A very hard, very bad winter and a very dry, rainless spring are taking a toll. As unhappy as it all makes me and as bad as some things look, there are bright spots.
Like a tree in the shape of a heart. Is this a message to cheer up or what?
It is 'Orange Dream' Acer palmatum and it made it through the winter. I had doubts. It is barely hardy here, a zone 6 plant. It did have a lot of dieback at the top, and it leafed out very late this year -- normally in late April or early May it opens bright orange leaves that blaze from afar, before the leaves turn chartreuse for the summer.
This year it skipped the orange stage, stayed leafless well into May, but eventually opened up with its summer color and only a touch of orange leaves at the top. I trimmed off the dieback twigs. This shrubby Japanese maple is only five feet tall, so I could trim it pretty easily.
When I finished tidying up, I stood back and noticed the sweet shape of this little tree -- a big heart for me!
Just to the right of the heart tree irises are blooming (sugary white 'Immortality') and columbines are out (all purple now, my cultivars all self seeded to purple).
The camassias have opened their starry flower spikes. They always look so pale and they read lavender gray from a distance. Up close they are actually blue like the pyramid next to them.
The strappy, glossy foliage of the camassias looked very wilted a few days ago. I watered and they perked up little, but the whole stand of them is muted this year.
Wood hyacinths (Scilla) scattered about in the Birch Garden were complete no shows this spring. There are lots of clumps of them and the foliage emerged but then wilted out. Too dry I guess.
Doublefile viburnum never ever disappoints, though. It is reliable and stunning every year and even after a hard winter and no rain, it is flowering on time and beautifully.
Jim calls it the wedding cake shrub, and it is always in bloom for our anniversary.