A Garden Blog About Saying Goodbye

I'm a gardener in Chicago, IL, and I'm leaving my garden behind at the end of the year - The Last Garden is about my garden's final year. Share & Enjoy.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden March 21, 2011

The month of March has predictably failed to deliver on its tantalizing but ultimately false promise of sweetly scented spring days with little wisps of clouds drifting across azure skies. The 21st of this month was beautiful, though.

Garden Blogger's Bloom day rolled around this month, and wouldn't you know it, on the 15th I had zero plants blooming, but by the 18th we had crocus and snowdrops with a hint of Scilla. On the 21st, I went out and captured these beautiful garden shots. It had been about 50ºF for a week at that point, though of course the temps have dropped down into the 30s this week, because it's March and Chicago. March in Chicago both annoys and exhilarates me, but I'll get to that with this month's Philosophy Post.

To start off, here are those 'Barrett Browning' daffodils from last garden post. They're the furthest along of any of my daffodils, and they bring my joy. There's something about a small green thing, pushing its way through life after a long, cold, white winter. Like I said, joy.

I planted these snowdrops perhaps four years ago, and only this year have they really shone their glory. That'll be because I planted them at the bottom of a slope, next to a fence that blocks the western sun from them in the afternoon. This was before I cared about the grade of the property, and drainage and other things that, I am telling you, really do make a difference in how your plants do. Seriously, if it's nice outside where you are, go outside and lay down on the ground and check out whether the ground slopes up or down or stays the same. You'll be surprise by what you find, once the plants grow in, and you see how they grow differently based on the grade they were planted at and the drainage of that grade. It's crazy. Anyway.

Those lipstick-red Viburnum trilobum buds begin to burst around this time every year. Those tiny buds will unfold into lovely lobed leaves by May.

No update on the Blue primroses this time, because on the 21st they pretty much looked exactly like they had on the 8th, but the Primula veris looked absolutely gorgeous that day. I don't have enough nice things to say about this plant, really. Probably because I'm just a sucker for a good old primrose.

Scilla siberica, the spring flower of Chicago. These buds are a bit early - in a couple of weeks one section of the lawn will explode into a carpet of blue. We don't even have to use any paint, it's great.

I feel somewhat bad about abusing my presumed rights to photograph this lilac of my neighbor's but it's beautiful so sue me. Again, Syringa vulgaris var. alba. Great shrub.

I really, I have no words. There's something about the first spring crocuses that leaves me without words. Well, words besides Crocus chrysanthus 'Blue Pearl'.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Joan of Arc'. Like I said. I mean, I could wax poetic here or you could just enjoy my pretty pictures, which would you choose, honestly?

Here, that's better. This plant doesn't bring me to tears, but I do like it a lot. It's Aquilegia x 'Crimson Star', and really, for all that Aquilegias have marks against them for shoddy summer performance and tendency to slowly disappear from the garden, it's a great plant. I got it in 2006, a full five years ago now, and it's stuck around, come back every year, and increased in size. I don't know about how other 'Crimson Star' Aquilegias do, but this particular plant has been good to me.

Say it with me now - cot-OWN-ee-aster. Not cotton-easter, though, trust me, it's amusing to hear people wander around in the nurseries saying it, and I suppose it's a dead language so it doesn't matter that much anyway, but bear with my neuroses here. Anyway, the young buds of Cotoneaster lucidus, which has a bit of a history that I won't go into because it involves me sinking to the ground in abject misery at one point.

Here's that Allium schubertii again. I'm going to be annoyingly keen on this plant until you've all seen in it what I see in it. Also, no, I haven't thought up any suggestive jokes about it yet, I'm annoying uncreative on the traditional pun-making front.

Tulipa 'Garant'. I remember the first time I saw variegated tulips - I stared and stared and couldn't quite believe my eyes. Now I own them! Quite exciting. Like I've said, I'm one of those awful people who writes sonnets about tulips in their spare time. There will unfortunately be much rhapsody involving tulips here. I'm sorry but you'll all have to deal with it.

Here's the prairie smoke - Geum triflorum. It's gotten beautifully bright golden-green in the past few weeks.

Now, as it turns out, I was wrong about those buds being Tulipa 'Yellow Wave'. They are, in fact, little tiny bulbs of Tulipa 'Sunlover' that I cast off and left to die in a hole last July.

In Chicago, there's a point that comes, usually in about the middle to end of March, but in a bad year at the beginning of April, when you look up one balmy day and oh, forget the Voids above, the grass is green again. It's an exhilarating half-second, right before you realize it's going to have to be mowed again in a few weeks. I like to put it off as long as possible to let the lawn bulbs do their thing, but keep in mind that if you wait too long to mow the grass will grow up unto a thick long thatch and once you mow it down the stuff at the bottom will be all yellow and goopy. But it's a wonderful moment, looking up and realizing that the world is becoming green again. I like it.

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