Turning the Corner to Spring

Double Pink Camellia japonica

This Camellia has been flirting with blooming all winter long but now it’s buds have finally gotten clearance to bloom and they are blooming abundantly.

We were in Boston for Easter and it was delightful to return to a flower-filled garden.  The Corydalis and Chionodoxa are instant scene stealers.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Chionodoxa forbesii

There are many other nice Corydalis but here are two that I like in particular.

Corydalis solida ‘Decipiens’

Corydalis kusnetzovii x C.solida ‘Cherry Lady’

Many of the Scilla are of a similar hue to the Chionodoxa but quite different in detail. Look at the anthers in particular.

Scilla biflora

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ anther detail

Once again I can’t say enough good things about Primula vulgaris.  It’s very self-sufficient and flowers for a long time.

Primula vulgaris

A particularly nice Anemone is ‘Green Hurricane’.  The contrast between the early leaves and flowers is stunning.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

While most of the Adonis are finishing two of the special ones are just starting.

Adonis amurensis ‘Pleniflora’

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

Meanwhile in the alpine bed, the Pulsatilla have justified all the effort it took to make them a comfortable home.

Pulsatilla grandis

Pulsatilla campanella

The little Draba rigida comes three weeks after the hispanica.

Draba rigida

Meanwhile I notice that I have a bud on the Alpine Poppy grown from seed last year.  This should be fun.

Papaver alpinum

In the greenhouse there’s a bright red Tulip on display (from tiny bulblets planted last year)

Tulipa linifolia

And some spectacular Tritonia including this one.

Tritonia crocata

And a really nice Gladiolia hybrid

Gladiolus huttonii × tristis hybrid

Also a nice little Ixia that has many, many blooms.

Ixia flexuosa

(All four of these bulbs from the Pacific Bulb Society).

Of course the greenhouse also contributed to the inside of the house where we have some magnificent Clivia on display.

Yellow Clivia

Orange Clivia

And the many Daffodils and Forsythia that Beth has been harvesting.

Daffodils galore

Forsythia in bloom

And given the date can the bluebells be far behind…

Bluebells close to blooming

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2018 (very late!)

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Golden Lotus’

A very belated GBBD posting.  I returned from a week in Florida to find that the spring had not really moved along very far in my absence.  There were a number of the regulars in flower, but since the weather has now delivered one of the heaviest snowstorms of the winter, it’s probably just as well that some of the plants waited a little longer.  The Hellebore pictured above is one of many of it’s clan in bloom, but it’s one of my favorites.

The crocus are fully in bloom now.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

This particular clump under the cherry tree expands every year.  Unlike some of the species crocus which seem to lag from competition with each other.

Another spectacular tommy that I’ve lost the name of is this striped variety.

Crocus tommasinianus

The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.

Iris histrioides ‘Major’

It’s interesting to note that the Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’ which is very compact and close to the ground in the Alpine bed is taller and quite lovely in one of the humus-filled garden beds.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

Also making an early spring entry are the little Hacquetia.  The noticable parts are the big bracts whereas the flowers are the little tiny yellow guys.

Hacquetia epipactis

One of my favorite plants for early spring are the Primrose vulgaris.  There is nothing common or vulgar about these little yellow/white flowers spreading every year.

Primula vulgaris

Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.

Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’

I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.

Scilla biflora ‘Roseus’

In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.

Aubretia ‘Blue Beauty’

And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.

Pulsatilla grandiflora

In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.

Freesia ‘Red River’

Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.

Sparaxis Hadeco Hybrid

Moraea sp. MM 03-04a blue

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

Lachenalia unicolor

One of the greenhouse plants we can’t overlook is the Portuguese Squill.  It’s a real enjoyment to watch it go through it’s flowering.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana flower detail

And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.

Ferraria crispa v. nortieri

For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow.  Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.

 

Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring.  One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata.  This little member of the Iris family has a common name of  bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans.  It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night.  For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening.  When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent.  The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above.  When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant.  Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.

Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da!  Clearly a sign of spring.

First daffodil

Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed

Winter Aconite galore

They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.

There are number of Hellebores making their presence known.  More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom.  One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.

Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.

And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.

Hepatica japonica pink

It’s Adonis Springtime

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’

All it took was a lovely 50 degree day to bring lots of flowers into bloom.  Especially lovely is this spectacular Adonis from the Chichibu mountain region of Japan.  The entire six year-old plant keeps slowly expanding and it is worth the wait.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ in the late afternoon light

And I discovered this year that the seed that I planted from this flower in 2013 has finally yielded a flower as well.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ Seedling

Of course the yellow flowered Adonis cannot be ignored on a sunny day either

Adonis ‘fukujukai’

These intrepid early flowers had company today.  Even the Jeffersonia, which is way out of correct timing, has flowers appearing.

Jeffersonia dubia

And I discovered as I scraped leaves away that the Helleborus thibetanus was also in flower under the leaves.

Helleborus thibetanus

It was not surprising to see that more of the Eranthis are also in bloom.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwelglanz’

And the alpine bed had the first flowers on the very nice Draba hispanica.

Draba hispanica

Of course, I shouldn’t ignore two little Moraeas that are blooming in the greenhouse.

Moraea macronyx

Moraea ciliata

Altogether it was really nice to follow up the snowfall of yesterday with work in the yard pulling off the leaves and revealing treasures.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2018

The vegetable garden in winter

I took this picture last week after a particularly pretty ice storm.  It’s very representative of the kind of winter we’ve had and sort of a nice lead into this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  At the same time the Adonis, usually my first striking blooms of the season, were tightly held in bud waiting for a warm day.

Adonis ‘fukujukai’ in the snow

But yesterday (what a difference a few days makes) the same Adonis were fully reveling in the sunshine.  Full credit to Beth for catching this colorful image of the Adonis while I was heading back from the west coast.

Adonis ‘fukujukai’

The lesser petaled species Adonis were also out in bloom.

Adonis amurensis

As were some of the winter stalwarts like the snowdrops and witch hazel.

Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii)

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’

This plant continues to show some of the yellowish flowers that I noticed earlier in the season, together with some really fine red flowers.

And just for today the first Winter Aconite have appeared on the scene.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

In the greenhouse one of my favorite plants of the season is in flower.

Hesperantha paucifolia

It’s because of this Hesperantha that I’ve added several Hesperantha to my seed exchange requests.

There is a perfectly lovely compact Oxalis in full flower right now.  Note the red barber pole striping on the unopened buds.

Oxalis densa

And also a very nice new Oxalis that came to me via a Pacific Bulb Exchange distribution last fall.

Oxalis purpurea ‘Garnet’

Oxalis purpurea ‘Garnet’ in bud

Notice the yellow coloring in the unopened bud.  The red leaves are striking.

So with the nice start from the Adonis we are now facing more snow and freezing weather tomorrow.  So winter isn’t done with us yet.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2017

Camelia japonica in the Snow

Well Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day was particularly cold and wintry in Frederick.  Not a whole lot going on outside but I was busy getting my seed exchange order in with the North American Rock Garden Society.  By the end of the day even the Camellia was looking more distressed.  So my better half brought some buds into the house where they have opened up very nicely.

Camellia japonica centerpiece

Outside there were just a few spots of color.  The Cascade Wallflower continued bravely on through the snow.

Cascade wallflower (Eriysimum arenicola)

Everyone should grow this plant if they want to have flowers year-round.

The first of the Hellebores (niger) is putting buds out but still no flowers.

First Hellebore buds

And back by the greenhouse, in the alpine bed, the Lithodora continues to show blue flowers.

Lithrodora ‘Heavenly Blue’

In the greenhouse itself the Oxalis are still in bloom but they don’t open on a cloudy day.  I did go out with sunshine this morning and found another of the Moraeas flowering.

Moraea polystacha

They don’t last long but they keep flowering in succession.

The Daubyena, on the other hand, lasts for 3-4 weeks.

Daubyena stylosa

And the second of the early Narcissus is coming into bloom.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Peppermint’

You can see the additional buds coming.  These usually end up in the house when they are fully open.

All I can say is thank goodness for the greenhouse when the winter presses in.  Let me close with one of those plants that contributes to the outside landscape even without flowers.

Vitaliana primuliflora

This little alpine shares it’s red and green foliage through the wintertime and then delivers wonderful yellow flowers in April.  Who could ask for more?

A New Flower for December

Oxalis palmifrons

I have been growing Oxalis palmifrons since 2013 without a hint of a flower to be seen.  This year, upon my return from Thanksgiving in Boston, I was surprised and happy to see the first buds on the little Oxalis palmifrons (obtained from Plant Delights).

Oxalis palmifrons

You may remember that Oxalis palmifrons has these delightful little palm-like leaves, and the flowers are just a marvelous bonus!

Oxalis palmifrons

In the greenhouse there are still more Oxalis in bloom.

Oxalis massoniana

Oxalis caprina

And the Daubenya that blooms very reliably for Thanksgiving.

Daubenya stylosa

I remember first seeing it at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden over a Thansgiving holiday.

Also in bloom from the greenhouse (though I’ve brought it into the house to enjoy) is the first of the small Narcissus for this year.

Narcissus catabricus ‘Silver Palace’

I actually counted 24 blooms in the pot tonight.

In the house for the winter time is the Amazon Lily.  Characteristically this one flowers every thanksgiving holiday in celebration of the fact that it belonged to Beth’s mother who always used to prepare the thanksgiving meal for the family.  And it flowers again outside in July.  This year it seemed to outdo itself with flowers which carried a wonderful fragrance we had not noticed before.

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

Bear in mind that this plant has been in the same pot for about 30 years with only occasional watering.

Something funny happened on the way to the greenhouse to take some of these pictures.  Despite the fact that we have been down to 20 degrees in mid-November, the subsequent weather has only hovered around freezing for the lows.  I noticed a very spritely little wallflower in bloom.

Cascade wallflower (Erysimum arenicola)

And then the first of our nominally spring-blooming camellias.

Camelia japonica red

How’s that for the beginning of December in Maryland…:)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2017

Moraea polystacha

Winter has arrived here just over the last week.  I was in out in California last week.  When I left all was sunshine and glorious fall.  When I returned the flowers almost all frozen off.  Twenty degrees will have that kind of effect.  Especially when we hadn’t had a killing frost yet.  This is well past our normal first frost date, but we have often had flowers lingering on to mid-November.  Not this year.  That’s why i’m leading off with the above greenhouse Moraea for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day this month.  Most of the outside plants that still have glimmer of flower are just barely showing as in the following cases.

Last of the Fall Crocus

Daphne collina x cneorum

Stachys lavandulifolia

Delospermum ‘Gold Nugget’

Anyway, you get the idea.  Most of the flowers have moved south for the winter.  Just a few stragglers.  There’s always the brilliant orange-red of the pyracantha to lend consolation.

Pyrachantha ‘Mohave’

Fortunately there is the greenhouse to provide regular encouragement as we recreate a less temperate springtime.  The lovely little North African Hyacinthoides lingulata is very much in bloom now.

Hyacinthoides lingulata

I find the blue stamens and pistil very striking.

I also grow the Cyclamen hederfolium in the greenhouse, though I think it would be it would be quite hardy outside.

Cyclamen hederifolium

And of course there are the ever-present, ever-blooming oxalis.  I’ll share just a few more of the many species.

Oxalis purpurea ‘Cherry’

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis engleriana

All this serves to remind me that there will be flowers, even if goes to twenty degrees on a regular basis (which I’m not wishing for).  We did get the tractor ready for snow removal today just in case…