In the center is a white-flowered aquilegia whose blooms are yet to open. At top center is the white-flowered Dicentra spectabilis Alba (white version of the common bleeding heart). It has to be in part shade, otherwise it burns in our weather.

The white spots all over the dirt are not confetti, perlite, or fertilizer, but the fallen petals from the mountain ash tree.

This lovely pink flowered plant with bluish-grey foliage is the 2006 perennial of the year, Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' (English for 'Feuerhexe', its original German name). It is one of the cheddar pinks (Dianthus have several different types, such as the Maiden pinks, Garden pinks, etc.) and grows in zones 3-9 in full sun.
Swallowtail butterfly on my lilac bush. I'm very allergic to the despised shrub, but I'm glad these colorful critters can appreciate it!

Hopefully the garden will be looking good for this weekend, as some locals came by last night asking to have their wedding photographs in our yard. The yard really is taking on a life of its own -- not only does it have its own website, but it's hosting wedding photos!
Unfortunately, our town has only 6 public parks, one of whose landscaping highlights consists of lawn and a water treatment facility. They are hardly a desirable place to take wedding photos. I suppose this lack of landscaping is supposed to be consistent with a "natural" appearance, but the lack of beautiful common areas is disappointing to me. At least we could have a patch of native wildflowers to add some sparkle to the beachfront parks! They could detract from the only source of color at the moment: fast food packaging and discarded potato chip bags.

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