Northern Shade Gardening

Double Bloodroot and Glory of the Snow

Sunday, June 2, 2013 Category: Bulbs,Perennials
white double flowering bloodroot and bluish purple glory of the snow

white double flowering bloodroot and bluish purple glory of the snow

The pretty blue Chionodoxa forbesii (glory of the snow) bulbs  and the pure white Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex (double flowering bloodroot) make gorgeous companions for each other. I planted the Chionodoxa around the Sanguinaria last fall, and now this spring the pretty bluish purple flowers help show off the white blooms of the bloodroot.

double flowering Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex flowers

double flowering Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex flowers

This garden area has both the single and double flowering Sanguinaria canadensis I haven’t seen any of the single flowering ones this year, however the double flowering f. multiplex seem to be spreading well and there are many more of them blooming. These perennials are so beautiful that I’m very glad the rhizomes are multiplying. The double bloodroot must enjoy the position under the willow, with all of the bits of tree leaves, twigs, and other organic matter that they get to grow in, since they are a woodland perennial of Eastern Canada. These flowers handle a great deal of shade, as the willow has leafed out now, so there is very little direct sun here. This garden section is on the north side of a fence, so the plants might get a bit of low sun first thing in the morning, but mostly it’s shade.

white bloodroot and purple blue glory of the snow flowers

white bloodroot and purple blue glory of the snow flowers

I hope some single flowering forms have survived, as the pollinators would miss the single flowering Sanguinaria, since the doubles do not have reproductive parts. The doubles have longer lasting flowers, and a more beautiful form than the singles, but I like to share the garden with the insect visitors, too. In the picture above, you can see another bloodroot folded leaf emerging on the lower left. Soon, it will be revealing an exquisite white bloom.

Sangiuinaria canadensis f. multiplex small bud emerging

Sangiuinaria canadensis f. multiplex small bud emerging

When the flower buds first emerge, the closed white petals are wrapped tightly in a leaf. Then both unfold and the leaf grows fairly large after the white petals drop. You can see a new bud rising up in the front of the picture still mostly protected by the wrap around leaf. On the upper  right is the next stage with the flower popping out of the leaf. On the upper left is a more mature flower, fully open and sitting above the leaf. Once the flower opens fully, it remind me of a water lily sitting above the leaf. Eventually the leaf opens completely, close to the ground, and gets fairly large. The plants make an attractive groundcover for the rest of the summer.

white bloodroot flower emerging from leaf

white bloodroot flower emerging from leaf

The bloodroot flowers have been emerging in waves, so the display has lasted a while. The double flowering bloodroot tend to bloom longer than the singles anyway, but with the staggered emergence, there are new flowers to spy everyday.

white Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex flowers in front of Chionodoxa forbesii

white Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex flowers in front of Chionodoxa forbesii

Chionodoxa forbesii (glory of the snow) are one of my favourite bulbs. These were added to surround the Sanguinaria last fall, and the two flowers compliment each other.

white Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and blue Chionodoxa forbesii bulbs

white Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and blue Chionodoxa forbesii bulbs

I planted the Chionodoxa all around the Sanguinaria group, so all the bloodroot plants would get partners. So far there have been a couple dozen bloodroot flowers, and most of them have a group of pretty glory of the snow flowers to accompany them, lean on them, and twine around them.

spring flowering Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and Chionodoxa forbesii

spring flowering Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and Chionodoxa forbesii

Those Sanguinaria leaves will grow large enough to form an almost solid mat of leaves, and cover the decaying bulb foliage from the Chionodoxa after the bulbs finish blooming. The leaves have a thick texture, with rounded deeply cut lobes. The solid mat of foliage they make for summer means that few weeds will grow here.

Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and Chionodoxa forbesii

Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex and Chionodoxa forbesii

If you’re looking for a partner for your Sanguinaria canadensis, I can recommend some Chionodoxa bulbs to highlight the pretty white blooms.

 

 

 

Scilla and Chionodoxa Bulbs in Part Shade

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 Category: Bulbs

Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica collageScilla (squills) and Chionodoxa (glory of the snow) are two of my favourite spring flowering bulbs. Since they bloom right after the crocus, they keep the bulb show going so I don’t have a bare time in the garden before most plants start to flower. Both of them do well in part shade, growing under the trees. These bulbs are very cold hardy, and have no problem with a zone 3 winter. The white Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’ and blue Scilla siberica were in this garden section before, but I added the purplish blue Chionodoxa fobesii last fall.

Chionodoxa forbesii with purple blue flowers

Chionodoxa forbesii with purple blue flowers

I have a number of the Chionodoxa forbesii (glory of the snow) in other parts of the garden, but I added them to this area to combine with the other small spring bulbs. They have beautiful purple blue flowers with five petals that face upwards to make a showy display. The inner base of each flower lightens to almost white, while there is a line of deeply saturated colour down the centre of each petal. The petal tips curl back slightly.

Chionodoxa forbesii and 'Alba'

Chionodoxa forbesii and ‘Alba’

I especially like the way the white Chionodoxa mix with the more colourful Chionodoxa to highlight the pretty colour. They are like twinkling lights against the remains of the fall leaves.

Chionodoxa 'Alba' white flower bulbs

Chionodoxa ‘Alba’ white flower bulbs

Chionodoxa luciliae ‘Alba’ are an all white version of glory of the snow. The light colour shows up extra well in the shadowy areas. This group of ‘Alba’ are growing on the other side of the willow next to some Puschkinia (striped squills) bulbs and pair well with the blue and white striped flowers.

Chionodoxa 'Alba' white flowers

Chionodoxa ‘Alba’ white flowers

These ‘Alba’ are in front of a Dryopteris fern that is mostly evergreen. You can see one of the fronds from last year at the top of the photo. Chionodoxa work well informally under the deciduous trees, mixed with ferns and tree detritus. As the ferns grow, the green strap-like foliage of the Chionodoxa will be covered up, so it won’t be so noticeable as it dies back for the summer.

spring bulbs Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica growing through fall leaves

spring bulbs Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica growing through fall leaves

Chionodoxa mix beautifully with the related Scilla that at the top of the picture. The colourful Chionodoxa used to be my favourite, but now I appreciate having some white ones mixed with them. You can see how the white ones add a little sparkle to brighten up the display. They catch your eye more and set off the pretty colour of the purplish blue Chionodoxa.

blue Scilla siberica with Chionodoxa forbesii and 'Alba' in front

blue Scilla siberica with Chionodoxa forbesii and ‘Alba’ in front

The Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ (squills) at the top of this picture have a true blue colour. The Scilla flowers have a darker line running down the middle of each petal. The squill flowers face downwards, and because of this they are less noticeable than the Chionodoxa, but they make up for that with their wonderful colour.

Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica flowers

Chionodoxa and Scilla siberica flowers

This photo shows the difference in flower habits, with the Chionodoxa blooms at the front pointing upwards, and the Scilla at the back facing downwards.

Chionodoxa in purple and white

Chionodoxa in purple and white

Here are the glory of the snow bulbs mixing it up in the leaves under the trees. On their own the Chionodoxa seem blue, but planted next to the real blue squills they appear purple.

glory of the snow and squill flowers

glory of the snow and squill flowers

This closeup of the two colours of starry Chionodoxa flowers twinkling together.

spring bulbs in dappled light under tree

spring bulbs in dappled light under tree

These bulbs are planted under a willow tree, so the plants get a medium amount of light in spring before the tree fully leafs out. Even so, you can see that the branches cast dappled light on the bulbs, which handle the part shade just fine.

blue white and purple spring bulbs

blue white and purple spring bulbs

I’m glad I mixed the Chionodoxa colours next to each other to enliven the display. Along with the blue Scilla siberica, they make a nice trio.

 

 

Combinations of Crocus Flowers in the Garden

Saturday, May 25, 2013 Category: Bulbs
large Dutch crocus in purple

large Dutch crocus in purple

I added some new crocus to the garden last fall, adjacent to some established ones, so that made a nice sweep of colour from early May. After an extended winter, all of the bulbs came out at once, and the garden was full of beautiful crocus flower combinations.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Prins Claus' and Crocus sieberi 'Tricolor' behind

Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ and Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’ behind

Here are two shorter crocus. In front is Crocus chrysanthus ‘Prins Claus’ and behind is Crocus sieberi ‘Tricolor’. ‘Prins Claus’ is mostly white with some purple on the outside of its petals, which matches to the more saturated purple ‘Tricolor’. ‘Tricolor is one of my new favourites, with its purple, gold and white zones of colour.

Crocus vernus 'Striped Beauty' and Crocus vernus 'Vanguard'

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ and Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’

Crocus vernus ‘Striped Beauty’ in the front and Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ behind make a pretty purple and white crocus combination. ‘Striped Beauty’ has a white background on the petals with dark purple striped running through them, while ‘Vanguard’ alternates between mauve and silver gray petals. I’m very pleased with the look of these two together. I have other areas where this striped crocus is combined with a dark purple crocus, but I would repeat this combination again.

purple and white crocus

purple and white crocus

A closeup of ‘Striped Beauty’ and ‘Vanguard’ shows how the colours are similar, with varying patterns.

Crocus 'Vanguard' 'Silver Coral' Yellow Mammoth' 'Striped 'Beauty'

Crocus ‘Vanguard’ ‘Silver Coral’ Yellow Mammoth’ ‘Striped ‘Beauty’

Here’s a section of purple crocus around the golden yellow Crocus x luteus ‘Yellow Mammoth’. In the front are ‘Vanguard’, Striped Beauty’ is behind, and ‘Silver Coral’ is the mostly white crocus in the middle.

Crocus 'Yellow Mammoth' and Crocus vernus 'Pickwick'

Crocus ‘Yellow Mammoth’ and Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’

Crocus can be very eye catching in a contrasting colour scheme of gold and purple. ‘Yellow Mammoth’ is shining in front, and another striped purple crocus, Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ is in back.

large crocus in garden

large crocus in garden

‘Yellow Mammoth’ makes a strong contrast to the solid purple Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’ at the back of this picture.

yellow Crocus chrysanthus 'Fuscotinctus' surrounded by other crocus

yellow Crocus chrysanthus ‘Fuscotinctus’ surrounded by other crocus

This combination has more yellow in it, with the smaller Crocus chrysanthus ‘Fuscotinctus’ in the middle. When the petals on ‘Fuscotinctus’ are closed, they show maroon stripes on the outside, but the stripes are not showing up well in the picture above. They are usually earlier flowering than the larger crocus, with only a bit of overlap in bloom time in the garden.

Crocus vernus 'Vanguard' 'Striped Beauty' 'Remembrance'

Crocus vernus ‘Vanguard’ ‘Striped Beauty’ ‘Remembrance’

This combination of three Crocus vernus goes from light crocus flowers in the front to dark purple at the back.

crocus mixed in garden

crocus mixed in garden

The picture above was taken before my garden cleanup, so you can see how amiable crocus bulbs are about coming up thorough anything in the garden, including layers of fall leaves. Those long slender leaves pierce holes in the garden debris, and the flower buds poke their petals through, or the flowers just push the layers up like rakish hats, and then toss them to the side.

Crocus vernus .Vanguard' and other light purple crocus

Crocus vernus Vanguard’ and other light purple crocus

Here the sunlight is streaming through the flower petals, showing a delicate flower look, belying the actual hardy nature of crocus. Usually if it snows after the flowers have opened, they just close up and wait for warmer weather to open them again.

purple Crocus vernus 'Pickwick' and 'Yellow Mammoth'

purple Crocus vernus ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Yellow Mammoth’

The picture above shows how vibrant ‘Pickwick’ with ‘Yellow Mammoth’ flowers look together, with their purple and yellow combination. Crocus leaves look good, too, with their distinctive silver racing stripe down the middle of each blade.

mixed Crocus vernus in garden

mixed Crocus vernus in garden

This photo is  looking across part of the garden with lots of purple crocus flowers and some gold highlights.

crocus in garden

crocus in garden

The Crocus vernus are at the front here, and in the back  of the photo are some of the smaller Crocus chrysanthus(snow crocus). The gaps are where some perennials are planted that will come up later. There is a peony, some Phlox, and a number of Campanula (bellflowers). On the far side of the photo, the crocus are planted in between some hardy Geranium ‘Roseanne’, more Campanula, and under a lilac.

mixed white yellow and purple crocus

mixed white yellow and purple crocus

Here are more of the later crocus enjoying the sun’s rays. It’s a good thing that the crocus flower early before the tree leaves fill in and increase the shade in this garden bed.

pretty crocus in garden

pretty crocus in garden

In the front right corner of this picture are some Crocus tommasinianus that were fading. They came out very early, but didn’t last long. They were nice enough, but I wouldn’t necessarily plant them again.

pretty crocus

pretty crocus

The crocus really brighten up the faded fall leaves and maple keys that cover the garden bed after the snow melts.

Crocus vernus 'Silver Coral 'and other crocus

Crocus vernus ‘Silver Coral ‘and other crocus

I love the way that crocus enliven the garden so quickly as the last of the snow melts. Starting with the Crocus chrysanthus, and C. tommasinianus, through the C. vernus to the C. sieberi and C. x luteus, they provide so much colour in the early spring garden.