Friday, April 11

My Prince Has Come


As you might have guessed, I don't really think of myself as an overly traditional kind of girl. I'm not as avant garde as I thought I would become when I was younger, I'll admit, but I was rather righteously horrified when I got to college and discovered that more than one of my floormates were simply in college to find a man. "You can't be serious," I remember telling one girl, after I picked my jaw up off the floor, "because... really, Caroline, it's the 90's!"

I've never been the type to sit around waiting for my prince, so to speak, so the title of this post is kind of tongue-in-cheek. But I'm honestly very excited about my 'Ivory Prince' hellebores.

Graham Rice, the author (and blogger, at The Transatlantic Plantsman,) recently mentioned 'Ivory Prince' in a hellebore review for the UK's Daily Telegraph. And everything he said was true.

This is one tough beauty. Its blue-green leaves are evergreen (without all of the messy dieback you get from many hellebores) and the form is compact. Mine are in dry, nutrient-deficient soil and suffered through drought all summer--and they're planted where they get midday sun, to boot.

How do they reward me for my abuse and neglect? Apparently with dozens of pink buds that open up into gorgeous, creamy flowers in the spring. Amazing.

Elsewhere in my garden, some of the foliage from tulipa unknownii (tulips that I don't remember planting) are mingling nicely with a few of the established garden denizens. Here you see one clump of mystery tulip adding both color and texture in front of the 'Amber Waves' heuchera... and golden oregano, badly in need of a spring cleanup, skirting another clump.

You know it's been a long winter when you find yourself considering growing tulips purely for their foliage! But seriously, some of these compositions are so interesting in the spring garden that I really may not mind if these end up being hybrid tulips that I didn't pull last year, even if they fail to give me any flowers.

Last, but not least, no post of pics from my front yard in the spring could be complete without a few gratuitous shots of my bergenia! The ugly clump that I showed in a previous post was so horrible that I had to post a good bergenia shot to erase that from your memories.

You can see that it's greening up a bit in this week's warmer temperatures... it won't be too long before the red fades completely to a satisfyingly shiny, medium green. And then I'll stop posting pictures of it, I promise!

Well, I'll stop for a little while, anyway. At least a couple of weeks. :)

32 comments:

Meagan said...

But I like the golden oregano... at least I think that's what I'm looking at. The little light green 3 and 4 cluster leaves around the pretty shovel shaped leaves.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yup, Meagan, that's the golden oregano. It's pretty tasty, too--like a lemony but lightly flavored oregano. I like plants that do double duty. (And hey, shouldn't you be in bed? We have a busy day tomorrow! lol.)

Carol said...

I was horrified in the 70's that some of the girls I met in college were there to find a husband. I was there to study plants!

Anyway, Ivory Prince looks like a good match for any gardener, I'm adding him to my list.

And give that Bergenia a little rub to hear the squeak for all of us. It is handsome foliage!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Gina said...

kim - i really cracked up at tulipa unknownii. and don't those girls just give us all a bad name? my guy and I argue about this all the time because I'm in denial that girls are like this and accuse him of being sexist. but, in reality, there are way too many of them I guess.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

When my parents dropped me off at college--keep in mind that I was their fist child who was going away--the first goodbye was rough. Mom was going through a litany of things I should remember, trying not to get emotional, etc.

So my father finally looks at me and says, "Hey, kiddo. You know why you're here, right?"

I half rolled my eyes and said, "Yeah, I know. To study, go to class, all that..."

He shakes his head and interrupts me to say, "No. You're really just here to find a husband!" And then we all cracked up. I seriously didn't think that still happened in this day and age, that girls went to college with that in mind. But I found out otherwise!

Carol, I was horrified, too, especially since I went to a good private college. It made me wish that I could go grab some bright kid at the local community college who was busting his/her butt to work 40+ hours and go to school at the same time, and give them her spot at UD for free. (Isn't that terrible of me?)

I don't squeak my bergenia when it's all pretty and red like this, by the way. I don't know why, but it hardly seems right to do! I enjoy squeaking it when it's green, though. lol.

gina, I was in denial, too. In fact, I still can't quite believe it, to be honest! Sheesh.

Benjamin Vogt said...

I like that oregano. And hey, my tulips are prized ESPECIALLY for their foliage. Cold snowy winter it was. Lastly, I only wish more girls in college went to find a husband--I would've had many more dates. Alas, I was not a player, maybe never could've been, but it would have been nice to have at least been played.

Kylee said...

LOL @ Ben.

Kim, one of Kara's high school classmates went to BG just to find a husband. And she did just that. Took her four years though. LOL.

Your spring garden is looking quite luscious!! I love how you have no spaces between what's coming up, even this early. Great color combos, too!

My hellebores are blooming, but I had to cut all the dead ugly foliage off and it didn't leave me much besides the flowers. Weird. I'll bet one of mine is 'Ivory Prince' because the blooms looks very similar (less pink) and I do have some decent foliage on those. I lost my 'Pacific Frost' this year, after two years of having it. Boo.

I'll be potting up your ajuga soon. It's looking pretty good right now.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your Prince sure is handsome. I thought I lost one of mine because I could only find one all winter. Then I pulled up a bunch of Lamium & found the other. The one that was visible all winter looked a little ratty, but the covered one's leaves still look pristine. Guess what I'm going to bury in mulch next year? (Believe it or not, my mom hoped I'd get my MRS. at college. I didn't meet my husband until 5 years after I graduated from law school. Hah!)

Layanee said...

That is a prince worth waiting for! On my ever growing list! Love your Bergenia...as you know! LOL:)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

benjamin, *grin*! Ah, but it all works out in the end, doesn't it? Now you're a happy newlywed... maybe you would have missed out on dating her if you'd been out playing!

I really do like the tulip foliage. Fleshy, shades of green and blue... very interesting, especially after all of the shades of grey and brown we've seen all winter.

Kylee, ARGH! lol. Caroline replied to my comment with the defense: "Well, at least in college I'm likely to find a well-educated guy with some prospects!" Sheesh.

My 'Pine Knot' hellebores required a lot of cleanup, but my 'Ivory Prince' hadn't been cleaned up at all before I took the pics here. (And I do have bare spots, I just haven't shown them yet!)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, I'm lol that you thwarted your Mom inadvertantly. I did marry my college sweetheart but that didn't work out obviously... I wonder at that wisdom, I really do.

Funny how your lamium swallowed up the prince for a while, but ended up protecting it in the end. :)

Layanee, I know! Me too--this one, anyway. Not the ugly one that I showed before.

Aren't we bad influences on each other? I come away from everyone else's blogs with huge wishlists, too!

Annie in Austin said...

The 'Ivory Prince' is beautifully put together, Kim, a very handsome fellow. And the tulip leaves have substance right now which is useful.

This may be very old-fashioned: Philo and I were an item by the end of high school...with no need to look, I could go to college for the classes ;-]

Pigsqueak! I forgot that name for Bergenia, ha!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Rosemarie said...

Hey there! I purposely planted a few tulips into my heucheras last Fall, so I was glad to see how yours look.

Ki said...

Your Prince is a beaut! Lovely combination of colors. I was surprised when our daughter said there were girls in her college who were there just to find a husband. And that was less than a decade ago. ;) So I guess things don't change but this was at a very southern finishing school type of college in Virginia (definitely not our choice of schools for her but whatcha gonna do when they say that's where I want to go? She regretted the choice after the second year.

My word verification, get this
idjotius. Hey I feel like that all the time :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Annie, it is very old-fashioned, and absolutely lovely. I adore stories like yours and Philo's. :)

Rosemarie, I probably would have done it a little more artfully if it was intentional (I forgot the tulips were there when I planted the heuchera) so I can't wait to see yours!

Ki, thanks--I'm really enjoying my Prince, that's for sure! As far as your daughter's experience goes, I guess I'm not surprised that it's still going on. But I was certainly surprised then!

(lol at your word verification. Mine is bdumpv, and that kind of fits the way I feel today, too.)

Muum said...

Tulipi unknownii - I think I'll get some plant labels printed. I can see this has wide application. I am not tired of the bergenia pics, I haven't grown that yet, so I'm happy to learn more about it.

Peter said...

I'm pretty much all thumbs (and none of them green) when it comes to gardening but I must say if your Ivory Prince managed to come up looking so great in dry, nutrient-deficient soil well there just might be hope for me yet!

Alison said...

Ivory Prince is gorgeous! I'm going to have to add it to my list for the semi-shady spot by the spruces...

albertapostcards said...

Kim, what a delightful post! Oh, and I too have some of those unknownii in my garden :)

Diane

meresy_g said...

I love that hellebore. Well, I love all hellebores. A much underused plant in my opinion. I wish I had a huge woodland area to plant with them. And much tougher that most people imagine.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Muum, I would attribute that if I remembered where I first saw it... but someone had listed "whatisitus" (or something similar) as a species name on an unknown planting of theres a year or so back. It tickled me so much that I shamelessly stole it. *grin*

peter, I don't know what's going on with this one... men usually aren't so reliable for me! ;) But yeah, he's dealing with adverse conditions very well.

Alison, nice to "meet" you! It is very pretty, isn't it? I wonder how it would do in the dry spots around evergreens... hmm. You'll have to let me know if you do try it there, please!

Diane, mine seem to be multiplying very well... LOL. I have now given up on trying to figure out what all the stuff is coming up right now. I figure that if I can actually ID it as a plant instead of a weed, that's good enough at this point!

Meresy_g, I agree--I would love to have a huge woodland area with hellebores. (And trillium. I so love me some trillium.)

tina said...

When I was in college there was a name for that degree of the women looking for a man. Can't remember it though, something like the MS degree but it is MISS degree?

Love your prince.

kate smudges said...

Uh, oh ... I think I've got a crush on your Prince, but alas I can't grow him here. Sigh - my only pathetic Hellebore doesn't seem to have survived.

That's what I love about garden blogs - discovering new things about plants. I didn't know about the pigsqueak. That's a dangerous thought ... my two bedraggled Bergenia are going to end up looking even worse now that I know this.

As I read about your tulipa unknownii, I was reminded of your post from last spring and the tulips that turned out to be an entirely different colour from that on the package. Maybe this way it won't be a bad surprise.

joey said...

My week would not be complete without a 'catch-up', Kim. Your photos and posts are inspiring but, best of all, your humor delights me ;)

gintoino said...

your garden is looking great with all the new growth kim. And by the way, I dont mind a bit that you show us your good bergenia every week, I just regret I can't find one like your to plant in my garden...

Rurality said...

Ooh, abuse and neglect? I need to get some of those hellbores, LOL.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Pictures of your garden make me wish I could fly on over to your place and hover around (weird?). Okay, I really really have spring fever. Beautiful. Did I mention that I have a thing for most of the plants you posted on - hellebores, heucheras, tulipa unknownii (well not the last but I do enjoy nice surprises).

Molly said...

Love that ivory prince! And your bergenia is really looking nice. So nice I'm almost tempted to plant one. Almost.

lisa said...

"Tulipa unknownii"...I love it! Heh...I knew plenty of girls in college working on an "MRS" degree in 1981, but ten years later surprises me. I figured there would be more girls wanting independence and freedom for a little while longer than college age, especially since so few men are willing to actually support a wife. (Seems so many want it the other way around! ;-)

Shady Gardener said...

Isn't it great to see Spring arriving everywhere... in your own yard and in others' yards, too? :-)

I've been intrigued by hellebores for a long time. Yours are a wonder!

I have some daffodils-perplexicus that came up in places I didn't remember! ;-)

Do you know that Bergenia is also called "Pig Squeak?" If you moisten your fingers, place a leaf between your fingers and gently squeeze and slide the leaf through your fingers, you should get a little "pig sound." ;-) Be careful not to squeeze too hard, you may just tear the leaf.

I tried it last summer. It was funny.

SMC said...

SAw your post on hellebores, then vacationed in DC this last weekend. They were everywhere! Suddenly they are more beautifulo than I remember.

dig this chick said...

Is your prince the same thing as the purple leaf winter creeper?? It looks very much the same. I love my winter creepers.

Pam said...

The bergenia is just beautiful.

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