Monday, April 26, 2010

Paying it forward

How it made me smile, on a recent trip to Portugal, to see these wild hoop petticoat daffodils (Narcissus bulbocodium) growing along the ramparts of the Moorish Castle at Sintra.

It's hard not to feel gladdened by the sight of these flowers. Even the artificial ones, like these flourishing in the no-food-or-plant zone of my office, will do the trick.

I am totally converted to daffodils in the garden, too. They bloom forever, naturalize well, and are of minimal interest to hungry rabbits, squirrels, and voles. Here are the varieties currently in bloom, reading left to right, row by row: White Medal, Ceylon, Hawera, Mount Hood, Pheasant's Eye, Ice King, Marieke, Tete-a-tete, White Medal.

And I'm already planning to add more for next spring. Thalia? Mint Julep? Jack Snipe?

Last fall, my husband paid it forward by planting several dozen King Alfred bulbs along the roadside opposite our house. Now that the flowers are in bloom, walkers stop to admire them, cars slow down as they drive by and, as I was taking this photograph, a passer-by came over to say, "Thank you! They're fantastic!" And they are.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marshy marsh mallows

While basements, storm drains, and dams may not have appreciated our rainy spring, these marsh mallows have flourished in the April showers.

They are sited on the raised ridge of the rain garden bed, so they can keep their feet wet and their glorious yellow heads dry. Water has been moving downhill through this water course for weeks. It's wet back there!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Peonies, pre-perfection

Each spring, the peonies that I brought up from my mother's garden in Maryland start off with burgundy-flushed foliage.

The tender stems and leaves are the most beautiful deep shade that, with maturity, passes to green.

Even this early, flowers are forming and ants are sipping nectar from the buds. The peony hoops went in yesterday--while the plants were young, flexible, and promising of perfection.