Hello April

As March draws to a close, the excitement factor rises. How lucky for us that March has been kind and the concert of trees, flowers, shrubs and bulbs is right on cue. With an open garden through the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon  (HPSO) on the horizon as well as many scheduled visitors, we have been busy spreading woodchips (thank you Chip Drop) by the truckload as well as weeding and preparing the vegetable garden among other tasks. This week, however, I had a break as my dearest friend Mary came to visit and so took some time to photograph a few moments at Chickadee Gardens as a little break before a busy April. Here we go!

Mary is the queen of bouquets, here she has selected a variety of spring blooms to grace the dining room table for the week.

Just one more flower....it will fit!

Chaenomeles x superba 'Hollandia' from Gossler Farms is a fabulous color. Too bad it's such a slow grower, but hey - I can wait.

I show these every year, it's true. Tulipa praestans 'Shogun', a species tulip, gets better every year which is why I prefer species tulips to fancy hybrids. Short but mighty.

Pretty foliage of Hebe 'Red Edge' caught my eye.

Early spring sun illuminating brand new leaves on so many woody shrubs right now. This is Spiraea 'Pink Ice' with pink and white mottled foliage.

Soon there will be loads of color from flowers but now I am satisfied with emerald green grass, red bark of Japanese maples and fluffy pink fruit trees in my neighbor's pretty garden off in the distance.

Ipheon uniflorum, a tiny flower in a sunny site. At Joy Creek Nursery these have spread along the driveway giving quite a show this time of the year and visitors regularly inquired about them.

One of my favorite hebes, Hebe 'Sutherlandii' just looks so clipped and perfect and I don't do a thing to it. These are about three years old.

The wild cherry tree is in full bloom providing spring snow, the kind I prefer.

Out of the blue, Ceanothus 'Blue Jeans' has started to bloom. This is a definite favorite for bees and other pollinators. From a distance the purple color really reads as faded blue jeans. I like this ceanothus, it's kind of wild looking with an open habit, a bit unpredictable.

Ribes x gordonianum has the best color in my opinion. It is a cross between our native Ribes sanguineum (pink flowers) and R. odoratum (yellow flowers). These bloom on old wood so I'm just now getting a decent amount of flowers. A fine deciduous shrub at about 8' tall at maturity.

A wide shot of an area where a few paths converge near the blue garden shed.

The orchard is beginning to bloom, too. The raised beds and some of the veggie areas can be seen in the distance.

Now for a few shade lovers. The shade garden is beginning to settle in and fill out - the most challenging part of the garden for me as far as growth rate. This is of course due to the many fir trees that absorb most of the moisture so plants seem a little stunted. This is Pulmonaria 'Benediction' - a fine blue indeed. 

Pulmonaria saccharata 'Argentifolia', a lungwort I added more for its very large silver leaves. This is only a year in the garden so will take a while to be spectacular. 

Brunnera macrophylla 'Garden Candy Sea Heart'

Veronica 'Georgia Blue', a staple in the garden with its evergreen foliage and sweet blue flowers. Great edging plant for semi shady areas. Can you tell I like blue in the shade garden?

A path through the shade garden with many surprises emerging every few days.

Warm sun on Heuchera 'Green Spice' gives it a yellowish hue, but when the shade hits it is rather more silver and purple.

Dicentra spectabilis 'Gold Heart' (reclassified as Lamprocapnos spectabilis) popped up in literally a couple of days. One day there was bare soil then voila - foliage and stems. Spring is like that.

Pachyphragma macrophyllum in the shade garden forms a lovely colony, blooming in early March. 

Mossy paths in the shade garden.

Everything is pushing up right now and looking like a proper spring garden.

The native trout lilies have bloomed. What a charmer.

Cardamine trifolia, while not large, is super charming. It is only about 6" tall and has evergreen basal foliage. Great for the edge of a path or where it won't get swallowed up by larger plants. This is also a slow grower in my garden, so I'm thrilled it is a large as it is.

There you have it, a brief but exciting peek into the end of March and beginning of April. We are ready for full blown spring. How about you? We're still watching those poor shrubs that were hit hard this last year by heat dome and also possibly winter weather to see if they will rebound. So far no signs of life but it is still early in the year. We shall see.

OK, that's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens. If you are an HPSO member, our open garden is on Saturday May 21st from 10 - 3. If you are local and not an HPSO member, consider joining. There are fantastic benefits such as hundreds of dazzling private gardens to visit! 

As always thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all. Happy gardening and happy spring!


  1. Had I lived closer, I'd join the HPSO just so I could visit your garden. It's funny, the phenomenon of "one day there's bare soil, then voila..." happens in my garden too, it's so exciting and amazing. Shade gardens are my favs, and I appreciate the long view of the delightful mossy path. The silver leaf lungwort and Brunnera Jack frost started blooming for me too. I'm thrilled to see them each spring. I save the info about Cardamine trifolia: one can never have enough evergreen fillers in the garden. Have a fun and successful open garden!

    1. What a lovely sentiment, thank you chavliness. We'd love to have you - if you're ever out this way, just let me know.

      Yes, the shade garden and the exciting super fast emerging of plants is one to get the heart rate going (I live a simple life). I'm also glad you appreciate the moss path - it's my proudest moment - sooo happy to have that as it was kind of a dream for so many years. The interesting thing is that it didn't take much from me - that is to say I cleared the way and the moss grew on its own. I love nature.

      Yes, get that Cardamine, such a great plant. Cheers!

  2. The joys and wonder of Spring are so wonderfully present in your garden right now. The season of optimism prevails at this time of year. Truly lovely.

    1. Thank you luv2garden. Spring is optimistic, for sure. We need more of that - optimism. Cheers.

  3. I'm glad you've given yourself a moment to simply enjoy your spring garden with a friend who obviously appreciates it as much as you and the FM do. Best wishes with the HPSO tour prep to follow!

    1. It was a lovely break. Thank you, Kris! Cheers to you.


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