Monday, May 5

Spring Colors: Yellow, Purple, Blue

I feel like I'm always blaming my garden successes on serendipity... but maybe I don't give myself enough credit. I admit that I bought these 'Queen of Night' tulips on a whim because I was entranced by their beautiful moodiness... but made a conscious decision to plant them where they would fill in space in the spring garden, and play off of the light green emerging foliage of the goatsbeard and switchgrass:

Notice that the fence has been stained recently? The grays unfortunately skipped from medium gray to black, so I had to settle for "Coffee" instead of dark gray as a fence color. The trellis I'm putting up is to help encourage my native honeysuckle to climb the fence.

(Annie in Austin introduced me to lonicera sempervirens, which you can see in her April Bloom Day Post, and I just had to add one to my High Country Gardens order last year. It's not so "sempervirens" for me up here, but it's healthy, has flower buds, and its glaucous foliage will look gorgeous against the brown fence in a few years.)

I had given up on these species tulips, tulipa tarda, which you see both above and below, because they are supposed to be early tulips and they hadn't even shown up by the time the greigii tulips all bloomed. They were a nice surprise this weekend!

I planted them next to the purple foliage of 'Regina' heuchera, which amazingly enough is in its second year in the same spot, knowing that their yellow and white petals should show up well against the colorful coralbells. I guess it just goes to prove that some spring bulbs are indeed "late" in the first year after planting.

Grape hyacinths are tucked in all along the driveway bed as well. Their color mixes nicely with the leaves of 'Othello' ligularia and a miniature hosta. When I bought the hosta at a Master Gardener sale, 'Dawn' was the name on the tag, but I'm not sure that is correct. It's pretty, either way.

More blue and gold in the same bed. These are the baby-blue flowers of the handsome 'Jack Frost' brunnera, underlighted by fresh sprigs of yellow creeping Jenny:

Circling back around to the fence again, we find 'Chocolate Chip' ajuga just starting to bloom under the watchful eye of a pretty hellebore. In the background, 'All Gold' hakonechloa brightens up the show at the start of a bed of sweet woodruff:

I know that some of you might be wringing your hands at the thought of the sweet woodruff. But I absolutely love the scent so I deal with this high-maintenance groundcover. It gets pulled out from around the brick retaining wall as soon as it's done blooming, and thus stays out of the flowerbeds. Three scaly Buckler ferns have no problem growing up through the woodruff, and my broken-but-still-beautiful bird bath adds some height to the corner.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how these parts of the backyard are shaping up--and that they seem to have a spring color theme is definitely an added bonus! But there are plenty of areas of the backyard that I am not about to show off just yet... much construction will commence now that I'm recovered from both the flu and the sinus infection that it left behind as a parting gift.

And then maybe I'll be brave enough to take pictures of the rest of the backyard to share. :)


Gina said...

hi kim - speaking of tulips, what about the tulips you planted for your grandma? did i miss your post about when she discovered them? I've been waiting for it for months!

EAL said...

Tulipa (great tulip book if you do not have it) lists tarda as a later blooming species, but I thought mine bloomed earlier than usual. My Queen of the Night are just beginning to show color now--still a week or so. I love creeping jenny and sweet woodruff. They are aggressive but needed in my garden.

Carol Michel said...

Sorry to hear you were sick, happy to hear you are on the mend. I like all your color combinations. The light greens, the dark colors, those are great contrasts. Looking forward to seeing more of your garden as spring continues...

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Unknown said...

Oh, Gina, I forgot all about posting that! Thank you for the reminder... my grandma's a character of sorts, so it's a funny story. I'll have to work on that next, before all of the tulips go away.

Elizabeth, thank you for the correction. Now that you mention it, I guess I probably assumed that it was an early tulip because it was a species. Next year I'll have to remember that it's tardy--shouldn't be too hard to keep in mind! :)

My sweet woodruff is pretty aggressive, but so far Jenny's been well-behaved. I think it might be a little drier here than she would like.

Carol, thanks! It just kept coming, one sickness after another... blah.

I promise that after I get a little more cleanup done, I will post more of those long views that I keep avoiding. lol.

growingagardenindavis said...

The Queen of the Night tulips are stunning...especially against the bright green. I like the look of the fence...I think it will make everything stand out against it. What a job that must have been though!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your spring garden is just gorgeous Kim. The fence will look great with the Honeysuckle growing up and the blooms will pop with the dark background.

I love those dark tulips too. I have thought several times about planting them but haven't.

Funny about Sweet Woodruff in my garden I can't get it to grow. Hmmmm And the pretty Jenny barely hangs on. I wonder why.

Good to hear you are feeling better. Nothing like some beautiful tulips to cheer ones puny self.

Frances, said...

Hi Kim, glad you are feeling better. Your plant combinations show an artist's touch. The black tulips are a favorite here and have even come back a second year. Our tardas are tardy also, it seemed to take a cople of years for them to get going. We can barely keep the woodruff alive, like Lisa, too dry I think. Everything in your garden photos looks very beautiful and well designed. Can't wait to see more.

Frances at Faire Garden

Unknown said...

Leslie, it's still a job... I have 4-1/2 panels and their coordinating posts completed on the inside of the fence, and that's all! I had to get the trellis up here, and I also had to get a panel and some stained further back so I could train my blackberry against it. Just that much sucked up a whole gallon of stain, so I'm graduating to the 5 gallon bucket for the next round.

Greenbow Lisa, you should! I was a little leery of them, too, I admit, but they look really nice against the fresh green. And they're stunning in a vase with 'Prinses Irene' and a medium purple tulip, so if you don't like them in the garden there are always alternatives. lol.

By the way, "puny" is a great word for it. I most certainly felt puny for the past several weeks.

Frances, thank you. That is especially nice to hear from someone who maintains such an artistic garden as yours!

I'm surprised to hear that the dryness does so much to keep your woodruff in check, because my garden is largely dry and the woodruff is fine. Maybe it's just in exactly the right place here. Hmm. I have to admit that it did get a little crispy in last year's drought, though.

Muum said...

One thing I enjoy about visiting your blog is your discussion about color combinations and other considerations when planting. I am still at the 'oh, I love that plant' stage where I buy something , plant it, and later notice that the pink tulips look nasty next to the fuchsia phlox. ;(
I guess we are all learning.

Sylvana said...

I bought a bunch of Queen of the Night last fall. I have no idea where I planted them -- so I can't wait until they bloom!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I used to have Queen of the Night growing with Princess Irene at my old house. They are quite perfect for each other, but I like the way you're growing the Queen in the back garden. You know me, I'm a sucker for purple & chartreuse. How do you deal with the Muscari foliage? Mine looks so ratty after the winter. If it weren't for that, I'd get lots of different kinds of Muscari.
BTW - I'm glad you're feeling better. I hope Coco's doing well too.

Unknown said...

Muum, that's nice to hear... sometimes I feel like not only do I overthink things, but also I overtalk about them on my blog. *grin* And I think we all fall victim to those plant sirens of which you speak. That's why I move so much around. :)

Sylvana, now that you have a new camera I expect lots of pictures when you find them!!!

Mr. McG's Daughter, I do rather like them with the chartreuse foliage, too. I don't know about the muscari foliage--to be honest, this is the first year I've grown them. So I'll have to let you know... if they're really that ratty looking, this may be the only year I grow them! lol.

Anonymous said...

Kim: You were right about that color combination. Very good together. I like your coffee fence. Very organic!

Anonymous said...

My friends thought I was weird when I bought black tulips. I most say I LOVE sweet woodruff. I planted it under my pine tree in between the shallow roots. It is funny to see it creep around the roots. I know that people hate it when things get invasive. However, those kinds of plants can be useful for difficult areas.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

I used Queen of Night tulips to off set the pastel colours in my spring garden. I felt it needed a bit of oomph or it would turn into something sugary sweet, yuck! I had sweet woodruff in my old garden too and am thinking of introducing it in this garden too. I like woodruff. :-)

Unknown said...

Layanee, thanks! I like it too... but it's almost too organic It matches the color of the Sweet Peet that I use to mulch almost exactly. lol.

Anonymous, that sounds like the perfect thing to use underneath pines--it's a tough spot to get anything to grow there, that's for sure. You're right, plants like that are very useful for difficult areas. (And you're not the only one--my friends have thought me weird for more than a few of my plant choices! :)

Yolanda Elizabet, that sounds like the perfect counterpoint to the sugary sweetness. :) I think you have a black and white garden too, no? They would also be nice in one of those.

I'm so glad to see that so many people like the sweet woodruff.

lisa said...

I vote "yes" for sweet woodruff too! In my climate it stays well-behaved, but in my mom's clay soil it's very aggressive. LOVE your dark tulips, I have some in my "purple haze" area which should finally bloom by this weekend. (I hope, or I'll freak right out! The suspense is killing me :) The coffee fence color is really nice...perfect canvas to show off all your color combos.

kate smudges said...

I wonder why Tulipa tarda bloom so early here (well, in comparison to the rest of the tulips ... the foliage is only 3 or 4 inches high at this point). They look great alongside the 'Regina' Heuchera (the name of the city I live in).

Queen of the Night are my all-time favourite tulips... yours look magnificent against the bright greens and dark fence.

Kylee Baumle said...

Kim, sorry you've not been feeling well! I'm battling my own issues right now, and spring is not a great time for a gardener to not feel up to par, is it?

I need to send you a picture of my 'Dawn' hosta you gave me. Oh my, it looks just wonderful! So pretty and bright. I won't say thank you, though, or I might jinx it! ;-)

I love sweet woodruff, too, and there are several places where I wouldn't mind if it had its way. Right now, it's below the dogwood and its borders are bricked. It fills that area every spring, but doesn't try to escape between the bricks.

Your garden is looking great already, and I hope I get to see it this year!

I potted up your ajuga this past week and it's in bloom right now. Would you like a helenium, by any chance? I also started the Abutilon for you, but it's not looking so hot. Very wilty. We'll see how that goes.

Rosemarie said...

I love those dark purple tulips and all your color combinations, if by serendipity or choice, it all looks great.

A wildlife gardener said...

Wow and double wow! These tulips are fantastic :)

Unknown said...

Your garden looks great--mine, on the other hand, needs a few solid days of being worked in it, and unfortunately, the weather has gone cool for the weekend. But that's okay--I'll catch up on blog reading as well as indoor work. I love the tulips, especially, Kim, and if I haven't told you before--love the change in blog colours.

Annie in Austin said...

Queen of the Night was one of my favorites when I lived where tulips grow - you made some lovely combinations with them, Kim! I seem to remember them with white Maureen in one spot... maybe with Apricot Beauty in another bed?

No sweet woodruff made it from IL to TX, but I did set loose the golden lysimachia, figuring heat and drought would keep it under control. I really like it dripping over the sides of containers and trailing out of hanging baskets.

Hope you feel better soon so you can enjoy Spring!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Jessica said...

I am so jealous!!! My Queen of the Night never came up :( I feel bad too because it was the one my husband picked out..haha. I guess I will just have to send him over to your blog so he can get his fix! They are beautiful!

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

Queen of the Night is fabulous. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Take care of yourself,

Robin at Bumblebee

agentXXX said...


I don't know if I can get into those "Queen of the Night" tulips. They are a little too emo looking for me...especially in light of those Ashley Simpson wedding photos where she has dark wedding flowers like that. Blah.

Post a Comment

One of my favorite things about blogging is the interaction--posts are often simply the beginning of an interesting conversation! So thanks for taking the time to join the discussion, and please know that I enjoy reading each and every comment left here. I try to answer as many as I can.