I am constantly adding plants to my seemingly already full two-acre garden. There's always room for one more. Always. So I do, I add one per day, on average, I'd say. It made me think that I rarely photograph most of these, so I pulled out the camera last weekend and looked for a few interesting finds. Here's what's happening in early spring at Chickadee Gardens:
The fire pit has been uncovered for the season, the beds are being composted and the deck is clean. Spring must be in the air.
First up is an Eriogonum or buckwheat. This is E. umbellatum, although I have a tag saying it's E. ovalifolium. Based on its flower, I'd say it's a form of E. umbellatum. In any event, it's a stunning yellow-flowered evergreen small shrub native to the West Coast. The buckwheats are ideally suited for the drier parts of the West Coast (and beyond) and make fine garden plants and enrich insect habitat. This is definitely a favorite of mine.
I only show this crazy thing because it's a SEDUM. It's Sedum senanense in apparent small tree form. It was a "I don't know what to do with this" at work, so I got it, naturally. I'm sure it will look much better in several months. We'll check back on it then.
Melianthus major from Alison of Bonnie Lassie. It was a small start last year, I think it's poised to take over the Himalayan mounds.
Small moments of victory. This is a tiny corner of the labyrinth/meadow garden with tinges of orange from Anemanthele lessoniana or pheasant tail's grass combined with Lavandula stoechas 'Van Gogh', a couple of throw away plants from work that have rebounded nicely. 'Van Gogh' is such a lovely lavender, it's a stoechas form and has pale yellow top bracts on the flower heads. Very soft and catches the light brilliantly. I'll post photos if and when it blooms.
The very corner of the meadow is awash in bright greens of wildflower seedlings. They seeded around heavily last year, I think it will be lovely combined with the grasses, alliums and poppies tucked in there already. These are all native wildflowers including Gilia capitata, Gilia tricolor, Nemophila maculata, and Phacelia campanularia. Weeding here has been especially challenging, but I'm hoping the wildflowers will out-compete the weeds and, by the looks of it, that may be possible.
Our neighbor's fruit trees are so cheerful, they greet us every day.
Emerging foliage of Leucothoe fontanesiana 'Rainbow' is quite bright. This shrub for shade has been slow growing for me, but is bright and evergreen, so it stays.
Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty' comes to life in the shade garden. I think this is one of Facilities Manager's favorites.
Osmanthus delavayi or sweet olive from Xera Plants a few years back. It is a most versatile evergreen shrub, happy in either sun or shade. The fragrant white blooms are about to open, and it can be clipped to form a hedge if needed. I intend to let it grow in a natural form in the far northwest corner of our property.
This is one of the coolest salix or willows I've ever come across. I got it at Joy Creek Nursery where I work, of course. It is Salix nakamurana yezo alpina, a slow-spreading groundcover type. The fuzzy leaves are just coming on, this is followed by typical salix flowers.
Another find from work, a typical Pulmonaria, which I have fallen for. This one is Pulmonaria 'Benediction' - a true blue lovely thing for a shade garden. From our website at work:
Lungworts offer long-term interest. In early spring they brighten up the garden with bright, long-lasting flowers, many of which change color as they age. They are a favorite of early spring hummingbirds. After the lovely display of flowers in spring, remove the old flower stems. Lush summer foliage.
I have found they sort of go through a decline after flowering but then put on great new energy and fresh leaves thereafter until frost.
Beesia deltophyla is an evergreen clumping groundcover for shade. The new growth is the darker bronze color, and the slugs seem to leave it alone. It blooms with spikes of white flowers in summer, too. Although my clump hasn't grown a lot, I really like this plant and definitely recommend it.
Another shade lover, Cardamine trifolia is also an evergreen ground cover. I have it at the edge of a path, it is starting to put on bright new growth. It flowers now as you can see, and although it's a simple little thing, it tolerates dry shade once established and is very tidy looking to boot.
The path through the shade garden grows! We began expanding last fall with gravel and the temporarily placed logs which shall be placed more permanently and dug into the ground a bit later this spring. I have not waited for it to be finished to start planting, however. You can see the little compost bombs on all of the new plants. There are a lot in there, you will just have to wait a while for them to mature to find out what they all are . . . oh the suspense!
Speaking of compost, my 2+ units (over 15 cubic yards) are about 2/3 gone. I've been busy with:
The Himalayas got a fair share.
So did the bed around the fire pit.
It looks much better than the bleached out soil. Plus, it will smother existing weed seeds and improve the soil. In this bed I also cut back my beloved deer grass or Muhlenbergia rigens. The spikes will regrow, it is nice to know they can stand all winter long and still look fantastic. Cutting them back simply refreshes them, I don't think I had to do it but they were definitely dry and spent.
In other chores news, we had a near summer-like day this weekend so I, of course, mopped the deck and got out all the deck furniture. It poured rain the next day and has been frozen every morning since. Bad timing on my part, but it looks better.
And in turkey news . . . WAIT! . . . what? Yes, this sweet little gal has been roaming our neighborhood for a month gobbling away, a little lost.
She wandered into our property and was obviously very hungry and thirsty, so I gave her some chicken feed and fresh water, both of which she devoured. She chose to go hang out and eventually live with the hens. I think she was lonely. She makes the sweetest cooing noises, especially when we give her treats, and is seemingly very happy with all of her hen buddies. They enjoy each other's company. When I call the chickens to come for a treat, she comes running along with them. She roosts on the edge of the chicken fence, completely able to fly away, but she stays by choice. She must like it here. I guess since Facilities Manager bought some turkey food today that means we're keeping her. Unless you lost a sweet turkey and are looking for it, that is. We call her Sweet Pea.
That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting. We hope spring has arrived where you are, we are sure enjoying ours so far. Happy gardening, everybody!