Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Litttle blue things

The first wave of color to wash over the garden each year - the wave of snowdrops, little bulb irises, crocuses and a few precocious shrubs and trees - is now receding: in its place comes the wave of the little blue things. You see a selection of these above. Included are some run-down garden hyacinths (what they lose in girth they gain in charm), two glories-of-the-snow (the larger one is 'Blue Giant' and the smaller one is Chionodoxa sardensis), the Siberian squill (Scilla sibirica), the Greek anemone (Anemone blanda) and two lawn weeds, Glecoma hederacea and the lawn veronica, Veronica persica.  Seeing these flowers together reminds us that not all of them are as blue as we think they are.

With the exception of the Greek anemone, all of these are good stayers. Get a start going, and you are likely to see their sweet faces yearly. The Greek anemone is not difficult and will sometimes self-sow around the garden; but each wet hot summer seems to take a few, so the time will come when you will have to buy in a few more. On the other hand, if you can arrange to keep it dry during the summer it should last and reappear yearly.  If your Siberian squills disappear over time, try giving them the dry summer treatment, too.

Glecoma hederacea, gill-over-the-ground, is a serious weed here. But one look at a plant in full bloom gives a hint of why it has been brought into so many gardens.

During the next week or two the little lawn veronica will make some of the loveliest pictures in local lawns. If while walking around you see a shimmering flat haze of blue about a yard or two in diameter in sunny lawns, it's probably this veronica. Few deliberately cultivated plants create such a charming effect. Its success in lawns is largely attributable to its growth cycle: it's a winter annual, most active when the lawn grasses themselves are largely dormant. Mowing keeps the otherwise easily overwhelmed plants out in the sun.

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