It has been a much milder Thanksgiving Day here than the forecast indicated. For this I am quite grateful, as are the garden and my horses. As for BettytheDog, she is quite happy with the light mist that has coated the grasses without icing them (thus far, at any rate). It appears that the worst weather continues to pass just north of us.
Below is a photo I took with my phone a couple of days ago, while I was in town. This is a lovely old barn across the highway from the feed store.
Years ago, in my first garden (some forty miles away from my current 'digs'), I grew a number of minuscule spring bulbs. The types that get classified as 'miscellaneous' in the catalogs, or left to catch one's eye in alphabetical order. The kinds that get jumbled into cardboard boxes at the nursery, waiting to go home with a discriminating bulb lover or perhaps an adventurous newbie.
That newbie was I myself when I first planted little handfuls of these dainty bulbs. And having once been planted, they tended to naturalize nicely. I fell in love with their tiny, unexpected, but very reliable beauty.
Among these was one with white flowers, each with a dainty blue stripe running along each petal. This was Puschkinia scilliodes, the striped squill. It naturalized over the years, coming up faithfully each April in its crisp blue and white. Each year I adored its stylish bitty flowers, yet protested about its habit of collapsing in lanky tufts before it had fully bloomed. I came to the conclusion that our April weather was usually just a little too warm for the comfort of this lovely mountain native.
Some months ago, I was preparing my order for fall bulbs for the new border. Now, this was an order on a tight budget, otherwise there might have been any number of little miscellaneous bulbs as I love the tiny creatures. However, the budget...
I thought back about my enjoyment of little Puschkinia and remembered that I had long wished to try an alternative white (or pale blue) and blue-striped spring flower: this one a true squill, Scilla mischtschenkoana. Sometimes listed as S. tubergeniana, it is a tad more expensive than either its close relative S. siberica or Puschkinia, but it seems to be readily available as a rule. It would supply my wish for an ice white, striped little bulb flower. At the same time it would provide a much earlier bloom season, possibly a month before the Puschkinia, weather permitting.
Small as my order was, one goal was to plant for a full spring sequence. If all goes to plan, I should have spring bulbs flowering from late March/early April through May, when the iris can take over. If we get lucky with the weather, a few blooms might break even before that.
Being a true squill, Scilla mistchtschenkoana bids fair to help start the season off as early as possible. Besides, I have hopes that its earlier flowering will save it from the tendency of lolling on the ground like its later-flowering cousin, getting its face all splattered with spring mud. We shall see.
In any case, ten little Scilla bulbs went into the ground yesterday. They have the prettiest bright purple color on their jackets.
The miniature rose bush that I planted earlier this year is trying to continue as though there were no such thing as winter!
I have done my best to help it harden off for the season. I stopped all feeding and deadheading in September, but it still thinks it can keep on sending up new growth. We have had our first big snow of the year, a good month earlier than is normal here. Temperatures dropped into the single digits (Fahrentheit). It caught the buds of the small rose, but it doesn't seem to have dampened its enthusiasm very much! Hopefully it will manage to survive the season despite its mistimed jollity.
So yesterday I wrote a poem for it...
I must keep this post short because it's quite late as I write this, but I couldn't miss sharing all this lovely yellow!
Recent days have seen the arrival of wild sunflowers on the west side of the property. I wasn't sure how they were faring in all the rain we've been having, but when I tramped down the driveway to check on them, there were still some blooms available to cut. The individual flowers aren't very big (as sunflowers go), but they are a wonderful bright touch on a gray day. I photographed them on our tiny front porch, looking over toward the neighbors' pond.
First, a link to the earlier version of this blog at www.SmallSunnyGarden.blogspot.com, where the first two years of the original garden can be viewed.