April 2007

The April 1st weekend was just fabulous, both Saturday and Sunday were mostly sunny days here in Richmond, but there was a bit of a breeze both days that put a bit of a bite into the air. You really didn't want to stand in the shade in the breeze, just a little too nippy. You had to keep moving and/or stay in the sun. It was a great spring gardening weekend. Waita transplanted a bunch of Marigold seedlings and I divided some Heucheras (no, this wasn't one of them).

Hostas are coming up all over. At the very front and to the right are 'Wide Brim', a 2006 acquisition which grew nicely over the season last year and are coming up strong again this year, and at the back we have one of the '07 additions: 'Night Before Christmas'. It and its siblings are coming along quite well also and at least thus far there are no visible signs as yet of either of the two new Hosta acquisitions being HVX infected.

'Golden Tiara', along with 'Wide Brim' is one of the very first Hostas to break ground for us in the spring. It's such a sight for sore eyes to start seeing them unfurl again in early April...

It's always exciting to start the plant sale season again. Particularly when the weather forecast is for showers and you get naught but sunshine. And it sure helps matters when you see some things in bloom around the yard. The frontyard had just a mess of tulips in flower and the little rhodie at the front of the sideyard was so heavily laden with flowers that more than a few branches were actually touching the ground. Our signs always get favourable comments.

We couldn't have timed the sale any better if we'd tried, that is if we were trying to make sure we had flowers in the frontyard. There were a few pots of tulips however that absolutely HAD to sell that weekend, because they would have been done with mid-week. Last year we had some pots with daffodils, but those were already spent by the end of March. Not much point in trying to sell them now, we'll let the tops die down, lift them, and replant them later in the winter than what we did this last season.

All in all we did quite well the April 14th weekend. The weather has been so strange though that we had lots of stuff in the back still flushing out, but not big enough to make them salable as yet, so, we opted to NOT repeat the sale on the Sunday because we were so thin on inventory. While we're going to see some rain this week, the forecast for the coming weekend is one of a drying trend. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hopefully I can start spreading the signs around the neighbourhood again come Saturday morning.

I was pleasantly surprised a couple of days ago when I looked in one of our beds and noticed what surely looked like a variegated Hosta leaf popping up in a spot where I have never had a Hosta previously. Nearest I can figure is that this is NOT a seedling -the emerging petiole looks too fat for that- but it's most likely a small piece of crown/root that was left on the potting counter and was brushed off into a bin with the rest of the scattered potting medium, which was subsequently used as part of a top-dressing for this area. In time I hope to figure out whether this is 'Patriot' or 'Minute Man'. Both of these were the subject of some dividing last year, so it's a bit of a toss-up at this juncture.

With some of the more vigourous growers you can sometimes run into what you see here: the inner leaves are continuing to grow, but the outer ones haven't fully unfurled as yet. This 'Guacamole' looks strangely contorted like something from outer space. Eventually things will straighten themselves out though, just looks peculiar right now.

Our 'Striptease' is trying to outdo itself this spring: not only did we go from 5 shoots to 14 this year, but there's this one sort of straggler way off to the side. It broke ground very pale and has stayed that way for a couple of days now. I would expect it to colour up though in due course.

'Blue Mouse Ears' simply continues to impress me. You may recall the 3 shoot plant we obtained late last summer was divided into three, with one of these coming up this spring with FIVE shoots. That would be this one here. The other two were a single and another three-shooter. The latter two will be allowed to grow on for next year, the fiver will get divided mid to late May, so I'll have some available for sale next year when it will be the Hosta of the Year.

While in a lot of respects not in the same league as BME, this 'Platinum Tiara' is slowly beginning to turn from green to yellow and reminds me once again of why I like this cultivar: its colour! By early summer it should be almost creamy coloured. It's a fine balance with this one as to how much sun you give it: too much and you get burn-out, too little and it stays greenish.