Monday, February 20, 2012

Holy Cumulostratus!

This season's first bloom on 'Hot Cocoa,' showing its funky browny-orange-red coloring quite nicely.  When it heats up, the bush will keep blooming, but in a less iconoclastic camaro red.


Last year, Elgin received approximately 15.3 inches the entire year.

Now it's only Feb 19, and we've received over half that amount already.

'Buff Beauty's' unusually pallid first bloom (trying to make a cultivar possessive is SUCH a pain.  You either end up with apostrophe congestion, which is the route I've chosen, or you have to lose the cultivar's single quotes altogether.  Dammit.)

Since the climate scientists who study La Niña are still, oddly, predicting a dry winter (what's left of it), this is probably a good thing; though, perversely, the persistent wetness has actually begun to freak me out a little.  I had buried memories of the Horrid Fungus that carried off so many of our roses back in 2007, but now that the ground seems to be permanently soggy, I'm remembering how aggressive and lethal that strain of canker/dieback/whatever-it-was could be.

My first jonquils ever (Narcissus jonquilla) are in bloom!  Hooray for these plucky little specks of yellow!  Now each bulb needs to replicate itself about 10 times, and we'll actually have a decent-sized stand.

Still, everybody looks healthy so far, and there's no rain forecast for the next several days, so hopefully what we're getting here is a nice quenching, not a drowning.

Chinese sacred lilies (Narcissus tazetta v. chinensis), a cheerful and reliable bloomer for us here in Elgin.

And in the interim, we've got a lot of blooming and greening. Our "lawn" (mostly clover at present, but what the hell; I'm sure the soil could use the nitrogen fixation) is lush and bright, our little grape hyacinths are blooming, the cemetery irises and Chinese sacred lilies are just finishing up their bloom cycles, and the snowflakes and jonquils are just getting started.

Dear little grape hyacinth (Muscari neglectum).  These are very cute, but are also rather thin on the ground at the moment.  Here's hoping they spread.

'Georgetown Tea,' 'Ducher,' 'Climbing Old Blush,' and especially 'Archduke Charles' and 'Mutabilis' are all in flower, to varying degrees. It's bright and springy and balmy.

Two of "Georgetown Tea's" fat, nodding blossoms

'Ducher'--one of our more bloomful roses right now.  'Ducher' is such a nice intermediate between formality and casual rusticity.

One of my better pictures of 'Cramoisi Superieur.'  You've no idea how much trouble I've had with that shade of red.  It's still not right, but at least it's in the neighborhood.
 Since we're apparently committed to spring now, Matt & I bought 8 (EIGHT!) cubic yards of compost and spread it all over the place.  Between that and the rain, I'm expecting to see joyous, exuberant plant growth all over the damn place.  (Note that we've cut back the grasses since snapping the pic below.)

OMG--so much compost.

Good winter.  Nice winter.  More like this, please!

Another not-bad pic of 'Cramoisi Superieur'--it's a little darker with stronger purply undertones, but still--it's sort of like this.

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