16 Sep 2012

A Most Bizarre Year It Has Been: May, 2012


Plantaholics wait with baited breath for the annual Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Sale, the first Sunday in May, when, finally free of the confines of winter [and usually the threat of frost] we gather en masse at TBG, armed with lists and trolleys with which to lug home this year’s bounty! I went armed with a list, and had a third of a pickup’s bed to fill! Fellow plantaholic and blogger Barry Parker gifted me with what remains one of my Top 5 new introductions to my ever expanding repertoire this year: Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Betberg.’ Absolutely sublime!

DSC_0010 The plant sale also afforded me a replacement of Acer palmatum “Mikawa Yatsubusa’ a delightful dwarf japanese Maple with foliage layered one upon another to create a shingle-like appearance. 

DSC_0001 Meanwhile, the garden was beginning to pull me into its hypnotic gravitational pull. It seems that this time of year there are so many of the rare and unusual treasures that are ever so quietly beginning to shine, and if you aren’t careful, you end up missing the show! Here is the beauty of Glaucidium palmatum opening her first mauve, poppy like flower. In actuality it is closely related to Paeonia! And the first of the Epimedium are beginning to flower!


DSC_0021DSC_0068 The fabulous catkin-esque flowers of Corylopsis spicata continue to dazzle!

DSC_0008Astilboides tabularis is still a wee sprite of a thing, compared to its magnificent presence that comes later in the gardening season! He helps to shelter some of the more delicate beauties, including a rare yellow flowering form of Erythronium japonicum.

DSC_0006  DSC_0017I mentioned in my previous ‘year-in-review’ post that Epimedium was a genus that got extra special attention this year! Gabi, my go to connection at Lost Horizons,[in the absence of owner Larry Davidson of course!] whose wonderful gardening blog Botanically Inclined debuted this year, made sure that her readers were rightfully informed of the beauty and diversity of this amazing genus! 

DSC_0033DSC_0059DSC_0004The borders were burgeoning with new growth – but we had been gifted with a season that was easily three weeks ahead of previous years. It seemed like the season was going to press forward full steam ahead!

DSC_0005Even the newest garden ‘serpent’ – he whose name is actually Arisaema thunbergii var. urashima – seemed duly impressed with the prevailing above season temperatures. Of course being the attentive parent that I am, I’d already started my every other day watering regimen. Little did I know what lay ahead!

DSC_0025     Podophyllum hexandrum var. emodi with its delightful opalescent pink flowers always draws comments from visitors to the garden, and this year was no different!

DSC_0027 This year my Dodecatheon decided to bloom in a new position! One would almost think that a gardeners sharp eye would have chosen this spot where its delightful blooms seem to accentuate the sky blue of Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ in the background. Why yes, that is exactly what I had in mind when my pink gypsies decided to cavort of their own accord! Thank you, thank you very much!

Copy of DSC_0002 Sweet Jesus! Is it possible? Did the goddess of flora grace me with a most coveted Meconopsis bloom?

Copy of DSC_0004 Sadly no….. this beguiling beauty is actually Anemone De Caen ‘Blue Poppy’ and is supposedly only hardy to Zone 7! Blue Poppy meet Zone 5. Please find my protected postage stamp property to your liking so that I can enjoy you in the coming years!

DSC_0007 Cypripedium calceolaris was another of the ORG&HPS sale purchases at the beginning of the month, so it was delightful to enjoy them in bloom in the same year!

DSC_0002 There is only one Viburnum that I even contemplate growing – Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’ – one of the delightful doublefile selections with the fabulous horizontal habit and the clouds of pristine white flowers! And foliage that isn’t bothered in the slightest, unlike many of its lesser cousins. ‘But it isn’t fragrant like V.carlesii!’ Okay, I’ll give you that, but in my estimation its like buying a pair of Calvin Klein’s only to discover a gaping hole you know where! What good is two weeks worth of fragrance if the remaining eighteen weeks, the shrub looks like a dog!

DSC_0030    DSC_0037 Please feel free to join in the squeal fest at any time! So I cheated and bought plants that were about to bloom. I wanted to see one up close and personal, and I finally got the opportunity. Two of the three plants seem to have survived the blooming ordeal, and fingers crossed, will return for a repeat performance next year. It was also the month that gardening friends Pat and Julia both had Meconpsis bloom in their gardens! The one in these photos is M.grandis by the way! I have added a pair of M.x sheldonii ‘Lingholm’ this fall to a memorial garden I am in the process of installing. Fingers crossed that it survives the winter!

And this was the month that was May! It was duly noted that precipitation was at a record low for the month, and average temperatures were higher than average. The combination of these two vital elements led to fear that we were entering a period of potential drought. Suddenly there was a very different dark cloud on the horizon!

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