The Garden, Doing Things

Sanguinaria canadensis

Canadensis, Latinized Canada with the ending meaning -from the place of. Alas, not native across the country, only in the east, as are most of the plants bearing that name.

Primula ‘Nefertiti’

Nefertiti is an odd choice of name for a primrose cultivar. Queen Nefertiti and her pharaoh husband Akhenaten exerted a bloody dictatorial theocratic rein over Egypt. They were despised for their violence and for their arrogant insistence that no god but the Aten (the sun disc) should be worshiped. After his death, Akhenaten’s name was struck from the King Lists, and his images were destroyed. Mention of his name became forbidden. Akhetaten, the new capitol he and Nefertiti consecrated with treasury-breaking gilded pomp, was abandoned, as was the Aten-worship obsession, and he was then mentioned thereafter only as “That Criminal”.

Petasites x vitifolius

One of the first native species to bloom is this hybrid coltsfoot, a cross between the common P. palmatus and the nowhere-to-be-seen-near-here P. sagittatus. The nearest population of the latter that we know of is about 8 km north. Maybe we’re just not looking hard enough.

Camassia ‘Blue Heaven’

We’ve grown this camas for a few years now. Each year we’ve had a significant increase in the number of bulbs. In fact, the increase has gone exponential. We now have enough to pit-roast for a traditional feast.

Saxifraga ferdinandi-coburgii subsp. radoslavoffii

Gads what an awful name!

Scilla sibirica

It’s the terrible blue weed. Irresistible, though. Great evolutionary strategy, to be a deceptively pretty invasive.

Ranunculus glaberrimus

The sagebrush buttercup. In 19th Century Spokane (the place but not my time of origin, unfortunately), there were contests for school children to be the first to find a sagebrush buttercup in flower. This took place in early spring, when children (and some adults) were eager to see the first of anything in bloom after the long, drab winter (winter in Spokane is dreadful).

Globularia meridionalis

A large, robust patch, but with only one flower head. It could do better. But couldn’t we all?

Viola macloskeyi

Or something like that. Our wild western white violets are poorly understood. Under this name, we have two species native in the garden and in the surrounding wetlands: This smaller one, here growing in the lawn, with leathery leaves and an early flowering time, and a later-flowering larger one with thinner leaves. I’m delighted to see a part of the lawn as suitable habitat for this native violet. I’m not sure if the form in the photo is typical (true) V. macloskei. This needs study. Lawns are not a usual venue for plant taxonomy. Or they haven’t commonly been so since the 19th Century.

3 thoughts on “The Garden, Doing Things

  1. Beautifull! Miss you on FB. Blog is quite inconvenient to read from smartphone. Letters are tiny. And now I am typing something with a blind method. I can see the letters, they are so small. Almost invisible. Pmease, come back!

    • I miss you, too, Elena! Thanks for letting me know the website/blog doesn’t show well on a smartphone. You should be able to read it more easily on a computer.

  2. This makes for a lovely virtual walk through your garden, and always interesting to learn about these often odd plant names that have an interesting story behind them. I miss my old garden and this is a nice way to start the day. I used to grow Scilla in my lawn. Lawns are so boring. If you have to have a lawn Scilla or one of the other tiny early bulbs makes them so much more interesting.

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