One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

The first of the purple tulips began their show this morning. “Purple” seems like such a simple and inadequate choice of word to describe them, though, wouldn’t you say? I just love the silky look of fresh tulips and the way the petals change colors depending on how the light hits them.

They are also “bouquet” tulips, which as you can see, means that one bulb actually puts up more than a single stalk. I love this feature in a tulip, since they can otherwise seem a little lonely coming up one at a time.

Here’s another look at that yellow tulip, now fully opened, and also revealing itself to be one of those “bouquet” varieties.

I believe the yellow were in a combo package with some orange, as well…but so far, none of the tulips coming on have revealed that color.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll see a few of those, since I imagine the two colors, with the nearby purple, would be a fun color combination. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying the beauty that’s already in front of me.

Here’s a pair of photos featuring again the blue mystery flower from last week. I enjoyed and appreciated everyone’s suggestions and attempts to identify them for me.

You’ve suggested violets or perennial geraniums…which made me realize that my photo of them last week didn’t really give you a sense of scale…since both of those options are at least a bit larger than these tiny lovelies. So I’ve tried to rectify that here, by photographing them with a) the nearby purple allyssum and 2) a ruler.

I am very happy to tell you that, as of this afternoon, these guys are no longer the “blue mystery flower” to me. I finally had a chance to sit down and do a proper internet search…always a little tricky when you have only a description to work with.

They are, for the record, known as slender speedwell, AKA, veronica filiformus. It is native to Western Asia and Europe, particularly in areas of Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation and the Ukraine…but is listed as naturalizing elsewhere.

I’m a little sad to see this plant classified as a weed, which I always find to be sort of an arbitrary designation. I mean, look at these sweet little flowers…how in the world could you call that a weed? And yet, lawn nazis everywhere are apparently trying to kill it, since I found more notations of methods for “control” in turf than any proper botanical information.

In light of that, I’m happy to host it in my garden, giving it amnesty as I do so many things generally waved off by gardening snobs as “weeds.”

The weather forecast for today and tomorrow looked particularly delightful, so this morning I slide the plastic bags off of the sunflower seedlings to let them breathe fresh air and soak in some serious sunshine. For the most part, they are all doing quite nicely…and looking quite vibrant.

I’m sorry to say that’s not entirely the case with the other varieties of sunflower still in the bedroom window. The gardener’s cat has developed a taste for salad and they are a bit chewed up. Several will not recover. I’m trying not to hold that against My Boy…especially since he seems to be leaving the morning glories alone.

I forgot to mention last week that I used part of a gift certificate I’d been hanging on to to purchase a pair of sempervivum, better known as Hens and Chicks.

I’ve always enjoyed these odd- looking little plants, since I first met them on a posh weeding job during a long-ago high school summer (somewhere I’ve got some pictures from that job…I’ll have to dig around for them!)

These succulent plants are terrific in full sun and thrive in rock gardens. I’ve planted them near the base of the recently-installed birdbath, and they seem quite happy.

And I’ll leave you tonight with another look at those purple tulips. I’m thrilled with the happy accident that’s managed to make them the same color as the purple allyssum I planted not long ago.


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