Catch it while you still can…

Spring is racing by. If I don’t get to go out there in a few days, when I finally do, I can be sure that it looks completely different from when I last saw it. This weekend wasn’t half as productive as the previous one, so it is becoming more and more clear that I probably won’t have a decent looking and well functioning garden by the time summer hits, this year either. That said, even if it all isn’t yet installed to my satisfaction, I can still enjoy the riotous exuberance of the various components, even if some of them are still partying in solitary confinement in their nursery pots.


I can never get enough of the ferns as they unfurl. This is our native Sword fern doing its thing.


I immediately fell for the texture created on the top of the leaves, caused by the sporangia underneath them. This  large-leaved holly fern came home with me on Friday, and will unfortunately remain homeless for another week – at least.


Same with this Eared Lady fern – it’s unrolling its leaves despite being confined to its little pot. The colors of this one are so cool…


Wouldn’t you agree?


The Mayapple leaves almost look as if they are just a lighter green version of the Hellebore’s. Also, note the Asarum europaeum in the lower right corner. I recently brought home its cousin…


… a large-leaved, mottled beauty named Ling-Ling. Here is a photo of its flower – a velvety study in coffee and mocca. I suffered from severe plant lust before succumbing to this one.


I have a thing for black flowers, and this black Calla lily is always a favorite. Too bad I can’t pair it with Ling-Ling. The two have radically different tastes as to preferred growing conditions.


Here’s Canna ‘Cleopatra’ poking its two-tone head out of the ground. I was so happy to see this – it has the coolest foliage ever!


Lilies growing up through the Coprosma.


I planted this Hellebore in a new raised planter, so I can hopefully see its cheery faces without propping them up manually next spring. Behind the flower you can see part of the fabulous leaf of Arisaema ringers…


…which, incidentally, is also in flower. Cobra lily is its common name – which was actually a question on Jeopardy the other night. For some reason, I always do far better on plant names than I  do on most of the other categories. 😉


Not really a fern, even if it resembles one – Comptonia peregrina above the Agapanthus foliage.


The variegated foliage emerging on a deciduous Azalea. It was originally a solid green, but after tormenting it through two hard winters where it sat above ground, it developed the coolest variegation. I imagine it’s some kind of virus, or something. If I knew how, I’d try to propagate it to see if it holds true in new generations of plants. In this photo, you can only just sense where the color divisions will be. Later in summer, it will be much more pronounced. I’m generally fairly done with Azaleas, but I’m holding on to this one because of its variegated leaves.


I really like the combination of the blue flowers of Ajuga ‘Black Scallop’ and the chartreuse of Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’.


The native Camassia is at the end of its flowering, but is providing the same contrast with the Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’ in the background.


Clematis henryi is one of those that keep blooming until frost does it in. This is its first, major flush of flowers. After that, the output will slow down, but I can’t recall it really taking even a small break last year. Quite the trooper…


This snow-white Columbine planted itself right in front of our shed door, between a couple of flagstones. It will take some work to pry it out of its chosen position, but I think it’s worth moving – it is quite stunning!


Here is the whole clump, so beautifully in the way. The red in the background is a rose that came with the house. I’d venture a guess that it’s as old as the house itself – it is massive, and I cut it back rather severely last year.


Every year, I’m tempted to take it out altogether, but have yet to follow through on that. It smells divine, blooms continuously all summer, and is followed by large rose hips. The petals are edible too. Of course, it has that ugly, thorny legginess of a climbing rose, which bothers me, but then again, it has all those other redeeming qualities.


A couple of years ago, I put the Grevillea ‘Scarlet Sprite’ underneath it to conceal some of that legginess. Only now, I have a perfect spot for it out front, and am tempted to move it. However, when the rose petals fall, I’m reminded why I did what I did, and I have second thoughts about moving it. The two really are a perfect color match, but different enough in textures to be somewhat interesting together. Decisions, decisions… What would you do?




About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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10 Responses to Catch it while you still can…

  1. What would I do? I’d buy another Grevillea for the spot out front. I love that Canna ‘Cleopatra’ is just as striking at the very beginning…

    • annamadeit says:

      I thought about that too, but good grief – so many homeless plants are clamoring for a permanent spot in this beauty pageant… Your suggestion makes all the sense in the world, but really – more plants…? Even so, hypothetically – to switch it up a bit, I could get a different Grevillea than Scarlet Sprite. The question would be which one… Any good ideas? In that spot, it would need to stand up to lots of icy, eastern winds in winter, and I’m going for a good red flower color.

  2. rickii says:

    I have a taste for those dark beauties too. Link Ling is smashing…and the Cobra lily…WOW!

  3. Lovely plants and plant combinations, Anna! My answer to your question is the same as Loree’s. I’m of the opinion that you can never have too many Grevilleas. If not ‘Scarlet Sprite’, maybe G. lavandulacea ‘Penola’ – its flowers are also red (although more of a reddish-pink) and it handles wind in my garden but it does get big.

    • annamadeit says:

      That’s a nice one, Kris – I had to look it up. Its color is rather similar to Scarlet sprite – at least if the photos tell the truth. I think I could squeeze it in there. The only worrisome thing is that it only gets full sun in the morning. Wonder if that would be enough… I sure love that silvery foliage!

  4. Evan says:

    I’m going to have to copy your combination of camas and Cotinus ‘Golden Spirit’. I just planted that Cotinus this year and can expand the bed to make room for camas in front of it. That black calla looks stunning next to the cedar foliage. My calla lilies always take forever to emerge in spring, and bloom poorly and very late. They haven’t made an appearance yet, except the few I just dug up to make room for a grevillea. I wonder if I have them planted too deep? Or something else? I like that rose! A repeat-blooming, fragrant, red climber? Sounds like a keeper to me! We’ve got a spot my dad is thinking of putting in an arbor, and a climbing rose is one of the candidates I’ve been considering for it. Maybe I can try propagating it?

    • annamadeit says:

      Evan – feel free to copy as much as you like. As for the Callas, that’s a new one I just bought, so it has spent the spring in a greenhouse. The ones in the ground are only leaves yet – not even buds! You are more than welcome to take cuttings of the rose. I have been meaning to give propagation of it a whirl for years, but never gotten around to it. Maybe you can show me how to do it successfully? It’s a lovely rose – the petals are edible, too. My best guess is that it’s an Etoile de Hollande.

  5. I have no idea what I would do but I once had to move a huge columbine that was growing right next to the patio since it was three feet tall and was blocking everything behind it. The root had grown under the patio pavers and I wasn’t able to get all of it out. I hope you have better luck! Yours is a beauty!

    • annamadeit says:

      Three feet tall??? Wow… this one isn’t anywhere near that, but it is totally in the way. I have so much work to do out there, and yet, I never seem to get time to be out there. I have a feeling this will be yet another summer of homeless plants, cooking in their plastic nursery pots because I took on more than I could chew. Maybe I’d better just leave it in the ground, rather than add to my work load…

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