Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Color

I've finally had a chance to get out and take some pictures of the spring color in my gardens over the last week or so.  Everything is definitely behind this year, due to our very cold temps.  We've had a few warm days now and the plants are responding to warmth very quickly, doubling in size in a a matter of days.

Cornus sericea unnamed gold mutation
 First up is a neat shrub I found a number of years ago.  It's a red twig dogwood that provides a bright spot of gold in the spring then changes green through the season.  All other traits seem normal, growth has been fast I will guess it will hit 8' tall and wide.  There are other gold-leaf selections out there that are similar, I don't know that I'll name it or introduce it for sale.  I am growing some seed from it in hopes for a variety that stays gold all season.

Arabis sturrii
  Arabis sturrii is a great spring bloomer that forms  low cushions.  White flowers in May followed by green glossy foliage the rest of the season.  It's a good nectar plant for early season butterflies and moths.

Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine'

  Corydalis are in bloom now.  C. cheilanthifolia is now finished and 'Blackberry Wine' is getting started.  These are great plants for spring color and seasonal texture.  They like partial shade and good drainage.  'Blackberry Wine' will bloom sporadically through the season.

Epimedium 'Fire Dragon'

 Epimediums are in full bloom for me now.  They've been gaining in popularity in the past few years.  One of my favorites is 'Fire Dragon' which has fairly large (for an Epimedium) flowers that last much longer than others in my garden.  'Amber Queen' is fairly similar, I'm not sure how long the blooms will last.  'Lilafee' is a nice purple flowering variety is petite.  'Niveum' is a great white variety.  These are all easy to grow in shade to partial shade and are tolerant of dry soil. 

Epimedium 'Niveum'
Epimedium 'Lilafee'

Hepatica acutiloba is an underused woodland plant that does great in a shade garden.  Flowers range in color and can be white, pink, or blue.  They put on a good show of small flowers in spring, then the glossy foliage looks great all season. 

 The various Heuchera, xHeucherella, and Tiarella are looking great now, 'Southern Comfort' and 'Fire Chief' are looking great.  All of the new ones I planted have returned beautifully.  Tiarella 'Cascade Creeper' is coming up well, this is one of my new favorites.  There are some great new varieties this year that I can't wait to get planted: Heuchera: 'Apple Crisp', 'Pear Crisp', & 'Electric Lime'.  xHeucherella 'Redstone Falls', 'Yellowstone Falls', & 'Solar Eclipse'. 

 Iris lutescens var. campelli is a diminutive species of bearded iris with light purple standards and slightly darker falls.  I've struggled with this one for awhile, but I've finally found a spot where it seems happy.  I have other dwarf bearded hybrids in bloom as well, and they are always among my favorite spring bloomers.  If you don't have any dwarf iris, pick some up.
 Mertensia virginica alba.  I picked up a white form of Virginia bluebells last year, and it's in bloom now.  I probably should move it to a spot more suitable to its spreading nature.
Hostas are an obsession of mine (I have over 300 varieties) and the gold varieties are always my favorite as they come up.  'Dawn's Early Light' and 'Nancy' are especially bright.  Both look great all season as well.  'Dawn's Early Light' changes to bright green/chartreuse but has pebbled round leaves and a great mound habit.  'Nancy' stays a fairly bright chartreuse and has a good form.

'Dawn's Early Light'



  1. 300 Hostas...I guess you do like them ;-) I wish I had a huge property...I would certianly grow my fair share as well! Love all the charming...I have so little room, I figure I should limit myself to 1 variety...but which one?!?

  2. I think you covered all the bases, quite an array of Spring color, love that epimedium fire dragon.


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