Friday, May 1, 2015

The Season of Yellow Flowers

Certain colors dominant short periods of time in the perennial garden.  Right now, the wild Arrowleaf Balsamroot is flowering in the hills around us and they look so bright and beautiful.  Did you know they are the official flower of Kelowna?   
Arrowleaf Balsamroot in bloom, Summerland, BC
 Meanwhile, we have accumulated some composted manure in a square patch next to the stock tank raised beds and declared it a vegetable garden.  Sticks designate the places where I have planted corn and beans, the start of our traditional "Three Sisters Garden", a beneficial companion planting of traditional South American plants. 

Squash, cucumbers, and zucchini will fill the spaces between staggered stands of corn, which in turn will support bean plants.  The large leaves of the vine plants shades the soil, keeping it moist for the corn and beans.  We didn't make mounds for the corn, since we have a dry climate and the linked article above says that flat ground is better in dry areas.  We haven't had too much rain in April, so we will have to stay dedicated to the sprinkler for the germination period.
Stock tank raised beds - first one is growing spinach
The daffodils are at the end of their season and the Aurinia saxatilis is forming carpets of blooms.  Several neighbours have stunning slopes entirely covered in these yellow flowers.  They are very hardy, require full sun, and can live in poor soils.  They probably seed out a bit, as I see them naturalized in rocky informal settings where they probably were never intentionally planted.  I would like to spread them all over my yard, because they look great and are so easy!  Elsewhere in the yard, the new growth on the Euphorbia polychroma is a similar bright yellow and quite striking next to contrasting purple Heuchera foliage or bright blue or pink spring flowers.
Aurinia saxatilis in my perennial bed
Next in the garden season is...Irises!  Can't wait to see the show. 

I am hoping to go to the Summerland Ornamental Gardens spring plant sale this year.   They promise unusual plants and some interesting varieties of tomatoes, from what I can see on their Facebook page.  Besides being a great place to pick up uncommon plants not seen at garden centers, this is a fundraiser for one of my favourite gardens!  It should make for good Mother's Day shopping too!

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