Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Garden Bloggers’ Tax, Er, Bloom Day April 14, 2009

Our taxes are already done and the refund is in the bank (although much of it has gone back out the door already with a big round of bills, alas), so today is an attempt at worry-free, economy-be-danged floral abundance. Or at least what passes for that in still-early-days spring in my garden.

One of the hidden benefits of our harsh winter seems to have been that certain shrubs, bulbs and trees actually are blooming better and more bountifully now that spring has finally arrived. I also feel like my wacky attempts to protect last fall’s bulb plantings from the silly squirrels actually succeeded and I was rewarded with a higher than usual percentage of blooms come spring. I’m going to have to try my witches’ brew and paprika deal again next year and see if it really works or this was just a fluke.

Yak yak yak, what, you want to see the flowers already? Okay, nothing too unique or spectacular here, but I’m just grateful for color and as always anything that survives or volunteers in my garden (with the exception of popping weed, of which I have pulled 7 million thus far, and bindweed, whose evil little heads began popping out of the ground last week) is pretty much always welcome.

Here they are, as they say on my guiltiest of pleasures, ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ “in no particular order”:

Starting in the parking strip: Narcissus ‘Scarlet Royal’ – these are looking very bold out there, but next year I’ll have to remember to plant at least some across the sidewalk, since these ones all face the street to get the sun!

Narcissus 'Scarlet Royal'

Early tulips whose variety did not make it to the computer list, alas, with my favorite little common bulb, Muscari americanum (grape hyacinth):

Pinky-red tulips

Volunteer pansies with I-know-it’s-a-weed-but-so-far-I-don’t-care violets:

Weedy violets and volunteer pansies

Narcissus ‘Sir Winston Churchill’ – delicate and fragrant, just like its namesake. Um, wait, never mind.

Narcissus 'Sir Winston Churchill'

‘Ultima Morpho’ pansy, which has been coming up from seed two times a year since my mom gave me some plants a few years ago. It is welcome to sow itself anywhere, any time. I picked one for a neighbor toddler today, and she gave it to her daddy. I love having pick-able plants on the street to share and talk about with visitors.

Volunter 'Ultima Morpho' Pansy

Moving up to the house level, the neglected and poorly sited erisimum (wallflower) in the front bed (a future post may be a please-help-me-redesign-this-sad-mess feature in this area) – still, it blooms from April to frost, with zero attention from yours truly.

Erisimum (Wallflower)

Viburnum x bonantense ‘Dawn’ is still going here three or so months from its bloom onset. The original flush of blooms succumbed to frost, but a few more broke forth as its leaves are finally coming in (it usually blooms while ‘naked’):

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' in mid-April

Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’ (Longleaf lungwort) – my borrowed el cheapo camera strongly disagrees with me on the color of this one’s flowers. My eyes say sky blue, the camera insists on a washed out blah instead. Trust me, this one looks great in the shade:

Pulmonaria 'Roy Davidson' (Longleaf lungwort)

It’s hyacinth time! Their spicy perfume is everywhere. These are such reliable repeaters for me. I just toss a few in the ground in various spots, so that I can smell that amazing scent wherever I walk in early spring. Some of them do get a little tipsy.

Pink hyacinths in grass debris

This shrub was here when we moved in. It has been horribly abused, as it grows near a path and also had to be whacked almost to the ground when our house was repainted. I don’t think I recall it ever blooming before. Could it be another type of viburnum? It is lightly fragrant.

Unknown pink-blooming fragrant shrub

Here’s another unknown for all you good guessers out there. It has these very strongly perfumed small white blossoms in the springtime but then gets awful aphid damage the rest of the year. I think I spied this at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, I meant to ask what it was but couldn’t find anyone who knew.

There is more but this is getting a bit long. I thought about doing a slideshow but the free WordPress doesn’t allow them, grrr. Maybe something to justify an upgrade someday.

Visit Carol’s May Dreams Gardens to see what else is popping up in plots all over the world on April 15!


28 Responses to “Garden Bloggers’ Tax, Er, Bloom Day”

  1. Jamie Says:

    That wallflower is so pretty! Is the foliage really silvery? Thanks for sharing – I love Bloom Day 🙂

  2. I think they are spectacular, it’s bloomin’ nice! The Pulmonaria is especially stunning. The spring has finally arrived here too and the Easter holiday has been sunny and warm! wow but my body is aching after to much hard labour in the garden 🙂


  3. Gayle Madwin Says:

    I just love all the tiny baby poppies around the base of your other plants. I hope we’ll get to see them bloom later this year!

  4. Anna Says:

    Some lovely April blooms in your garden. The pulmonaria is a beauty – I grow it too. Had to smile in sympathy about your comments on bindweed – I share the problem 🙂

  5. donna Says:

    First of all, let me say that I enjoyed your sense of humor as much as your beautiful blooms. How nice that you have pickable flowers, especially for the children. I’ve got lungwort also but not long-leaf variety. Mine have brilliant blue flowers and not “blah blue” like yours:) Your garden is so much further along than mine here in WI. Gosh, it’s hard to be patient.

  6. My favs are the daffodils. It’s too warm here to grow too many of those. I think my favorite part of your post is the commentary! Can’t wait to read the “please-help-me-redesign-this-sad-mess” part. You could apply that descriptor to my whole garden!

  7. Muum Says:

    thanks for visiting my GBBD! love your post, esp the Dawn viburnum. I think your last one is a viburnum, too, but I am just guessing.

  8. RainGardener Says:

    Beautiful show Karen. I’m thinking I need some Viburnum and Wallflowers. They are gorgeous. Was it you yesterday that said my flowers looked like a purple theme? Pink Purple, all cool colors. But I’m going to get more variety now.

  9. Michelle Says:

    Ah yes, tax day. I just repaid my interest free loan from Uncle Sam, um, that is, I paid the taxes due with my return. I hate paying more but at least I didn’t give the gov an interest free loan…

    Why is the pretty purple viola a weed? I probably couldn’t get it to grow here if I tried!

  10. Racquel Says:

    Your pink Wallflower is great Karen. I’ve never seen that color before. They had yellow & orange ones at Lowe’s the other day. Those Daffs are fantastic. I’ve decided to plant more varieties next fall and the coloring of Scarlet Royal is very striking. Happy Bloom Day! (oh and the program I use for my collages is Photoscape, it was a free download online) 🙂

  11. Michele Says:

    It’s nice to see all the spring flowers! I agree, the mystery plant is a Viburnum. There are so many, so I have no idea of the variety. Many of them smell good and get nice berries after the flowers. I have always loved Viburnums.

  12. Catherine Says:

    You have lots going on there!! I bet it smells good too. The flowers of ‘Dawn’ are really pretty. I think the cold weather just may have been good for a lot of our trees and shrubs too, I’m noticing more buds than usual.

  13. Churchill, funny! You sure keep me laughing! I love that one- very pretty. I bet it looks good in a bouquet 🙂 Our spring is creeping in- looks like sunny days are coming! Happy gardening.

  14. Jen Says:

    I think your flowers are celebrating the fact that you got your taxes in the mail. They look incredible! Glad to hear the “witches brew’ worked for the bulbs. I do wonder what Winston Churchill smelled like LOL

  15. Sweet Bay Says:

    I didn’t know that wallflowers came in pink. It’s beautiful, as are the Viburnums. I love violets and pansies that seed around.

    Happy GBBD!

  16. Cathy Says:

    Very nice blooms Karen, as for the answer to your question on potting soil, for every bag (8 dry quarts) of potting soil, add about 2 cups of perlite, and 1 cup of sand. If need to add peat moss (for acid loving plants) add about 4 cups instead of sand.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, Happy bloom day!

  17. Gail Says:

    Hello Happy Tax Day, Bloom Day and my 29th Wedding Anniversary Day! A lovely bloom day post and beautiful flowers…I want to comment on them all…they are so lovely. I have Sir Winston, too! I wish my Dawn viburnum bloomed as long as your…maybe next year, I just added it this winter! gail

  18. fairegarden Says:

    Hi Karen, I was all ready with my comments as I scrolled to the end and then saw the wordpress jab. Alas, there is much not allowed on the free site, free being relative here for I had to pay for the right to change the css code, but don’t get me started. This is about blooms and you’ve got plenty! I loved seeing the little seedlings in each photo too, lots of California poppies, and what looked like a little foxglove too. Just like looking around at home! I know little about the viburnums, so many look alike and even bloom at the same time. I have a large one that had no tag blooming now too. Happy bloom day!

  19. There, now I thoroughly enjoyed visiting your garden. I use wordpress too, but being a reluctantly converted luddite I have not felt the need for more than just a place to display a few photos, so I love the free site.

    I loved your little side comment about violets, and it rings a bell with me. right now I am doing battle against the white violets that I ACTUALLY PAID MONEY FOR (What was I thinking???) and now believe that they should own the whole bed where I think there should be day lilies and roses in addition to a few violets.

    Enjoyed my visit here immensely.

  20. I like your Pulmonaria ‘Roy Davidson’ (Longleaf lungwort) very elegant leaf shape, and I like Pulmonarias
    You have some lovely flowers.

    On the free wordpress blog you can use a slideshow made at

  21. Grace Says:

    I’m pretty sure the Viburnum is V. carlesii or Korean Spice Viburnum. Your flowers are all exceedingly gorgeous.

  22. VP Says:

    I loved your comment about Sir Winston Churchill – a bloom we both share 🙂 I see Karen’s already beaten me to the Slide tip – it’s really easy to use, so do give it a try.

  23. Kris at t.m. Says:

    I think Grace is right – V. carlesii is what came to my mind too – should be V. fragrant! Beautiful abundance of blooms – I wish my garden was so full… No GBBD pics up yet – or taken for that matter.

  24. Oh, those daffs and pansies are so cheerful and pretty! I planted daffs for the first time last fall, but they were a bit disappointing this first year out of the box. Maybe they’ll be a little showier next year, once they’ve got their feet well established.

    I especially like the soft yellow loveliness of yours!

  25. GardenJunkie Says:

    I’ve always loved violets – even as I wage a (losing) war against them taking over the garden. Somehow they seem to appear, as if by magic, in all corners of the yard. But they do look beautiful in bloom, as do yours 🙂

  26. Ginger Says:

    I’m torn about the violets – they are everywhere, but they’re so much better than the @&$*%^)@*)! bindweed! And they make sort of a nice groundcover, just very hard to control.
    I love all the pictures of your flowers, I think that spring might finally really be here!

  27. Georgia Says:

    Wallflower (erisimum) does not look like a wall flower. It pops. Great photo, too.

  28. Kristi Says:

    I love all of the color in your garden. My bulbs have all come and gone and now it’s going to be 91 on Monday! It’s nice to see cooler more colorful locals. 🙂

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