Boolie vs. the Garden, Spring Edition

Thankfully I took a quick snapshot with my iPhone after planting our new larkspur as the slugs didn't take long to strip it bare.
Thankfully I took a quick snapshot with my iPhone after planting our new larkspur as the slugs didn’t take long to strip it bare.

We have a little slice of the Columbia River Gorge taking root in our backyard in Portland. One of my wife’s colleagues does research on a larkspur species that grows on the western side of the gorge, Delphinium trolliifolium, and gave us one of his research subjects when he was done with it. I’m not sure of the exact nature of his research, but perhaps it’s to see if bigfoot would rather eat larkspurs or decorate its den with them.

Our particular plant was grown from seeds collected at the trailhead to Angel’s Rest, one of my favorite trails in the Gorge, so I was happy to give it a home in a shady section of our yard. The slugs were happy too as they quickly devoured it. It normally blooms in late March to early April so the hungry little gastropods ruined our chance for flowers this year, but there’s hope for the next. I put some slug bait around it and now there is a lot of new growth springing up. I don’t usually put out slug bait, even the new safer kind as I prefer the live-and-let-live approach, but it was the only way to try and save the plant.

The slugs may have done in the lobelia as well that we planted last fall as part of the new hummingbird garden in memory of my mother-in-law, as it hasn’t poked up out of the earth yet. One of the salvias has also shown no signs of life, perhaps the unusually wet winter and spring did it in, but there have been at least some signs of life from all of the other new arrivals. The new dogwood in particular did just fine during the winter and is now leafing out like crazy.

Some of the other new plants are showing signs of late night devourings as well, so perhaps I need to apply the slug bait a little more liberally until the plants are better established. I think most of our garden slugs aren’t native, so there’s that at least.

I was also pleased to see that the handful of ferns I transplanted from the side of the house are unrolling new fronds, I was most worried about the one with delicate lace-like fronds but it seems to be doing the best of all of them. Between the ferns, the trillium doing the best it ever has, the new hostas sprouting up, and the new larkspur hopefully making a comeback, Redwood Corner is starting to take shape.