Saturday, March 20, 2010

SO MUCH STUFF is happening

Spring in the Shade Garden

A Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) leafs out

Today is brisk! The Sunset Valley Farmer's Market had less than half its usual stalls, and everyone there looked frostbitten and miserable. An veritable mistral is blowing--the guy who runs the nursery up the road told Matt that his neighbor's metal roof blew off in the wind--just peeled right off. My fingers kept getting numb while I snapped pictures, but so much is going on that I couldn't stop.

For example, I'm shocked to discover that our Japanese maples aren't dead. Their leaves got progressively crispier last summer till they finally burned off completely. Perhaps they just needed to acclimate?

Last year, Matt dug up some mystery bulbs from his family's property on the Brazos River. Turns out, some of them were snowflakes. What is interesting is that the flowers look a bit different from our other snowflakes--slimmer, more flared, more deeply lobed, and with pointier lobes. A different cultivar? A different species? Or just different growing conditions (eastside vs westside gardens)?

A skinnier snowflake: Leucojum aestivum?

The shade garden is seeing a lot of action. Things are poking their little heads out of the ground, popping into bloom, and putting on new leaves. Look at the lovely bright greenness of this patch of inland sea oats, for example.

First flush of inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)

Or look at the dark red of the shrimp plant we bought recently--particular grateful on such a forbiddingly grey day.

Dark red Justicia cultivar

Our 'New Dawn' abutilon finally put on a bunch of buds. I'm really impressed with abutilon--the weather's been incredibly capricious this month, but they're just blooming away merrily. There's a lot of vitality in these little plants.

A worm's eye view of Abutilon 'New Dawn'

Lots of Pictures of Trees in Bud
Our trees are full of buds and new leaves, which is always so reassuring. For example, after a very rocky summer, our Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum) is recharged and ready to go.

Montezuma cypress by the pond

This Lacey oak (Quercus laceyi) is full of little pink flower-like rosettes of leaves.

One of our Lacey oaks, expressing its feminine side

And our new weeping baldcypress, 'Cascade Falls' is continuing to bud out with undiminished vigor, much to my relief. Transporting it home from Austin sticking out of the back of my little Insight was rather nerve-wracking, and I was concerned that it would be traumatized. Seems pretty well-adjusted so far.

A zillion tiny green nubbins on the 'Cascade Falls' baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

The Roses Are Back!
We dug up the two 'Knockout' roses and gave them to our friends Cathy, Kate, & Keith (thanks again for taking them!). So now we have more room for antiques: Madame Jo, here we come.

And among the antiques, we're j-u-u-u-s-t starting to see some new blooms and lots and lots of buds. Look at the roof of the gazebo: 'Climbing Old Blush' is covered in buds.

And inside, one timid little blossom has already opened.

The season's first flower of 'Climbing Old Blush'

'Georgetown Tea' last year's earliest bloomer and a really fantastic many-petalled plant, tucked away its first flower for this year deep in the middle of itself.

Our first 'Georgetown Tea' blossom this year

Meanwhile, 'Ducher,' a rose I could never be brought to care about until I grew it myself, already has a good five or six blossoms and rafts of buds. After the indomitable miniature, 'Green Ice,' the redoubtable 'Ducher' is probably our garden's most floriferous rose--blooms early, blooms late, blooms often. And it has an easy, casual gracefulness, while nevertheless being surprisingly sturdy. Some roses are prone to bruises, browning, and insect damage, but 'Ducher' always looks fresh and bright and clean and slightly lemony. If Mrs Meyer's fancypants aromatherapeutic cleaning products came in rose form, they might look a little like 'Ducher.'

Darling 'Ducher'


ESP said...

Hi Mel and Matt.

I just found your blog, and added you to my blog-roll.

The inland sea oats are the best at this time of year, so green and fresh. My Japanese maples are also just now flushing up with new foliage...all is good!

Happy to have found your Elgin blog, and I look forward to following your gardening antics!


Elgin_house said...

Thanks, East Side! I'm tickled! I've been enjoying your blog & the adventures of your horticultural hobbits for some time.



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