Monday, April 30, 2012

Into the Greening...

Spring is here in the GWN! Never mind that it has snowed ONCE A WEEK this month. No matter, it doesn't stay, and besides, my garden just ignores the snow and grows anyway. If it can be so calm and single-minded, so can I. I consider this my version of out-staring old man winter -- he'll flinch first.

My greatest champion in staring down winter is my rhubarb. This was here when we moved here; a lone sign of life in a sea of ugly gravel. Despite what the experts say, we've moved it three times and it just keeps coming back brighter than ever. I made rhubarb crisp with it last year and it was divine. So, I'm sure you can imagine how happy I was to see my old friend return. (My son holds my hand and drags me each day to "check on the rhubarb!" I love this!)


This striped squill is my very first flower of the year -- and it is not even mine! Really. It is a volunteer that made its way to the side of our house. I think this is the third year it has shown up, much to my delight. I think it is absolutely charming.


The next brave soul is the columbine, aquilegia 'Beidermeier.' As I had secretly hoped, it has begun self seeding. I simply cannot get enough of the cool pastels of this intricate and elegant plant. It lines the path leading into the garden and lends a lovely woodland feel to the path. Welcome back, lovely lady!


The next eager starter is the clematis, macropetala 'Lagoon.' It is a sweet blue clematis that is practically maintenance-free. It grows on old growth and likes to get out there early and let the world know that there is a reason to stop and stare. Deceptively delicate looking, it is proving once again - now in its third year - that it is one tough cookie. My kinda vine.


Don't these peppery looking little flowers delight? They are not ones that we normally get to see close-up because they are usually so far above us. They are the flower of the tree, Ulmus Americana 'Brandon.' Generally referred to as the American elm, it is a stately vase-shaped tree found on boulevards across North America. Sadly, it has been decimated in many regions by Dutch Elm Disease, carried by a small beetle. Here in Alberta, we claim to be Dutch Elm Disease-free. I think there have been one or two cases reported; however, the province has a rigorous program in place to stop the disease, that so far seems to be working. I am taking it on faith that they will continue to be diligent, and so added this very favourite tree to my garden. I have the room for it and absolutely love them. In a few years these tiny, frothy flowers will be too high for me to see so I'll enjoy their proximity now.


Looking down, I see the patches of Lamium Maculatum 'White Nancy' are springing back to life. I put several of these in last year late in the season. I had this particular lamium in my previous garden and love the way it glows with a silvery light in the shade and in the evenings. The small white flowers look like pearls to me. I understand that some lamiums are thugs in certain conditions; however, White Nancy is a tidy and well-behaved ground cover here and blends beautifully with other shade-loving foliage. Welcome back, silver sister!


Another hardworking and under-appreciated beauty of the dappled light garden is Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla mollis. This beauty is one of the first to show up for the party and keeps her good looks all summer. You can't beat the silver beads of dew that grace her foliage in the morning and add sparkle to the garden. I put in several of these last year as well, and plan to add more this year as an edging plant.


An evergreen shrub I've always coveted is the Taunton's Yew, Taxus x media 'Tauntonii.' It has a graceful low form and soft, arching branches. I was delighted to see it came through its first winter without any burn or dieback. Most impressive. I may be adding more of these pretties as well.


And finally (I could go on as there is more coming up!), I will end with the Rosa rugosa 'Schneezwerg.' The snow dwarf is a sweet, simple white rose that blooms and blooms. I was very impressed with it last summer as the three of them were never without blooms. As a rugosa, it is a tough rose, but small, tidy and shapely. I look foward to seeing them fill in a little more this year.


I know this is my longest post in ages, but think of it as me exhaling after a long winter. Ahhhhh....I have plants growing! These are the days when you just can't wait to get out to the garden as soon as you race home to see what has grown while you were out. Um, can you tell I am thrilled? :)

I hope you are all enjoying the magic of spring, wherever your gardens may be. I'll be visiting your blogs as I can this week to check out spring as she is making her magic across the continents. Yay!


Laurrie said...

Such magic going on out in your garden . . I can see why you are entranced. I want to see each of these beauties as they unfurl their leaves and bloom later in the season, especially that little white rose.

(How lucky you are to have elms all around you. I really miss them here.)

Anna said...

How exciting to read that you are breathing again and enjoying spring's arrival. Must look out for 'White Nancy' - such attractive silvery foliage.

Off topic I'm currently reading a novel called 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey. It is set in Alaska, is beautifully written and I think it would appeal to you. Sorry for mentioning the s word though :)

The Garden Ms. S said...

Laurrie, it seems to be happening all at once. So exciting! :)

Anna, Oh my, I just googled that book and read a review of it. I think I will *love* it. Ok, I just put on a hold on it through my library app on my phone. Can't wait! Thx. :)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Ms S girl : )
I can read your excitement here .. and I totally agree with you on how it can be such a barometer for our feelings .. seeing the plants come to life after winter (a strange one at that) .. rhubarb ! love it : ) I have all sorts of lamium, from Beacon Silver to Orchid Frost and I love it for shining just the way you described it .. even though my flowers are not white the foliage is gorgeous .. and Lady's Mantle .. how can we not have that in our gardens ? I need some more in fact .. 3 are not enough !
I have fallen for a dwarf False Cypress shrub called Mops Gold Threadleaf .. it is brilliant !
Some times I just have a thing for some plants and can't imagine why other people don't ? LOL
Joy : )

The Garden Ms. S said...

Joy, I can sense your excitement too! Isn't it a great time of year. I will have to check out the shrub and lamiums you mentioned. Enjoy! :)

Diane, from N.Alberta to the hem of the sea said...

just like your son, I've really enjoyed this delightful walk through your garden. I have always been smitten with rhubarb as it emerges each spring. It's so tightly curled and each day I'm always amazed how much it progresses in growth as it begins to unfurl. One of my favourite spring 'viewings'.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Diane, I have really grown to appreciate rhubarb for its robustness and great flavour -- not to mention the dramatic foliage. Highly recommend for any garden! :)

Jennifer said...

We have had some rain in the last couple of days and suddenly the garden is coming to life. All the leaves that were up, but curled tight are suddenly unfurling. My rhubarb is up as well and I am looking forward to baking some treats with it.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Jennifer, these are exciting days! My leaves have really started to unfurl this week and it thrills me. :)

Marguerite said...

It's so exciting to see all these plants pushing up through the ground isn't it? We are at a similar pace here - some coldish weather this month but gradually growing warmer. Loved the photos of your plants coming up, there's nothing quite like the dew on new growth to make me smile.

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Beautiful post, what a magical time of year. I am enamoured by your Yew, will try and find a spot for one...

Diane said...

Oh, what a joy it must have been to see that striped squill come up! I think that's the best surprize a gardener can get. Bonus gardening! LOL.

Please forgive me, but I need reminding where you are situated!


Shirley @ The Gardening Life said...

I am so glad you stopped by my blog and commented about my trip to Enjoy Gardens because it gave me a chance to pay you a visit as well. It is always nice to come across fellow Albertan gardeners! I know I've visited before, but it's nice to come back again. I am glad to see you have planted an elm. They are such beautiful graceful trees and I would plant one too if I had the room.

Ahhhh, spring is here!

Casa Mariposa said...

Winter is soooo long for you! You deserve flowers that explode out of the ground with joyous color. Wonderful that your son loves to check on the garden. I have sweet memories of my son pulling beets and onions. Your garden looks like it's off to a great start. :o)

winnsangels said...

I discovered your blog this morning because of my love of gardening and nature. I love your presentations of nature and garden. I chose to include your blog in my "Monday mingle" list of blogs to visit. Truly looking forward to frequent visits here.
Angels be with you.

Victoria said...

Yay..what a powerful post..and such gorgeous photos..I am in love with that last one..the Snow Dwarf...beautiful!
Wishing you much magic and bliss in the garden this year!

Northern Shade said...

Your striped squill is very sweet looking. I bet it would like some more squill company, but that type of thinking is how I end up with less and less lawn.

Good to see the White Nancy starts looking good so early in the year. That silver and green foliage looks great. I just picked up some of these plants earlier this week, to plant in a corner by a large spruce. I've been thinking about getting some some the past couple of years, but always debated if they would spread a little too much.

I wouldn't mind if my Taxus media grew a little faster. Mine are healthy looking, but make slow progress.

The Garden Ms. S said...

Northern Shade, I think you would be quite pleased with the White Nancy. It is a nice spreader but not invasive and simply glows in the evening. As well, it is a team player as it makes the plants around it look good. :)