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April Showers

It’s raining. A lot. I am severely tempted to complain. A lot. Then I remember the last three summers when it did NOT rain. A lot. Then I push aside that temptation and think of all that rain as water in the bank to be spent when moisture funds run low. The bareroot perennials in the root cellar can wait another week or two and they will be fine. The spring clean-up of garden beds can wait. The pansies don’t arrive until next week so I don’t have them to addle my brain over the rain. Rather, the rain is a chance to get paperwork wrapped up that soon there will be no time to deal with. Volunteers have returned and time for indoor activities disappears rapidly now.

From my office window I can see green buds swelling on woody plants. Some maple trees are blooming. The male goldfinches are again gold. Spring has arrived and there is no turning back. I realize that does not mean Mother Nature will let us move smoothly on through April and May. She may well have a couple bitch slaps planned for us. But … not a damn thing I can do about that. Enjoy the moment and hope for the best.

Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’

Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’

Lots of blooming plants appearing now. Well, maybe not lots but a good many. I would show you some pictures but it is raining too hard right now to do that. So I will cover a few more of the new plants we are adding to the gardens this year.

In an earlier post I mentioned a foxglove we are adding this year, but we are actually adding second this year. Another sterile hybrid, Digitalis ‘Polkadot Princess’ (part of the Polkadot series) looks more like a traditional foxglove.

Bred by the folks at Thompson & Morgan it gets 2 to 3 feet tall and blooms from early summer to early fall thanks to its lack of seed production. If it does well I will consider adding ‘Polkadot Polly,’ the peachy colored sister.

This next plant we are taking a bit of a chance with and pushing it to the limit of its hardiness zone. Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’ is a zone 6 plant, maybe 5b. And technically we are a zone 6 region. Except when we are not. But what the hey? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’

Euphobia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’. Photo courtesy of

‘Ascot Rainbow’ grows about 20” x 20”, wants full sun, and should have good drainage in winter. It does bloom in late spring but this is one you grow for the foliage. The green and yellow variegation takes on deep pink and burgundy when weather cools down in fall. The new growth always has a touch of this but it intensifies with the cooler temperatures. Interestingly, the showy bracts (structures that surround the real flowers) are variegated as well. ‘Ascot Rainbow’ makes a great container plant also.

Ipomoea lobata (aka Mina lobata or Quamaclit lobata)

Ipomoea lobata (aka Mina lobata or Quamaclit lobata)

One of the finest annual flowering vines will put on its show on the fence outside the Greenhouse sales area. Ipomoea lobata, or Mina lobata, or Quamaclit lobata is gorgeous. I mean GORGEOUS! And the only things more intriguing than the flowers are the common names. Spanish flag. Firecracker vine. And my absolute favorite, Exotic love vine.

Oh hell yeah! That is exotic love and I’m feeling that love all the way to my very soul. Exotic love vine grows to several feet and blooms start appearing in mid-summer. The flowering continues up ‘til frost. Jim grows these from seed. You can too.

The rain has let up but I know the minute I go outside with the camera it will return. Just thinking about it made the thunder start again. Over the next several days I expect plants to simply explode out of the ground. A little sun and a little warmth and everything is going to want to express its joy of surviving the winter. Check you gardens frequently so you don’t miss a thing. And if you are missing anything then you don’t want to miss Perennial Premiere April 26 and 27. We will have just what you’ve been missing.

In the meantime, how high’s the water, Mama?


Filed under: Greenhouse, Horticulture, IMA Staff, Oldfields

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