Thursday, January 20, 2011

Favorite Garden Combinations of 2010 (Part 1)

After four-and-twenty hours at a balmy 38 degrees - oh how relative temperature is - I am starting to feel like spring again! Of course, I know that it will be fleeting (this weekend should be back to 16), but it is a good excuse to garden-dream all the same.

My excellent husband suggests that I take a closer look at Gilmore Gardens 2010 and enjoy some of the beauty from last year. 

I once read that the late, great English gardener Christopher Lloyd was partly considered so great because the simple descriptors of spring, summer, fall, winter were not good enough for him.  He knew the minute nuances of the seasons and called them accordingly.  So he talked of late winter, early spring, mid-summer etc.  Here we will follow his example, for how can the 12 weeks of floriferous spring and all that ensues be labeled only as "spring"?

Early Spring
 In 2010, the bloom did not begin until March because February was entirely covered with a foot of snow.  No flowers, but thanks to my husband and girls there were two giant snow-people. When they and the rest of the snow finally went away, everything exploded at once.  (So after all that explanation, we will skip late winter anyway.) No long savoring of the first snowdrops, looking everyday at the hellebores buds.  Nope.  But having those late winter gems plus sheets of crocuses, iris reticulata and daffodils all at once was not so bad either, I guess.

Here between our yucca and the last remaining snow are the first crocuses of early spring, which in our clime was all of March.  These are Crocus chrysanthus 'Goldilocks', which are said to bloom in late March, but in this micro-climate by the driveway do better than that by instead starting the first week of March.

One of my favorite new combinations:
Crocus tommasinianus roseus, a wonderful naturalizer, with Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' in the Back Woodland garden.  These shiny red stems will only get better if I just remember to prune them back severely each spring to insure new red stems will grow.  

First year planting: Crocus vernus Jeanne d' Arc growing through Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) and Ajuga reptans.  This will look nicer as the ground covers fill in.  Idea adapted from Rosemary Verey.

 View of driveway garden from patio: shrubby silver lavender complimented by the white markings on Iris reticulata 'Gordon'; surrounded by new tulip foliage and creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).  

Some solo acts from early spring:

Crocus sieberi Firefly in the middle of the Circle Lawn

Galanthus 'Flore Pleno' on the Shade Path
a Hellebores hybrid by the picket fence

...and frosted Anemone blanda 'Blue Shades' beside the Circle Lawn.

Read Part 2: Mid-Spring

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