At this time of year, the woods are full of hickory nuts, acorns, and pine cones. So what do the verminous tree rats eat?  My fifteen-year-old Christmas cactus.



More glads

As a follow-up to the post on Gladiolus ‘Eno Orange,’ here are a couple more hardy glads that are currently blooming in the garden.  Both are significantly smaller than ‘Eno Orange,’ topping out at about 3-4 ft tall.

Yellow primulinus-type Gladiolus.

yellow Gladiolus
Yellow Gladiolus dalenii (syn G. primulinus)

I got these corms from Nancy Goodwin of Montrose Garden last autumn, so this is the first time they have bloomed for me.  Nancy says that they were collected beside the railway tracks in Hillsborough, North Carolina.  They seem to be the species that was once called Gladiolus primulinus but is now considered a yellow form of G. dalenii.  To my eye, they appear identical to the plant that is sold by several nurseries as Gladiolus ‘Carolina Primrose.’

Gladiolus ‘Atom’

Gladiolus 'Atom'
Gladiolus ‘Atom’

This hybrid dates from 1946 but is still readily available from bulb vendors.  The color is very intense, but the simple form of the flowers seems to blend well in informal flowerbeds.  I grow it among asters and goldenrod that bloom later in the year, so it adds splashes of color to what would otherwise be an unbroken expanse of green.

A Sunny Saturday

It was a beautiful spring day.  Both Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham and the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh had their spring plant sales, and I picked up a few interesting bits and pieces, some native and some exotic:  Polygonatum humile (dwarf solomon’s seal), Trillium vaseyi (sweet wakerobin), Trillium recurvatum (bloody butcher), and Osmanthus ‘Jim Porter’ (holly-leaf tea olive).  At Raulston’s used book sale, I also snagged a nice clean copy of The Vascular Flora of the Carolinas for just $5.00 to replace my old copy that is falling apart.  This is an invaluable resource, but it isn’t really a field guide; it would probably break your toes if you drop it.

Here are a few iPhone snapshots from the garden today:

A small native Vaccinium, perhaps narrowleaf blueberry (Vaccinium tenellum), that is common in the surrounding woodland.  Here, it is growing under hickory trees on the dry slope beside the greenhouse.
At night, the flowers of Fothergilla ‘Mt Airy’ smell exactly like Nyquil cold medicine. This witch alder is sometimes sold as the dwarf Fothergilla gardenii, but its size suggests a hybrid between F. gardenii and the larger F. major.
Leucojum aestivum, the summer snowflake, starts blooming in late March in North Carolina.
It’s hard to capture the airy, delicate beauty of wild columbine flowers. Although Aquilegia canadensis is native to the piedmont, these grew from seed that I brought from our old house when we moved. Every year, I scatter seed in a new part of the garden, and there are now hundreds of plants.
Tiny bluets, Houstonia caerulea, have self-seeded all over the lawn and the mossy woodland path. None of my snapshots today look any good, so I’ll cheat and post a picture from this time last year.