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I think I’ve finally put my finger on what the Iris ‘Hello Darkness’ smells like. It reminds me of an old brand of baby powder. I think the name of it was Ammens.

Spring progresses. Despite the cold and dismal start to it, I’ve learned that having a late spring means you get to see combinations of things that don’t usually bloom together. Some things are performing spectacularly: the honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) is blooming like mad as usual, but for longer than usual. Other things are disappointing: all the hellebores (Helleborus cvs.) are growing healthily, but none bloomed at all. And of course the roses are late as well. None of the laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides) saplings have leafed out yet. I think at least some of them are alive, but it’s worrying; they were kept under shelter for winter and they weren’t this late last year.

On the other hand, the dwarf pomegranate (Punicum granatum var. nana), which also took its sweet time to resprout, has done so. I got another one just in case, so now I have two. At least now I know it is possible to overwinter them in dormancy in the (unheated) garage, so I won’t have to worry about finding space in the house for them.

Both the edible quinces (Cydonia oblonga) I potted last autumn (bought them bare-root) have flowered, which was a big surprise. They’re only a couple feet high, if that, so they must be older than I thought. I’m unsure about letting them set fruit; my head says I shouldn’t, but now that they’ve flowered, I really really want quinces from my own trees. Perhaps I’ll let them each bear one fruit. Decisions. Shoutout to TreeEater Nursery in British Columbia for some great stuff.

I never got around to sowing peas (Pisum sativum), so I don’t think I shall bother any more. It’s not absolutely too late to sow them, but I would rather get on with things and use the space for something else.

With other vegetables, this seems to be the year of the allium. The garlic (Allium sativum) is looking marvelous, and the onions (Allium cepa) are doing well so far. I decided to try growing leeks (Allium ampeloprasum cv.) this year too; so far I have a lot of seedlings and I really have no idea where to plant them. The walking/Egyptian onions (Allium x proliferum) are the best I’ve seen them – I’ve had trouble overwintering them before in milder winters, so dunno what happened there. And I got a clump of perennial bunching onions from my aunt, which I also am scratching my head to find a permanent place for.

I’m not sure what sort of “bunching onions” they are (a typical hazard of getting things from other people’s gardens, especially people who don’t bother with scientific names), but right now I’m leaning toward scallions, Allium fistulosum. Hm…I have chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) too, so all I need to round out the collection is some shallots, and maybe some wild garlic.

I had really wanted to get a mock orange ‘Miniature Snowflake’ (Philadelphus ‘Miniature Snowflake’), but the nursery I went to had three different types of Philadelphus and at least one of them was definitely mislabelled. Since they weren’t in bloom at the time, I couldn’t be sure if ALL of them were mislabelled, so I ended up not getting one. Sigh. I’d be breaking the rules with this one, because it is non-native, nonedible, and perennial, but ever since I smelled one, it’s stuck with me. (Roses don’t count for the purposes of this rule.)

Finally, all the seedlings are hardened off now except the ‘Black Prince’ snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus ‘Black Prince’). Turns out I didn’t need to save seed and sow indoors after all; I had no idea the seeds were hardy around here, and there’s quite a crop of volunteer seedlings coming up on their own. I’ll pot up the ones I started and give them away. It’s an heirloom variety, so it should come true from seed.

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