April has brought lots of sun and a few 70 degree days here the Pacific Northwest. So the garden has sped up its march toward death these past few weeks. The first round of tulips have exploded in true splendor and the second round will bloom out by the end of this week. My 50 apricot parrot tulips that I have eagerly been anticipating were somewhat of a disappointment. Not a bit of apricot tinge to be found on the blooms. SO strange. Either they sent me the wrong bulbs, I miraculously received 50 albino mutants, or the bulbs were missing some important nutrient as they were growing. I have no idea. They still were pretty- white and green with hints of buttery yellow, but not the apricot I so very much desired. It will be interesting to see if they repeat this coloring next year.
The rose bushes have shown they will need constant care and attention this year. They went from bare, horned sticks to fleshy bushes full of aphids and leaves infected with black spot. I spent the entire day on Sunday stripping every single black spot infected leaf off the seven rose bushes afflicted right now. I found an organic and cheap remedy on another garden blog that I'm giving a try before I use a chemical. The simple concoction is one part milk and two parts water sprayed directly on the new leaf growth. I will continue to spray the leaves indefinitely, I think. I am happy to baby my roses, they are true workhorses in the garden, with a much longer blooming season than any other plant. Along with the usual rose food, I am also adding epson salt to the soil at the base of each bush. Epson salt is supposed to help your blooming plants produce rocking flowers. Keeping my fingers crossed.
On a more positive note, the lilac bush has bloomed!!! It happened just this week. Gorgeous! By the end of this month lilac will be but a memory. Such a brief blooming season. Two weeks ago I was at the flower market and spotted some lilacs and since mine hadn't bloomed yet I inquired how much the bundle of ten stems were. I wanted to use them in an arrangement I was doing in shades of purple for a wine event. Thirty-six dollars for ten stems! Wholesale! Passed on them.
One of my favorite blooming bushes in the garden is the Renaissance spirea. Delicate white blossoms hang gracefully on outstretched, arched branches. And the forever blooming geum. Happy orange hue. If I keep on top of deadheading I will have a hearty supply through late summer.
Plum, eggplant, and lavender are the shades and tints that dominate my cutting garden right now. With the abundance of lilac, fancy tulips of all sorts, and other little lovelies.
Many other treasures are a few weeks from showing their blooms. May will bring peonies!!!! Also ranunculus, roses, bearded iris, and clematis