The Gymnospermiums Arrive!

Gymnospermium albertii

Gymnospermium albertii

It’s been a long cold winter so it was really nice to see that the Gymnospermiums that I planted last September are really hardy.  These flower buds have been above the ground for the last 8 weeks during which we’ve had many nights with single digit temperatures .  However this particular Gymnospermium come from Uzbekistan and seem not to have noticed the cold weather.  This is a herbaceous relative of the Mahonia and you can see the flower similarity with the chain of buds forming.  Its neighbor in the Alpine bed is also showing its first flowers.

Gymnospermium darwasicum

Gymnospermium darwasicum

The flowers on Gymnospermium darwasicum are somewhat smaller but to my eye maybe even prettier.  This one comes from Tajikistan and seems equally unfazed by the temperatures.

I’ve just returned from 10 days in North Carolina and Florida (flowers, birds, and spring training).  On my way I stopped at Plant Delights and took advantage of their open house again.

Plant Delights harvest

Plant Delights harvest

When I got home the Washington area was recovering from yet another week of snow and ice.

Adonis amurensis 'Beni Nadeshiko' in the snow

Adonis amurensis ‘Beni Nadeshiko’ in the snow

Adonis amurensis 'Fukujukai' in the snow

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ in the snow

Since then we’ve had some very nice days in the 50′s and 60′s and the springtime parade is starting.  The snowdrops are reaching their peak now with many clumps from previous years getting denser.

Galanthus nivalis 'Viridi-apice'

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridi-apice’

And of course the Winter Aconite are always an early contributor to springtime flowers.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

These two are pretty dependable regulars.  But what caught my eye this week was the little pink exquisite flower from Helleborus thibetanus.

Helleborus thibetanus

Helleborus thibetanus

This wonderful little springtime ephemeral was unknown to western gardens until the 1990′s and it’s still pretty unusual.  The history of it’s rediscovery is journaled by Graham Rice.  It’s much smaller than other Hellebores and the wonderfully fringed leaves will completely disappear after flowering takes place.  I bought this one at Pine Knot Farms last spring and I’ve no idea where you would find another this year but It’s well worth looking for.

I was really pleased to see that one bud of my Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ still remains.

Adonis amurensis 'Sandansaki'

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’

It’s by far my favorite Adonis and because of the multi-petaled character it doesn’t set any seed — so I’m dependent on the plant expanding underground…

2 comments on “The Gymnospermiums Arrive!

  1. Les

    The first time I heard of Eranthis hyemalis was on this blog. Today I got to see some growing in person in the display gardens at Sandy’s Plants in Richmond. They turned my head.

    1. jw

      I’m glad you discovered something here because I’ve learned a lot from your blog. Of course some of the things I discovered were on the hairy edge of survivability here in Maryland. We’ll have to see what makes it through this last winter. I think there will be more to add on the Eranthis. I see that my seedlings of the double flowered Eranthis hyemalis ‘Flore Pleno’ are bursting forth.