Catching up

Adonis amurensis Chichibu Beni

We returned from traveling last week to find that the plants had been growing without us.  I need to do just a little catch up on what we found on our return because some of the plants are truly special.  The Adonis shown above is one of the best special varieties that you can buy for only a second mortgage on your garage.  Some of the others might require selling your garage.  This is the first year when it is clear that the clump is establishing itself and flourishing.

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

It is truly spectacular.

Meanwhile the Adonis fujukaki is easily the most vigorous and visible of the Adonis clan.  At least around here.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Meanwhile another that I have been calling garden variety Adonis amurensis has impressed me once again with the brilliant shiny petals.

Adonis ‘Shiny Petal’

I’m not sure that it is the standard species at all.  Note how it does not possess a normal number of stamens.  I’ve got a couple of seedlings coming along and I think they were from this plant.  We’ll see what happens.

Of course the one Adonis that originally caught my eye was Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ which has this incredible lion’s mane of green feathers around the third series of petals.  Totally unique.

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’

Lest I am accused of Adonis mania, I will also note that we have a Jeffersonia that blooms well in advance of its colleagues.  And it is a standard Jeffersonia dubia with the violet petals, yellow stamens, and green ovary.

Jeffersonia dubia

But last year, my son gave me a special new Jeffersonia from Garden Visions that Darryl Probst brought back from Korea.  It has dark stamens and a purple ovary.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

It’s quite different and seems to be lasting quite well.

Another plant that is early for its kinfolk is the Hepatica nobilis pink.  Note the cute little stamens on these guys as well.

Hepatica nobilis pink

A pretty plant that shows up this time of year but never quite fulfills its potential is Helleborus thibetanus

Helleborus thibetanus

I have yet to get it to fully open to the camera.

Next to the greenhouse in a trough is a pretty little clump of Draba acaulis that seem to have suffered from last summer’s dryness.

Draba acaulis

And inside the greenhouse is another plant with remarkable colored stamens.

Scilla cilicica

Scilla cilicica stamens

These should be hardy outside and I need to give them a trial.

I had also promised more Moraeas and this is one.

Moraea vegeta

I also have an image to share of the fully open Enkianthus quinqueflorus.

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

Finally in the Alpine bed there was beautiful Fritillaria that was a distinctive showpiece.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Karatau’

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Karatau’

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2017

Mixed Hellebores

The first Hellebores are coming into bloom for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  That striking green contrast is provided by Helleborus viridis.

Our weather is flirting with winter and spring as the days go by.  The snowdrops don’t seem to mind either choice as illustrated by the the exotic Blewbury Tart.

Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’

In addition to it’s multiple tepals the flower is outward facing, not doing the normal droop of snowdrops.  See these Galanthus nivalis for comparison.

Galanthus nivalis

The other interesting flowers at this point are the Adonis.  They open only in the sunshine and by late afternoon are already closing.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ in shadow

There still only just a couple of open buds on the Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu beni’.

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Eranthis are abundantly open at this point, including the soft butter yellow Eranthis hyemalis ‘Scwefelglanz’.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

There is one plant of Jeffersonia dubia that is way ahead of the other Jeffersonia.  It has a ton of buds just opening.

Many Jeffersonia dubia buds

And one plant of Cyclamen coum is cautiously opening.

Cyclamen coum

In the new alpine bed, we have the first buds showing on a little draba that I put into Tufa last fall.

Draba hispanica in tufa

It seems to be quite happy growing in the rock.  The plant was from seed planted last January (2016) as part of the NARGS seed exchange.

And the Fritillaria stenanthera Karatau that I shared recently is putting out its first blossoms.

Fritillaria stenanthera Karatau

In the greenhouse many Oxalis continue in bloom.  One that I like especially is O. obtusa.

Oxalis obtusa MV6341

Notice the striping from the rear.

Oxalis obtusa MV6341 from the back

And an absoute charmer is this bulb from the PBS exchanges.  Actually that’s where the Oxalis came from too.

Hesperantha paucifolia

Hesperantha paucifolia

Unlike many of its kin, the flowers seem to be hanging around. It’s been in flower like this for more than a week.


More on the Verge of Springtime

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Another of the Adonis is making the first steps toward Springtime.  It’s not as big and showy as the yellows but somehow that orange color is arresting at this time of year.

The yellow Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ continues to be the big attention getter in the yard with its near perfectly shaped flowers.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

But we also have the Winter Aconite stepping forward, in fact creeping forward into the lawn.

Eranthis hyemalis spreading into the lawn

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis )

I’ve even seen the first crocus showing up in the lawn.

First crocus in the lawn

What could be a better sign of spring.  Unless perhaps it’s the Jeffersonia about to open its first bud.

Jeffersonia dubia in bud

The korolkowii crocuses continue to flower in the Alpine bed.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Agalik’

This fine weather (except for a minor reversion to colder weather today) has allowed me to get loads of compost in from the local landfill and begin top dressing the gardens.

Compost from our landfill operation

It’s so good to work in the soil again.

Meanwhile in the greenhouse the little Thlaspi rotundifolia has been spreading a honey sweet fragrance way beyond the size of the flowers.

Thlapsi rotundifolia

And a splendid Hesperantha that came from last year’s Pacific Bulb Society distributions is just coming into bloom.

Hesperantha paucifolia

What a great start to the year!

Intimations of Springtime!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ opening up

When the Adonis light up the yard I always feel like a light bulb has been turned on for springtime.  Yes, I know that there are still snowy days in our future but the Adonis can usually tolerate that and in the meantime they take full advantage of today’s 50 plus temperatures.  When I see them, I have to ask the rhetorical question ‘why doesn’t everyone plant Adonis’?  Of course slow-growing, expensive, and not easily available are parts of the answer.  But sometimes the good things take patience.  The March Bank at Winterthur is full of Adonis.  And has been for over one hundred years.

Adonis are part of the ranunculus family and have all the sturdiness that implies as well as the brilliant yellow that runs in the family.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Apparently although Fukujukai is often listed (as I have done in the past) as a cultivar of Adonis amurensis it is actually a naturally occurring sterile triploid hybrid between Adonis ramosa and Adonis multiflora.  That would explain it’s vigor and early flowering.

There are other indicators of spring today.  The Chinese Witch Hazel is very much in flower as well.

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

And the Winter Aconite is not far behind.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Even the Jeffersonia is showing buds that it may wish to reclaim after the next cold snap.

Jeffersonia dubia in bud

I was surprised to see the newest of my Fritillaria from Augis’ Bulbs rising up in the Alpine Bed.

Fritillaria stenanthera Karatau

This should be interesting indeed.

Of course the Red Camellia still has no sense of the season.  I should end this posting with that out of character plant.

Red Camellia Japonica starting early

First Crocus for 2017

Crocus korolkowii ‘Agalik’

Well the first crocus for this year popped out on a 53 degree day today.  Although it gives the illusion of being a double crocus it’s really just double-nosed if such a descriptor can be applied to a crocus.  In other words it’s two separate flowers but beautiful nonetheless.  Apparently this is not unusual for the species.  Rukšans in his marvelous reference ‘Buried Treasures‘ says that as many as 20 flowers can be found coming out of a single corm.  I mentioned in an earlier post that you can get these little early blooming gems Augis’ Bulbs in Lithuania but they can also be obtained from Odyssey Bulbs in Massachusetts.  How we missed growing this crocus all these years is beyond me.

And close by, just starting to open in the new alpine bed, is the related variety Crocus korokowii ‘Marble Tiger’ with distinct markings on the outside of the petals.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

Ironically, in the greenhouse, we have star flower which almost has a similar appearance.

Tristagma sellowianum

Another spot of yellow in the greenhouse is one of the small narcissus.

Narcissus romieuxi ‘Julia Jane’

I noticed today that the first flowers are appearing on an alpine plant that I started from seed last January.

Round-leaved Pennycress (Thlaspi rotundifolium)

This is distinctly unimpressive thus far, though in the Dolomites it had tons of flowers covering the plants, almost like a cushion.  I’ll put it outside this spring and maybe it will be more floriferous with a cold winter.

Also blooming in the greenhouse (still) is the South African Cyrtanthus that first came into bloom over a month ago.  This is a winner.

Cyrtanthus mackenii




Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2017

Algerian Clementine (Citrus clementina)

As you might imagine the lead photo from this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is not growing outside.  In fact all these flowers came out while the little Clementine was living in the basement.  I find the citrus do quite well in the basement with minimal light and hardly any watering.  But once it started to flower like this (it is covered with flowers) I decided I better make room for it in the greenhouse where it might actually get some light.  And who knows maybe it will get pollinated as well as I don’t exclude insects from the greenhouse.  I had put the citrus in the greenhouse originally and they had lots of disease and insect problems that I now attribute to too much watering.  I’ve since slowed my greenhouse watering schedule in the wintertime and perhaps it will work out better this time.

Meanwhile, as the song says ‘The weather outside is frightful’, or at least it’s been cold enough that not much is happening.  That’s probably good for the plants in the long run but I can’t help looking at the few things that are starting to grow, as in snowdrops.

Galanthus nivalis

Just as regular as can be, the snowdrops are back again and right on schedule.

We also have a red camellia japonica that always wants to be first off the mark.

Red Camellia opening

Meanwhile the Adonis are very close to blooming.

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ in bud

Just a couple more 50 degree days will see these guys opening up with their bright yellow flowers.  And then they will stay in bloom until April.

Another flower that is on the verge (stay tuned) is the new crocus that’s been planted in the new alpine bed.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

These were in the collection that I ordered from Augis’ Bulbs this year.  They have a wonderful selection and you can order by personal check.

The other flowers are in the greenhouse.  In addition to the oxalis, the hoop daffodils are still making a show.

Narcissus ‘Taffeta’

Narcissus seedling ex Roy Herold

I also wanted to share the planting of our Christmas tree.  We’ve had a family tradition of purchasing a live tree and then planting it outside after Christmas.  The first tree was a white pine that was planted 40 years ago in the middle of the backyard.  It is probably 40 ft tall at this point.  The trees have been moving further from the house by necessity.  Most recently we’ve started a little grove at the bottom of the pasture.

Kubota with extensions on bucket to move the Christmas tree

Hollowing out a hole for the Christmas tree

Son Josh helps get this year’s tree (a Douglas Fir) in place

Well, that’s the state of gardening on our hillside today.  Let me close with a shot of the Heavenly Bamboo taken this morning after an overnight rain.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2016

Panorama of Front Yard

Panorama of Front Yard

Well for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day there is no difficulty with finding things in flower.  April is a fantastic time for a Maryland gardener.  Just a few days ago we were assessing the damage from killing frosts (Toad lilies and the asian Disporum are surprisingly vulnerable), but right now we are relishing the blooms.  Daffodils and Tulips headline the show.  For example, there is this new addition to the woods.

Narcissus 'Precocious'

Narcissus ‘Precocious’

And old favorites in the front bed.

Tulipa 'Monte Carlo'

Tulipa ‘Monte Carlo’

A naturalized tulip for woodland areas.

Tulipa sylvestris

Tulipa sylvestris

And this new addition from Odyssey Bulbs last year.

Tulipa 'Goldmine'

Tulipa ‘Goldmine’

But the various smaller plants always capture my attention.

Erythroniums are at their peak right now.

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Erythronium ‘Pagoda’

Erythronium multiscapideum

Erythronium multiscapideum

Erythronium dens-canis 'White Splendor'

Erythronium dens-canis ‘White Splendor’

Close by is a new Scilla relative that we added this past year (also from Odyssey Bulbs).

Fessia hohenackeri

Fessia hohenackeri

Note the lovely blue anthers.

There are also the epimediums, seemingly delicate plants that are oh-so-hardy.

Flowers on Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilac Seedling'

Flowers on Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

In this case the leaves are as special as the flowers.

Leaves on Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilac Seedling'

Leaves on Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

An aquilegia that my eldest son grew from a Scottish Rock Garden Society seed distribution begs for attention right now (very dwarf).

Aquilegia flabellata 'Nana'

Aquilegia flabellata ‘Nana’

And there is a Muscari that I got from Brent and becky last year that is growing in very difficult place between maple roots and an American Holly.

Muscari latifolium

Muscari latifolium

In the camellia bed we find a lovely little corydalis that has lasted for several season now (hard to do with the blue ones).

Corydalis turtschaninovii 'Eric The Red'

Corydalis turtschaninovii ‘Eric The Red’

The name comes from the leaves, not the flowers.

Nearby is one of my favorite trilliums.

Trillium 'Roadrunner'

Trillium ‘Roadrunner’

Also in the Camellia bed is one of the tiniest Hepaticas I have seen, the result of several seedlings I planted from Hillside Nursery.

Hepatica japonica  seedling

Hepatica japonica seedling

The Alpine bed features a very nice Daphne, that has all the fragrance that you expect from a Daphne.

Daphne collina x cneorum

Daphne collina x cneorum

And in small trough #2, there is the most beautiful little phlox that is doing alll that you expect from a phlox.

Phlox sileniflora

Phlox sileniflora

And from the greenhouse there are a couple of plants that have come into the house recently.

Hippeastrum striata

Hippeastrum striata

This small Amaryllis-want-to-be is also called the Barbados Striped Lily though it is actually from Brazil and it is multiplying in it’s small pot like mad.

And a south african plant originally purchased from Annie’s Annuals.

Ixia 'Buttercup'

Ixia ‘Buttercup’

This is at the tip of two-foot long stalks this year.

Finally, I should mention the various flowering trees.  This is right now the peak of the crossover between the various fruit trees, crabapples and cherries, giving way to the dogwoods.

Crabapple (variety long forgotten)

Crabapple (variety long forgotten)

The apple trees in the orchard are in the midst of one of the finest bloom cycles I have seen.

Mutsu Apple covered with blossoms

Mutsu Apple covered with blossoms

These are the highlights on Ball Rd.  What is growing in your garden?

Belated Garden Blogger’s Bloom Post for March 2016

Corydalis solida ‘Gunite’

Corydalis solida ‘Gunite’

It is way past the normal mid-months sharing of what’s in bloom for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  My only excuse is that I was in Florida taking pictures of all kinds of birds.  Meanwhile Maryland had warm enough temperatures that many things accelerated right through their bloom cycle while I was gone.  Today we are back to cold and intermittent snow, but I did get some pictures yesterday before the weather changed.  Given the hour and lateness of the posting I will try to focus on just a few of the unusual flowers and you can assume that the daffodils, crocuses, Glory of the Snow, Leucojeum, Hellebores, etc. are all doing their spectacular thing.

One group of flowers that is really shining right now is the Corydalis solida.

Corydalis solida 'Decipiens'

Corydalis solida ‘Decipiens’

Corydalis solida 'Beth Evans'

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Close by is the first of the Erythroniums

Erythronium dens-canis 'Rose Queen'

Erythronium dens-canis ‘Rose Queen’

The Hepaticas are well into bloom now, though they seem to be staggered in time.  Some are ready and others just poking through.

Hepatica nobilis 'Pink'

Hepatica nobilis ‘Pink’

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade (single flower)

Hepatica nobilis large form blue shade (single flower)

One of my favorite spring ephemerals are the Jeffersonia, both the Korean and American types.

Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia

We also have a new snowdrop with very exotic markings that came to us from Lithuania last year.

Galanthus 'Dionysus'

Galanthus ‘Dionysus’

The same source, Augis Bulbs, also sent us a big flowered little tulip (i.e., big flower for a dwarf tulip)

Tulipa hissarica

Tulipa hissarica

I have to spend some time with the Adonis as they continue to fascinate me.  For the first time we have Adonis vernalis (also from Augis Bulbs).

Adonis vernalis

Adonis vernalis

The foliage is quite different from the ferny foliage of the other Adonis that we have.  Note how even when the flowers are gone the Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ makes a very pretty clump.

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai' flower clump

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ flower clump

The Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ continues to flower and to give a sense of it’s flowering habit let me share the picture of both the overall plant and then the individual flower which began opening almost a month ago.

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ flower clump

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ flower clump

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ near end of triple bloom showing the full lion's mane

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ near end of triple bloom showing the full lion’s mane

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ bud still starting it's second stage

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ bud still starting it’s second stage

We also have the last part of the flowering of another unusual Adonis that mostly flowered while I was in Florida.

Adonis amurensis ‘Beni Nadeshiko’

Adonis amurensis ‘Beni Nadeshiko’

There are a couple of nice Drabas flowering in the troughs right now.

Draba aizoides

Draba aizoides

Draba acaulis

Draba acaulis

Also in the small trough is the first bud for a pasque flower

Pulsatilla patens in the small trough

Pulsatilla patens in the small trough

Well, there is more on the outside but let me finish up with a few plants from the greenhouse.  The Spiloxene is pretty special right now.

Spiloxene capensis

Spiloxene capensis

And there are a couple of other related South African plants flowering too.

Gladiolus tristis

Gladiolus tristis

Freesia grandiflora

Freesia grandiflora

And last but not least is the first Ferraria that inspired me to grow these ultra curled flowers.

Ferraria ferrariola

Ferraria ferrariola