Double digits!

Yes, we have spring weather! In the middle of April. At least, we do temporarily, as it is threatening to transition right into summer, with 21˚C predicted this week.

LathyrusVernus2On the weekend, I gingerly scrumpled the leaves on top of the garden, and found some of my favorite spring things.

Here is one:

Lathyrus vernus, the vernal or woodland sweet pea. What a performer this perennial is, under some of the toughest growing conditions going: dry shade, on sand, under Norway maples. The triple whammy.

Right now, they’re pushing up stems of ferny-looking foliage, which in our gardens will grow about 8-10″ (I can only think metric in degrees and kilometres) high.

Later in spring, the copious racemes of small, two-toned purple pea-like flowers, aging to blue, will bloom over an extended period.

DSC_0017.JPGLast year, I planted them at the base of one of my favorite late-season tulips, the lily-flowered Tulipa ‘White Triumphator’, which bloom at around the same time. I have great expectations of the sweet pea. The tulips, on the other hand, may be running down, strangled by maple roots. However, it will be a lovely picture in my mind’s eye.

A small garden centre pot of woodland sweet pea can grow to a clump with leaves a foot across in a season or two. The leaves have a compound form that’s interesting even after flowering.

Yet, this isn’t one of those deadly, invasive plant selections (one day, a goutweed post).

This is a great, lesser-known plant to have in your garden.

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