Eat More Kale! (Spring Garden Pics)

Overwintered Red Russian Kale

I shamelessly stole this title from one of my favorite Nikki McClure artworks–in her 2006 calendar for March.  This Red Russian kale plant survived the winter in my home garden–having sprouted last year from a batch of old seed I tossed in the bed on the north side of my house.

What I love so much about McClure’s work is that the curly kale plant pictured in her calendar has a long stalk like an overwintered kale plant would, and is sprouting a topknot of leaves.  This Red Russian plant’s stalk is hidden by the leaf mulch I piled on the bed last fall.

Quail Daffodils

These are “Quail” daffodils I planted last fall.  They’re not huge trumpets, but each stalk has two or three flowers.  I’ve cut a few of these for the green glass vase flecked with mica that I made back when I lived in Wisconsin and hung out with glass blowers.  The yellow and green combination is incredibly happy and Spring-y.

Yellow Tulip

Another yellow beauty–a tulip whose variety I can’t remember.  I planted these several years ago on the south side of the house.  Their colors have gotten a bit washed out over time–they started out the first couple of years flamed red and yellow, but have lost most of their blush.


My hellebores have finally started blooming.  They are nicknamed the “Lenten Rose,” but with our late and heavy snow cover, they missed Lent by a long shot.  They are also, by the way, incredibly poisonous.  I have read that one should wear gloves when transplanting them, as the sap from their roots can make you ill if it’s absorbed through your skin.

Black Cohosh

I bought this Black Cohosh plant very late in the season at a local greenhouse a couple years ago.  I like to go in to nurseries when there’s only a few dregs left, and see what weird and wonderful plants I can “save.”

Last year, there were only two stalks on this plant, and they looked a little rugged.  This year there’s six healthy-looking heads unfurling!  They have a lovely tall silhouette with deep green foliage and foamy white flower spikes.  The roots are traditionally used as a woman’s herb.


These little shade-loving lovelies have an ugly name: Pulmonaria, or Lungwort.  But they have pretty speckled leaves and little bell-shaped flowers that start blue and turn pink (or do they start pink and turn blue?  I can never remember…).  This is a plant I lusted after in my heart for a few years before finally getting some transplants from a friend’s garden.  I think this variety is called Mrs. Moon.

And, last but not least, the miniature bleeding heart:

Miniature Bleeding Heart

This sweet little fern-leafed shade-lover came from the garden of my late friend and employer, Marj Robertson.  I have a number of plants from her memorable and fantastically diverse gardens, and they help me remember her warm heart and generous spirit.

Ahh.  Spring.


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