Well, I can’t believe that I completely missed the date for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. Especially given that May is one of the most flower-filled months of the year. So given that I am so late I will just hit the highlights without a lot of reflection. The Peonies are well into their cycle with the species peonies and tree peonies just finishing up and the intersectionals (Itohs) just starting.
Many of the garden standards like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Bearded Iris, Roses, and Clematis are starting up.
One strong growing plant with wonderful foliage in the monument bed is Virginia Waterleaf. Based on last year’s aggressive spreading, I’m planning to cut this back after flowering and before seeds set.
Right behind the waterleaf is an Enkianthus which holds myriad little bells at the moment.
Also a bit uncommon and quite nice is the Indian Aster.
In the alpine bed and troughs there are lots of saxifrage and androsace in bloom.
But I continue to find the Lewisia particularly attractive.
My favorite flower in one of the large troughs right now is a very compact silvery dwarf harebell from Croatia that naturally forms a cushion of flowers.
Well that’s it for this month given that I am already a day late. What a glorious time of year!
The first week of May seems to represent some kind of trifecta of garden flowers, garden chores, and garden harvests. It is at this point where we get to see the fruition of some of the things that we labored on on last year and meanwhile we are tasked to prepare for the coming season. While admiring the Lewisia
which have come through the winter beyond my wildest dreams, I noticed that the hepatica are already seeding like mad and if you don’t grab those seeds now, then you never will.
This week has also involved tilling and planting the garden, mowing multiple times, hauling in more mulch and compost, and extending garden beds to accommodate our ongoing plant lust.
The strawberries look great but we added another 25 plants just in case.
I was happy to see the emergence of one of our Arisaema taiswanense.
The Arisaemas are typically very late in emerging but I was getting concerned that these had not survived the winter.
One thing that was an especially nice happening this spring is the first flower on a Gentiana acaulis that I’ve managed to root in tufa.
There are a lot of other special happenings in the garden right now, like the double flowered trillium
and the new Callirhoe
but I’m leaving for the NARGS annual meeting in Ann Arbor in the morning, so I need to finish packing up.
Let me just share some species peonies photos before I depart.
This last one is the first time for flowering for us. It’s a real beauty…
At this time of year you can go to most places along the potomac watershed and see hosts of bluebells (Mertensia virginica). Our favorite bluebell hot spot is the Worthington Farm, a part of the Monocacy National Battlefield, that is about 2 miles from our house. The trail down to the river runs through a woodland that is covered with spring beauties (Claytonia virginica).
Note the pink stamens.
The path to the bluebells also has many star of Bethlehem
When you get to the river the annual explosion of bluebells is very difficult to capture in the camera lens.
Note how high the river is after a thunderstorm in the mountains the night before.
Individually the bluebells usually have pink buds that turn to blue, but they can be pink or even white.
In any case it’s a great time to go out a see the wildflowers, in addition to growing your own…:)
As I was gathering up pictures for this post, I found it hard to stay focussed on the task. Each image I came across seemed to lead me down a path of ‘what was the name of that flower?’. I clearly need a garden elf who goes around checking on labels. Anyway, let me begin by saying April is, as always, a time of flower abundance so that Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is necessarily a picking and choosing of which flowers to display. The daffodils are everywhere and their fragrance dominates the inside of the house and all of the gardens. But it is also a time to revel in the Hellebores who, though they started much earlier, have not gone away at all.
In contrast, it is worth noting that this is the peak time for the spring ephemerals which clamor to be appreciated for their very short time on the stage. They are generally around for just a few days at most and require getting down on your hands and knees to see the wonderful details.
A longer lasting springtime favorite is the Roadrunner trillium.
In the orchard and the woods the cherries are in bloom.
And alpine bed and troughs feature some distinctive flowers that are not usually part of the Maryland landscape.
Inside the house, the clivia is trying hard to make us focus on indoor flowers.
And lastly, since I am well past the normal posting time, let me close with the latest Cypripedium that we added from this year’s visit to Plant Delights. It’s a ahead of it’s season because I’ve just taken it from the greenhouse.
Beth and son Josh dyed Easter eggs yesterday to continue a tradition going back many years. No little kids around this weekend but we can pretend.
The first week of April is a great time for the spring ephemerals. It seems like everything wants to come out the ground at once following the winter doldrums. I am especially fond of hepaticas and they are in the midst of their bloom cycle right now.
This is a particularly large flowered hepatica that I got several years ago from Seneca Hill Perennials (now closed).
Also in flower is a lovely pink seedling from Hillside Nursery.
A few years ago I got a pink seedling from Thimble Farms that has lovely purple stamens. It’s very hard to photograph because the slightest breeze will set it to vibrating.
I’ve also noticed that one of the american hepaticas has a very nice pink cast to it.
There are more hepaticas still emerging. Meanwhile their friends the corydalis are popping up around the yard.
One of Janis Ruksan’s best corydalis is Gunite, named after his wife.
A rather special flower is the Fritillaria stenanthera.
It is unlike any other Fritillaria that we have.
The flowers point outward and are individually quite lovely. It seems to be thriving outside.
Right beside it is a very nice adonis. This was apparently a spot that I thought was exceptional because I put two rather nice plants in about the same place. We will let them work it out.
Of course my go-to Adonis for distinctive variety is always Adonis ‘Sandansaki’.
In it’s early stage it has only a small green bud in the midst of a yellow flower. By the end, it’s pretty much all green lion’s mane.
It has three buds this year, the most ever.
Other yellow highlights are in the troughs and the alpine beds.
This one sits in the small trough by the back door.
The Draba acaulis is in one of the large troughs by the door to the greenhouse. Nearby is a pasque flower getting ready to emerge.
Reliably scattered around the yard are Primula vulgaris to reflect the way they are found in the wild in England.
And of course I’ve not mentioned the daffodils all over the place or the Hellebores that are everywhere — but that’s another story…
The greenhouse has been celebrating the oncoming springtime with a celebration all its own. All those South African plants that don’t really make it on the outside in Maryland are just having fine time in the greenhouse. Everyone that opens up is another surprise when I go out to the greenhouse.
Speaking of surprises I need to resolve the nocturnal dilemma that I mentioned in my last posting. I had asked for an ID for the lovely white flowers that surprised me by opening only at night. As it turns out I got two helpful replies that pointed toward Hesperantha cucullata. I followed up by looking at the NARGS seed distribution for 2013 where I had gotten the mislabeled seed and found that there was Hesperantha falcata in the distribution. I looked at the characteristics of the flower and I think this is the most probable identification. However, Mary Sue Ittner notes that H. cucullata is frequently mislabeled as H. falcata. At her suggestion I took the flowers into the house where we could observe the after dark behavior. It turns out that they gradually opened as the night progressed, being fully open after about 9pm, with a gradually increasing jasmine-like fragrance that peaked about 2am. It’s a wonderful plant.
I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Florida to photograph birds and many of the outside springtime flowers are beginning to come out. But just to finish the greenhouse theme, let me share some of the other greenhouse flowerings that have occurred.
And then to close with two of the Ferrarias.
I was surprised when I went out to the greenhouse last night to discover there was a flowering party going on and I had not been invited. I went out there just to look any random slugs that might be taking the opportunity for an evening stroll. These little star shaped flowers blew me away, because in the daytime they look like this.
The label says Babiana odorata which they definitely are not. However, I’m not sure just what they are. The foliage looks gladiolia-like, the buds and flower stalks look kind of like Ornithogalum, but the flower doesn’t resemble anything that I can identify.
These plants came from seeds distributed by NARGS in 2013. It’s possible they actually flowered last year, but I wouldn’t have known unless I went out to the greenhouse after dark. The flowers seem to persist, not the once and done like some of the South Africans. I’m hoping someone in the Pacific Bulb Society can help me out on this one. The night blooming should be a dead giveaway.
It’s a busy time for the greenhouse with seed starting, sheltering the new arrivals, and seeing some of the South African plants flower for the first time.
A couple of other South Africans popped out today.
Meanwhile on the outside the sunshine brought the crocus into full bloom.
It’s a wonderful time of year!
It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and what better way to welcome in the spring than seeing our first orange adonis for the year. The plain vanilla yellow adonis are seldom seen but this diminutive beauty is even rarer. This has been such a long cold winter that the flowers are grateful to finally see a little sunshine warming things up. The Adonis are always among the first plants to call for attention in the springtime. The yellow ones are also up and waiting to smile at the sunshine.
Notice all the flower buds in this clump.
Out in the front yard the winter aconite have finally popped and show the evidence of the many years they have been colonizing the front bed.
I think this was originally ten small tubers.
Of course snowdrops are everywhere right now. The Viridapice are particularly nice.
The surprise entry for the day was the first of the corydalis. These have popped up in the alpine bed.
Other than these there are some crocus, the witch hazels, and a lot of wannabe flowers. I think are right on the verge of seeing many more flowers.
In the greenhouse there are a few special items worth highlighting. For the first time we have Tulbaghia from a 2013 bulb planting.
There is a very nice small ornithogalum species that derives from Jane McGary by way of Pacific Bulb Society distribution.
And a freesia with many flowering stalks.
The Lachenalia mutabilis is nice enough that we brought it into the house.
That’s it for March 15th. What’s growing in your garden?