Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perennials from Under the Ice

I'm still waiting for the emergence of my primulas from the lump of ice that sits in the shade under the mountain ash tree. I saw this one poking through this morning, looking generally unchanged from its appearance late last fall.
Primula auricula:

I bought a few more P. auricula from Wrightman Alpines last year, providing companions to the beautiful purple-flowering ones I got from a primula-loving gardener in town. These petite perennial flowers are incredibly hardy, and are highly recommended even for Alaskan gardeners. They appreciate partial shade and moderate amounts of moisture. I find growing them from seed to be frustrating, though not impossible. I am looking forward to their exquisite show of blooms in the next few months.
Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks):

Sempervivum also does very well over the winter. I had one type die last winter, but regular snowcover seems to be adequate for most species of these perennial plants. They tend to take on vivid colors --like this deep red-- in cool weather. Come summer, they will be bright green. They are great for rock gardens, where they spread as the loose "chicks" roll away and root themselves wherever they land.

If you are photographically-inclined, you may be able to guess what new equipment I just picked up, considering today's photos. My brother fairly easily convinced me that I was in need of a macro lens, essentially to get really nice close-up pictures of plants and flowers. I will now be out with my 100mm Tokina macro lens, stalking the plants on a much, much closer level...


Becky said...

Except for the snow part, your closeups are great. This year I've had enough of that. You will be surprised at the things you can view in an entirely different way when you get in so close.There is so much beauty to be seen. Even the snow will be more interesting.

O.I.M said...

nice photos. I'm sure you'll give that macro lens a great workout. I am always so surprised to hear hens and chicks do well over the winter. I've got a psychological block with these plants--they look so tropical I can't believe they would survive a Canadian winter. Perhaps the solution is to plant some :)

4streegrrl said...

lovely photos! I enjoy reading about your northern Canuck gardening experiences, while I fine tune my own, *very* coarse skills as a relatively new home-and-garden owner. My own hen-and-chicks are doing quite well after finally coming free of snow in the past two weeks. I'm always surprised how quick things will take off in northern Canada, with a bit longer day and a bit warmer temperature. La Nina slowed spring down for us this year, but she hasn't put a halt to it! :)