Sunday, April 19, 2009

Living in our Gardens

Spring weather has finally arrived and if you're like me you're trying to find a way to be out in your garden as much as possible. Doing the dishes? That can wait. On the other hand, the newly arrived warm weather means that some of us are back to watering our gardens again. In my case, it's renewed my resolve to install an irrigation system. Most of my beds are mulched, which helps on the watering but my spring resolution is to get some combination of drip and soaker hose system in place. That will free up more time to do the things I enjoy (planting, trimming, photographing) and the things I have to do (weeding, restoring neglected areas).
Rather than bore readers with a To-Do list (and everybody's list is different), I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite plants that are coming into bloom. As I've mentioned, I have over 500 different species or varieties of flowers in my garden and thus there's always something in bloom.
The big news in my garden is that my agave vilmoriniana has sent up a huge flower spike. These plants take 7-10 years to bloom and I think my plant is six or seven years old. I swear, it's growing a couple inches a day and is already 12 feet tall. They can reach 15-20 feet. When in bloom, the entire spike is covered in small white flowers, making for an incredibly dramatic display. I'm psyched!! Photos to follow.
Another wow! plant in my garden right now is my streptosolen bush. It's making its common name -- marmalade bush -- very apparent, with loads of orange, peach and gold flowers. It's large (5x5') and sassy, definitely commanding passersby's attentions. Mind you, it has a little competition right now, as my echium gentianoides is in full, glorious bloom, sporting hundreds of small, electric blue flowers. For those of you who love truly blue flowers, put this echium on your must have list.
And of course this is a clematis lover's favorite month. I have a number of these vigorous climbers in bloom, including the rich, wine-colored niobe, the double form pale lavender Belle of Woking and the large purple H.F. Young. New varieties are starting to show up in nurseries so keep your eyes open!

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