Sunday, May 1, 2011

If the Spring Beauties are blooming...

...I guess it must be spring.

That was my thought almost a month ago because I was still having my doubts about this spring business. Little bits and pieces of color were starting to accent the brown landscape but it was not enough for me. The sky didn't even have any color. It had been consistently overcast ranging from an even white to a lumpy grey for weeks and it was decidedly oppressive. I wanted to see color, somewhere, and a lot of it.

At least I could get what I craved in closeup shots...

The crazy purple blue of these grape hyacinths was not as elusive as the blue in the sky however. Almost a month later, they are still a crazy purple.

This has been one odd spring. I had to go searching for crocuses this year. The only ones I saw were the few blooms in my own yard until the squirrels stomped on them. Daffodils this year? I saw some.

The magnolias and dogwoods have been spectacular but I had to check under the leaves of my crabapples to see if they had bloomed...and they had, secretly.

In Kansas, the Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) were doing a good job of blooming (in the woods) but not so much where I found them blooming in big colonies last year.

Every year is always so different from the year before. Some things are going to grow, and some will not. And I'm not sure if I have any input on that. Doesn't matter how much I study up on things to make sure each plant goes where it should be happiest, it still doesn't guarantee that plants will do what they're supposed to do. And then there are always the unplanned and unexpected things that happen. The three Golden Alexanders (Zizia aptera) I planted last year? They all came up....but one disappeared a couple weeks ago when some varmint decided that that very spot was the perfect spot to choose as his front door to wherever he had to go (that plant just disappeared and all that was left was some tunneled hole). Another Zizia now has a hosta actively pushing it out of the way as it is growing up under it. Where the heck did that hosta come from? I know it must have been planted there some time in the past but I had never seen any hosta remnants there before. Errrgh. That Zizia is a goner...probably the hosta too when a deer discovers it. But as of yesterday, I still have one Zizia left. That's something (I guess). So much for "the" perfect spot.

There were new things to see this year though. This was the year I saw my first gooseberry blossom (Ribes missouriense)...

I was delighted for a couple weeks and then realized, when the flowers were gone and the gooseberries had leafed out, that those gooseberries were those annoying scruffy shrubs in the woods that get in my way.

Little Solomon's Seals (Polygonatum biflorum) were popping up solo in all sorts of areas, just one, never two.

I think this flower is a wild plum. I love how those white stamens keep the exuberant golden yellow anthers tethered so they can't make an airborne escape.

For some reason, I missed seeing those flowers last year too.

But there's one flower you can always depend on seeing every spring, those darn dandelions...which apparently can grow in water....

or not (that's not a clump I tossed on the rock, that dandelion is growing in the rock!).

A couple mornings ago, I found another surprise plant, but this time it was in my backyard in Missouri. It's a plant I often see on my walks in the woods in Kansas-Persicaria virginianum (or Tovara virginiana or Polygonum virginianum, plants in the polygonum family get renamed a lot). Last fall I must have carried some seeds back...or part of the plant back on my shoes after returning from Kansas. I'm not sure why I go through all this fuss about planting things correctly when some plants can sneak in the car with you and go out in your backyard and plant themselves and do just fine.

Crazy little plant. I'm kind of curious to see how this country plant will do in the city.


Mental P Mama said...

Just glorious!

Rural Rambler said...

Good Morning Maria! I loved seeing all your flower faces and surprise pop ups! Fun to look at the pictures. I think the "crazy little plant" is a cutie. CH and I went to the Missouri Wildflower Nursery Saturday and he bought some sedge grasses, Indian Pink and Rose Turtlehead and other goodies. That place is so cool. He is doing a bed of just Missouri Wildflowers that like shade under the Oaks, you know letting them have a MissouREE riot in their own little(well, not so little)space :)

It does not feel very spring-ie here this morning and yesterday was downright cold for our walk. It would be nice to see the dang SUN!

Maria said...

Mental-It's gotten a LOT prettier since I took those pictures. I think May is the prettiest month out there. This spring has been weird though. I can't remember a more underwhelming display of flowers. :-/

Pix-You probably have that plant too if you look for it. :-)

And as for MO Wildflower Nursery, Merv has been out to this area three times this year and I've driven to his sales four times (only because I arrived one week early for one of them-hahaha, can you tell I'm anxious for more native plants?). Turtleheads are wonderful. If they like where you put them, they are very stately, tall and strong. I have some I planted out in Kansas and I hope they spread more this year. They were rescues from my backyard where my real turtles were giving them a smashdown (turtleheads are second only to peonies in my turtle's mission to smash down all plantlife). I forgot to get Spigelia (or Indian Pink-I just find it easier to remember the Latin name because then I only have to learn a name once....unless it's a plant in the polygonum family). That Spigelia in the catalog is incredible. Tell me how it works out!!!! And as for sedges.......that's my new plant love affair out there. This year they are all over the place---I thought they were just grass but oh my, so many of them are in "bloom" right now and they are so pretty. Which ones did Mr. Pix get?

It's cold again here today too---supposed to have patchy frost tonight. Silliness.

shara said...

Wonderful! I love Spring... minus the tornadoes, of course. Beautiful pictures. Love them!

Maria said...

Shara-I'm going to go out there today and plant a dogwood I left in the middle of the woods because I could not decide where the best spot would be for it. I'm not too good with this picking out the perfect spot thing...even when I labor for h o u r s. Hahaha. It's nice to hear from you again. Hope everything in your world is going excellent. :-)

Leenie said...

Even with the weird weather you have a nice variety of color, Maria. I just came in from cutting out the deadwood and scrags from my English Roses. Not much color in my garden since the crocus came and went. Just lots of dirt and, of course, healthy dandelions.

Hope your sky has blued up some and that the plants you want will survive the onslaught of deer and hostas

Maureen said...

pretty pretty pretty

Maria said...

Leenie-Sorry to take so long to respond. You made me laugh with your description of hostas being almost predatory. Whodathought? A hosta?

Well, it's no longer spring around here. It's SUMMER. It's hot, humid and my itchy arms are covered with poison ivy. I think it's gotten to the point where a Hazmat suit will be needed for any future wars with it. >:-/ Do you have that nasty stuff at your elevation? Lucky you if you don't! Any daffodils yet ?Hahaha. I only say that because my sister once lived in Colorado and when things bloomed for her, it seemed to be a couple months later than what was going on with the rest of the country.

Maureen. You know it. But you have the pretty, pretty, prettys where you are too. :-)