Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2015

White-Pink Tree Peony

White-Pink Tree Peony

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.

Yellow tree peony up close

Yellow tree peony up close

Paeonia x 'Morning Lilac' single flower

Paeonia x ‘Morning Lilac’ single flower

Paeonia x 'Morning Lilac'

Paeonia x ‘Morning Lilac’

Paeonia x 'Scarlet Ohara'

Paeonia x ‘Scarlet Ohara’

Many of the garden standards like Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Bearded Iris, Roses, and Clematis are starting up.

Rhododendron chionoides

Rhododendron chionoides

Black and Blue Bearded Iris

Black and Blue Bearded Iris

Yellow Bearded Iris

Yellow Bearded Iris

Knockout Rose Red

Knockout Rose Red

Azalea Exbury Hybrid 'Klondyke'

Azalea Exbury Hybrid ‘Klondyke’

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.

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Virginia waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum)

Hydrophyllum virginianum

Hydrophyllum virginianum

Right behind the waterleaf is an Enkianthus which holds myriad little bells at the moment.

Enkianthus campanulatus

Enkianthus campanulatus

Also a bit uncommon and quite nice is the Indian Aster.

Indian aster (Kalimeris indica)

Indian aster (Kalimeris indica)

In the alpine bed and troughs there are lots of saxifrage and androsace in bloom.

Androsace, saxifrage, campanula, aubretia, and oxalis all blooming in the alpine bed

Androsace, saxifrage, campanula, aubretia, and oxalis all blooming in the alpine bed

But I continue to find the Lewisia particularly attractive.

Lewisia pygmaea

Lewisia pygmaea

Lewisia cotyledon

Lewisia cotyledon

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.

Silvery dwarf harebell (Edrianthus pumillo)

Silvery dwarf harebell (Edrianthus pumillo)

Well that’s it for this month given that I am already a day late.  What a glorious time of year!

May magic

Lewisia longipetala 'Little Plum'

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Plum’

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

Lewisia longipetala 'Little Plum'

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Plum’

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.

Hepatica seeds

Hepatica seeds

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.

Looks like a big strawberry crop this year

Looks like a big strawberry crop this year

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.

Arisaema taiwanese returns

Arisaema taiwanese returns

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.

Gentiana acaulis in tufa

Gentiana acaulis in tufa

Gentiana acaulis in tufa

Gentiana acaulis in tufa

There are a lot of other special happenings in the garden right now, like the double flowered trillium

Double-flowered Trillium

Double-flowered Trillium

and the new Callirhoe

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba 'Logan Calhoun'

Callirhoe involucrata var. lineariloba ‘Logan Calhoun’

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.

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

Paeonia obovata ssp. obovata var. willmottiae

Paeonia veitchii

Paeonia veitchii

Paeonia suffricosa ssp. rockii

Paeonia suffricosa ssp. rockii

This last one is the first time for flowering for us.  It’s a real beauty…

Bluebells on the River

A sea of bluebells

A sea of bluebells

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).

The path through the spring beauties requires looking closely at the ground

The path through the spring beauties requires looking closely at the ground

The spring beauties come in white or pink versions

The spring beauties come in white or pink versions

Note the pink stamens.

These delicate little flowers are really tough as nails in the right conditions.

These delicate little flowers are really tough as nails in the right conditions.

The path to the bluebells also has many star of Bethlehem

Ornithogalum nutans

Ornithogalum nutans

When you get to the river the annual explosion of bluebells is very difficult to capture in the camera lens.

Bluebells along the path

Bluebells along the path

Note how high the river is after a thunderstorm in the mountains the night before.

Bluebells against the river background

Bluebells against the river background

Individually the bluebells usually have pink buds that turn to blue, but they can be pink or even white.

The bluebells can be pink

The bluebells can be pink

White bluebells

White bluebells

In any case it’s a great time to go out a see the wildflowers, in addition to growing your own…:)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day – April 2015

Daffodil bouquet

Daffodil bouquet

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.

Helleborus x hybridus 'Kingston Cardinal'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Kingston Cardinal’

Helleborus x hybridus 'Cotton Candy'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Cotton Candy’

Helleborus x hybridus 'Peppermint Ice'

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Peppermint Ice’

Helleborus hybrid ‘MG Apricot’

Helleborus hybrid ‘MG Apricot’

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.

Anemonella thalictroides

Anemonella thalictroides

Anemonella thalictroides 'Shoaf's Double Pink'

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Shoaf’s Double Pink’

Corydalis solida 'Cantata'

Corydalis solida ‘Cantata’

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia (light colored)

Jeffersonia dubia (light colored)

Hepatica nobilis 'Lithuanian Blues'

Hepatica nobilis ‘Lithuanian Blues’

Erythronium dens-canis 'Rose Queen'

Erythronium dens-canis ‘Rose Queen’

Erythronium americanum in abundance

Erythronium americanum in abundance

Bloodroot colony (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot colony (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Sanguinaria canadensis Multiplex

Sanguinaria canadensis Multiplex

A longer lasting springtime favorite is the Roadrunner trillium.

Trillium pusillum 'Roadrunner'

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

In the orchard and the woods the cherries are in bloom.

Sweet Cherry blossoms

Sweet Cherry blossoms

And alpine bed and troughs feature some distinctive flowers that are not usually part of the Maryland landscape.

A host of Aubretia

A host of Aubretia

Saxifraga apiculata alba

Saxifraga apiculata alba

Vitaliana primuliflora

Vitaliana primuliflora

Inside the house, the clivia is trying hard to make us focus on indoor flowers.

Clivia miniata makes a statement

Clivia miniata makes a statement

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.

Cypripedium 'Emil'

Cypripedium ‘Emil’

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

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.

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade

This is a particularly large flowered hepatica that I got several years ago from Seneca Hill Perennials (now closed).

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade (single flower)

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade (single flower)

Also in flower is a lovely pink seedling from Hillside Nursery.

Hepatica japonica Hillside seedling

Hepatica japonica Hillside seedling

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.

Hepatica japonica seedling

Hepatica japonica seedling

I’ve also noticed that one of the american hepaticas has a very nice pink cast to it.

Hepatica acutiloba 'pink'

Hepatica acutiloba ‘pink’

There are more hepaticas still emerging.  Meanwhile their friends the corydalis are popping up around the yard.

Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans'

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

One of Janis Ruksan’s best corydalis is Gunite, named after his wife.

Corydalis solida 'Gunite'

Corydalis solida ‘Gunite’

A rather special flower is the Fritillaria stenanthera.

Fritillaria stenanthera

Fritillaria stenanthera

It is unlike any other Fritillaria that we have.

Fritillaria stenanthera

Fritillaria stenanthera

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.

Adonis amurensis 'Beni Nadeshiko'

Adonis amurensis ‘Beni Nadeshiko’

Of course my go-to Adonis for distinctive variety is always Adonis ‘Sandansaki’.

Adonis amurensis 'Sandansaki' early stage

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ middle stage’

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.

Adonis amurensis 'Sandansaki'

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’

It has three buds this year, the most ever.

Other yellow highlights are in the troughs and the alpine beds.

Draba aizoides

Draba aizoides

This one sits in the small trough by the back door.

Draba acaulis

Draba acaulis

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.

Pulsatilla halleri slavica

Pulsatilla halleri slavica

Reliably scattered around the yard are Primula vulgaris to reflect the way they are found in the wild in England.

Primula vulgaris

Primula vulgaris

And of course I’ve not mentioned the daffodils all over the place or the Hellebores that are everywhere — but that’s another story…

Hellebores galore

Hellebores galore

 

 

Back to the Greenhouse

Moraea elegans

Moraea elegans

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.

Hesperantha falcata in the house

Hesperantha falcata in the house

Hesperantha falcata

Hesperantha falcata

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.

Gladiolus tristis

Gladiolus tristis

Corydalis wilsonii

Corydalis wilsonii

Sparaxis Hadeco hybrid

Sparaxis Hadeco hybrid

Moraea setifolia

Moraea setifolia

Lapeirousia enigmata

Lapeirousia enigmata

Calandrina spectabilis

Calandrina spectabilis

And then to close with two of the Ferrarias.

Ferraria crispa form 5

Ferraria crispa form 5

Ferraria divaricata

Ferraria divaricata

A Nocturnal Puzzle

Night flowering

Night flowering

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.

Unknown Night Flowering plant

Unknown Night Flowering plant

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.

Night flowering mystery

Night flowering mystery

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.

Greenhouse mid-March 2015

Greenhouse mid-March 2015

A couple of other South Africans popped out today.

Romulea pratensis

Romulea pratensis

Romulea gigantea

Romulea gigantea

Moraea tripetala

Moraea tripetala

Meanwhile on the outside the sunshine brought the crocus into full bloom.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Roseus'

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Roseus’

It’s a wonderful time of year!

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2015 — Hello Chichibu Beni !

Adonis amurensis 'Chichibu Beni'

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’

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.

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai'

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

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.

Winter Aconite (Eranthus hyemalis) colonizing

Winter Aconite (Eranthus hyemalis) colonizing

I think this was originally ten small tubers.

Winter Aconite (Eranthus hyemalis)

Winter Aconite (Eranthus hyemalis)

Winter Aconite

Winter Aconite

Of course snowdrops are everywhere right now.  The Viridapice are particularly nice.

Galanthus nivalis 'Viridapice'

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’

The surprise entry for the day was the first of the corydalis.  These have popped up in the alpine bed.

Corydalis schanginii ssp. schanginii

Corydalis schanginii ssp. schanginii

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.

Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

There is a very nice small ornithogalum species that derives from Jane McGary by way of Pacific Bulb Society distribution.

Ornithogalum sp.

Ornithogalum sp.

And a freesia with many flowering stalks.

Freesia alba

Freesia alba

The Lachenalia mutabilis is nice enough that we brought it into the house.

Lachenalia mutabilis

Lachenalia mutabilis

Lachenalia mutabilis

Lachenalia mutabilis

That’s it for March 15th.  What’s growing in your garden?