Friday, March 23, 2012

Three C's

Though I love my two magnolias, my ornamental crabapple is hands-down my favourite spring flowering tree. When the flower buds appear, they are a light, shell pink. Then the flowers open to a soft, creamy white. 

And the show isn't over when the flowers fade and the petals flutter to the ground. Bright red fruit add 
color to the garden right into winter.

Another garden 'C' is Columbine. If your garden experiences a bit of a lull between spring bulbs and flowering perennials, think about adding some columbine.


These are Columbine that I photographed last June at Merlin's Hollow, David Tomlinson's 
garden in Aurora, Ontario.  

As the sway in the breeze, the delicate bells always make me think of ballet dancers or garden fairies.

Columbine come in a variety of pastel shades and bi-colors.

The flowers are held on upright stems over a fairly compact mound of ferny, light-green foliage. 

Columbine like to self-seed. You never know where they will turn up next.

The trails of leaf miners often disfigure the leaves of my Columbine, but if you remove 
the damaged foliage, fresh growth will appear.

This Centaurea hypoleuca 'John Coutts' is new to my garden. The plant first caught my eye at the Royal Botanical Gardens and I had to have one. These perennial cornflowers are cousins of common Bachelor's Buttons and have lavender-pink flowers in early summer. 

Centaurea hypoleuca 'John Coutts' forms a bushy clump of divided, grey-green leaves and will grow in most types of soil, in any sunny location. Be sure to leave some room for this plant because these mature cornflowers can grow 45-60 cm wide by 50-60 cm high.

This is another more compact Centaurea that admired last June at Merlin's Hollow.

My Mom always had the common blue form, Centaurea montana in her garden, but I think I rather like this white variety even better. Both Centaurea are really hardy, easy to grow in any type of soil and prefer full sun (although my Mom managed to grow her's in light shade).

Looking though the spring Gardenimport catalogue, I spotted these two really interesting looking varieties.  Centaurea, 'Purple Heart' has white feathery flowers with a purple heart and Centaurea, 'Black Sprite' has dramatic black flowers. (Click the link for further details.)

This clematis is a final gem that I spotted last June at Merlin's Hollow. This is not a vining clematis, but is rather an upright form; Clematis recta 'Purpurea'. A skyscraper of a plant, it stood a good four feet tall in front of me and was covered in tiny white flowers (not fragrant).

Clematis recta 'Purpurea' prefers the soil to be somewhat moist and likes full sun.

Other Letters of my Garden Alphabet: A is for Astilbe, B is for Butterfly

Have yourself a great weekend everyone! 
P.S. Don't forget to enter the book draw in my previous post. Good Luck!


  1. So beautiful ! Your pictures are perfect !

  2. Beautiful and such an inspiration! :-)

  3. How beautiful the colombines are such great colors. I have to wait some time before she is showing up.
    have a lovely weekend

  4. You have so many beautiful Columbines. The blue is so pretty. The Crab Apple blooms are just so lovely. Got to love spring. Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Beautiful flowers, all wonderful photographed. Some of these I've never seen. I grew columbines in my little patch of garden as a child, haven't seen any since.

  6. Your Columbine are beautiful. Mine haven't bloomed yet, hope they do this year. Started them from seeds from Lona. :-)
    I have two tiny tiny crabapples, right now they are about 6 inches tall. They are both in full leaf, so this year they should take hold. Right now I am happy they are alive.

  7. Columbine are one of my favorites. My natives are blooming now but others are still working on their blooms. They do self seed readily...I have them coming up all over the garden...I love it!

  8. I was starting to pout until I read that you had photographed these last year!! whew! I'm still trying to recover from the 4 feet of snow that fell over the last 10 days... Thanks for the blast of summer!!


    ps Centaurea are one of my faves also!!

  9. I do love the photos of the flowers you share with us if only I could smell them..........

  10. Beautiful photos of lovely flowers showing us what we have waiting for us in a few weeks time! Brought lots of Aquilegia seed with us when we moved here 20 yrs ago, they were from pink flowers, over the years all our plants now seem to have blue or purple flowers!

  11. Jennifer, the photos are just lovely! You are making me want to plant some columbine, haven't had it since my previous garden. I can't seem to give up some of my roses to plant more perennials.


  12. I thought you had a REALLY early spring, Jennifer. LOL. Beautiful images and presentation. I saw the most beautiful Columbine at the garden show this week and one, did not buy it, and two, did not photograph it. I can kick me twice for that.

  13. BEAUTIFUL flowers!!!! I love the Crabapples as well. Dainty little flowers. Love em.

  14. Such glories! I love Columbine but they don't do very well in my hot garden...these you feature are wonderful.

  15. I have been wanting to try columbines. I don't think they'll do well here, but I have purchased some seeds. Good to see you planted seeds in June. I wasn't sure when to put them out. Lovely photos. I never think of clematis as non-vining!

  16. Jennifer, I'm so happy to have found your blog! Beautiful! I've added it to my blogroll and I've subscribed by email. I look forward to more posts from you! Gorgeous photos of your "C" plants. I'm in love with the Centaurea most of all. I have the 'Black Sprite' and I used to have 'Amethyst in Snow' but it disappeared. Maybe 'Purple Heart' would do better for me.

  17. Jennifer, looking forward to seeing your tree. Could it have been a Tulip Poplar?
    let me know, send me pics--

  18. There's an upright clematis! I've never heard of that before. What a treat to see one of these. My preference is the columbine though, as my mother grew these in her garden. Always a mystery as to what they would look like from year to year as they intermixed and the colours changed.

  19. Simply Stunning and Gorgeous photos. I love that Black Cornflower (so different.)

  20. Aren't they all just too gorgeous !
    I really like that centaurea "Black Sprite" .. it could be a Halloween flower for me ! Tee hee !
    Joy : )

  21. I just have a new appreciation of columbine looking at your photos!

  22. All of your C's are breathtaking. I love your columbine photos - you have captured their delicate beauty so well! The rabbits generally devour them here so I have basically given on growing them.

  23. Each time I read one of your posts I find myself making notes or going to my favourite UK garden website and adding items to my wish list!

  24. Jennifer, your beautiful images include two of my C favorites – columbine and crabapple. Enjoy.

  25. How I love all of your C's! I adore crabapples, too, they are my favorite tree of all.

    Your photography is just stunning.

  26. I have been so busy at the nursry that I haven't been around in a while. I love your collection of Cs. That 'Black Sprite' is my color.

  27. Your photography is magnificent!! I added crabapples to my garden in upstate NY and grow different forms of centaurea and clematis here. My columbine are getting ready to bloom. Most of mine are yellow. Gorgeous post!

  28. I am wondering if your clematis hybridize with each other. I have been taking pains to keep my wild columbines separate from other coloured ones because I heard this can easily happen. How about you?

    1. Patty, I still have lots to learn about clemaits. Most, if not all of my clematis are hybrids. I collected seeds last fall and am curious to see what results I may get when I plant them.


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