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April showers bring LOTS of flowers!

Post by Marian Keith, Landscape Supervisor

The copious amounts of rainfall we’ve received over the past month have made Oliver Winery’s gardens lush and green, but have also made it hard for us to get things done!  We’re hoping for a little more sunshine over the next few weeks so we can finish edging, feeding and mulching the garden beds, a task we usually have nearly completed by this time.

The foliage of tulip ‘Fire of Love’ was showier than its flowers!

Our big April bulb bonanza was glorious this year but is now drawing to a close, with only the very latest of the tulips still wrapping up the show as I write this on May 3rd.  Among these are the large, glowing salmon flowers of single late tulip ‘Dordogne’, the electric-magenta blossoms of fringed tulip ‘Burgundy Lace’, and multi-flowering tulip ‘Antoinette’, whose buttercup yellow blooms are brushed with raspberry red edges that deepen as the flowers age.  These last two are planted in the barrels by the back doors of our Tasting Room, and look splendid, simply splendid together.

Tulipa praestans ‘Unicum’ blooms in a barrel by our front entrance.

Other outstanding varieties that were new to us this year include triumph tulip ‘Boston’, with graceful yet strong stems topped with chalices of butter yellow edged with mulberry jam.  The flowers were eye-catching yet elegant, and seemed to glow in the garden.

Tulip ‘Boston’ was my favorite new tulip this year.

The large, ruffled, tangerine-orange blossoms of double early tulip ‘Orca’ looked amazing in our cobalt blue ceramic pots out front, as did ‘Beauty of Spring’, a tall, sturdy Darwin hybrid with huge, primrose yellow flowers flushed with bright red edges.  The strikingly beautiful foliage of tulip ‘Yellow Wave’, striated with broad, irregular bands of creamy yellow, was just as showy as its golden blooms and still looks beautiful in early May.

Double early tulip ‘Orca’ was outstanding in blue glazed pots near the entrance of our Tasting Room.

During May, the garden morphs into blues, purples and pinks as Siberian iris, showy alliums, baptisias, peonies, catmint, salvias and dianthus take center stage.  The alliums are just beginning to open now, and make a particularly stunning display that always draws comments from our visitors.

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ and bearded iris ‘Good Show’ make striking companions.

Members of the onion family, alliums are bulbs which are best planted in fall along with tulips and daffodils.  Most perennialize nicely, coming back reliably year after year in our zone 5 climate.  Because they go dormant after flowering, alliums should be planted among other perennials which remain green and showy throughout the growing season.  Iris, daylilies, asters and roses are just a few examples of good companion plants.  Visit us any time during May to experience these fleeting beauties firsthand!

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