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Wordless Wednesday–Spring Color

 

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After my whining last Friday about how we were never going to get spring,  a few warm days have brought out the flowers.

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You can see how early it is. The trees still have no leaves and very little is greening up. These photos were taken April 14–the very day that I was whining that we don’t have spring.

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So it’s nice to see a little color to prove me wrong.

Wordless Wednesday–Hellebores

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Hellebores are known for blooming at major holidays. I have had this one in bloom as early as Christmas in freakishly warm years.

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This one blooms later. Technically it is supposed to be called the Lenten Rose. It’s just squeaking in under the wire since Lent ends in a few days. But then again, up until a few days ago, we have had an abnormally cold March and April.

These plants are tough (I have had snow all over the white one and it just bounces right back!), deer resistant, and the foliage is evergreen (when not snow covered.)

There are some cultivars that are much more exotic than these, with flowers that absolutely dazzle. If you don’t grow these plants, consider adding some this year!

Wordless Wednesday–The Promise of Summer

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I bought this plant in flower in February 2016. It was spectacular.

But as with any tropical plant– and my less than tropical-like home–I always wonder if I will be able to recreate the conditions it needs to re-bloom.

Happily in the case of this medinilla magnifica, I did manage to do something right. By summer,  this is what the flower should look like. 20160827_081202

Let’s hope this works!

Wordless Wednesday–From the Sublime…

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I was on vacation last week.  By the time I left, it was in the 80s, and these tulips were open.

I almost didn’t get there. The northeast had one of its bigger March storms. But luckily I got out right in front of it.

Still,  it was a little jarring to come home to this:

Drifts up to the car doors are never good.

And I hate snaking through these narrow paths.  Oh well.  It’s spring and the sun is warm. It won’t last that long now.

And we’re still in drought too so every bit of moisture helps.

Picking Good Plants–Round Two

On Friday I talked about picking a plant that looked most like every other plant. This is a good rule no matter what type of plant you are buying.

Today I want to get into a few more specifics about  what to do when you get to the garden center–and let’s presume you are at a garden center today, simply because  it will have more signage about varieties and possibly more information on the plant tags that will be accurate for your location.

What do I mean by that? When I go to a box store, I am told that the plant “lantana” is a perennial. That’s technically true. It is not, however, a perennial for me here in New England.

I know that in some parts of the country lantana is considered an invasive pest and can grow to the size of a shrub. Here, we grow it as a nicely behaved hanging basket that has flowers that feed our butterflies and hummingbirds and the plant dies at the first hard freeze. See what I mean now about “for your location?”

So, when you walk into your garden center, depending on where you are, you might find lantana in a hanging basket, you might find it with the perennials, or you might not find it at all because it is invasive in your part of the country. There you are. But chances are, you’re not going to just find it willy-nilly labeled “perennial.”

I know the box stores are working on this–and one reason has to do with their guarantee for a year. They don’t want New England customers bringing in their dead lantana the following spring and asking for a refund–and rightly so! No one is happy in that scenario.

Enough plants die in our now unpredictable winters that they shouldn’t have to give for plants that are mis-labeled. But if they mis-label them, well, they get what they deserve.

Apparently I have gone on long enough about why you should be going to the garden center for your spring plant shopping and not a box store–at least if you are a brand new plant buyer. We’ll talk about what to look for on Friday.

Wordless Wednesday

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Do you grow this plant?  You might be right in asking “which one?” because there are a jumble of plants in this photo.

I mean the one with the trifolate leaves and the tiny white flowers. It’s oxalis–but it’s not a pest like the tiny, clover-like weed with the little yellow flowers that grows in your lawns and flower beds.

This is a pretty ornamental.  They sell it this time of year as the “Shamrock Plant.”  It’s really a bulb.

But if you have the weedy type,  don’t be afraid to try this plant.  It is completely different.