How better to welcome the first day of spring than by digging in the dirt? It took a good many hot tea breaks to brave the rain and wind (with a few sun breaks) but at least the temperature nudged up over 50 degrees here in Langley on Friday.
After digging in loads of well-composted manure, I planted an assortment of Spencer sweet peas starts, and seeded in uber-fragrant 'April in Paris' and the deep purple 'Zinfandel' to contrast with all the pastels. The starts should bloom by mid-June, followed by sweet peas grown from seed, which kick in later but bloom into September - if you pick every day or so. Doesn't it sound heavenly to pick sweet peas on a summer morning? Here's a photo of the babies, and a look at 'Zinfandel' in bloom (from Renee's Garden Seeds).
Then there are multi-colored little starts of leaf lettuce, that'll be the first thing ready to pick and eat out of the garden - I'm planting flats of them, ready to get out there and snip soft baby leaves in a few weeks.
I'm very excited about some new, striped libertia - if you haven't grown these sword-like foliage perennials, you should check them out. Libertia look much like upright, wide-bladed ornamental grasses, they grow only a couple of feet high, and spread about politely into tidy clumps. Libertia's little, bright white flowers are followed by attractive sprays of seed pods which are great for flower arranging. New this year, to me anyway, is Libertia ixioides 'Taupo Blaze' which blazes in the winter garden with spiky foliage that changes from green to yellow/orange striped in burnt red. I'm also trying out Libertia 'Gold Finger' that has a more weeping form and yellow striped golden foliage. My rainy-day planting photo doesn't do justice to how showy libertia is once it forms a fat clump...but you get the idea....