Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blooms and Butterflies

Every year at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus Ohio, they have a program called Blooms and Butterflies. I love it! Now I love the FPC anyway, but adding butterflies to their beautiful gardens makes it even better.
Isabella Tiger butterfly

Monarch butterfly
On this visit, there was an extraordinary number of butterflies about. We also got to witness the daily release of new butterflies, which thrilled me like a small child!
There were no small children there that day, which is quite unusual, so I took their place with my wonderment. The docent releasing the butterflies was asking questions of the group, and with me being a butterfly gardener, I often had the answers for her. I guess you could call me a butterfly geek, but it's a nomenclature I would wear with pride!

If you ever get the chance to visit the Franklin Park Conservatory, please do so, especially during the Blooms and Butterflies exhibit. You won't be sorry!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Spring Chill

I guess I shouldn't complain. After all, there was snow today in the northeast! But I am not loving the spring chill. Brrrrr! We are almost to our frost free date, so I just wish the warmth would come back. So far, it hasn't stopped any blooms from arriving. The chocolate chip ajuga I featured in my last post has reached it's peak bloom. Right now it's like a purple welcome mat being rolled out from my front door.
 I use a lot of purple in the spring, especially out front. My Polish Spirit clematis is already blooming near the purple welcome mat.
Also peaking nearby is my double purple columbine. I love this one!
More purple tones are found on the creeping phlox. Some may say that these are over used. But they are so reliable, and bloom for such a long period of time. What's not to love?
I found more purple in the back, alliums starting to bloom....
chive flowers, and
iris! I wish I could put the scent into this photo. These iris are so beautiful that they don't even need to be fragrant. But they are. Ahhhh.
All is not purple in my garden. The red columbines love to seed themselves freely about. I don't mind, I just wish the purple ones would do the same.
Finally, my doublefile viburnum is in bloom. After three years, I had almost given up.
Miss Ladybug likes the viburnum too!
I've been watching the roses to see which bloom would show up first. As always, Funny Face will be the first arrival, if it ever warms up.
Now I'm not a big hosta fan, but there is one exception. I love this June hosta, and have given it a place of honor by the front door.
So chilly or not, my garden insists on blooming like it's warm out!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Coming attractions

Our most beautiful spring continues here in central Ohio. The strange heat we had in March is gone, and April feels like a more traditional spring. But that's okay, the early warmth got all the flowers started quickly. It's also pretty dry for spring, so we've had a lot of blue skies to enjoy the spring beauty. These orange tulips have come back for three years now, right in the middle of the lamium and right next to the Jack Frost brunnera. It's a pretty combo.
I'm also very pleased with the Bonfire Euphorbia in bloom for the first time in my garden. I often admired it's picture in garden catalogs, but wondered if it would come true in "person". Oh yes it did!
 Starry Night violas are a garden must-have for me. They bloom for so long, and even seed themselves around a bit. 
The simple red columbine has spread itself around the garden, which is fine by me. Any plant that expands freely is welcome here.
But there are lots of other spots just waiting to show off. This double purple columbine is one of my favorites, and here is it's first bloom of the season.
 Looks like I will finally have peonies to enjoy this year! It's about time. I think this plant is about three years old, and I have yet to see a flower.
The same is true of my doublefile viburnum. I thought it would never bloom! But here they come. The shrub is covered with these beginning blossoms, so I'm thrilled.
My chocolate chip ajuga is about to start its show too. The foliage is pretty year round, but the blooms are a knockout. They usually bloom in tandem with the daffodils in their midst, the white ones with the pinkish centers.
The peach parrot tulips are fading away, but they are followed by the "black" parrot tulips, which are just as gorgeous in a dark kind of way.
I know there are many heuchera fans out there, with foliage available in every color of the rainbow. But I'm a traditionalist when it comes to heuchera. I like the original, plain green coral bells with simple red flowers, and so do the hummingbirds that visit my garden. 
Soon there will be clematis in bloom. Who doesn't love clematis? This one is Polish Spirit, a tribute to my Polish hubby.
I found one little bitty surprise at the end of my garden walk. I saw a tiny little unfamiliar flower peeking out from under the daylily. I remember last year I saw a seed packet of an unusual annual called Five Spot. I started some seedlings, planted them out in spring, and promptly forgot all about them. Now this year, I find one in bloom! I don't know how it got here, but I'm enjoying it. If I see these seeds again, I'll give them another try. 
Now I know there are plenty of coming attractions in my garden all summer long, but spring flowers always have such special meaning after winter, don't you think?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pretty in Pink

Don't you just love the pastels of spring? It's like nature decorating her Easter eggs!
 There's lavender,
 baby blue,
 and pink,
 Yes, the crabapples are here.
 Did you know they smell quite sweet and lovely if you get up close? Well, you might not be able to get too close, because the bees love them just as much as I do.
Enjoy those pretty pastels this spring. Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

This has been the most beautiful spring I've ever seen! If only I had time to enjoy it. *sigh* But I'm trying not to be blind to the beauty of it all in my haste. Every few days I run out to the garden with my camera to see what's new. And at this time of year, there's a lot of new to find!

See, I didn't miss it after all! But I'd still like to have more time to enjoy it. Maybe soon, gotta go!