Friday, May 19, 2017

May Flowers! Wet Spring for BC

May 5: Light pink blossoms of our solitary peach tree, with King Edward Flowering Currant behind


Apparently we have been breaking some records out here, with the wettest spring ever recorded for the Okanagan.  We have had 139 mm of precipitation for 2017 as of May 15.  There is hand-wringing over the over-abundant snowpack still in the mountains and our creeks are running high.  There is no fear for our property though, as we sit on a hillside, with a base of mostly sand under us.  This is a great year for garden procrastination, as the cool weather has been unsuitable for early planting of tender plants. 

Crevice plantings: Sempervivum rosettes, colorful varieties of sedum, and Elfin Thyme (lower left)
 I have dug out a few plants that didn't make it through the unusually cold winter.  One climbing rose was killed down to ground level and is now returning with only a few new shoots from below the mulch.  My Rhododenrons "Cunningham White" were just partly under the eave of the house and likely had little snow cover.  They had a large amount of winterkill.  Only a few bottom branches were spared.  As ugly as it will look, I will have to cover those for winter from now on. 
Fritillary imperialis, blooming May 10
 I must have bought this single Fritillary as an impulse buy at the fall display in the garden store.  It does look a little lonely by itself.  On the other hand, it is difficult to plant things in this particular area of the yard, as the soil is pure sand and has to be amended every time I plant (after removing the 12 inches of bark mulch!).  Fritillary plants are also tricky to locate in the fall, since they go dormant and their leaves dry up and disappear by the time for bulb planting.  I'll have to go out there and put up a marker so I can add some friends for it in fall. 
Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis
 We are getting to the end of Daffodil and Narcissus season.  I got up at a crazy early hour today and took pictures of this Narcissus Jetfire.  It is now a new favourite, adored along with my "Geranium" Poetaz narcissus.  This picture doesn't show it well, but the trumpet is a darker orange.  It is blooming later than most of my other similar flowers, which maybe is because this is its first year?  Regardless, it is extending my narcissus season and I think it looks very nice.  
Narcissus "Jetfire" blooming May 19
 The most well-established bed in the rock garden is full of color now, with the deep pink Aubrieta and the chartreuse Euphorbia as highlights.  Frittilaria meleagris came and went so quietly and its foliage will disappear soon for the summer.  I think this bed never looks so good as it does in May.  All the blue flowers are nearly gone by now, with the early spring Muscari (grape hyacinth), Chionodoxa and Scilla all done.  However, those blue flowered early spring bulbs are great at self-seeding and multiplying to bigger bunches each year and I love how they do that. 
Rock garden full of color

White Iberis "Snowcone" in front of a purple Aubrieta