[The introduction of an iPhone offered me a portable camera whose photos are relatively decent, until I compared them against my trusted Nikon whose photos make up this post!] A few of my blogging friends have been posting about the plant pictured in the above photo – namely Polygonatum x hybridum ‘Betberg’ – and with due cause! For those enamored with the genus Polygonatum, and yes I rank among them, this sublime selection is probably considered to be the ‘Holy Grail!’ If you would like an intimate introduction, please visit here. In the meantime, for those who are still recovering from the bruise to their wallet, let me tell you that in three years, my four stems have increased to total fourteen – in keeping itself in accord to a genus that is most happily rambunctious when happy! His smoky purple, bruised foliage bursts from the ground like snakes reaching for the sun. As his foliage unclasps itself from his stems, you are rewarded with the opulent, dainty fabulously chartreuse pendant flower buds that look like an as yet undiscovered form of pearl! Nothing offers me more reward every Spring. Forever indebted to fellow plantsman Barry Parker for this magnificent gift! Elsewhere in the gardens, that long buried song is resonating through the warming soil to magnificent results: Syneilesis aconitifolia is jumping by leaps and bounds – each shredded leaflet adding dimension with each passing week. I hope that by Summer’s end, his ‘shredded umbrellas’ will cover the ungainly foundation of the house! The Border of Botanical Curiosities [am I the only one who names their gardens, and then changes them as the wind changes direction during the garden season?] is alive with wondrous new growth! It is here where my most prized [and pricey] kidlets reside. One needs to be able to keep a keen eye on the single specimen that left his wallet black and blue. Please do not misconstrue this as whining – on the contrary – I often spend my prerequisite grocery allotment on a plant that catches my eye and then subsist on PB&J for two weeks! Paeonia x ‘Going Bananas’ is a sublime single flowering form of the ‘Itoh’ collection – that being the new family off-shoot that combines the suffruticosa tree Paeonia with the ubiquitous lactiflora garden varieties – resulting in a sturdier plant whose woody stems are adorned with sumptuous blooms. There was a need for a plant that would offer the brilliant, light and airy yellow [formerly whipped buttery] annunciation that I associate strictly with Spring! Your assistance please? Not sure what variety of Primula this is, but his return to the Spring garden coincides with a sudden burgeoning of Epimedium x versicolour ‘Sulphureum’ whose annunciation yellow compliments the edge of each of Prim’s flowers! I love when Natures gently assists with our garden planting combinations! Can we please, once and for all toss that gangly, coarse Rozanne to the curb once and for all! Yeah, she blooms pretty much non stop, but her tomboyish appearance does nothing for a well manicured border, to say nothing for a collector inspired border filled with rare and unusual delights. In my green minds eye, she was usurped when I spotted ‘Margaret Wilson.’ Her stunning variegated foliage maintains a somewhat bushy, upright appearance, and is topped with dainty purple flowers, neither one overpowering the other. And yes, she does look stunning against the blue ceramic pot in the background if I do say so myself. Repeat after me:
‘Banish Rozanne! Banish Rozanne! Banish Rozanne!’ Every passing garden season reminds me of the importance of one virtue in particular: Patience! As a child, I was often the target of a phrase that resonates in that warm glowing aura of remembrance: ‘Patience dear Prudence!’ I wanted the freshly sown Zinnia and Marigold seeds to sprout and bloom before my eyes! Its a wonder I did not introduce myself as Prudence when I registered for kindergarten, so often did I hear the name! Dysosma versipelle is a stunning Asian subspecies of Podoplyllum. Two years later I have three tiny but easily recognizable leaves. The Helleborus continue to bloom, but really, is this anything new? If, on the other hand, we were speaking of Glaucidium palmatum, well, you’d likely hear an ear splitting squeal of delight coming at you from Fergus, Ontario, Canada! Step out the front door and listen carefully! Garden blogging partner-in-crime Grace commented on what a beautiful name this plant is blessed with! The two last photos in the sequence above show its sublime poppy-esque flower in bloom and bud. It was raining, ever so lightly, when I took the photos, so its blowy airy appearance might appear somewhat sodden! I can not encourage gardeners of a shady disposition to seek out and grow this stunner! The Epimedium are in their absolute magnificence at this time of year! I am often asked what my favourite photographic subjects are – I think this sequence of photos gives one of my responses! One for Shawn! Disporum maculatum, or spotted Fairy Bells is a North American member of yet another of my favourite genera! Tomentose stems hold delightfully veined foliage, ending with flowers that are larger than most within the genus! … and then the rains increased, and I had to seek cover! [for the cameras safety] I had attended a plant sale some years ago and had picked up a tiny Corydalis nobilis seedling, brought him home, planted him and, forgive the harshness of it, but I forgot all about it. Spring 2014 and he is somewhat difficult to ignore. Bushier, taller… larger in all of his parts than his seductive blue flowering cousins, he is indeed a noble presence in the garden! Stay tuned for Part Two of the Walkabout when times allows. We’re headed into the May 24 weekend at the nursery, and all of my energies are directed there for the moment. A hearty welcome to the ‘official’ start of the 2014 garden season. How is everyone else feeling about their gardens?