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Spring was a long time coming to my hill this year, but over the weekend, in it blew with much sunshine, heat, and breezes!  Finally, daffodils opened, forsythia bloomed, and fiddleheads popped above the earth.  Here’s a look at the rock garden:042The daffodils you see are Narcissus ‘Fortissimo’, a favorite of mine with their big, bold flowers and orange trumpets.  I planted nine bulbs here in the fall of 2012, and they have exceeded my expectations for three springs in a row now.  This year I counted twenty blooms in this small patch!  045Narcissus 'Fortissimo'You can read more about ‘Fortissimo’ here.

The Candytuft (Iberis), happily sprawling over the boulders, is beginning to open, glistening white:050In June, I rip ferns out of this garden with wild abandon, but I am always delighted to see the little armies of fiddleheads emerge in the spring!047

Let’s leave the rock garden now and head up the back hill:A long view of my back yard!The lasagna bed is sunshine-bright this week, with the King Alfred type daffodils near the end of their bloom cycle, and others just beginning:My trusty companion in the lasagna bed!‘Double Fashion’ is a frilly Narcissus I grew for the first time last year.  It came back and re-bloomed heartily this year:060

New to me this year is Narcissus ‘Ceylon’:Narcissus 'Ceylon'‘Ceylon’ features a deep yellow perianth and an orange corona.  Mine range in height from eleven to sixteen inches and average four inches across.  In climate zone 5b, they have bloomed the first week of May, shortly after the King Alfred types.

When ‘Ceylon’ first opens, its corona is yellow, but darkens as the flower matures.  It holds its head up to welcome the sun.  That upright habit and bright hue make it an ideal choice for a bed that is most often viewed from a distance.  Narcissus 'Ceylon', just openingNarcissus 'Ceylon', day 2Mature Narcissus 'Ceylon'

There’s more yellow, closer to the ground, in this Primrose, one of three I planted here just a year ago now:024  A second one is coming along more slowly, but there is no sign of the third.  My friend Frank from sorta like suburbia kindly shared with me a division from one of his yellow Primroses, so I expect even more color next year!

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ is also blooming in the lasagna bed, with many clusters of tiny, deep sky blue flowers held on stems four to six inches above its silvery-green leaves.  This is the second spring in my garden for this delicate beauty.  Its blooms will last just a short time, but the foliage will bring interest all summer long:Brunnera 'Jack Frost'The shady lasagna bed with its rich, loamy soil is an ideal environment for Brunnera, but I do wish it were in a location for better viewing!  Its beautiful flowers are too small and too dark to stand out at all when I look at the lasagna bed from my kitchen window.  It does give me good reason to climb up the hill more frequently!

Brunnera 'Jack Frost'

Last fall, I moved one of two Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra or Lamprocampnos spectablis) plants to the back corner of the lasagna bed, and I am pleased to report that it withstood its relocation well and is just beginning to bloom:Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectablis or Lamprocampnos)

Finally, the first blooms of Hellebore ‘Pink Frost’ have matured to dark, dull burgundy, but there are still some fresh new blossoms:Hellebore 'Pink Frost'029Looking at the lasagna bed as a whole entity, and from a distance, rather than just focusing on individual plants, helps me plan for improvement.  For example, the Brunnera is underappreciated so far off the beaten track.  Perhaps I could move one to a spot nearer the house where it will be seen more often.  Additionally, I found that many of the beautiful daffodils in this bed obstruct my view of the Hellebore.  There was a short window of time during which I could see its lighter flowers from a distance, but soon thereafter, the daffodils sprouted and grew quickly, hiding this earliest of bloomers:030Once the daffodils have finished flowering, I will move several of them farther back in the bed, so the ‘Pink Frost’ can have a bit more time in the spotlight!  Perhaps Frank’s Primrose would be a better choice in front of the Hellebore?

A gardener’s work is never done, and there is no such thing as a “Finished Garden”!