Sunday, April 22

Bay & Marjoram: Zonal Denial in a Good Way!

We've been officially moved up to zone 6 here in my part of Northeast Ohio, but I've been pushing my zone boundaries for years now. I grow agastache, a few marginally hardy penstemons, and eucomis with relative ease (knock on wood)--which is partially due to my very well-draining soil.

And yet, in all the time I've been gardening here, I have never been able to successfully overwinter marjoram. Until now:

Any other year, I would be super excited about this. But this year... this year, the marjoram has been eclipsed by something even more miraculous:

Yup, those are baby leaves sprouting up from my bay laurel plant! According to the page on laurus nobilis on Davesgarden, bay laurel is hardy to zone 8a, or 10 degrees Farenheit. Zone 8! I kept forgetting to dig it back up last year after its disappointing summer in the ground, and almost yanked the whole plant up this spring before I noticed the new leaves.

I'm especially glad to see this, because I was very disappointed in this plant last year. I had read that planting bay laurel in the ground would give you many more leaves and a better plant to dig up and overwinter... and this guy barely exceeded its size at purchase by the end of the fall.  Maybe this head start will give me plenty of bay leaves to harves this year?  I really hope so, because store-bought bay leaves just don't have the same flavor that fresh or self-dried leaves have!

Anyone else have some miraculous overwinterings this year?

Thursday, April 19

April Foliage Follow-Up

Since Pam posted about her yellow-striped jungle for this month's Foliage Follow Up, I thought it was only fair for me to lead off with my yellow-variegated iris foliage. It really pops out of the garden right now, surrounded by the caramel tones of carex buchanii, grounded by 'Little Fingers' sedum, and softened by the deep, dark, fine foliage of bronze fennel.

More caramel coloring--this time tinged with peach--helps this heuchera warm up the emerging silver artemisia:

Sea kale leaves turn a light, powdery blue throughout the summertime.  But when they emerge, they're a shockingly beautiful combination of deeper blue leaves and purple veins:

With 'Diablo' purple ninebark leaves, it's completely the opposite. Instead of getting lighter as the season goes on, they emerge as an almost coppery combination of green and purple... and then turn a deep, dark purple by the time summer begins.

For even more foliage to enjoy, head on over to Pam's and check out the links in the comment section!

April Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (Came Way Too Early!)

April's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day--hosted (as always) by the lovely Carol of May Dreams Gardens--came way too early for me in so many ways. The 15th seems to sneak up on me each and every month anyway, but this spring the blooms are sneaking up on me, too!

Check out my May GBBD post from last year for a photo that looks VERY similar to the one above! This pretty dwarf iris didn't bloom last year until May, either:

Things are so early that much of my usual spring garden work remains undone. For example, many of my "late" tulips are blooming determinedly among the as-yet-unclipped foliage of 2011:

Thankfully, the smaller species tulips are sited on the edges of the driveway garden. This area stays mostly clear of leaves, so they are all blooming freely:

The hyacinths are in a similarly clear spot, too... which is particularly good for this bee:

And I am particularly happy to see him, because the cherry trees, apple tree and blueberry bushes are all in bloom right now, too!  And so are the currants:

Hopefully there are enough pollinators around to take care of all of my fruit trees. I guess that we'll find out whether or not that's the case this summer!  Here's a roundup of everything else that bloomed in my garden on April 15th, 2012:

  • Pulmonaria
  • 'Jack Frost' (but not 'Looking Glass') brunnera
  • 'Lilafee' epimedium
  • mom's passalong pink lamium
  • 'Purple Dragon' lamium
  • 'Geranium' daffodils
  • sweet woodruff
  • 'Bressingham Ruby' bergenia
  • the last of the red species tulips