Category: Uncategorized


Early Summer Blooms


ROSA jude the obscure PAPAVER NUDICAULE champagne bubbles, meadow pastels


Too much goodness in this photos. A new favorite is the little white forget me not flowers, they’re OMPHALODES LINIFOLIA venus’s navelwort <3


ANEMONE CORONARIA with some frilly snapdragons in the background


ROSA brother cadfael, a little crispy with the warm spring/early summer we’ve had this year. Still smells amazing


sweet peas, icelandic poppies, bupleurum, candytuft, venus’s navelwort, feverfew



LATHYRUS ODORATUS either cupani or matucana


GODETIA salmon princess


NIGELLA african bride


ANEMONE CORONARIA tried to plant ranunculus also, they are too finicky for this climate I think. The anemones were robust depite a hot/dry spring and early summer




Spring Blooms

Spring is the best


Peach Blossom



TULIPA SYLVESTRIS this is an extremely fragrant, delicate, and naturalizing beauty. Fingers crossed for buckets of them next season!


FRITILLARIA MELEAGRIS I was so afraid these would be finicky in my Midwestern climate but they did well in all the nooks and crannies I snuck them into. Can’t wait to add more of these from Van Engelen!




The frits planted with tons of tulips =)




Propagating Succulents, Ted’s Greenhouse is Tinley Park is an amazing resource for these beauties and the staff is extremely knowledgeable! They helped me choose succulents that would be easy to propagate for a beginner, such cool peeps


AQUILEGIA VULGARIS (?) Lost the tag for this beauty, not sure of the exact variety. I’m guessing a white Nora Barlow? Anyway, beautiful and carefree. I’m starting some seeds now (in Early Summer) fingers crossed for buckets full of these beauties in spring 2017!



PAPAVER NUDICAULE the first of the poppies 0_0


HELLEBORUS HYBRID Stage to harvest for optimal vase life, not sure I’ll ever have buckets full of these beauties but I sure wish I did! They’re $$$



NARCISSUS not sure of the variety, but it was a beautiful peachy pink.



Sweet Peas

So the sweet peas have been looking bad for a while now, just got around to pulling them this week. I suppose that means I owe the blog a post on my experience this year.


The secret for me to be able to grow sweet peas semi-successfully in Chicago is variety selection. I say semi because my little patch is much better than last year’s lonely stem, but not as luscious as those I see in the Pacific Northwest, New England or England. For Chicago I’ll take them.

Sweet Peas know when to flower based on how long the days are. A spencer variety, Mollie Rilestone or April in Paris for instance, have the BEST stem length, largest flowers, fragrant. But those are the varieties I’m lucky to get a stem or two out of. It’s just too hot by the time the plants allow flowers to form. Sweet Pea varieties that have been bred to flower sooner help us in Chicago.

Spring Sunshine was the variety I used, from Winter Elegance is another variety that can flower even earlier, but I didn’t see any compelling evidence that the stem length would be usable. Spring Sunshine is better if you’re interested in producing cut flowers.

These were sown in either root trainers or reused 1 gallon perennial type pots. You’ll need something with around 6″ growing depth for their early root development. A typical jiffy seed starting “greenhouse” system will not have sufficient depth for root development.  I did notice substantial root development in the root trainers compared to the reused perennial pots at transplant time. Fun to try out but ultimately I didn’t notice any difference in flower production.

Pinch the central growing stem to promote basal branching and MORE FLOWERS!!

One thing that surprised me was the Spring Sunshine series have differences between colors. I figured since they were all in a “series” together they would have the same characteristics. Nope. Cerise, the bright pink in the photo above is what I lusted after. Color was dead on but unfortunately paled in comparison to the light blue/mauve variety with respect to stem length and fragrance.

All in all completely worth growing. The fragrance is worth the hassle of finding specific seed varieties to be successful in this climate.




© 2017 Smiling Spring

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑