Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring! Spring! Spring!

It's not yet Peak Rose, but all sorts of things are booming and sprouting and leafing out.

For example, 'Hot Cocoa' is putting on this season's first flowers.  Believe it or not, this is actually an accurate depiction of the color.  Matt hates it, but I find it strange and entrancing.  Even more than most roses, HC's color varies with the weather--cooler temperatures bring out the browny-silvery-lilacy tones that lurk under the orangey-red.

A lovely 'Hot Cocoa' bloom

'Green Rose' was one of our first roses to pop into bloom, and it's kept it up admirably.  Interesting, as the "flowers" fade, they turn kind of straw-colored, which is the only time they're terribly visible. 

'Green Rose'--what can I say? We like floral oddities.

Meanwhile, Tulipa clusiana 'Tinka' materialized almost overnight. I had no idea they had even sprouted, when suddenly, they were in full bloom.  Unlike many T. clusianas, this cultivar has warm golden yellow accents.

T. clusiana 'Tinka'

The Iris virginiana slip that I bought 2-3 years ago from Madrone Nursery has finally bloomed.  It's a long, leggy thing, with a bright blue bloom.

Iris virginiana--purportedly, an unusually salt-tolerant variety, which will come in handy when the sea levels rise, but not much before

Poppies!  Last year we sowed whole heap of Papaver somniferum from my Aunt P. I think we maybe got one small, sad bloom? Not a good year for the wildflowers--beastly drought.  But this year, all of last year's frustrated seeds went nuts, and we have an impenetrable thicket of poppies. I've been checking on them (almost) daily, but one managed to bloom without my seeing it. Nevermind--there are about 50 more buds in on the way.

A blue-green forest of poppies, heavy with buds

'Mlle Franziska Kruger'--I'm not actually nuts about the quilled, wadded look that Mlle FK specializes in, but the colors are so very pretty--she's almost as changeable as Mutabilis.

One of Mlle Franziska Kruger's scrunched up flowers

And I caught 'Isabella Sprunt' about 30 seconds too late.  Her flowers spend a long time as slender, elegant, very Tea-ish buds, then open into quite elegant and formal blooms... for about 5 minutes.  After which they turn into this rather untidy thing, and by the next day, half the petals will have dropped.  Still, that pale butter color is nice.  But if you have to choose between them, don't hesitate: go with 'Ducher.'

The mayfly-like flowers of 'Isabella Sprunt'

It seems like every spring, a different rose delights and surprises me.  This year, it's 'Kaiserin Friedrich.'  As a climber, she goes straight up--long, straight, limbs that withstand bending and weaving better than the average rose (I hate it when you're trying to thread a rose through a trellis and you have to bend... bend... bend--and at the last minute, it snaps).  But her upward tendencies mean the blooms are a bit thin around her knees--she has (so far--we're in her 2nd year) few lateral branches to break into bloom.  However.  She has a decent load of blooms at the top, and I think she's starting to do a little more branching, so hopefully the trellis will fill in.  But above all, how nifty are these flowers?  Check out the ruffled margins on the petals of these buds.

The precisely fluted petals of two 'Kaiserin Friedrich' rose buds

They'd be fussy if it weren't for the obvious toughness and vitality of the plant itself.  And look at the lovely range of colors: cream to soft yellow to peach to pink with darker pink margins.  And that complex array of petals!  It brings a real touch of sophistication to our otherwise rough-and-tumble DIY sort of a garden.

A fully open 'Kaiserin Friedrich' blossom

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I just love all your roses!

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