, ,

Oops, I did it again, I forgot about this blog, for over a month…

I’m not a Britney fan. It won’t catch on.

Anyway, this has been a particularly cool, wet spring so far. “April showers bring May flowers” is an annoyingly common expression around here, but this year the heavy rainfall is still going on, and it’s almost June. Of course, in a couple months I’ll be complaining about the hot dry weather. The rain’s also kept me from a couple of gardenscaping projects that I really need to get a move on with.

Aside from skirting the mythical flood, the cool temperatures have held most plants back, with some interesting results. For example, this is the first time all my tulips have bloomed at once; the early-mid varieties got held back to coincide with the later ones. Cool-weather crops, such as radishes and arugula, are still huddling in their pots. I haven’t even sown the carrots and peas yet, yet it’s time to plant out the tomatoes, only some of which are hardened off.

The Clematis occidentalis (can’t remember the common name) doesn’t seem to have made it through winter; up to a couple weeks ago I could fool myself that it was just late, like everything else, but now I think have to face that it isn’t coming back.

However, I did have a pleasant surprise to compensate, if that’s what one wants to call it. Three years ago I ordered two bare-root trumpet gentians (Gentiana acaulis). Not sure at the time where to plant them, I potted them up, then a year later planted one out under a spruce tree whose crown I had just lifted. I kept the other in its pot just for insurance. The planted one seemed to do okay there, and last week it flowered! I was surprised, because doing okay is not the same as thriving, but it seems to like it there. The soil is all wrong, but I suppose the spruce needles and half afternoon sun are to its liking.

So I planted out the second specimen next to it. There is a crested gentian (Gentiana septemfida) close by as well, which I had moved from another bed where it was getting crowded out.

I had been cautioned a long time ago that trumpet gentians can be easy to grow, but hard to get to flower, plus it seems that Gentiana acaulis is one of those plants (a whole group of plants, actually) that gets confused and messed around a lot in the horticultural world. Some time ago I got my grubby paws on a book about gentians* that explains both situations somewhat, but it was originally published in 1986, so who knows what’s happened since then.


Gentiana acaulis

Gentiana acaulis

The picture doesn’t really do justice to the colour; the blue is so intense it makes you want to blink. Which is why I ordered the plants in the first place. That little clump of green is all there is of the plant. I really hope it spreads more in the future (along with the second plant) and covers the place in eye-watering blue.

*Creatively titled Gentians. It’s actually half of a book, translated from German: Enziane und Glockenblumen** by Fritz Köhlen.

**Gentians and Bellflowers. I love that word Glockenblumen; I could probably go around annoying people by saying it all day.