Today is a beautiful day here in western Oregon, and I had to get out of the office and poke around in the greenhouses. I even whacked on my roses a bit, and moved (with help!) a couple of pretty good sized bamboo plants that weren’t in the best spots.
There are a few crops blooming up in the cold houses, the cheeriest of which are these bellis. They are in gallon pots, and ready to go to market. Bellis is a plant that has value in the earliest days of spring, but may not have much presence in the garden in warmer months. I think it should be treated like a hardy annual or biennial; enjoyed in its’ moment and then removed to make way for summer flowering plants. These plants haven’t had a bit of heat this winter, and will bloom for another six weeks at least. Bellis is great in early season pots with pansies and daffodils.
Here are some perennial scabiosas that are looking very nice. You have to look closely to see their plump, beautiful buds. They are a good perennial for a small scale garden… but for flower beauty I prefer the annual scabiosas. My Mom used to raise them for cutting, and we always have a few in jumbo trays at New Leaf in the spring, hoping that our customers will remember their wonderful flowers and ask for them. They have long, wiry stems, and are great cut flowers. As a child, I especially loved the black annual scabiosa with white stamens – its’ common name is “Pincushion Plant.”
Erysimum Bowles Mauve is a great perennial plant in every way, and one of the first to come into color in spring in western Oregon and Washington. Unlike bellis and the scabiosa depicted above, erysimum is a plant that has real presence in the garden and a long period of bloom… usually February through July. The flower stems, or spikes, continue to elongate and new flower buds are created as they grow. Plants will become quite woody, and live for many years. Plants I’ve planted typically mature at about 36″ wide and 30″ tall, and provide beautiful deep lavender flowers in abundance. It’s a crucifer, a member of the cabbage family, and like all its’ cousins it likes rich soil, sun, even moisture, and cool temperatures.