Monday, March 29, 2010

March Madness

March has been an interesting month. The weather for Seattle has brought above normal temperatures, sunshine, and drier skies after a very warm, partly cloudy, and rainy February. The average daily high is running over 2 degrees above normal; the warmest day has been March 24 when the temperature reached 68 degrees breaking the record set in 1960.

It seems as if everything is ahead of schedule, especially compared to spring 2008 when we had average temperatures for the month that were 3 degrees below normal and close to a foot of snow mid-April. Most of the perennials have broken ground and the woodies are leafing out.

I’ve got a lot of blue going on out there; Scilla and IpheionIpheion 'Rolf Fiedler' are still blooming like mad and the blue Chionodoxa have opened. I have dark blue hyacinth returning for year 5. Who knew they were such good perennializers? The pulmonaria has been blooming for a month and still looks great. Another favorite blue is Brunnera macrophylla, commonly called perennial forget me not, because of the flowers. However, the foliage is as big an asset; I have B. ‘Hadspen Cream’; B. ‘Jack Frost’ and B. ‘Looking Glass’ are also lovely. The foliage looks good from March to October, lighting up the shade, and is persistant through winter. Omphalodes cappadocica 'Parisian Skies' is a tiny plant with breathtaking blue blooms. Corydalis flexuosa has ferny foliage and weirdly pretty flowers. Veronica peduncularis ‘Georgia Blue’ is a wonderful groundcover with persistant foliage and blue blossoms for months.Pieris Valley Valentine

Some of the broadleaf evergreens are in bloom. The Camellia japonica 'Kumasaka' is smothered in medium pink blooms. Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’ has unique  dark red flowers. Rhododendrons ‘Songbird’, ‘Rock Rose’ and ‘Taurus’ are in full bloom.

My spring ephemerals are blooming and slowly spreading. This is the only time of year I can see them! Jeffersonia diphylla, called twinleaf, was named for Thomas Jefferson. This native wildflower Jeffersonia diphylla has lovely white blooms, but they are held beneath the foliage. Saguinaria canadensis, or blood root, has very similar pure white flowers that are held above the foliage. There is a spectacular double flowered variety: S. c. ‘Multiplex.’ Anemone nemerosa ‘Robinsoniana’ is a woodlander native to UK that is blooming now. Lathyrus vernus is a fabulous sweet pea relative that is reliably perennial and has incredible magenta/purple/blue flowers. My hepatica has broken ground but still refuses to bloom.

I have Darwin hybrid tulips returning for year number nine, that’s what I’m talkin about! T. ‘Golden Apeldoorn’ is a brilliant clear yellow; T. ‘Pink Impression’ is shining pink.

There are many wonderful Viburnums; V. carlessii ‘Compacta’ is in bloom right now and wonderfully fragrant. They call it Korean spice viburnum for obvious reasons. Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’ (aka ‘Mellow Yellow’) is a Great Plant Pick with airy willow-like foliage in chartreuse blooming now with small white flowers.

Daphnes are in a class by themselves with glossy, semi-evergreen foliage-sometimes variegated-and heavily fragrant blooms. D. odora marginata and D. transatlantic ‘Eternal Fragrance’ are blooming now much to my enjoyment. D. t. ‘Eternal Fragrance’ has at least a few blooms on it almost year round and reliably persistant foliage. It is, perhaps, my favorite Daphne of all.

I can hardly wait to see what April brings-besides showers.

1 comment:

  1. i like your post! :) I should try out some of those other Daphne's. I have variegated winter Daphne and it smells wonderful!