30 April 2013

april garden sights

Let's start with Fritillaria (a.k.a. Mission Bells, Checkered Lilies, Snake's Head, Frog's Cup), which are in full bloom adjacent to some tired looking Hellebores.  These guys always seem to brighten up the shady woodland corner, although almost mournfully so with their nodding blooms!  I have both white and purple in this area--their checkered petals are always a welcoming sign of spring.  I have planted all these from bulbs over the past few years, however I recently bought some seeds from Butchart Gardens that I'm going to try planting come Fall. 
Fritillaria meleagris

A common sight, but it's no wonder considering the scent that these flowers produce.  The evergreen leaves provide an almost tropical look that is covering a large section of chain link fence in the backyard. 
Clematis armandii

The emerging untwirling leaves of Hostas have got to be one of my favorite sights of spring.  Completely covered with mulch, I often forget where they live until they emerge from their winter slumber.  Beautiful!  Below, my top three cultivars. 
Hosta 'Golden Edger'

Hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'

Hosta 'June'

This double-flowering Hellebore from the 'Winter Jewels' series was a show-stopper in February.  This is exactly the reason that Hellebores are always at the top of my list of flowering perennials--although a little tired looking, this is almost THREE months later and the flowers are still gorgeous.  In fact, some of my 'Ivory Prince' and other Orientalis varieties flower's will last well into JULY!  What more could you ask from a plant?  Lovely everygreen folige, some of the longest-lasting flowers out there, winter-interest, no need to fertilize, deer-proof, slug-proof, every colour of the rainbow available from white to yellow to green to purple to almost-black, and fine in sun or shade.  Just cut back their leaves when the flower stems start to show, and they're happy as can be.  Some of mine even look like they're self-seeding for the first time this year!
Helleborus Winter Jewels™ 'Painted Doubles'

This is one of the most asked-about plants in the garden--and rightfully so; beautiful dark leaves of all different shades of red, burgundy, and rust, it is a fabulous accent next to anything green, and it gets an early start and long season interest, although a little leggy looking in late summer and Fall.  Very cool plant!
Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'

A northern California native and new addition to my garden, I'm trying out this moisture-loving groundcover next to some dark-leaved Lobelia 'Russian Princess'. 
Petasites palmatus 'Golden Palms'

I divided this peony in the Fall and it looks like I'll only get a few blooms this year.  Often they refuse to bloom the first year after division.  But no matter--the foliage alone makes this plant worth growing.

Epimediums (a.k.a. Fairy Wings, Barrenwort, Horny Goat Weed) are quickly becoming one of my favorite groundcovers for shady spots.  Quaint and unassuming, the slugs don't seem to bother with their charming heart-shaped leaves, and the tiny nodding star-shaped flowers make it one of the earliest show-stoppers in the spring garden.  They spread very slowly, and the leaves can even remain evergreen in mild winters.  Just chop em back in late winter for year-round interest for those tough shady areas. A little on the pricier side but well worth it! 
Epimedium brachyrrhizum

Epimedium x rubrum

Of course, the daffodils put on a great show this year and now the tulips are in full swing.  I'll post about those next.  Happy Spring! 


  1. Anonymous02 May, 2013

    Alison, Thank you for sharing the inspiring photos of your garden. You made my day. Love, Sheila

    1. I'm so glad you're still following me on here, I thought surely I'd lost you by now with my lack of posts over the past few months! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I'd love to see what your garden looks like now. xo



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