Here’s another close up of a plant I mentioned in the post about my roof garden’s back wall, Oxalis squamata.
When I was in the West Indies, I was surprised to see how much people coveted strawberries. While I was salivating over golden apple and fresh bananas, West Indians were paying through the nose for a basket of pathetic, well-traveled berry-like objects. I don’t think strawberries grow very well in extreme tropical heat. That didn’t stop one gardener I visited in Dominica from trying. As my own strawberries begin to set fruit and ripen I wonder if her little plant has made it and if she was able to savor a few homegrown berries this year.
Here in Toronto, it’s not too late to start strawberries. My first article of the season for the Globe & Mail explains how, but did not include this photo of a mixed planting I put together using an old honey tin I bought at a yard sale. If you are going to use something like this, don’t forget to add drainage holes. I made several in the bottom using a large nail I keep on hand for this purpose. Everything in this pot is edible, including the flowers.
One Each of: An unknown hybrid strawberry (the berries are ripening now!), ‘Golden’ sage (it is not hardy here and does not grow very big), ‘Gem Apricot Antique’ viola (may soon have to be replace for something more heat tolerant as the summer kicks in, or you can just pull it out when it kicks it and let the strawberry and sage spread.)
This dainty little double-flowered aquilegia is a self-seeder over at my community garden. I’m not sure of it’s origin — we first noticed it years back and have been encouraging it to keep going ever since. Encouragement, when it comes to aquilegia is a breeze — it amounts to nothing more than transplanting them into safer spots away from high traffic areas and allowing them to produce seed pods. The plants do the rest. I have never started aquilegia seed indoors as some instructions suggest. They need a cold period to germinate, so it makes more sense and much less work to simply toss the seeds onto the soil in the fall and wait for them to pop up on their own when it warms up in the spring.
I have three types of columbine growing among the violets and wild garlic in the shadier side of my community garden plot, but I think this one is my favourite of the lot. I recently purchased seed for another ruffly, double, pink variety called ‘Pink Tower.’
This from a female who refused to make any associations with the colour pink for the first 30 years of her life.
I bought this plant Claytonia nevadensis, also known as Sierra Spring Beauty, a few weeks ago on a trip to Lost Horizons, a nursery located in the town of Acton. The plant is endemic to California, growing along rocky streams high up in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
I bought the plant hoping it is edible like others within the genus (sometimes called Montia). Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about this species available and I haven’t found proof either way. The mystery continues, although I ate a leaf recently so… On the positive side of things, I haven’t come across a poisonous claytonia, so there is still hope. And I am neither sick nor dead. That too.
I do not recommend or condone this method of identification.
Edible or not, buying this plant has opened my eyes to a whole new world of claytonias. I have grown the most common types and have identified them growing wild in parks on trips to California, but I had no idea there were so many different species — some much more beautiful and intriguing than c. perfoliata aka ‘Miner’s Lettuce’.
The education I sometimes glean from the acquisition of a single plant and the new worlds it can open up still surprises me. Worth the insane $9 price tag.
On the flip side of things, I’m a bit concerned about my ability to keep this little gem alive. It grows in very free draining soil or scree, alongside flowing mountain streams. Clearly these are not the conditions at my community garden plot. So for the time being, I’m keeping it in a pot until I can figure something out.
Has the spring been moving along too quickly in your area? Around here the warm weather has accelerated everything so that plants have been making their appearance and blooming faster than any year I can recall. The spring ephemerals are the worst of the bunch — they’re up and gone before I’ve barely had a chance to process them.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in love with the season and have been in a semi-blissed-out state through it all. It just means that everything has been rush, rush, and mania. There is the rush to catch the flowers before they are gone, the rush to take photos, the rush to get the garden prepped, and then planted in due course. Somewhere in there I am supposed to write about it. I can’t keep up! You should see the roof garden right now. It’s a disaster of pots and plants scattered willy-nilly.
All of that to explain why I can no longer recall which variety of crocus this is. I think it might just be more ‘Ruby Giant’ but so much time has passed and so many plants have come and gone since I took this photo.
My brain is simply overloaded. Although in a good way.