Good evening. Thursdays are my busiest day, and I’m a bit behind, but I am here to celebrate Bloom Day.
The sun rose purple and pink over the lake this morning, and the wind is calm for the first time in days. I hear a storm is brewing out to the west, and I’m hoping the tree peony holds off blooming for a couple more days until the rain is past. If not, I’ll bring the two blooms indoors to enjoy. None of the peonies are blooming yet, and that is good news, for the rain ruins their fragile petals.
In the meantime, we have lilacs. I grow four varieties, the common lilac, Syringa vulgaris, passed down from HH’s grandmother. His family called it a French lilac as was often done because of its very fragrant perfume. The second is a Chinese lilac, Syringa x chinensis, which I also like, but the blooms are much smaller than the common lilac and not quite as fragrant. About ten years ago, I purchased two Korean lilacs, Syringa patula, ‘Miss Kim.’ These are great performers in full sun. I chose them for around the house in a formal landscape because they were sold as a compact variety supposed to get no larger than five feet with some pruning. Now I see that the University of Illinois states they will grow to eight to ten feet tall and six to eight feet wide. Of course, often in Oklahoma, with less rainfall, plants often don’t grow as large. Klehm’s Song Sparrow Nursery sent me the fourth cultivar last summer, and it is still too young to bloom, but it is Syringa vulgaris ‘WEDGWOOD BLUE’. If you’ve never bought from Song Sparrow, you are missing a real treat. It’s a great nursery, and Roy Klehm is really kind. They’re known for their peonies, clematis, lilacs and daylilies, among other things.
Tulips are still hanging on. These were supposed to be a gentle apricot, but turned out to be pink. I think I like the pink better. Wonder what variety they are. Not the one I bought I can assure you.
Sometimes, the unexpected can turn out to be the best thing in life and in the garden. I bought these T. ‘American Dream’ on a whim at TLC Nursery one late September day. They were part of a large package I just picked up at the last minute. They’ve turned out to be my favorite tulips in the front borders this year next to T. ‘Juan’. Above, you see them open at mid-day.
I am so over the black tulips. They look great in photos, but they are lost in the garden even when grown with other light pink tulips or white. I tried both. I won’t plant them again. They’re just not for me. It’s odd too, because I love black (dark purple) plants, and I have loads of them in my garden. I decided, though, after winter’s dreary brown landscape, I need a shot of color like this.
This fall, I will be planting loads more of species tulips. Elizabeth from Gardening While Intoxicated and Garden Rant was right. You can just tuck these little guys here and there for a sublime shot of color. Below is T. tarda, which is native to central Asia. It is a tiny thing, only about four inches high.
Species tulips are supposed to return in our climate. However, this is my first year to plant them, so I’ll let you know. Of all the tulips blooming here, my favorite hands down is T. ‘Lady Jane’, another species type which I hope returns. The season started with her gray-blue foliage slightly ruffled at the edges. Suddenly, one morning, a stem shot up, and the most delicate and wonderful pink and white bloom sat atop. I can’t tell you how exquisite they are, but I’ll try to show you.
This is actually an earlier photo because the stems are shorter, but she is still blooming today. I don’t want to bore you any further, so I’ll leave you with one last photo of my Phlox divaricata, woodland phlox. There is no prettier plant to place at the feet of roses or any other bare stemmed shrub. It does well in shade and partial shade, and I’m so grateful to Wanda for giving me my start of the purple and the blue.
Most of the bulbs in this post were purchased from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs or Old House Gardens. I did also pick up some of the species tulips from TLC Nursery in Oklahoma City. The best thing to remember about bulbs is to buy the best quality you can. This is one time where Wal Mart, Target, or any of the other stores which sell bulbs as a sideline can’t hold a candle to bulb specialists. Plus, if you have a question about bloom times or colors, the bulb suppliers are only an email or phone call away. Try asking someone at Wal Mart for help on bulbs. You get my point. Pay the extra dollar or two. It’s worth the work for a spring like this.
Plus, most bulbs return year after year. They are a good garden investment.
Happy Bloom Day. For more springtime color, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens. She is our hostess with the mostest, and she even has ‘Mr. Linky’ available so that it is easier to visit other participants.