Garden Report: March 11

In the last week, the magnolia has bloomed. The stupid thing has developed a lean, which I am not sure I know how to correct. Anybody have any great ideas for a tree that is tilting to the side, apart from propping it back into place (which does not appear to be working)?

Magnolia in bloom

In the large planters out front, the tulips are emerging in full force. I'm sure they would have bloomed before now if I had been considerate and planted them in mid-December as I should have done.

Tulips in planters

The reason I guessed that is that the tulips I have out back, which are 'Greenland' viridiflora tulips, are going a bit nuts. They come up all short like that just to make me crazy. Also, over time their colour has drifted. Not that they ever looked like the catalog photo, but they could try.

Tulipa viridiflora Greenland

What most Americans think of as real tulips just don't do well in this climate. It's not like they're the most hardy and reliable flowers in other climates, but at least they don't go all weird.

On the other hand, I am really enjoying the species tulips I planted all over the garden. Like this little sweetie, Tulipa humilis alba coerulea oculata ("white species tulip with a blue eye"). The hummingbird sage branch that has draped over it is one of those nice little accidental contrasts that keeps a gardener going.

Tulipa humilis alba coerulea oculata

And one of the more common-looking species tulips, Tulipa turkestanica, which I now have all over the place (and it naturalizes, so I will have it even more all over the place over time). They're kind of cute in the rain, closing up like this:

Tulipa turkestanica

And then when the sun comes out they almost instantly transform into this:

Tulipa turkestanica, open

Those are the same tulips, 1/2 hour apart (it was kind of a crazy day last week, with rain all morning and then suddenly the most gorgeous sunlight all afternoon).

Also a fave is this Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane', which is not yet in bloom, but soooo close. I added more this year so I can start slowly making a swath of these in the orchard.

Lady Jane tulips

Under some of the species tulips these things appeared. I have no idea what they are (maybe roots from the Wahlenbergia that I transplanted from that location?), and I will never know, because yesterday I let the chickens out for a little dusk run-around and Carole ate all of them, peck-peck-peck. It was a pretty little thing, though.

Mystery pink root thing

Oh, and as usual, I was surprised to see the irises in the basin a-bloom. I find it funny that I know perfectly well what is planted there, and I spend much of the year looking forward to it blooming, but I never remember when it blooms.

Miniature irises in the basin

Here's another testament to my memory. I know these are some kind of anemone. I sort of remember planting them. But when did I do that? Are they the Anemone blanda I also planted by the side path? Unfortunately, they didn't get big enough for me to tell.

Odd little anemone I don't remember planting

Indeed, I only noticed them because I was bending down to look at these little Bellis perennis, coming back from the ones I planted last year. Somehow the name hadn't registered and I was assuming they would be annuals.

Bellis perennis

Still waiting for the Felicia elongata to bloom. It threatens to on a daily basis. And yesterday while shooing the chickens out of the strawberries, I noticed that I had planted a second one. Yet another brilliant moment of loving a plant so much that I just keep buying it.

Felicia elongata

All about the garden, stuff is waking up. The rain we got the last few weeks plus newly-warm weather has been good news for flowers (I hear the wildflowers are going nuts). Combine that with the day length approaching the equinox, and you've got a nice solid spring. (Yes, I would like a little more rain, thank you.)

Here we have raspberry canes emerging. I'm not sure these will do anything exciting, but I'm looking forward to fresh raspberries again. We had a huge patch of them when I was a kid: gallons every summer. They were both a pain in the butt to deal with and a total love-fest. The ones from the store are no good at all compared to fresh berries from your own garden.

Raspberry canes appearing

I also like fresh carrots (I hate cooked carrots), so this spring I planted carrots in all sorts of odd little places. These ones are emerging in one of the fig pots. They are little round carrots, so they should not disturb the roots too much (not that anything disturbs the roots of a fig).

Baby carrots emerging

My minor garden dilemma now is the fava beans. They are knee high and gorgeous, and I love them.

Fava beans going mad

But they've started flowering, which means I'm supposed to either dig them under or cut them down now, leaving just a couple plants to get more beans from. But I don't want to! Oh, I'll get over it, but it seems such a shame.

Fava bean flower

One of my planned summer projects this year is a bog garden. With the fish now deceased, I can use the pond liner for its intended purpose, which is a peat bog garden. I had a large bale of peat in the basement, and for the last several days I have been soaking it in the pond to make a bog. Only one dog has accidentally stepped on this thinking it was solid earth. One of the chickens put a tentative foot onto it and thought better of that. There are still a couple of big lumps to break apart, but it's made a lot of progress.

Soaking peat

And to finish off, here's my geranium 'Bill Wallis' looking all floufy and happy by the side stairs. It's a winter favourite of the local bee population, because it always has a few flowers. I didn't intend to plant this in the ground; it self-sowed from the container that is hidden under there. Once it did so, I didn't have the heart to stop it. Some plants are just not meant to be in containers.

Geranium by the stairs


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posted by ayse on 03/11/09

2 Comments

Ayse, you need to get two or three ties for that magnolia that go around the trunk and have some rubber(?) padding that then tie to stakes set out 120 degrees apart in a circle to keep it growing straight for now. Also, look into pruning to keep it shaped well as it grows.

I am in Alameda and marveling at all the blooms! Yours look great. I envy you the magnolia. Like Kestrel, I would suggest staking.

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