On this chilly April afternoon, the ingenues enter at stage left, their delicate blooms glistening in weak winter sunlight. These are the spring flowers which herald warmer temperatures, green grass and blue skies. Catch them now before summer fades them until their beauty is merely a memory. This woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) was a passalong from Wanda. She had both the purple and blue varieties growing in the wooded garden behind her home. Hers were planted in drifts, and I’m working on a similar effect in my shade garden. They spread by seed.
Next, for your viewing pleasure, is double-flowering Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’.) Bright green stems grow well in dappled shade, and kerria maintains its bright green color throughout winter. It blooms prolifically in spring and sporadically throughout summer. Mine started flowering about one week ago. In the rear garden, I have the single flowering form, which hasn’t started blooming yet. It has a more delicate appearance. In 2002, kerria was chosen as an Oklahoma Proven selection. I recently heard that Kerria is considered invasive in some parts of the United States. I hate to hear that because it really brightens up shady spots in my garden.
These small actors, grape hyacinths, pink clover, and red parrot tulips make a lovely vignette. Since tulips can only be grown as annuals in Oklahoma, I’ll be pulling up these bulbs in a few days. The pink clover is a new addition to the front garden. It will be interesting to see how it weathers the heat. Once the oak tree leafs out, this garden is in full shade all morning and dappled shade by afternoon. The front of the house faces the west, but there is a tree line just west of the house which also shades the yard and garden.
Our final ingenue for the day is this apple blossom from my Gala apple tree. I have three apple trees in the front yard, along with one sour cherry tree, and two peach trees. Despite having three apple trees, I have yet to eat one bite from any of them. They are just now large and mature enough to start to bear, and the deer always beat me to the fruit. I’ve tried netting, but it didn’t work. I have some new deer deterrent, and I’m going to give it a try. I’ll let you know whether this helps. In the meantime, the blossoms smell heavenly (like no other scent I know,) so I’m going to enjoy those. The peaches have finished blooming. If the weather isn’t too cold tonight, I will have tiny peaches in a couple of weeks. I’m off to cover the mandevilla and elephant ears planted in the rear garden since the predicted low tonight is supposed to be thirty-one degrees F.