Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dig it!

Depending on the state of your garden in early March, Dig it could refer to all the wonderful plants in bloom OR to the need to dig up and amend beds for spring planting or to do a makeover. For my garden, it's a little of both. I've been using the nice winter weather to work on re-imagining several of my beds. I've shared my progress on the Dwarf Conifer bed, now nearly done. I'm also in the middle of recreating two median strip beds. In the east side bed, next to a vigorous Zerumbet ginger and a Star magnolia, I've added three Exbury azaleas. It's so good to finally get them out of their pots and into the ground (and into more sun). The latest project, this one another median strip in which I've had to dig out and discard soaking wet clay soil, I'm nearly done. This scheme involves the color yellow and features a Magnolia Butterflies. Beneath it is a yellow-flowering Halimium (similar to a cistus) and to either side golden or peachy heucheras. To the right is the yellow flowering Alyogyne hakeafolia and in the front bordering the street gold daylilies. I have room for one more low plant in back of the Alyogyne. Can't wait to see it in three years time once everything has matured.
I am taking advice that I sometimes give to our nursery customers -- don't be afraid to completely dig out a bed that you're unhappy with if you want to do something else there, whether it has a design scheme or you simply want to do something new.
As to the other Dig it, yes this late winter warm weather is causing spring to break out earlier than normal. Here are some photos showing off new "arrivals." Don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge them. Plant IDs follow the photos.

Mousetail arum. Just the cutest arum ever and like other arums, vigorous. It's growing in almost complete shade.
Iris pseudacorus Holden Clough. Unlike other rather plain pseudacorus irises, Holden Clough is a show-off!
Babiana stricta. So many babianas, so little time ...
Melasphaerula. Thanks to Bruce for gifting me this sweet little S. African bulb. Not commonly known in gardening circles but the easiest and most reliable plant ever.
Camellia Little Babe Variegated. Helped to change my mind about camellias ...
Lachenalia mutabilis. Love that milky blue color. Dry summers = fabulous late winter blooms.
Primlet primrose + Sparaxis elegans. The former is super fragrant and the latter super showy.
Freesia. And this freesia is both of the above -- fragrant and showy, unusually large for a freesia.
Narcissus 'Taurus.' Who said Tauruses are solid and unimaginative? This "bull" is a showstopper.
Magnolia stellata Royal Star. Now that's white!
Viburnum x burkwoodii. This shot not quite in focus but had to capture the beginning of its flowering, impressive on a plant not taller than 10" One of the sweetest smelling of the viburnums.
Sparaxis flower buds. I love the texture of the "sheaths," from which the flowers will emerge.
Chasmanthe bicolor. Also not a perfect photo but I love this S. African charmer and I have not had the reported problem of it being invasive.
Tidy Tips + Iris pallida. Who doesn't love the cheerful flowers of Tidy Tips? And soon the wonderfully fragrant Iris pallida will be putting out its huge, lavender blooms.
Spirea prunifolia. I adore the tiny "button" flowers on this spirea. And such an early bloomer!
Rhododendron 'Donatella.' This lovely rhodie is always the first of my five varieties to bloom.
Camellia 'Silver Waves.' It's fun to photograph flowers in different stages of opening, as the flower has a different vibe, a different story to tell (or a promise) in each of its stages.
Camellia 'Winner's Circle.' My WC is almost fully open now and I'm starting to see the form of this brand new reticulata. It's going to be a semi-double and very large. Will it be ruffled?
Paphiopedilum. I couldn't resist sharing a photo of my new Ladyslipper orchid, an acquisition at the recent SF Orchid Expo.

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