Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Antidote April 14, 2010

Filed under: spring — greenwalks @ 6:30 pm
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I was in a venomous mood the other day, blacker than black. Mostly it was just tiredness, but the cloudy skies and life challenges were combining to send me to Grumptown. I managed to pick my kid up from school, got her to do her homework in the car, and then took her to her one and only after-school activity. Usually I hang out there, but was not in the frame of mind to tolerate cell-phone-yakking parents and screaming siblings. I noticed the sun starting to peek out and opted for a walk instead. I started out feeling like this (loon-y):

Loony

(I had neglected to bring my camera, so this is another attempt at a post with phone photos.)

The sunny, plant-filled stroll cleared my head and elevated my mood so much that it made the grouchy day seem like a remote dream. Spring, it’s better than an Rx!

Japanese maples leafing out and almost meeting over the sidewalk:

Meeting of the maples

Golden hops and grape hyacinth look great together, why didn’t I think of that?!

Hops & muscari

Incredible huge fuzzy leaves in a parking strip planting (could this be Verbascum?)

Fuzzy foliage

Easter remnant:

Tree egg

Slightly flawed dogwood blossom:

Dogwood blossoms

Didn’t the Dutch pay fortunes for “broken” tulips like this one, back in the day?

Stripy tulip

I want to go back to some of these blocks again because I missed a lot, including some super fab parking strip planter boxes filled with fresh black-gold compost and veggie seeds/starts. Thanks to all of the creative gardeners whose efforts helped to banish the blues!

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Plant of the Day: Tulipa Turkestanica March 16, 2010

Filed under: bulbs,flora,spring — greenwalks @ 8:25 pm
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Every year since I planted this unusual species tulip, Tulipa turkestanica, it comes up in the spring and I forget what it is and have to go look it up. This year, it was a neighbor’s inquiry that alerted me that it had even started blooming – a few clumps in the parking strip get extra sun this time of year and had started early.

The thin, strappy foliage and smallish, bell-like flowers always fool me – I think they’re going to be fritillaria or some other, forgotten, early-season bulb. I have a real soft spot for species tulips, and add more each year in no particular pattern or color scheme. Right now, I have white, soft red, purple, and yellow ones all showing themselves. On sunny days, they open their petals and drink in the light, just like me.

Here are the turkestanicas, happily blooming next to muscari, which was an accident but a nice one, I think.

Turkestan tulip

I doubt I will ever get to Turkestan to see them bloom in the wild, but that would be pretty cool. Have you ever traveled to a far-off place because you wanted to see a particular plant?

Tulipa turkestanica

 

Foggy Garden February 9, 2010

Filed under: my garden,spring,weather — greenwalks @ 9:02 pm
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On first look today, our world was enrobed in a down-to-the-ground cloud. It was the thickest fog I can remember in ages. School looked super spooky:

Spooky schoolyard

Back at home, I thought how blah and sad the street garden looked, as it has since the deep December freeze killed off so many things that often overwinter and I didn’t plant enough winter interest to keep it looking good all year.

Haunted hell strip

Then I decided to take a closer look to see if I could see something beautiful, something interesting, something worth noticing, signs of spring to come or summer past. In just a few minutes of slowing down and looking closely, here is some of what I found in my seemingly nondescript landscape.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ seedheads

Sedum seedheads in winter

Purple sprouting broccoli sticking out its wet “tongue”

Purple sprouting broccoli

Lemon balm seeds (need to get rid of those pronto!) against Mexican feather grass tendrils

Lemon balm seedheads against Mexican feather grass

Crocus awaiting the sun’s kiss to open up shop for the day

Closed-up crocus

One giant dewdrop and a million little ones on a lupine leaf

Dewdrops on lupine

Gossamer strands, evidence of a spider’s presence on iris seedpods

Iris seedpods and dewy spider strand

and coneflower too

Coneflower seedhead covered in dewy spiderweb

Then this, which would have been enough on its own to banish the gloom of the day

The first tulip! Don’t scream, yours aren’t behind. This tulipa greigii came up first here last year, before the snowdrops and crocus had stopped blooming, so it must be in its nature to be the earliest bird.

Even in the less spectacular garden seasons, there’s probably always something to notice – even if it’s “just” spiderwebs on a dead flower or, in another climate, bird tracks in the snow. We just have to slow down enough to find it.

 

Blossom Time March 30, 2009

Spring in Seattle means many things – rain of course, more cyclists on the city’s bike paths, a plethora of flower bulbs adding color to the landscape and, my favorite of all, blossom time for the city’s multitude of flowering trees.

It seems like the first to bloom are normally the ornamental plums, but due to the longer and colder than usual winter, this year everything’s getting going at the same time. Plums, cherries and apples all seem to be bursting into bloom at once, so maybe the usually-later ones are playing catch-up with the slowpokes.

I pass this particular tree many times a week, and had always marveled at its odd shape. It’s a small flowering cherry currently covered with ginormous blossoms. I don’t think it’s been well cared for in a while, since it has a lot of suckers (all flowering!) near the base. But even the strangest pruning can almost be redeemed by masses of fragrant blooms. I wish I could post these in Smell-O-Vision!

Flowering cherry

The Prius has become the car of Seattle (replacing the Volvo 240 – what can I say, I’m behind the times, I still have one of those but no hybrid yet), so I left it in the shot to epitomize this part of the world in spring – a parking strip flowering tree and a PC vehicle. What could be more Seattle? I guess I could have posed someone there with an REI fleece vest on, holding a latte. That might have been a bit too much, though.

Cherry tree & black Prius, how Seattle

What most signifies spring to you?