Friday, May 8, 2009

Nice to Meet You

The more time I spend in the garden, the more I realize that I'm gardening not for today but for tomorrow or a month from now or even next year. Last spring I installed a woodland walk at the front of the house. I bought the plants from a native plant nursery two hours out of the city. They were wee and I nursed them along through the summer. While most grew to an impressive size, none of them really strutted their stuff, nor did I expect them too. I wanted them to establish themselves and that's what they did. Now, one year later, as the blooms are appearing I feel like I meeting new garden friends. I'm seeing them bloom, just like this wild geranium, for the first time. And I couldn't be more thrilled. The wild geranium caught my eye earlier this week. The bloom is much smaller than I expected and a fair bit daintier. This Ontario native is bursting with buds so the lone bloom will soon be joined by many more.

The wood poppy is just opening up. I'm not a fan of yellow in the garden but this bloom may just change my mind. I recall reading somewhere that there are only a few hundred wood poppy plants left in the entire province. I'm happy to be growing it in my part of Ontario.

The wild columbine is another Ontario native. It's nodding bloom is just about to open. I did have a few blooms of wild columbine last year. They were successful enough to reseed themselves. While I have about five plants that could be considered mature, there is a small forest of wild columbine seedlings covering the earth around the older plants. And so begins another waiting game.

Brand new to the woodland walk this year is fothergilla gardenii. I have drooled over this plant in many a garden book and on many a website. Now I lay claim to two of my very own.

Last month, on my very first trip to one of the very first garden centres to open, I found two fothergillas sitting quite innocently by the entrance to the shop. My jaw hit the ground. Could it be? After much hemming and hawing, a departure and visit to another garden centre, I returned to purchase the two shrubs. They were a bit pricey but when I got to the cash, both were significantly discounted. Score! The shrubs are small and have been in the ground for about a month. It's nice to get to know them. It will be even nicer to see them grow into the mature, beautiful shrubs they can be.

The eastern redbud is almost in bloom. It's not even as tall as me but when I see it I see a mature tree, bent slightly toward the sunny side of the yard, filling my field of vision with pink blossoms.

I'm also still getting to know the serviceberries. Their white blossoms are so welcome when there is still a chill in the air. I'm already counting the days until the berries are ripe. But who will enjoy them first? Me, the robins or the raccoons?

Sometimes I have had my doubts about new friends in the garden. I was sure that daffodil "Irene Copeland" would be a garden mess. But Ms. Copeland surprised me. Her bloom is ginormous! The word "whopper" came to mind when I first saw her. And sure enough she won me over with her robust demeanor.

Even with so many new friends in the garden there is plenty of room for friends of old, like this grape hyacinth. I wish I had a field of them but a handful will have to do for now. Perhaps this is the year to plant some more, then sit back and wait for new garden friends to appear and greet them next spring with a "hello" and "nice to meet you."


Helen said...

I'm also crazy about Fothergilla. Can't give it what it needs, myself, but I'm cheering one along in a neighbour's garden. Redbud, too. If only!

Connie said...

Your woodland garden is coming along beautifully, and will just get better and better every year, as things mature. We have service berry that grows wild here, where ever the birds drop seed. I love to go out and eat the berries in the morning when they're still cold!

Gardenista said...

What pretty plants. With the exception of the grape hyacinths and daffodils, these are new to me or not possible in my area. I'm glad you're getting to enjoy all those spring flowers now. We're still mostly waiting for spring to come.