Sunday, March 30, 2008

High hopes for a dainty white native

Among the earliest of the spring flowers is the erythronium. For some time now, I have had the “pagoda” and the dens-canis, but last fall I planted a species erythronium that is native to our region: the revolutum, a white variety. I have a beautiful image of it in my wildflower calendar, but I’m too lazy to scan it, so this is from Brent and Becky’s.

I am so anxious to see these plants come up. Sure, I can see the tulips starting to push through and of course there’s a few ratty snowdrops here and there (they’re not ratty so much as the dirty snow and old leaves that form their unappealing backdrop). If the lovely mottled foliage from erythronium would last through the season, as with some other spring bloomers, it would be a perfect plant. Sadly, though, it disappears, so you can’t depend on it as a ground cover.

Still, I hope it works out and I can post some images here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm back! Help me name this plant!

These strange semi-succulents were on every terrace at the Belvedere where we stayed. I really liked them, though at first I thought ours was dead. I imagine some of you Southerners and Southwesterners will know this. I have never seen it offered in any greenhouse around here.

BTW, for those who would like to see more Sicily images, here's a link: Taormina images. You won't have to sign in, join up, sell your soul, or anything.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Forcing season, part II

This has been a long one: I started with tazettas in December and here I am with tulips, cherry blossoms, and still a few hyacinths in mid-March. The tulips just started showing color a few days ago (a few are not quite there yet, as you see above) and the cherry buds are starting to pop. I brought the branches in in February—in fact, I think it’s noted a few posts down.

Sadly, our housesitter will be enjoying most of this show, as we leave for Sicily Monday. I hope to come back with plenty of great wildflower pics, as they should be in full swing there. Look for continued (prewritten) posting on Garden Rant, but I think GWI will be hiatus until we return.

Oh, btw, no action outside! I know snowdrops are there somewhere, but the thaw has just started,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Giving native orchids a shot

I am very proud of my friend Cheryl for finding this website for sustainably buying native orchid seedlings. This is exactly the kind of thing that keeps me excited about gardening—new challenges. Neither of us would even try if we had to pay $50 and up for these but we’re willing to roll the dice (as a Rant commenter put it) for some reasonably-priced seedlings. If they do naturalize, that might be too good to be true.

These are meant for Northern climates—they don’t do well south of Iowa, according to the website. And many of them used to be much more commonly found in the woodlands of the Northeast. I have to say I have never seen a wild orchid. How sad is that? But then, I don’t get out into the parks and preserves around here as often as I should in the spring, when the weather can be iffy. This spring: wildflower walks for sure. I understand there are some great places.