Saturday, March 24, 2012

FOTD: Doubling up

Horticultural purists aren’t big fans of doubles. They feel hybridizers can unnecessarily complicate a simple form, making it fussy and ungainly. I don’t like all doubles, but I do enjoy double tulips. Most are scented and they seem to last longer that the singles, especially Black Hero, the double of Queen of the Night. The ones here are Montreaux, as forced by the local botanical gardens for their spring flower show. Double tulips, for the most part don’t seem to buckle under their own weight.

This can’t be said for double daffodils, which emerge earlier and can get clobbered by spring rains. They stems don’t hold up the way tulip stems do. I’ve had these Obdams for years, and they invariably end up face down in the mud. But they’re still lovely.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

FOTD: Hellebores, again

A man walking by the house asked me about these today, and I was glad to talk about them. I now have ten, several of which have grown into fairly large clumps. But I never would have gotten addicted to them if not for three important factors:

-Interesting varieties in different colors and double forms are now commonly available, especially from Plant Delights, and they seem to be just as vigorous as the single whites I started out with. It looks like I have Onyx Odyssey and Kingston Cardinal, and (maybe) Ivory Prince, as well as some I can’t guess at.

 -They have a really long flowering period. They start in April (March this year) and the flowers hang on through June.
-They not only love shade, they can thrive in dry shade and compacted, root-ridden soil. 

I am considering carpeting the entire front garden in them. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

FOTD: Behold the Parrot

Over the top? Pushing the envelope? Gorgeous beyond belief? Parrot tulips are all that and more, and this is why it is mystifying to me why more gardeners don’t grow them.

It’s possible that parrots don’t return year after year like  … oh, that’s right, very few hybrid tulips return with regularity. Or maybe some feel they’re expensive? Yeah, that must be it—I’m sure I paid all of $8 for the group that yielded this bouquet.

Actually, I couldn’t care less if other gardeners embrace parrots. The only thing that will make me upset is if the demand gets so minimal that I can’t find them anymore. Expect organized dissent when that happens. As for these parrots, a blend from ColorBlends wholesale, they have more than fulfilled any and all expectations of pleasure that I ever expected. In fact, I’d be disappointed if they returned next year. It would lessen the drama.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flower of the Day

For some time, I have been at a loss about how to invigorate this blog. I already post weekly on another, much more widely read blog, and—to be honest—the task of writing for this blog had become onerous. At best. How many blogs does one person need?

Indeed, in these days of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, do we need blogs at all? Maybe we don’t. But blogs are not really about need or readership. They just exist. This blog exists, and in order to keep it that way, I’ve decided to turn it into a project, namely the flower of a day project.

Today’s flower is a hellebore. A fancy one.