Monthly Archives: April 2014

Primroses and Other Beauties

Single primroses come in an assortment of vibrant colours

Single primroses come in an assortment of vibrant colours

I don’t think  I’ve rhapsodized about primroses lately.  Probably it’s way overdue.  I was just reading an article about them in my latest Garden Making magazine and I remembered how much I admired their wonderful colours and neat shapes.  There’s also nothing wrong with a flower that blooms in the spring, (tra-la!).  The article was about the “double” primroses that are mutations of the regular, “single” (already stunning) varieties.  Apparently, even when you buy “double” seeds from a grower, only about 25% will actually have the double blooms, so bringing them up from seed is a crapshoot. It’s still a win/win situation because you’d end up with beautiful flowers either way.

As you can see, there are many petals per bloom, thus, the term "double".

As you can see, there are many petals per bloom, thus, the term “double”.

Primroses grow like a ready-made bouquet coming up from the ground. Its leaves can be comparatively large, similar to lettuces,  and form themselves around the middle like hands offering up the flowers that are produced in merry little bunches, sometimes with edges or eyes of a contrasting colour.  The double ones look like miniature roses or double impatiens.  (In case you’re in doubt, the word “double” in this case is a misnomer, there is an abundance of rosy petals, not merely twice as many as on the ‘single’ varieties).  I planted some primroses in the past, but they haven’t thrived in my yard.  I think I may have put them in the wrong spot.  The article says to find an east-facing location, protected from the hot afternoon sun.  I’m determined to try again.  Heading to Jasmin to do some shopping before the end of April, when their early-bird special runs out.  Here’s a double primrose I may look for. Miss Indigo is her name. You can easily see the lettuce-type leaves in this photo.

Miss Indigo

Double Primrose “Miss Indigo”

Another plant I’m going to look for while I’m there, and I’ve said this every year for several years-if not here than certainly to myself- is pulsatilla.  This is a very attractive little plant with hairy leaves and pink or purple flowers that bloom early in spring.  Whenever I see them in other people’s gardens I exclaim at how sweet they are and covet them, yet when that short season is over I promptly forget their existence until the following year.  This year will be different!  Here’s an example of pulsatilla:

A hairy little plant with captivating hooded flowers.

A hairy little plant with captivating bobbing flowers.

I’ve already been into the garden a bit, doing the obligatory clean-up of all the plants I was too lazy to trim in the fall.  It’s invigorating in the crisp spring air (and has it ever been crisp!) to spend time making things tidy.  Looking forward to the fun of planting, dividing, transplanting, and all the rest of it.

Here’s Prokofiev’s Piano concerto #3 played by Yuja Wang in Moscow 2012.  It’s an incredible piece and she’s a wonderful player.  The OSM was supposed to play this with her this week, but we ended up playing Rachmaninov’s  3rd with her instead, not so shabby either. Enjoy!

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Garden Prep (Anticipation)


Tulips, a pic from my recent trip to Spain.

Tulips, a pic from my recent trip to Spain.

Since I posted yesterday we had about 10 cm. of snow, it looks like.  That doesn’t stop me from reading gardening blogs and getting excited about my future plantings.  I’m on the Dave’s Garden Blog email list, so I get an update every Monday from that huge site, which I recommend for lots of interesting info.

One of the short articles in today’s newsletter was about my favourite (gardening) topics of late, monarchs and milkweed.  It points out that not all milkweed is appropriate for the backyard garden and some are difficult to grow and/or difficult to transplant once established.  The author, Marie Harrison, promises a follow-up article with more in-depth information on the subject.  Looking forward to that.  In the meantime, if you’re interested, you can read her article here.


Wow, so much can change in just a day or two, weather-wise, this time of year.  Yesterday and today actually felt like spring.  I heard a passel (which is less than a flock, maybe 4-5) of blue jays squawking in the bare lilac tree, occasionally dropping into the bird feeder to grab a bite.  They were making a particular noise I hadn’t heard before and were bobbing their heads as they did it.  I wondered whether it was a mating ritual or a spring celebration. May-day, avian version.  I couldn’t really nail it down through google in the time I had so I just enjoyed the racket.  A sign of spring is a sign of spring.  Even the smell of the dog poop that perfumes the spring air, is nothing to sniff at, in my opinion.  Oh, wait…  My point is not even that can make me hate spring.  It’s renewal, and renewal in nature requires a process akin to composting.  Composting can be smelly, but it’s necessary.  Same thing, kind of.  The earth and all its components, including dog poop, is going through a long, somewhat smelly drying process in the next few weeks, culminating with the spring planting, once the earth has dried enough. People complain about spring, because of the mess and the smells, but as long as I have my ‘billy boots’, the wet can’t bother me, and the rest is all short term pain for long term gain.

The winter’s been long enough, on with spring!

I’m posting a Youtube recording of Mozart’s 23rd piano concerto, by unnamed musicians.  It seems very spring-like to me.  Enjoy!

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