Friday, April 15, 2011

Temptation

With spring so late this year, there is not a blessed, bloody thing blooming in my garden, but a few diminutive crocus. There are no pretty daffodils, no colorful tulips. Even my magnolia has refused to open in the cool weather.

I figure, that if I was to present pictures of my pretty, but oh-so-common crocuses for GBBD, you would probably roll your eyes, while struggling for the words to write in a comment about blooms that are so profoundly unexciting. So, in search of a more interesting post, I made my first foray to the local nursery to see what was blooming there.

Money for new garden flowers is in short supply this spring and I want to try to stay within a very limited budget. I am determined to stick to the spring wish list I have drawn up. (We will see how long that lasts!)

So when I arrived at the nursery, I quickly walked by the displays of Easter flowers, so as not to get distracted. 


Okay-I got a little distracted! I stopped for a second to admire the paper thin blooms of some Ranunculus bulbs in flower.

I have been admiring all the hellebores in everybody's blog posts and really would like to have some in my garden. The selection available at this nursery however was disappointing however, so it wasn't hard to pass them by. (My favorites have been dark plum hellebores.)

The first plant to wink at me was this Jacob's Ladder. What is not most striking about this plant is not the flowers which are a soft blue, but rather the foliage, which is a soft green, with a rose colored accents.



In the end, I decided it was a toss up between 'Jack Frost' and this variety called 'Looking glass'(shown above). I couldn't make a decision, so I decided to wait and get one on my next visit.

White Bleeding Heart 'Dicentra spectabilis alba'

I so pleased with my white and pink bleeding hearts, that I want to add one of the more unusual varieties to my collection. Sadly, I have tried these smaller varieties in the past, with limited success. I am not at all sure where I have gone wrong.


At my garden clubs monthly meeting, we had David Tomlinson as a guest speaker. He has the most amazing garden (called Merlin's Hollow) in Aurora, Ontario and is a plantsman with years and years of experience. David grows most of his perennials from seed. 

When he does buy plants at a nursery, he takes them home and washes all the soil from the roots. He is convinced that the perlite, in the growing medium that most plants are potted up, with is hugely detrimental to the new plants chances of over wintering. Apparently, the perlite encourages air pockets to form and that puts the young plant's roots at risk when the ground freezes. After he washes the roots, David re-pots the plant in good soil and allows it to recover, before planting it in the garden.

This is the first I have ever heard of this, but I wonder if he is not correct.

Dicentra Formosa 'Adrian Bloom'

I really liked the deep rose color of this variety called "King of Hearts', but in the end, I decided on the variety named 'Luxuriant'. Given my poor success rate with these varieties in the past, I wonder if I should I re-pot it as David Tomlinson suggests.

Foam Flower Tiarella 'Sugar and Spice'

Here is a pretty temptress. Foam flower is great plant for shade. I have had limited success with it because it is so dry here in late summer, but if you have a shaded, consistently moist spot, it is real charmer.


I saved a visit to the vast display of pansies for last. Who can resist their happy faces? I bought several colors for my urns and window boxes.

Next month, I hope to have some blooms in my own garden to show you. Many thanks to Carol for hosting GBBD. To see other gardens have in bloom click here.

Have a great weekend!


22 comments:

  1. What a fun shopping trip - that tip about washing off the soil is a good one. I also think a lot of plants bring bugs and disease from the nursery, so a good washing couldn't hurt!

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  2. Well, for a post that started off feeling sorry for itself, it certainly perked up a lot. You've shared some gorgeous flowers here, some I've never seen or heard of. I'm partial to blue flowers in th garden, so am never able to resist buying anything new and white is another favourite colour in the garden for me.

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  3. You have some really beautiful macro shots today. And pretty blooms. The bee gathering is my favorite.

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  4. Stunning photographs - and admirable restraint! I am on a tight budget too, and tend to try growing my own perennials from seed, though it is forcing me to be rather more patient than comes naturally... Oh, and I absolutely love crocuses, so if you fancy taking some similarly wonderful photographs of yours, I would ooh and ahh with genuine enjoyment, I am missing mine, they have been over for weeks now.

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  5. Great shopping trip. Our nurseries have very little on display yet as far as perennials. I have both the white and pink bleeding hearts and love them. I did order Jack Frost and some hellebores, have not come yet.

    Eileen

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  6. I haven't been to my garden centre yet. I am not expecting to see much, but after seeing your post I wonder if I should. Lovely photos especially the ranunculus -that is a surprise. Happy weekend.

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  7. This is my antidote, too, when I have bloom envy from reading too many blogs in warmer climates. The pansies are a great pick-me-up; I love the ones in your header! Besides buying some pansies, I also splurged on one ranunculus. They're pretty pricy, considering they'll never last here once summer comes, but they're hard to resist. I highly recommend 'Jack Frost'--it's been a winner in my garden.

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  8. Beautiful images. The foam flower is so dainty and sweet! I'm hoping spring finds you soon. Your crocuses wouldn't bore me a bit, we don't grow them here so they are new to me! Happy GBBD!

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  9. I have the Brunnera 'variegata' and so glad I do....it is a beautiful site. Ended up my mom saw it last year and just had to have a piece of it. Her's is growing well also. I'd love to own more but yes indeed they are too expensive. Loved all your flower shots!!

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  10. Jennifer, oh boy I can sympathize. Not a single bloom in these parts. My couple of bulbs I planted last fall are only a couple inches tall and far from blooming. You might want to consider when buying Brunnera that they grow quite quickly. I used to have several Jack Frost plants and within a couple years they were big enough to split. In fact I bought 3 for a space in my garden and ended up removing one of the plants as there wasn't room. So you could potentially buy only a couple plants with the hopes to split them in a couple years.

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  11. Budgets are no fun when it's planting time. I know that all too well. I hope you're able to get what you have on your wish list. Last year I bought two variegated Brunneras from the clearance rack at Lowes for a $1.00 each!! I was stunned to see them there. They are looking fabulous this year. Don't know if that would help you or not?
    I hope it warms up really soon ~ it seems like you've had an exceptionally long cold winter.
    Have a great weekend!

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  12. Morning, Lovely post~Really a treat to read on a rainy, chilly morning. I've just been washing off the potting medium of the heucheras I planted this AM. ~It was almost all pine bark mulch and would doom the plants in my clay soil. I think it's excellent advice and it can't hurt. I love the brunneras~They just don't seem to like this Southern garden. Don't they have the loveliest foliage. I look forward to your May Bloom Day~You'll be celebrating Spring and I'll be complaining about heat and humidity! gail

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  13. Jennifer your pictures are amazing...I love the effect of them and the subtle beauty...Happy GBBD

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  14. I have yet to venture into any garden centre this season simply b/c it doesn't feel like Spring. I've certainly enjoyed the trip with you and maybe if tomorrow is better than today, I may head out and see for myself. I hope you enjoy your weekend, dreaming of your garden!

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  15. Beautiful collection of blooms. I think the little blue flowers on the Brunnera look like Forget-Me-Nots. They don't handle the heat, so I can't have any Brunnera.
    Love the different colors of the Dicentra.

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  16. Loved your post , all the bright flowers saying spring is just around the corner. Interesting tidbit on perlite.... wonder?

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  17. Lubię kwiatki,które pokazujesz i mam w swoim ogrodku brunnerę ( kocham kwiatki o niebieskich płatkach - niezapominajki też), serduszka białe i różowe. Bratki też u mnie zagościły.Diekuję za miłe odwiedziny u mnie. Myślę, że pieski razem miałyby dobra zabawę. Pozdrawiam

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  18. Everything looks so beautiful! I have the variegated brunnera macrophyla. It's beautiful but always goes dormant for me by mid-summer. When I grew it in upstate NY it was gorgeous all summer so I bet it would do well in your garden. I also have tiarella but have to give it extra water. I've never heard anything negative about perlite, but it's worth considering. You could buy two of the same plants, washed hte roots of one but not the other, plant them next to each other and see which one survives the winter. It would be an interesting experiment. :o)

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  19. The shorter dicentras, which are the native D. eximia and cultivars, need really good drainage to come back reliably. Make a mound and plant them on top. I think you were wise not to choose 'King of Hearts' but to go with 'Luxuriant'. The plain green brunnera is great for dry shade as is 'Variegata' and 'Jack Frost'. I left you a list of dry shade plants in my reply to your comment. Carolyn

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  20. Jen - I read all the pages on this amazing blog and now I love it even more! Your garden is MAGNIFICENT!!! I am jealous that you have no grass!! I sent you an email. :o)

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  21. Your garden center offers some of my own favorites, though i am far south of you. I have a hard time resisting temptation in a good nursery. New for me this year are bleeding hearts and tiarella. My bleeding hearts will go dormant for the summer, but I had to have them, anyway. They should return to bloom next spring. And the tiarella i will keep watered, I promise!

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  22. Bloody hell Jennifer, thank goodness for the garden centre. Your pictures are fantastic, I still get a red face if I say ausome.

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