Thursday, April 21, 2016

An unusual spring

It's a running joke with most of the USA that Oregonians have webbed feet from all the rain. While we have more rain than freezing temperatures in the winter, and spring is usually wet enough that we don't have to start watering the gardens until June, we actually have lots of sunny or partly sunny days all through the winter season. This winter was unusually rainy. I think we set some records, but it is a good thing because there was mucho snow in the mountains and hopefully some of the lakes that have been low will get filled up with the snow melt.
Our spring has also been rather astonishing. Last week and this week we have had several days in a row in the high 80's. I believe this has also been record-breaking. All of the spring flowers have sped through their days of prettiness and are now bundles of wilted leaves. Roses are blooming and everything is a most brilliant shade of green. I am enjoying it now, but am a little afraid of what the late summer will bring if everything blooms out ahead of schedule.
But enough of doom. Just for the record, let's take a walk around the garden and admire some of the beauty.
Coral bells are looking splendid and I am hoping for some hummingbird action very soon. I have been collecting huechera (pronounced hoo-keh-ra) plants for some time and now have a nice selection of varieties with different coloured leaves.

The shade bed always looks good at this time of year, but it is quite outstanding right now. Earlier, it had displays of snowdrops and hellebores. I'm not sure I have ever bought a hosta. I just filch them from friends. And while I did buy a few ferns, they keep throwing out babies and I keep transplanting them to other parts of the garden.

When I went to England about twenty years ago, I brought back (quite illegally I am sure) a packet of aubretia (rock cress) seeds. The little darlings have served me well, spreading and surviving in spite of summer hardships. They brighten up the late spring garden in several hues of purple.

After being without a greenhouse for the better part of two years, Jeff has almost finished the new one. I rather love it. It has been a labour of love, although I sometimes have to put a damper on the more grandiose plans that enter his head. There are tomato and lettuce seedlings growing in there right now. 

Lilies of the valley have come into their own this year, multiplying like rabbits. I adore them. The little bell-shaped flowers are completely adorable and the scent is delicious. My mum knew I loved Yardley's Lily of the Valley perfume and she kept me well supplied with it, so they always remind me of her. 

I have a love/hate relationship with aquilegia, commonly known as columbine. They are prone to much self-seeding and revert quickly to the wild variety, although this lot by the snowball tree have retained the double flower, for some reason.

And these in the front flower beds have reverted. I try to cut down the spent flower stems before they go to seed, or chaos quickly ensues.

And the snowball tree, which looks quite lovely right now but which annoys me most of the year. I keep threatening to chop it down. Well, Jeff would actually get to use his chain saw on it, which would make him a happy man.

Violets, one of my favourites, the first little start of which I actually filched from an acquaintance's pot. And no, I never confessed, so every time I look at them I feel a twinge of guilt. But it is now populating several spots in my shade area.

The rain is on its way back to our weather forecast, so who knows what the garden will look like in a few days, but I have enjoyed seeing everything in the full glory of the sunshine. Colours are brighter in the sun. 
And a note on the photos. I lost my camera at Six Flags of Texas last fall, but I just got a smart phone (I know, late to the tech party as usual) so these are camera pictures. The focus is a bit dim when it comes to close-ups, but I think it's not too bad overall. One of these days I must commit to a better camera, but I have to make too many decisions in my life lately and that one must wait for a while. 
Happy spring!