Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Astronomical Spring

Spring is definitely the season when non-native plants dominate my garden. I have no problem with this, because at this point in the year I'm so happy to have anything growing outside in warm temperatures that I hardly care what its provenance might be. This situation will be changing, however, because I'm planting shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia) and yellow pimpernels (Taenidia integerrima) this year, which will add a native woodland touch to my spring garden.

So despite the leaves still strewn across my garden, ostensibly for protection from the temperatures that are still hovering around freezing right now, I've got tulips (top), daffodils (middle), and irises(bottom) peeking out above the soil. These irises have spread prodigiously over the past two years. Even last spring there were not nearly this many, and this photo only shows one stand of them. There are many more beneath the leaves near these guys. I'm not sure what type of iris these are (Siberian, bearded, etc.) Perhaps when I have pictures of them in bloom, you can help me! I inherited the tulips and daffodils from the previous owner when I moved into the house, and they've bloomed better each year. Since I'm not sure where all the bulbs are, I have dug into a couple and ruined them, but every spring there's random tulips where there weren't any before, and they range from yellow to pink to red. Always a nice surprise!

At this point, I'm a little worried about frost damage. It was in the 20s last night and it doesn't show much sign of warming significantly in the next couple days. This is always a dangerous time for plants in the Chicago area. I tried covering the irises again with the leaves after I took that picture. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I can throw the blanket off the whole thing in a few days. In the meantime, at least there's plant potential underneath!

PS-Those cyclamens from Garden Blooms Day seemed to have shriveled. I am fascinated by the sculptural beauty of cyclamens, but I have now killed them as houseplants and as bulbs in my garden. Why??! How does one raise cyclamens successfully?!

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