The former owners of Coppertop lived in Alaska at some point in their life together. In brief garden notes they gave me, the lady of the house stated that due to her life in the far northern part of the globe, she found a Darwinian method of gardening to be the least disappointing. I’ve assumed she meant a variation of survival of the fittest in the plant world. The principle of natural selection means the scrappy and sometimes scruffy plants in these gardens have earned their right to flourish… unless they’re really invasive or in my way, that is. 🙂 After all, God assigned the care of Eden and all of creation to mankind. Going along with this principle, any plants that have withered should not receive extraordinary measures to survive. Again, exceptions might include covering favorite, tender plants when a late frost is expected, etc. Makes a lot of sense that this is a satisfying way to garden.
So, the former Alaska-dwellers had a vast knowledge of cold-hardy plants, which I benefit from daily in their tremendous selections for these mountainside gardens. A few snowfalls have blanketed the property since we purchased it, and the cold promises to boost many of the coming blooms. We are in relatively mild zone 8b, according to our zip code and the USDA hardiness map, although we are at over 1200 ft. elevation so we are cooler than downtown by the sea. Norfolk is in zone 8a, so I gardened before in similar winter temps. However, our summer high temps in the Pacific NW rarely top the mid 70s, so the plants we can grow are very different from those grown in Virginia’s hot and humid summers.
A few sweet, blue, diminutive flowers made an appearance in the front beds in today’s sunshine — Siberian Squill, a variety of scilla. I’ve never planted tiny Siberian Squill bulbs, but now that I know they thrive here, I will attempt to throw some around and plant where they land come autumn, even on our lawns. Our back garden in Norfolk hosted another variety of naturalized scilla, scilla hispanica or Spanish Bluebells, and I always looked forward to their appearance in early spring.
Despite their name, these Siberian Squill aren’t native to Siberia, but are prolific in other parts of Russia… and Alaska!