Waiting, longing, wracked with anticipation for the garden to jump into growth is an entirely new experience for me, born and raised in the eternal sunshine of zone 10. When the slow emergence of spring in zone 8b begins — lord have mercy it’s exciting! It feels like there needs to be some sort of authoritative summation on the state of the garden, on life, on the disgraceful behavior of our species…but that feels too much like homework. So instead, here’s a brief roundup of what the camera found today, at the ass end of April, on the Oregon coast, after what I’m told was an exceptionally rough winter. (There was snow! A blanket of it swaddled the garden for a week!)
What looks good when the garden is just starting to stir in April? In my garden, in one word, phlomis. Unscathed, fully clothed, holding it together all winter. I didn’t expect phlomis could deal with this much rain, hail and snow, but see for yourself.
And for mainlining the life force, jumpstarting slumbering rods and cones, another easy answer: tulips in pots. In colors you’ll never find locally available. (You must rouse yourself in July and order then for the best selection.) They’re the perfect aperitif for opening the growing season, especially for me because I don’t plan for much strong color for summer.
Thalictrum — I’ve daydreamed about growing thalictrum for many years, in a good, moisture-retentive soil. Early emergence of delicate ferny leaves followed by a massive rush of growth to head height. ‘Elin’ was planted last year, two ‘Black Stockings’ were added in March. Yellow-flowered Thalictrum lucidum will arrive in May.
The euphorbias bring a strong early presence.
And always shopping for more. I bumped into this bigeneric cross of bergenia and mukdenia last week with the sempervivum-like flowers and couldn’t think of a reason not to buy it. There is no reason, right?
Light snow again mid April. Yesterday spiked into the high 80s, at least 20 degrees over the norm, but we’ve climbed back down into the 60sF with the possibility of rain tomorrow…and some more in May but then drier days ahead…