spring

Late Bulb Planting

Ideally spring bulbs should be planted in late October to mid-November. Often do we find ourselves spending more time in garden cleanup or are simply victims of procrastination. And sometimes it can be too irresistible to purchase bulbs heavily discounted at garden centers and nurseries, and lavish plantings of tulips and other bulbs treated as […]

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Black Tulips

“I shall find the black tulip,” said Cornelius to himself whilst detaching the suckers. I shall obtain the hundred thousand guilders offered by the Society.” (La Noire Tulipe by Alexandre Dumas) The fact that black, like blue, is commonplace in our contemporary lives, but rare in the natural world is a beguiling one. Black diamonds, […]

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Spring Foliage Kaleidoscope

This native trio at Jenkins Arboretum, which includes Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple), Packera aurea (golden ragwort), and Allium tricoccum (ramps), demonstrates the success of intermingling for foliage effect  – the wheel-like Podophyllum leaves appear to pirouette across the planting, the lance-like Allium leaves add linearity, and scalloped leaf margins of Packera is a textural piece de resistance. More so is the green monotony broken up by […]

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Delphinium tricorne

Delphiniums incite reverence for their crystalline blues, purples, and whites rare in the floral world. They seem even rarefied when their temperament is best appeased in cool, cloudy climates. Countless gardeners have coddled delphiniums with variable success  – some, including myself, enduring heartbreak at seeing flowering stems broken from wind and rain or the plants […]

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Bleeding Heart

Flowering cheerfully now, Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Linnaeus) T. Fukuhara (bleeding heart) is such a traditional cottage garden favorite in Europe and North America that its Far Eastern origin (China, North Korea, and Russia) comes as a surprise. It is considered one of the Scottish plant explorer Robert Fortune’s most successful re-introductions in 1846, although several years […]

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