I was very happy to discover this week that not one but two growers are growing one of my very favorite plants -- Lathyrus sativus, otherwise known as Grass pea or Blue sweet pea. The former common name owes to the grass like foliage of this plant, making it quite distinct from the common sweet pea varieties out there. And the blue color is exceptionally lovely. Keep an eye out for it and check back on this blog for photos of mine in bloom. In the meantime here is a photo off the web.
Meanwhile, in between periods of rain I wandered out in my garden and took some photos. Here they are, fresh off "the grill."
Though I couldn't quite get the lighting right on this shot of my Ribes sanguineum, it will nonetheless give an idea of how prolific it bloomed this late winter. It has survived periods of dryness but a couple of deep soaks really brought out the blooms.
Here's a closeup of the Ribes flower panicle. Hummingbirds are enticed by the sweet nectar so I see them over there all the time. And then there's that spicy fragrance.
Speaking of fragrance, the alba variety of Heliotropium is much more fragrant than the purple. Plus, the clusters of white flowers really pop against the green foliage. You get to vote on whether you think it smells like vanilla or talc powder, two of the most popular descriptions.
Another shot of my Lachenalia orchioides var. glaucina. Love those colors!Lachenalias are very easy to grow if you give them a dry summer. I've solved that problem by keeping mine in pots, then setting them aside in a 'dry' section for the off season.
Whoever named this Sedun 'Jelly Bean' must have had a sweettooth! Then again, they do kind of look like jelly beans ...
The first of my Babianas have opened, this one an orchid pink color. They range in color from nearly white, to lavender, purple and in the case of Rat's Tail babiana, a bright red.Baboon flowers, as they're known, are pretty easy to grow and over time will make a nice clump.
If Physocarpus doesn't ring a bell as a plant name then maybe 'Ninebark' does. The common name owes to the fact that mature specimens will go through multiple bark peelings, adding another layer of interest to this handsome shrub.This variety is P. 'Nugget' and as you can see, it has beautiful golden leaves. One of my faves.
Freesia. I swear, you almost need to wear sunglasses when gazing at some of these freesias, the colors are so electric.
Speaking of colorful, how about this fabulous Magnolia 'Black Tulip?'Along with Magnolia 'Vulcan,' two of the deepest pinks in the world of tulip trees.
If you look askance at this plant, it might well talk back "Who you calling Ugni?" Yes, that would be Ugni molinae, also known as Chilean guava. It doesn't produce fruit but it's certainly pretty.2013 was the year of variegated shrubs for me, only quelled by my running out of space.
Always the first of my Rhododendrons to bloom, this lovely yellow 'Donatella'could stand to be getting some sun, as it's in full shade right now.
Erysimum linifolium. It may be common but for toughness and beauty it's hard to beat wallflowers.And if 'wallflower' seems an odd common name it owes that moniker to the habit of certain Erysimums climbing castle walls in England.
Magnolia stellata. I love the pure white flowers and here one is handsomely shown off by the colorful Alpinia 'Zerumbet'(Shell ginger).
Oncidium 'Wildcat Yellow Butterfly.' Not yet open but to my eye, it's already lovely, stretching out at a curious horizontal level. This will be the first time it's rebloomed in four years.
Selaginella kraussiana. One of the loveliest of all club mosses.Needs moisture but since it's in the shade that's not too terribly much.
Omphalodes. One of the loveliest of blue flowering plants for shade.I have it under a Sappho rhododendron and next to hellebores and next to a Tradescantia.
Choisya ternata. About to burst into bloom, the buds are pregnant with expectations. One of the showiest and most fragrant of all shrubs and if you're lucky it reblooms in the fall. Mine is so vigorous that I have to keep pruning it back.