The May Garden
And all of a sudden it was spring. Hooray! The soil has warmed and plants are happy. They are showing their appreciation by blooming, leafing out and generally looking perky. Here's a tour of the May garden, mostly made up of plants that went into the ground one year ago.
Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice' is one of my favorite woodland plants. Tiarellas in general are high up there for me, I would love to see a whole forest floor of the native ones grace my own garden. This is a pretty special pant, however, with its dark centered leaves and larger than average flowers that remind me of twinkling stars in the woods.
The dry river bed garden saw a few losses this winter, but these phlox, artemesia and sedums are very happy and spreading.
A little vignette that I am thrilled to see. An Armeria maritima 'Victor Reiter' is flanked by Sedum oreganum on the left and some Sedum spurium or another. My happiness comes from the fact that they are happy and spreading to fill in the nooks and crannies, helping to keep weeds down.
Here a lavender cotton and Sedum 'Angelina' are quite happy and spreading in the labyrinth garden. It brings a warm glowing spot to this part of the garden we can see from a long distance.
One of the several Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' grasses is finally emerging. In the background Solidago 'Fireworks' is forming nice large clumps, something I was encouraging. There are also two Artemesia 'Powis Castle' in there as well as a Tetrapanax papyrifer and Chasmanthium latifolium or northern sea oats grass.
Here's a geum I got at work, Geum rivale. I love it, it's very hardy and its flowers are quite subtle with gorgeous soft colors.
A closeup of its flower. I can tell you the bumble bees like this one.
I ordered about 50 Camassia quamash or common camas bulbs last year and planted them in the fall. They are all just now coming up and the few that have bloomed so far have especially dark blue flowers. I understand they are variable in color, I am pleased to see this dark blue. It is a native plant of my area and was an important food source for Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. I love these, they very well could have been on this property centuries ago before it was cultivated.
The Eriophyllum lanatum or Oregon sunshine has spread to a lovely gray green clump and is just now blooming. I thought that the winter might have damaged the center of this clump but all the foliage grew back and also spread a little. This is easy for hot and dry locations and is native to the Northwest.
Just a sweet hardy geranium, no i.d. Nice pop of color.
Salix eleganos var. angustifolius, rosemary willow named for its narrow rosemary-like foliage. I am looking forward to seeing this plant grow in my garden, as mature specimens are stunning. I planted it in the very middle of the labyrinth as a centerpiece.
Leaves of an Eremurus or foxtail lily. I planted about 8 of these early last year and only one emerged and bloomed. I thought that was all we were to see of these glorious flower spikes but lo and behold, this year there are about 6 that emerged. I am thrilled.
Facilities Manager and chicken say hello!
The not-yet-opened bloom of Cotinus 'Pink Champagne' from Xera Plants. Such lovely shades of burgundy and green on the foliage.
Limnanthes douglasii or Douglas' meadow foam, a native wildflower that forms a low mat. Although an annual, it reseeds. The insects do love this one. I have seen all manner of teeny tiny flying critters as well as bumble bees and honey bees.
I bought one last year, and this year, I have several little clumps around. The Geranium 'Rozeanne' will eventually take over after these die back.
A hebe and phlox in the gravel garden.
Last year, I sowed a good amount of native wildflower seeds (late...uh-oh!) to see if I could get them to fill in some of the blank spaces to out-compete the weeds. The report is that many have come back and are blooming, and although it's not an impenetrable mass of wildflowers, they are scattered about and blooming. Nemophila maculata shown here, also known as baby five spot.
Nemophila menziesii also known as baby blue eyes. Very charming. In addition to these, California poppies and flax are coming up all around.
Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' - variegated red twig dogwood. We easily see this from the house -- it really brightens up a shady spot.
A view of the hydrangea patch (some of these were already here, others moved to this locale) with some woodland garden in the background. Stumps in the distance are from the recently downed big-leafed maple.
Tellima grandiflora or fringecups in the same woodland area pictured above. I did not plant these, rather they are a common native woodland plant that were naturally here already. The triumph of this scene is that I weeded out the invasive plants like blackberry and a host of other smothering culprits and encouraged this patch to grow and spread. It's more along the lines of woodland management rather than intensive gardening and replacement of plants. Bark pictured in this photo is from the recently downed big-leafed maple tree. It was so cool covered in moss, I had to use it for something special. I spread it around any newly weeded bare soil in this area -- I told myself it would help with weed suppression. At least it looks better than bare dirt with weed seedlings, right?
Deutzia crenata var. nakaiana 'Nikko' - a find at work. The white buds open to sweet flowers. Deciduous small shrub for a shady spot.
A recent discovery at work, Spiraea x vanhouttei 'Pink Ice'...how about that foliage color? When the buds do open they will reveal white flowers. This takes sun to part shade.
Moving on to other parts of the garden. Here, Facilities Manager continues his efforts to clear the recently de-stumped land of roots. The pink poles mark where the rest of our orchard will be planted.
Speaking of stumps, how's this for a monster? Can you spot FM's head behind the pile for scale?
Our beehive finally arrived! I blogged about Bee Thinking, the Portland company that made this. You can revisit that post here. The hive is oiled up and ready to go. As I type this, FM is at beekeeping class and will be ready to host our first bees in the coming weeks. More to come on that front another day.
Nearby the beehive, I spotted the return of this lovely native iris. I found them last year, but feared they might have all been mowed down. Luckily, that is not the case.
Moving on to another corner of the property, the shade garden is really taking off. I will do a more complete post all about it in the coming weeks. The sword ferns planted on top of the berm are a new addition by FM -- he relocated them from the area that is now the orchard. We love them and saved every last one.
One last area I wanted to report an update on is what I call the eye-level eco-roof. It's a large area in full sun against the retaining wall that had a few sedums when we bought the house and property. I have been adding random sedum starts here and there to create the same impact as the eco-roof at the old house had. Only this one you can actually inspect up close.
OK, a few sedums are more aggressive than others. Still, the tapestry is pleasing to my eye and it's pretty much zero maintenance, at least not yet.
Mixed in here is Acaena saccaticulpula 'Blue Haze' along with Sedum oreganum, S. spurium and S. spurium 'Tricolor'.
Good ol' sea thrift or Armeria maritima. I brought these from the old garden and planted a few in the rock wall garden. The ones that survived are quite happy and finally blooming, a little late but that's ok.
A parting shot of the part of the garden I first tackled on this property. That was in February of 2016...it sure has changed since then. Plants have filled in and are creating a tapestry of textures and colors that will hopefully endure for years to come.
While I lost many plants this past winter, even more survived and are thriving. I look at it as a chance to put into practice "survival of the fittest" because I realize with this much to take care of, I want minimal maintenance plants. The ones that did survive (which is really the vast majority) have proven their worth to me. Am I replacing dead plants? I am replacing many, but not with the same thing. The plants that performed so well over our brutal winter and spring are being repeated elsewhere to fill in gaps, which, in the end, will give a better sense of rhythm and coherence to the whole. I knew when I started it would be a big experiment...and so it begins.
That wraps it up for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for your interest and for reading and commenting. May wonderful spring days be ahead for you all. Happy gardening!