Tuesday View: The Street Border 04.11.17

Two weeks have passed since the last Tuesday view, so it’s about time we see what the melted snow and furious warm-up have left behind.  If I remember correctly this photo was taken in the late afternoon, shortly after our Tuesday high of 86F (30C) had begun to cool off and allow some relief to plants more accustomed to snow flurries and frost.

spring mixed border

The early daffodils and hyacinths have sprouted and come into bloom in a matter of days.  As recently as three days ago I believe the grass was still brown!

These catapults into warm weather always leave me a little irritated.  I’ve got a ton of cleanup to do but the lawn is still a melting-snow-mess of soggy ground and matted leaves.  Fortunately the front yard dried out enough for me to get around without making too muddy a mess, and I was able to rob the neighborhood leaf dump for some free leaf mulch to top off the border.  The mulch went a long way in covering up all the debris I was too lazy to pick up, and I just managed to get it on in what seemed like the last hours before too many of the spring bulbs had sprouted.

spring mixed border

Yellow ‘Tweety Bird’ daffodils with a bunch of hyacinths which need dividing.  There’s never enough time to get all these things done. 

Besides the daffodils and hyacinths there is also a noticeable increase in the corydalis population.  Last summer I managed to find and dig a few dormant bulbs and immediately replanted them along the street.  They’re all the pink ‘Beth Evans’ but if I get to it this summer I’ll mix in a few of other spare colors from around the yard… assuming I remember to dig them before they disappear completely in May, they go fast.

spring mixed border

I’m aiming for a mix of corydalis, eranthis and snowdrops in this part of the bed.  It’s an area which will become a thicket of butterfly bush (buddleia) by August so the bulbs will be able to rest comfortably in the shadows until next spring.

Nothing is ever perfect though, and last spring’s early warmth, late freeze damage, and then relentless cold rain are coming back to haunt the tulips this year.  ‘Tulip Fire’ (Botrytis tulipae) is a fungal disease related to the gray molds which thrive in damp, cold weather.  It shows as spotted and distorted (or scorched) leaves which will ruin your tulip show.  Wise gardeners will dig up and dispose of the infected plants and avoid replanting tulips for about three years and possibly resort to fungicidal sprays, but the less wise gardener might respond differently.  He might ignore the problem and hope better tulip weather will bring some relief in future seasons.  It’s more of a prayer approach and sometimes this method works out better than you can imagine.  Sometimes it doesn’t, and we’ll keep you posted.

tulip fire fungus

The spotting and distorted sprouts of tulip fire infected tulips.

For now though there are plenty of other distractions to keep one from dwelling on the loss of a few tulip blooms.  Here’s another view of daffodil ‘Tweety Bird’ and the spreading corydalis.  I think it looks very promising.

spring mixed border

Early spring color in the front border.

It looks colorful at least, and it’s a welcome relief after all the snow of just a few weeks ago.  Let’s hope it lasts for a few days at least.

The Tuesday view is a weekly visit to the same spot each week of the growing season.  Cathy of Words and Herbs hosts, and I highly recommend a visit to see what her view looks like and to see what others around the world are enjoying this week.  Have a happy Easter!

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20 comments on “Tuesday View: The Street Border 04.11.17

  1. Cathy says:

    I have never heard of that tulip disease and would be devastated to lose mine, so I hope it just goes away! Love all those pinky red Corydalis. Have you ever grown the yellow ones – C. lutea? They spread like mad and pop up in paving too. They flower all summer. Sounds like you’ve had some crazy weather Frank. The border is looking good though! 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Cathy I have good news on the tulips, the weather has been dry and it seems like that’s been helping. There’s still damage, but it’s much better than it looked last year. My fingers are crossed that with a little care this problem can be kept under control.
      We’re into a calm stretch of weather now and I’m thrilled. Funny how much the weather can affect a gardener’s mood!
      I did have the yellow corydalis but lost it when I moved. Maybe it’s time to search one out again 🙂

  2. Christina says:

    Great to see your garden emerging from the winter white to spring colour.

  3. Indie says:

    Looking nice! I really should plant some cordydalis – such a nice spring bloomer. I was a little horrified at the high temperatures, too, and trying to get the garden cleaned up in a hurry. I had a lot of little daffodils trying to bloom under the brush! Thankfully I hadn’t planted out my sweet pea seedlings yet and could keep them in cooler shade during the hot weather.

    • bittster says:

      The weather has sure settled down nicely, we even had a little gentle rain at just the right time for spring transplants and new sprouts. I hope it’s not just the calm before the next storm!
      Good luck with the sweet peas, I hope you have plenty of bloom photos to post since I know I won’t be seeing much of those little troublemakers doing well in my garden. I just don’t keep up with the watering and fertilizing and for good reason they hold it against me 😉

  4. Linda B. says:

    I keep thinking this is the year I will plant Corydalis — and maybe it will be, as it certainly looks great in your beds. Tuesday night it went down to 30 degrees F. and it is supposed to hit 70 or so on Sunday. Nice for folks with new Easter clothes but I hate it when we have these hot spells that make all our early spring plants have a shorter lifespan. All these months of waiting and I want time to enjoy them!

    • bittster says:

      After the weekend it cooled nicely here and things have been looking much brighter and perkier. I hope you’re having the same luck!
      This will be the first decent daffodil season in at least two years, and I forgot what an extravaganza it can be! I feel a little cheap always looking for the biggest and brightest but I’m sure there will be some more refined flowers coming along shortly, and I can redeem myself then. Actually the poet narcissus are quite elegant, I guess all is not lost 😉

  5. Tulips in general seem much more problematic than daffodils in our climate. They don’t like wet summers, they don’t like wet soil in general, and they are tasty to about every warm-blooded mammal out there except the human kind–I think. I can’t say I’ve tried eating them. I’m with you in spreading corydalis and eranthis around. That’s on my to-do list for later this spring, when there’s so much to do it’s anyone’s guess as to what will actually get done.

    • bittster says:

      Yeah, I feel like I have a long, ongoing to-do list which dates back way too far. Fortunately this past week has been perfect for transplanting and I’m working through a lot of the things I’ve been saying I’ll move (some for several years). The vegetable garden is a wasteland though, but at least a few perennials are in their new perfect spots…. until they flower and I decide there needs to be a whole new transplant list 🙂
      The tulips are starting to open this week. I love the daffodils, but the tulips….. oh my.

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    Colorfully vibrant – a beautiful Easter show!

  7. Cathy says:

    Looking very, very good! I can’t believe the change in your temperatures in such a short time. I had a lot of tulip fire last year. I struck the middle way between the ‘sensible’ gardener and the cross fingers and hope. It doesn’t seem too bad this year, although I notice some tulips that I think of as ‘persistent’ have flowered really badly (Queen of the Night & China Pink). ‘Tweety Bird’s’ a cute one!

    • bittster says:

      I’m seeing the same here with the tulip fire. They are developing much better than I thought they would but a lot of that might be due to dry weather which seems to have held the fungus back. Here location seems a bigger factor than variety, but most of my plantings lean towards mixed so that might be part of it. I’m still debating working on moving a few to fresh soil, but when it comes down to it I’m sure I’ll be much too lazy, and it’s so much easier to just buy fresh bulbs and pull out the more diseased plants.

      • Cathy says:

        I think you are absolutely right – try to be meticulous, but life’s too short to fret! We had dry weather here as well this year – so that’s probably helped tremendously!

  8. johnvic8 says:

    It’s so much fun to see spring awakening and making us all feel a bit better each day. Well done.

  9. rusty duck says:

    I’ve tried corydalis and failed, I would be delighted to see it spreading! Lovely to see Spring returning to you at last.

    • bittster says:

      I’m very pleased with the corydalis. Many other plants will die off without a fight in my garden, but these little guys make a good go at it. I wish I could say the same for primroses.

  10. Love the daffs and Hyacinths. I’m having a disappointing year so far with tulips – the early warmth followed by freezing cold did a number on the ones in pots. Haven’t seen that fungal disease, though, thank goodness.

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