Springtime is here!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

We are finally having a real springtime experience.  It seemed like it would never come.  The Adonis have been waiting and waiting for some sunny days.  Even in the snow (which we had last week) the Adonis were so ready to move on to spring.

Adonis in the snow

The snowdrops have been testifying that they too were ready to get on with springtime.

Snowdrops in the snow

So that when we had several days with sun this week everyone started to show their flowers.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Winter Aconite in abundance

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

First crocus

I even found a couple of snowdrops that had seeded into the grass, something I’ve never seen here before.

Snowdrop in the grass

This encouraged me to scrape back some leaves and I managed to uncover a Helleborus thibetanus in flower.  It’s such a charmer forerunner of the main crop of Hellebores.

Helleborus thibetanus

Meanwhile the greenhouse has continued to yield some lovely exotics like the Lachenalia and a very fragrant Tulbaghia.

Lachinalia unicolor

as well as a beautiful Freesia.

Freesia ‘Red River’

It is however, hard to exceed the Clivias for overall impact.  Twice a year these african natives put forth long last colorful stalks and survive on minimal care.

Orange Clivia miniata

Yellow Clivia

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2019

Moraea elegans

I thought I would start this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with a bright and cheerful Moraea from the greenhouse.  This is one of the prettiest bulbs in existence.  It flowers for only a short time, so I was glad to catch it just as it opened.  It’s also been reclassified as Homeria where it becomes a noxious weed according to the USDA.  Since it’s hard to keep growing even in cultivation it’s hard to understand how it earned that distinction.

Nearby is a little scilla from Syria

Scilla cilicica

Like many of the small squills, this one has startling dark purple anthers

Outside the greenhouse the world has a few flowers but mostly it’s all in anticipation of things to come after the ice and snow of the last week.

In particular the snowdrops have been doing their part.

Galanthus elwesii

Galanthus nivalis f. pleniflorus ‘Blewbury Tart’

And the Winter Aconite are just beginning to appear. 

Winter Aconiter (Eranthis hyemalis)

but most of the rest are playing a waiting game

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ waiting in the wings

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Paonia caucasica in bud

Pictures of trees and shrubs show why the flowers are not in a big hurry yet.

American Holly

Dwarf Cryptomeria covered in ice

I think it’s fair to guess that by this time next month we will be covered in flowers.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2019

Well a couple a snowfalls have put a definite damper on our flower show for this January Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  The view out the back door gives a sense of our surroundings this mid-January day.

Backyard after fresh snowfall

Nonetheless there are couple of stalwarts that have seen fit to bloom despite the snow.

Pink Camellia

I have no idea the name of this camellia.  I brought it back from California in my lap many years ago as one gallon $2.99 supermarket acquisition.  I grew many years in the basement before I realized that the camellias were likely hardy enough to survive outside.  For a winter like this one where we have yet to see temperatures below twenty degrees, this plant will flower from December onward.  When it’s freezing cold the flowers will get browned off at the edges but usually we can grab a nice bud in the opening stage and enjoy it in the house before that happens.

And, of course, if they are not covered by snow, the snowdrops will persist in flowering well into spring.

Snowdrops

The other flowers for us are from the greenhouse.

Firelight Gold daffodil on block wall

Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Firelight Gold’

Notice the number of buds forming in this pot.  I will definitely need to divide these after they go dormant.

Narcissus Roy Herold seedling

Beyond the greenhouse it’s also worth looking at flowers in preparation, for example the Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia buds

And some remarkably early Jeffersonia dubia

Jeffersonia dubia (early)

I amazed each year the early appearance of flowers on this single Jeffersonia dubia.  It looks like it is predisposed to flower much sooner than Jeffersonia ought to be waking up.

I’ll close with a picture of the large pileated woodpecker that has been working on our big tulip poplar…

Pileated Woodpecker

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2018

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Peppermint’

Well, it’s very cold and wet at mid-December and though I searched around I could find nothing in the way of flowers outside.  I won’t count the weeds even though a scraggly dandelion tried to rise up to greet me.  Instead we turn to the greenhouse where some reliable December flowers are happening.  

The hoop-petticoat daffodils with their little megaphone shaped flowers are the earliest of the daffodils that we grow, typically flowering in early December in the greenhouse.  They are native to Spain and are widely spread around the iberian peninsula and Morocco.  I received mine from the Pacific Bulb Society in one of their many bulb exchanges.  In fact most of the flowers I am about to share came from the PBS.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Peppermint’
Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

A favorite for it’s early blooming is a South African plant, Daubenya stylosa.

Daubenya stylosa

It’s bright color is an attractor for humans and it is also a magnet for slugs.

This fall I planted a few more Hyacinthoides which are striking for the blue interior flower parts.

Hyacinthoides lingulata
Hyacinthoides lingulata

An old reliable flower for this season is the first of our freesias to bloom.

Freesia alba

As it turns out we have one more flower contributor for this season.  The Amazon lily, which lives in the house for the cold weather, is putting out flowers.

Amazon lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

So that about wraps it up for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  Here are the newly planted seeds and bulbs from the PBS that will show up on this blog in the future.

Future flowers from the Pacific Bulb Society

And outside the closest we come to flowering are the big fat buds on the camellia which asks only for mid-winter thaw…

Camellia in bud

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2018

Yellow Corydalis (Corydalis lutea)

Yesterday’s Bloom Day began with a snowstorm that ended up depositing 6 inches by the end of the day.  Early on you could still see the corydalis pictured above and one of the camellias in the front yard.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’ in the snow

Anticipating the snow, I had taken pictures around the yard the day before, including the same camellia.

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

Yet another fall blooming camellia was in the side yard.

Camellia x ‘Survivor’

Hardiness is generally not a problem for camellias in our area but getting blooms at the right time can sometimes be problematical.  The spring blooming camellias are loaded with buds but they will sometimes pop open in a December thaw only to be burned off in the next freeze.

Also still blooming this week before the snowfall was the blue sage in the orchard.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

This sage has been in constant bloom since early summer.  Similarly the Viola jooi in the Alpine bed has come back into bloom again.

Viola jooi

There aren’t a lot of other flowers right now because we finally had our first freeze last week and many things got burned off.  One last remnant is this knockout rose.

Knockout Rose ‘Pink’

In preparation for the freeze, we covered up the newly planted Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’.

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

This is the third try for this lovely Mahonia which is only marginally hardy here.  We are hoping that covering it up will help it get through the winter.

We also gathered pine needles from the driveway and made a little nest for the pomegranate planted in the orchard.

White Pine needles on the driveway

Pomegranate tucked in for the winter surrounded by the last few zinnias

This is another of those plants where we are pushing the survival limits.

Otherwise we need to go into the greenhouse for flowers in November.

Oxalis in the greenhouse

Oxalis asinia

Oxalis caprina

Oxalis luteola just opening

In closing I want to share an early November picture of a lovely Amur Maple in the front yard.

Amur Maple (Acer ginnala)

In some areas of the country this is seen as invasive but for us it’s been very well behaved and a seasonal favorite.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2018

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

As has been the case for many other October Garden Blogger Bloom Days the double flowered Anemone Japonica hybrid shown above has been the bell-ringer.  It produces many outstanding flowers and they can be cut and brought into the house.  It is modestly aggressive like all of it’s kin, but they pull out easily when they go where you don’t want them.

Another fall favorite are the various toad lilies.  Probably the most abundant for us is Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

It goes well with the New England Asters that are nearby

New England Aster

I was pleased to find that two spring plantings of fall camellias have produced flowers this year.

Camellia sasanqua ‘White’

Camellia sasanqua ‘October Magic’

This last one is loaded with flowers, maybe 20-30 buds.

Two Roses from the springtime have some very nice buds to remind us of what they will do for us next year.

Rosa ‘Crocus Rose’ (David Austin)

Rosa ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’ (David Austin)

Back in the Alpine Garden one of the Daphnes is flowering once again.  And with a marvelous fragrance of course.

Daphne collina x cneorum

And in a small trough that I inherited and can take no credit for there is a lovely little red sedum that has been flowering for the last month.

Sedum (cauticola?)

We have a number of plants in pots that will have to find a nice place for the winter.  One of them is the Plectranthus sitting on the back porch.  It has been a real winner.

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’

Another non-hardy plant that is flowering strongly for the first time for us in Nerine Sarniensis.  It looks like it will produce many offsets in the future.

Nerine sarniensis

In the greenhouse are many little pots of Cyclamen graecum.  While they are not hardy, they are quite willing to jump into neighboring pots.

Cyclamen graecum

As a postscript I should add that this has been a really strange season for many trees, including our apples.  However the Kieffer Pears have outdone themselves, producing so many pears that a major branch of the tree broke off.  I have been having daily sandwiches of brie and pear.  Highly recommended.

Kieffer Pear

Well that’s about it for our garden, what about yours?

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day Sept 2018

Yellow Chysanthemums

Well, it’s been a strange time for flowers on this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  While we have dodged the hurricane bullet that hit the folks in the Carolinas, the weather has been unusual to say the least.  To date we have had over 52 inches of rain compared to the normal of 29 inches through mid-September.  On the one hand we have the traditional flowers for September like the mums shown above.  And some remarkable Dahlias from the garden.

Dahlia ‘Winkie Colonel’

Dahlia ‘AC Ben’

But we have also had the Apples drop most of there leaves in July and August and they are now re-blooming.

Apple Blossom in September

Many other trees have dropped their leaves and the Azaleas out front are blooming again.

Azalea reblooming in September

Despite the strange weather there are still a set of interesting flowers to find around the yard, for example this Roscoea.

Roscoea purpurea ‘Spice Island’

And in the greenhouse the rather unusual large Scilla maderensis is flowering once again.

Scilla maderensis

Some other items of note include this six foot tall Canna that came from a friend this year.

Canna ‘Bengal Tiger’

The Knockout Roses are continuing to bloom.

Rose ‘Knockout Pink’

And the Perennial Pea is blooming once again despite our attempts to remove it.

Lathyrus latifolius

We have found that Phlox also reappears from long ago planting with or without our tending to it.

Self-seeded Phlox

And in the orchard the Blue Sage has been in continuous bloom since late spring.

Blue Sage (Salvia farinacea)

Some of our outside work is getting set aside because of several nests of Yellowjackets.  They took up residence in one our large pots on the deck and also in the ground by one of the raised beds.  These guys seem impervious to chemicals and according to the web can be quite dangerous (not something we want to test since I for one am allergic to wasp venom) and there are hundreds of them.

Yellow jacket wasp

Finally, let me note that this is time for packing up your seeds to send off to the various seed exchanges.  By becoming a seed donor, you get first choice when you participate in the seed exchanges organizations.  Check out the North American Rock Garden Society for example.

Packing up Seeds

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day August 2018

Sunflower glory

It’s been hot but with enough rain to grow the weeds and sunflowers to magnificence.  So I will dedicate this belated Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day posting to the many sunflowers in the garden.

Sunflowers reaching for the sky

Some of them are easily ten feet tall.

Sunflowers way high up

But they are all wonderful for birds, bees, and humans alike.

Sunflower

Sunflower

A close namesake is the Mexican Sunflower

Tithonia rotundifolia with Bee

Tithonia are also very popular with bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The vegetable garden also features gladiolus in quantity.

Gladiolus ‘Black Cherry’

The glads get displayed in the house.

Glads in the house

Along with several kinds of Cyrtanthus from the greenhouse.

Cyrtanthus sanguineus

Think of Cyrtanthus as smaller, more refined Amaryllis.

Also in the greenhouse right now are the little scilla relatives from Japan

Barnardia japonica

In the Alpine bed we find the most recent Gentian to come into bloom.

Gentiana paradoxa

The gentians, with the various species, span spring to fall with flowers, and all of them have delightful complex flowers.

Another little tidbit in flower right now is the anemonopsis

Anemonopsis macrophylla

I have been trying to flower one of these for years and this is the first one to share it’s dainty little waxy flowers.

Out in the orchard there are zinnias around the new apple trees.

Zinnias in the orchard

Of course gardeners do not survive on flowers alone.

Early August harvest basket

Japanese Pear ‘Nijiseiki’

Raspberries ripening again

That’s about it on a hot summer day.  We are running 15 inches over normal for rain to this point.  I’m wondering what the fall will bring…