Sun’s out Blooms out

This is the first week that truly felt like spring is here and summer is just around the corner. The sun is out and the sky is blue and the plants (and gardeners) can now let out a sigh of relief. After a long, chilly, wet start to spring, we are super grateful for the warmer weather.

ornamental onions (Allium aflatuense ‘Purple Sensation’) in the Garden of Hope

The ornamental onions are just now bursting onto the scene in each of the gardens. We love these perennial bulbs that bring with them height, drama, color, and a sense of whimsy. They often look unreal. The cultivar ‘Purple Sensation’ in the Garden of Hope boasts intense violet-purple color on top of a 2′ stalk – like some fairy king’s scepter. ‘Globemaster’ (pictured at top) is an even taller and larger cultivar that can be found in the back of the Herb Garden. The over-sized flower heads (up to 10″ across) make a striking impact on this sweet garden. They are echoed below by chives – both beautiful and edible. The flowers are enjoyed by bees and humans alike and can be used in floral arrangements.

chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Also in the Herb Garden I came across some ants hard at work. I often hear visitors remark that they know they can’t have peonies without ants. This is a common misconception. You do not need to find ants to help your peony buds to open. However, peonies and ants do enjoy a reciprocal relationship. When you see ants on the buds it is because they are feasting on the extrafloral nectaries (sugary substances) that the plant secretes. The ants get a food source and the flowers get a protector from predator insects that would enjoy eating the flower itself (rather than just the sugars on the outside).

Peony with ants

The Rock Garden and Water Garden have been closed off for the majority of this spring as it has been much too wet to walk through this area. The gates have recently been lifted and I encourage you to journey down to the Rock Garden. Many of the perennials are spring blooming, so now is the perfect time to enjoy this space.

steps leading into the Rock Garden are edged in sea pink (Armeria maritima)

Moving back up closer to the house, Spanish bluebells are in bloom beneath the Japanese maples near the North Garden. The soft blues and pinks mingle together to create a peaceful sea beneath the beautifully shaped trees.

Not far from here in the Enclosed Garden, Siebold’s primroses (Primula sieboldii) are holding court. Gail has been working on adding to this Primrose Path for a few years now and it is really coming into its own. The flowers can be seen clear across the Enclosed Garden and they beckon you to come in for a closer look. In the background of the picture on the left below you can see sweet woodruff playing its role as champion supporting actor (for more on supporting actor plants in the garden see my last blog here).

There is always so much to see and experience here at Blithewold. Each week brings new blooms across the property. Last week Joe wrote about the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) all budded up and ready to bloom. The blossoms are open now and smelling so sweet!

cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

With all of this beauty abounding, it would be a shame not to share it with you. Come and see (and smell) for yourself!