Monday, March 9, 2015

New Growth

Here in my garden, a number of plants are in growth, some either flowering for the first time this year, producing renewed foliage, or just coming out of dormancy. Here's what I have seen this week:


Erodium cicutariuma
This common garden weed is welcome in my "lawn". It is beautiful in close inspection, and feeds a variety of pollinators. The early growth and flowering here means it conveniently disappears by summer, when the more robust hawkweeds and weedy Lactuca take over. The flowers of Erodium cicutariuma last only for one day, but new buds are always being produced. The seed pods, which look similar to the pointed seed pods of Geranium (not to be confused with Pelargonium), give Erodium its common name, storks bill.
Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue'
This is a trailing evergreen veronica growing over the wall of my small rock garden. The plant was attractive last year to bumblebees, but has been ignored this year so far with the exception of a few hoverflies. Perhaps as the sun gets higher in the sky it will have more draw. Either way it is an easy and rewarding evergreen perennial. The leaves turn a purplish green throughout winter, then a brighter green in the Spring and Summer.

Dodecatheon hendersonii
Henderson's shooting stars, as they are called, are beginning to show signs of proliferation. The pollen is adheres tightly to the anthers, and requires vibration to free it. Large solitary bees and bumblebees are capable of releasing the pollen by landing on the flowers and vibrating their flight muscles, also known as "buzz pollination". I have observed large solitary miner bees buzz pollinating the flowers, but they are incredibly fast and skittish, making photographing them a challenge that I have yet to experience success with. Maybe this year will be different?
Anemone coronaria
Red poppy-flowered anemone. These plants have been surprisingly hardy, surviving deep freezes with winter leaves. They have perennialized, and bloom in the early spring despite being sold as "summer bulbs" at garden centers. I'm sure they would bloom in summer if planted in spring and keps moist, but if they were to perennialize they would surely bloom in spring.
Crocus tommasinianus "Ruby Giant" mutant
 Here is a deformity, but not a permanent one. Other flowers from the same corm are normal, suggesting this is not a mutation that would be reliably repeated, and certainly not by seed. At times crocuses have been known to present flowers that were somehow affected during formation, at the tinniest scale. I'm not sure what causes this, but it is sure interesting. 


Leaves and buds

Echinacea hybrids
Pretty much all of the Echinacea's are appearing now, reminding me that I forgot to divide them. It's no matter, as many of them are seed grown from a few years ago, and should flower for the first time this year! Next winter I will need to divide them so they don't get too congested. I zm trying more and more new locations to try growing them, testing their limits in shade and non-irritated areas of the yard. Being that most of these are Echinacea purpurea selections or related hybrids, they are mostly fibrous rooted. However, they have still shown resilience to a multitude of challenging conditions where many other plants would suffer.

Epimedium 'Amber Queen' in bud
Epimedium is a fairly new genus to horticulture, at least on a large scale, and is thus unheard of to many gardeners. It is also a new genus for me which I am just getting acquainted with. Epimedium's grow from rhizomes, other woody or trailing. They are in the Berberidaceae, along with Mahonia and Ilex. Epimedium 'Amber Queen' is a hybrid of E. wushanense and E. flavum.

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Purple Pixie' new leaves
The emergent leaves of this Epimedium show a resemblance to other members of the family, with sharp spiny margins. The leaves of many Epimedium's emerge mottled or dark purple like this one, then mature to a shiny green. Some species retain the mottling.

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Purple Pixie' buds
Here is another budding inflorescence just beginning to emerge (the purplish thing towards the left of the center). Epimedium grandiflorum 'Purple Pixie' is a patented selection and possibly a hybrid of E. 'White Queen' and E. 'Rose Queen'.

Hepatica acutiloba
A bud of this liverwort emerges. Last year, a single leaf emerged, and remained until this day! I hope this year that this plant does more, or perhaps even graces us with a flower. But you know, if it does flower, you'll see it too.

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