Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Defying the chill

  Thrillium cuneatum; cuneatum means wedge-like, referring to the shape of the basal half of its petal. Their blood-red flowers last for a long time, and they are on my must-have list for my garden in Sweden... 

It is officially cold: today the Seattle Times reported that this April has been the coldest on record. So I was quite right yesterday when I wrote that the weather was chilly while we were visiting the plant sale at the Bloedel Reserve. All this means that the mosses are thriving luxuriously, but many others are completely out of their ordinary calendar. In my own backyard a neon-yellow Forsythia is blooming side by side with a fire-engine red Rhododendron, so I need sunglasses when looking at that direction despite the overcast skies. Usually, I only have to suffer one of these "lovelies" at a time.
Instead of making the big eye-sore in my backyard public, I opted for showing some more sophisticated choices from the Bloedel, that I saw during our walk there after the plant sale last Sunday (maybe I just should rename my blog "The Bloedel Observer"...). As I wrote earlier, the Pacific Northwest is a plantsman's paradise, especially if you are into shade-loving spring ephemerals. Here are some of the lovelies that were out despite the great chill...

Trillium grandiflorums dancing in a ring - this is one of the most loved Trilliums and they deserve that position with their showy flowers and generous flowering habit. I also grow them in my garden in Seattle.

 Hacquetia epipactis is one of my springtime favorites. It comes from Middle and Southern Europe and is a tiny member of the Apiaceae (commonly called umbellifers) family, related to parsley, carrots and celery amongst many others. It is fully hardy and thrives in part or full shade, and lightens up early spring with its green flowers with sunny buttons. 

Western skunk-cabbages or swamp lanterns, Lysichiton americanus, are members of the Arum family and native to the Pacific Northwest. Their smell is impossible to forget, but I don't find it unpleasant, just unusual...

Erythronium revolutum, pink or coast fawn lilies, are also native to this area. Once established, they increase freely from seeds. I wouldn't necessarily grow then with yellow Primulas as here (even if it is also was Christopher Lloyd's favorite color combination...), but they are still completely irresistible in shady woodland gardens.


Betsy Hays said...

Hi Liisa! Found your site while perusing the web for articles on Christopher Lloyd and Fergus Garrett, and came across your excellent blog from a few years back about Garrett. You may be comforted (misery loves company?) to know that we're equally suffering here in the northeast (I garden and live in a northwest county of NJ), with the coldest, wettest and generally nastiest winter and early spring in recent memory. However, the plants don't complain as much as we humans, and our early daffodils are in riotous bloom (the spring ephemerals having mostly finished by now). I'm a fellow nature writer ( and enjoyed your writing, will bookmark your blog!

The Intercontinental Gardener said...

Hello Betsy! Thank you for you kind words; I'm a great fan of both Christopher and Fergus and their work, and I have visited great Dixter several times earlier. Unfortunately, now I live too far away to get to England often enough... It has been a long, cold spring, but hopefully we will be rewarded with a wonderful summer. Have a great week! Liisa.

Ruben said...

Fantastiska miljöer, och fantastiska blommor! Det är så här de skall växa - i ett woodland!
Blir ännu mera suktad nu!!!

Så får jag önska dig och din familj en riktigt GLAD PÅSK!!!