Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More spring from the Leuven Kruidtuin

It’s full steam ahead for spring in Belgium. In Canada, spring swells the buds of plants and the hopes of gardeners many times before it actually decides to stay. Here, while the weather can be a bit bumpy in spring, the possibility of a foot of snow can definitely be excluded at this point - unlike in Canada.

In the Leuven Kruidtuin, there has already been a change of guard. Crocuses and snowdrops are out, daffodils and early tulips are in. The big crocus lawn has been transformed into a lush, soft green field of crocus leaves, with clumps of daffodils.

In the rest of the garden, rock garden plants are making the most of their early warming spot in the gravel and between big bolders. Furry Pasque flower (Anemone vulgaris) is blooming, and the Japanese maple in this location already has good sized leaves on it. It’s amazing how much earlier alpine plants bloom when grown at low altitudes. When hiking in the mountains, we might see the same Pasque flower blooming in June.

I even spotted a beautiful Erythronium (trout lily or dog's tooth violet - a North American native, but this one’s a hybrid) in the garden. I’ve been told that Europeans are much more appreciative of our native North American plants than we are, and as far as I can tell, there are definitely many of them in the garden, like Amelanchiers (Saskatoon berries), Cornus (dogwood) and Viburnums.

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