Five days ago, we reached another important weather day, as the “normal” rose to 0C. Today it is up to +1C. Still, of course, nothing in the garden to show … but getting closer. To remind us what we’re waiting for, here are pictures from last spring’s visit to the University of Alberta’s Devonian Botanic Garden.
We went the third week of May, so about a month earlier than in 2011, but 2012 was an earlier spring than 2011, so the difference in plant growth was more like two weeks. We saw more primulas and were even too early for some, while last year we were too late for most. The first group of photos are from the Primula Dell, and the second group from the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden.
The Primula Dell is not the most painstakingly curated of the DBG’s vast realms. Many plants have disappeared while their signs remain, and much space has been given to non-primulas that are bigger and hardier. While there easily could, and certainly should, be a lot more primulas here, there are still enough to make a worthwhile visit. If there were too many more, it would be difficult to leave the Dell and see any of the rest of the Garden.
I am going to throw up the pictures and come back and write captions later (maybe).
Here are (1) Primula chionantha ssp sinopurpurea (in bud); (2) Primula spectabilis; (3) the same again; (4) what looks like a variety or ssp of P elatior behind a sign that says Primula Abchasica; (5) P x ‘Peardrop’ and another, unidentified, P allionii hybrid, as well as an alpine show auricula (top right); (6) ‘Peardrop’ again; (7) P x ‘Lismore Jewel’ (an allionii hybrid); (8) P x pubescens ‘Freedom’ (an auricula hybrid); (9) masses of P auricula; (10) where once grew P stricta, now (poorly photographed) P denticulata; (11) Jeffersonia dubia; (12) newly emerged leaves of Astilboides tabularis.
Outside the Primula Dell (beyond the spruce trees at centre-right in the first photo) is a meadow of unmown grass and naturalized pulsatillas — whether self-sown or planted by hand is not apparent. The small meadow is outside the garden proper, and not signposted or marked on a map, so when you see it (and you will, especially if the sun is out), it feels like your own discovery.
We come now to the alpine garden. Here are (1) Primula auricula ssp Bauhinii; (2) apparently self-seeded Primula cortusoides; (3) another P cortusoides; (4) P x ‘Peardrop’ inundated by some form of Antennaria (pussy-toes); (5) P clusiana, just done flowering; (6) an unidentified Hepatica (acutiloba?); (7) buds of apparently self-seeded Dodecatheon and Antennaria; (8) Haberlea rhodopensis; (9) a carpet speedwell, Veronica thymoides var pseudocinerea (the sign says); (10) Saxifraga x grata ‘Gratoides;’ (11) Saxifraga x ‘Geuderi;’ (12) Primula x ‘Pink Ice;’ (13) Primula glaucescens; (14) Paeonia obovata var alba; (15) and a closer view.