My notes suggest I first planted these Wild Oats in 2008, and this spring, at last, they bloomed!

Uvularia sessilifolia

Its larger cousin, the Large-flower Bellwort is a reliable and beautiful early spring bloomer, year after year,  and I’ve been able to divide it and start a new clump in the street bed.

Uvularia grandiflora

Small pleasures: pasque flowers

I wait for the pasque flower each year with baited breath. Will it come up again this spring?   Will it bloom?  And will our dog eat the flower before we get to enjoy it?  There’s a wonderful set of children’s books about Henry and his dog,  Mudge. In one of them,  Henry and Mudge admire a beautiful blue flower together and then…Mudge eats it.  It does look delicious,  doesn’t it?

Pasque anemone

Lost Plants :-(

I came back from a lovely long weekend visiting with my family in Maine to find that I’d lost most of the new plants I added this spring!  While the weather was cool and pleasant on the coast of Maine, it was brutally hot here.  Even with the drip hoses zigzagging over the bed, it was just too much for them.  The south-facing street bed lost the two Trailing Arbutus (again!), the newly added Labrador Violets, the Shrubby Five-Finger (shown in the May what’s in bloom photos), and maybe the May Apple.  Who knows, some of these may return next year, one can always hope.

Note to self: time to get another soaker hose and zigzag more densely on this bed!

The fern and thick bunch of Waldenstenia that I’d added under the Dawn Redwood (admittedly a tough spot) also seem to be gone, though I’m watering them like crazy now, hoping they may not be totally lost.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day (GBBD) – May 15

The blogger from May Dreams Garden blog started the tradition of “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day” on the 15th of every month.  I like the idea of recording what’s in bloom in my garden on a regular basis, but have somehow always missed the 15th.  This time, I managed to get outside, camera in hand!

Hover over any photo to see what it is.  Click on a photo to view them in slideshow mode.

Creating a New Wildflower Bed

Last year I dug out and moved two large plants – one of the kiwi vines along the driveway fence, and the small Japanese Maple out front, in the sidewalk bed.  These were major transplanting efforts, and I’m happy to report that the Japanese Maple is doing well in its new home.  (The kiwi went to another gardener via Craigslist, so no report there.)  Both plants needed to go, for different reasons, but they left big gaps behind!

The front sidewalk bed is a bit tricky – south-facing, but shaded by the city’s Norway Maple in the sidewalk and the blue spruce on the west side,  sloping, and with tree roots throughout.  When I inherited it, there was a hydrangea and holly against the cement wall, and lots of hostas and Stella D’Oro lillies.  I’ve been gradually taking them out, adding coral bells and barren strawberries to reliably fill in spaces, and experimenting to find out what else will work.

The star this spring is the Zizia aptera (Heart-leaf Alexander) to the right.  I planted it in 2007, and this spring it’s filling out beautifully!  I’ve found a few small Alexander seedlings nearby, and hope that they will grow up in the years to come.

Further up the slope, I’ve just added Virginia Bluebells, and then the Goatbeard (Aruncus diocus) – a small scraggly thing last year – has leafed out in and above it. If you look closely, you can see that the Virginia Bluebell has a pretty pattern of starting with tiny violet-pink buds that then open into blue flowers.


And here is a foam flower , looking lovely right now, near one of the deep reddish-purple coral bells.  The large flowered bellwort behind it is no longer in bloom here, but is doing well.  I divided it last year, and am delighted to see it flourishing here.

It’s not looking bare any more!

Celebrate National Public Gardens Day (May 11, 2012) at Mt. Auburn Cemetery

The folks at Mount Auburn Cemetery asked me to spread the word about their plans for  National Public Gardens Day, coming up on Friday, May 11, 2012:

“We have a whole day’s worth of activities planned to raise public awareness about the great community resources available in public gardens (Mount Auburn is classified not only as a public garden, but also as an arboretum, and is always free to the public). We’ll be offering a free Early Morning Horticulture Club walk at 7 AM, followed by a proclamation by the President of the Watertown Town Council. We’ll then launch our smartphone app which is loaded with free self-guided tours throughout the Cemetery, and then our President will lead a special horticultural  highlights tour emphasizing the diverse plant life in our landscape.”

More info is available here http://www.mountauburn.org/2012/nationalpublicgardensday/.

Hopefully the rain will end by Friday and we’ll have a beautiful day to celebrate our public gardens!

Plant Swaps – Spring, 2012

Here’s the info from the Mid-Cambridge Gardeners about their spring plant swap:

The Spring 2011 Mid-Cambridge PLANT SWAP will be on Saturday May 12 (not May 5*), noon to 2 pm.  Rain date—in case of DOWNPOUR—is Saturday, May 19, 12-2. The Mid-Cambridge plant swap is at Fayette Park (near the corner of Broadway and Fayette St., across from former Longfellow School).

Bring anything that’s growing in too much abundance in your garden. Elegant packaging not required, but please do write down the names of plants.   We expect to have perennials, biennial seedlings, seeds, indoor plants, catalogs, pots, and lots of “whatever.”  Feel free to just come, chat with neighbors, talk gardening.

* Please note that this Plant Swap will happen a week later than usual.

Our plant swap, at the McMath Community Garden in North Cambridge, is now scheduled for the next day, on Sunday, May 20 (not May 13), from 2 – 4 p.m.   Come by and share your extra plants or pick up a free plant from another gardener!