Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pulsatilla Color

Pulsatilla vulgaris (pasqueflower) grows in my front sloped rock garden, and currently, it seems rather alone out there. Much of the phlox and dianthus appears to be dead, so I'm not sure what's going to give this bed some color this year.

I grow Pulsatilla in several shades of pink and purple, as well as in white. These plants seems to like well-drained soil and usually bloom earlier than this. They self-seed around a bit, but I welcome the seedlings and transplant them around the flowerbeds. These pink ones have been pointing their heads downward for the last week, possibly out of protest at the lack of sunny skies. I feel their pain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another Hardy Primula

I have to post this picture of my Primula saxatilis, which did very well over this particularly harsh winter. It reseeds itself around a little bit, and considering the long-lived attractive show of lilac-colored flowers right now, I wouldn't mind it spreading around a bit further.

The wild pincherry trees are in bloom right now:

Veronica whitleyi is the most attractive Veronica in my yard. I love the dark blue flowers with contrasting white centers. It forms a very low mat (2" or less) that creeps along the ground in my alpine garden. I believe I got this plant from Wrightman's Alpines, a great source for these little plants.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Survivor: Winter in the Northern Garden

I did more spring clean-up and weeding in the raised beds today, ripping out lots of more dead plant material. It seems that many plants succumbed or were severely damaged by the -30C weather we had last fall before we got any snow cover. Any plants remaining deserve an award for their survivorship despite such conditions. Primula auricula is one such hardy plant. The polyanthus and drumstick (denticulata) primulas never survived, though. The creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) was hit very hard, with very few live stems and flowers this spring. Usually, their pink flowers contrast nicely with the grape hyacinths, which have yet to start blooming.
Primula auricula in bloom:

It was a strange winter for the trees too. The mountain ash still hasn't dropped its dead leaves from last year, so the dead brown foliage is still hanging up there like dirty laundry amid this spring's new green leaves.
Dead junipers and the winter-savaged perennial flower bed:

Dryas octopetala among poppies in the alpine garden:

Most of the lilies are looking okay, as are the delphiniums and bergenia. Time will tell if the daylilies and hostas are going to come around this year. It's good that I got some gardening done today, because tomorrow's forecast includes mixed rain and snow! I'm wondering if a warm day will ever come or if the pumpkin seedlings will stay hiding indoors forever?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wildlife en route

Well, the garden is looking pretty dismal at the moment. All the flowers that have usually put on a show for May are either absent or greatly delayed. There are no signs of any daffodils, which is rather ominous, and may signal that all the bulbs froze and rotted. I hope not, but it is rather unusual that I don't see any sign of them.

So, as an alternative, here are some animals we spotted on our recent roadtrip:

Sandhill cranes, spotted south of La Ronge. These very tall birds made some strange noises, rather like something being strangled, as they flew away from us.

Raven in Banff national park (okay, so this is no elk or mountain sheep):

Mother bear and three cubs spotted south of La Ronge:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Penticton Japanese Garden

The recent gap in garden posting is the result of a trip to green places in British Columbia. I am sad to be missing the early stages of my spring bulbs back in Saskatchewan, but am appreciating the spring blossoms in the Okanagan now, instead. The pink and white blossoms of the dogwood trees, deep pink-covered branches of the hawthornes, and majestic pink flower-spires of the horse chestnut trees are amazing here in May.
Pond at the Penticton-Ikeda Japanese garden, which is located on the beach at Okanagan lake.
Rhododendrons in bloom:
Rhododendrons and various shapes of evergreens along the pond:

Bearded irises and bamboo: