Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Now that yesterday's post about the less beautiful aspects of my garden is out of the way, it's time once again for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. And unlike last month's Bloom Day, I finally have more intentional flowers than weed flowers!

This is the flower bed in front of our front door. Susan planted the yellow snapdragons and the purple flowers (whatever they are) before I met her, in a little rectangular bed encompassing only those two and the space between them (which used to have some other kind flower in it that died long ago). Last November, I expanded the bed into a quarter-circle and added the large rock, a monkeyflower (not pictured here because it's not blooming yet) and coral bells. Since then I've also added larkspur (not pictured here because it's not blooming either). But the coral bells are blooming, as are the two surviving flowers that Susan planted.

The coral bells (Heuchera maxima) started blooming in late March, not long after Bloom Day.

The snapdragons started blooming a week or so later.

The purple flowers seem to bloom the entire year long; I just forgot to mention them for last month's Bloom Day because they're not really my flowers and I don't even know what they are. Anybody recognize them?

In the back yard, my first golden poppy bloomed on April Fool's Day. Unfortunately, the flower only lasted two days before I found it lying on the ground, broken off from the plant. I thought the dogs had chewed it off, but the second one didn't bloom until yesterday and was broken off already today. The poppy foliage never looks chewed, so it seems unlikely that the dogs would be selectively breaking off just the flower stalks. It also seems unlikely that the dogs would leave anything lying next to the plant in perfect condition except for the fact that it's no longer attached to the plant. So I don't think the dogs are the culprit after all; I think there's something wrong with my poppies themselves, that their stems aren't strong enough to support the weight of their own flowers. I've never heard of poppies having this problem before. Anybody know what could be wrong with them?

My blue flax (Linum lewisii) started blooming in the first week of April. Its flowers have all been falling off in a day or two also, but in its case I don't find them lying on the ground destroyed; the petals just fall off, and the plant makes more flowers in no time at all. Yesterday it was down to nothing but buds, and today it has five new flowers on it.

It's the straight species, not a cultivar, so I was pleasantly surprised by how blue the flowers are. I've often seen pictures of blue flax with much paler flowers than this.

My foothill beardtongue (Penstemon heterophyllus 'Blue Springs') has its first two blue flowers, and dozens of tiny pink buds up above them. This one is reputed to be quite a showstopper when covered with flowers, so I look forward to seeing the rest of the flowers open up.

The two intentional flowers I had for last month's Bloom Day are still around. The golden currant's (Ribes aureum) flower show is definitely winding down, but it still has this one remaining cluster of yellow flowers.

And although I've only owned the strawberry (Fragaria vesca 'Golden Alexandra') since November, I get the impression it flowers pretty much all year round. It hasn't stopped flowering yet, anyway - although it has stopped fruiting at the moment. Which is a bit sad, because even though its strawberries are always tiny, they do taste good.

The tiny white bloom show of one of my two weed flowers last month is winding down now, but not completely gone yet. This is the weedy native bittercress Cardamine oligosperma) that hitchhiked into my yard in the pot that the native golden currant came in.

The other weed flower from last month, blackdisk medic (Medicago orbicularis), is gone now - not only because its flowering season is over, but also because a few days ago, I pulled it. It wasn't causing a problem in itself, but it wasn't doing an adequate job of preventing other weeds from growing where it was growing. Instead, it was just hiding the other weeds from me so I couldn't pull them as well. I executed it for harboring the enemy.

Lastly, I acquired these new flowers by buying the plant with the flowers already on it. So I didn't help produce them, but they're my flowers now! This is evergreen currant (Ribes viburnifolium), from Windmill Nursery.

I commented in yesterday's post that although most of my garden is still far from beautiful, more and more of it is at least starting to look recognizably like a garden. Here is what I mean.

The tiny plant in the foreground below is a California fuchsia (Epilobium canum), recovering now after dying back almost to the ground over the winter. In the middle ground, in front of the next large rock, is a California golden poppy and my new Hopley's oregano. Farther back, from left to right, are the blue flax, foothill beardtongue, a footprint-shaped stepping-stone, an amazingly fast-growing silver bush lupine (Lupinus albifrons) that I just planted in January, more poppies, two native bulbs you can't really see, another footprint-shaped stepping-stone, and the redbud tree (with more poppies in front of it).

The plants are all rather small still, and that irritating annual bluegrass is still invading all the brown spaces between them - but you can look at it now and recognize that someone is at least attempting to put in a garden here. Six months ago, you couldn't tell that. And one year ago, nobody was attempting it yet.

Tags: native plants, photographs
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