Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Opening The Presents Early

Our unusually warm early winter has had one more consequence that takes a little explaining: it will leave me with less to look at in the spring in the garden. To me, one of the more exciting parts of gardening is that when you plant something new in the spring there is always some apprehension about whether at the end of the year it will make it through our (usually) harsh winter and reappear the following spring... I therefore love to go about when the ground has just thawed, and brush back the fallen leaves to see if anything is peeking up from these plants; it's rather like opening up Christmas presents. Well, this year I've opened up almost all my presents early; most of the new plants are already peeking up. I often will wait until spring, until I'm sure they will come back, to make a permanent label for new plants, but this year all but a handful are already jauntily sporting their shiny new markers. Above is Adonis amurensis, which blooms very early, with ferny green leaves and bright yellow, buttercup-like flowers. Below is a cultivar of Ranunculus ficaria, the lesser celandine, a very small member of the buttercup family; this particular one has flowers that are more orange than yellow. Posted by Picasa

Hello Don; I understand well the desire to see how new plants do. One year, in my quest for collecting ligularias, I purchased one known as leopard plant, zone 6. Back then it was named Ligularia tussilaginea or Farfugium tussilaginea which is why I just plain called it leopard plant. Now I am infomred it's Farfugium japonicum. I really don't care because it died but not before making it through a couple Vermont winters. I refuse to "baby" plants and this one was no exception. It was really exciting seeing it make it through and it kind of encouraged me to think about challenging more zone labels. I tried it about the same time with Arum italicum which was still hanging on near our bog garden after 4 years.

George Africa
George... your winters kill stuff, our summers do the same. I can grow Arum italicum without problem; in fact the leaves still look great this year. What's a garden, though, without a little suspense?

Don, aren't you afraid that the tender sprouts are a bad sign? That it will have put its energy into the sprouts and then when winter comes back it will die back and have no energy left for the real spring?

Maybe I'm the only one who worries over these things... I have been admonishing my garlic sprouts every day for the past week: "Get back into the ground, you fools!" :(
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