Saturday, April 20, 2013

April: Daffodil, Ice Follies

April: Daffodil

These are probably King Alfred, but just ask for Big Yellow Daffodils at your nursery...also known as: The Daffodils That Were Here When We Moved In And We Bought More.  Good in areas bordering wilderness...deer hate them.  They are quite poisonous as are all in the family.  Add bone meal or fertilizer made for bulbs when planting.  Once you plant them, they could potentially reward you for the rest of your life.  If really crowded, you might consider dividing them.

April: Muscaria. White Grape Hyacynth

These are new for me.  Never had them in white as a child.  Now, they are available in a dazzling array of blues, purples and blues touched with white. 

April: Muscaria. Grape Hyacinth

These are the plants I remember fondly from childhood, in fact these might be my grandmother's

April: Bloodroot

These melt my heart every spring.  The first flowers to open, except for crocus snowdrops etc.
These were collected by my father in the 1930s in Canada, close to where he grew up.  They moved to Littleton Maine, then to Wiscasset, Brunswick, Freeport and on to Mansfield, Mass.  Some have moved back to Maine in my sister's property as well.  They last no time at all.  The petals are quick to fall when the wind blows or they are touched, but while they are there, they are a brilliant white, and they spread readily, especially in woodsy soil.  Available in a few catalogues.  The leaves grow into big heart shapes for a long time, then they die to the ground in mid summer, until next year.
The roots were used medicinally by the indians and their scarlet juice was used as a dye.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lysimachia Punctata

I started seeing this plant in English Gardening books but rarely in American gardens.  It has been here for some time though.  It is a bit spready, if not invasive.  It is related to Mint after all.  I looked for this for ages before I found it in a coffee can on the side of a road for $1.00.  Then after years of people asking what it was I started finding it in nurseries.

Mountain Laurel

This is perhaps my favorite flower, without family associations.  A woodland understory plant, so it likes shade, a real stunner!


I have this in lavender as well as the blue, but it is difficult to see the other color.  I got this from my sister's garden when she left civilization for the wilds of northern Maine.  It now grows wild in the paddock grass behind my house.


This is variegated willow, the color only shows on new growth.  Below see Cotoneaster, behind, a pink Barberry, Euonymous and Hydrangea Petiolaris climbing on a chain link fence in a solid wall of green.

Bachelor Button

Centauria Montana.  Related to other Bachelor Buttons in the garden, like the Cornflower, and is also seen in pink and yellow.  This was one of my grandmother's plants.

Lychnis Coronaria

There are a number of Lychnis including pinks, whites and magentas.  Also called Rose Campion, we always called them Mullein Pinks.  Pretty much cast iron plants just cannot be killed.  They are not exactly invasive though.  Lychnis Chalcedonia is known as  Maltese Cross in various shades of orange.  I had Grammie's plants here, but they have seeded together with the ones that were already here.  There was an inquiry about this plant. Is it invasive?
Well, the stand you see here has been there since I moved here some ten years ago.  In that time the stand has doubled.  They spread by seed and it does produce plenty of it.  It was in my grandmother's garden for sixty years and never seemed to be there in any overpowering quantity


Feverfew is Tanacetum Parthenium.  a lovely little plant traditionally used to combat fever.   Spreads readily.  Always be careful using medicinal herbs.


We had a dozen different varieties in Houlton when I was a kid.  Blue with white throats, purple, pink, red, white etc.  They seed readily, but I think they may also revert to the pink readily.  They are more homely than the ones you find in nurseries.  Notice the insect trails in the leaves.  The wild ones are very pretty in dark red with yellow throats.


This is supposed to be black.  The buds certainly are.  I had one called Licorice Stick that was much darker.


I like the single varieties as they don't collapse so quickly.  Plant peonies and give them plenty of manure in a big hole, and these will be there for life as well.  Consider a cage for support.

Iris Beverly Sills

One of my few named varieties.  The blossoms are huge.  See other iris posts for culture.


This is one of Grammie's.  These are very top heavy and really need a cage for best display.  In the family for nearly a hundred years...say by 2020 or so.

Seven Sisters?

I doubt it.  This is just one of the root stock roses that something nicer was grafted on...Aunt May was not a gardener, and just tended what came up.  Many of the tea roses and other hybrids were nurtured long after the nice rose died, But then, I can remember Aunt May with them, which is very desirable.  Still pretty if not a great name.  Mom always wanted me to rescue the Seven Sisters that she remembered as a child, but this was where she remembered the bush to be.  Long gone I guess.

White Rugosa