Well, I’m late for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again, but my excuse is that I returned from California late in the day and I was lucky just to get some pictures much less get them posted. The next day saw mammoth rain storms that have closed roads and bridges all over Frederick County. At the moment we’ll just feel lucky that we live on the top of a hill. Actually it’s not just luck. We lived on a part of George Washington’s River Farm in our previous house complete with flooded basements so we compensated for that. I think you are allowed to learn only one thing each time you move. Anyway there were a few charmers in bloom when I got back, although a few hot days had accelerated through a few blooms. As noted above the Pink Rhododendron above is one of our favorites.
It’s cousins, the Azaleas, are also showing magnificently. Two particular examples are Exbury Hybrids.
The first of the herbaceous Peonies is in bloom as well.
Two of the many Columbines are worth noting as well.
Right nearby to the Pink Columbine is the first sighting of the Clematis ‘Niobe’ for the year.
At the side of the garage is a very reliable Korean Lilac.
We forgot about planting this one twice and assumed it was dead in dried out pot. Each time it returned to life so I finally gave it a good home and it is happily blooming now. Right next to it is a quite cute little Enkianthus that is blooming now.
One of my favorite rock garden plants is Edraianthus. One is blooming in a little trough right now.
Another Edraianthus just coming into bloom is one of the best cushion plants we have.
Another trough specimen is the Silver Sax at the back door.
In the greenhouse a white-pink Bougainvillea is fully in bloom.
Time to move this one outside.
Also there is a Zephyranthus with pretty notable color.
And the Pomegranate in the greenhouse is well into bloom.
Finally Beth has been picking Iris for use in the house.
And let me close with a picture I took in California of one of the plants from the Univ of Calif Botanic Garden (deserving of a blog post all on it’s own)
Well this year the beginning of May is hello time for the first of the Peonies. My favorite is probably the species Paeonia rockii shown above. It’s named for Joseph Rock, an early 20th century plant explorer. There are many hybrids derived from this tree peony.
Actually the first Peony to bloom for us is Molly the Witch. Although it doesn’t have the yellow color that the Mollys are famous for, it’s still a very pleasing flower.
The next one in line is another species Peony, Paeonia osti.
And then we have two herbaceous species. One is Paeonia obovata.
And then a larger flowered, stronger growing version, Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae.
Both of these are characterized by lovely foliage and large, exotic-looking seeds on into the Fall.
And then we have the larger, well-established tree peonies.
Other highlights right now are the Moroccan Poppies that overwintered in the Alpine Bed.
I had no reason to expect that these would be evergreen all winter and then come on like gangbusters as the season progresses.
Next to them are several Lewisias.
Also in the same bed is the Pink Betony that I am absolutely loving this year. It is feathery to touch and abundant in it’s flowering.
In one of the troughs at the front of the greenhouse the Gentians are doing what Gentians are supposed to do.
In another trough a campanula (whose name I have forgotten) is having pronounced bloom out of the tufa rock with Viola pedata nearby.
It’s worth noting that this is also the time of year to be grabbing seeds to share with other gardeners in the seed exchanges.
I was also very pleased to see that the Jack in a Pulpits had moved further up the slope of our backwoods toward the house. Two more clumps were found at least 70 feet further up the hill than ever before. I’m amazed that they spread so fast.
Five years ago I had the notion of building a 3 foot by 14 foot raised bed on the side of the greenhouse that would simulate alpine conditions with a well draining stony soil that was over 2 feet deep. You have to work at it to convince alpines to be happy in the Maryland climate. The construction was long and hard. Just moving 84 cubic feet of soil is a chore. But I was more that pleased with the result (think of it as a giant trough). Things which were difficult to grow now became rambunctious. Although the bed was fast draining, it also retained moisture well so that watering was not a big issue. I built the bed on the shady side of the greenhouse and discovered that while that worked well for some things my notion of the Aubreita cascading over the wall didn’t work because, strangely enough, it grew towards the sun which was on the other side of the greenhouse. So I have begun to tailor the planting on that side to things which were happy with a bit of shade, such as a couple of nice dwarf Rhododendrons.
Meanwhile there a number of plants like the dwarf Aruncus and two Daphnes that seem to be very happy.
In the meantime I decided to build a second Alpine Bed on the other side of the greenhouse which have a sunnier outlook. I finished that construction project last year and this is the second growing season for the sunny side. There have been a number of successes for that side and the latest is seeing the little Alpine Poppy for the first time yesterday.
This came from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Society‘s annual seed exchange in 2017. I got only this single plant from the seeding and it sat quite tiny and unmoving through the 2017 season. But I had read that it wants a cold winter before flowering and indeed this seems to be the case. From the Poppy’s point of view it’s in a very appropriate mountain environment.
Overall the sunny Alpine Bed looks really nice as spring begins.
The Stachys and the Aubreita show every sign of diving over the wall the way I had hoped.
Hidden amidst the Aubreita is a fabulous eye-catching group of ice plants
This is from the highest part of the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa and despite it’s succulent nature it is complete hardy here.
Other happy residents of the sunny Alpine Bed are growing out of the tufa rock.
Suffice it to say I really enjoy the Alpine Beds!
Around the corner, at the front of the greenhouse is the first of my troughs with a now six year-old planting of Vitaliana, another alpine native.
Of course there is life outside of the Alpine beds, and I should share the posting on jewels in our garden from Dan Weil. He spent last Saturday on his stomach crawling around the yard taking some very nice images of the little spring ephemerals in our yard. Dan is an artist (paint and photography) with considerable talent and looking at other parts of his website is also rewarding.
In closing, the Kwanzan Cherry came into bloom yesterday, always a lovely milestone for the season.
It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day time and one of the fun parts of posting the monthly flowers is discovering those things that I had forgotten that I previously planted. Amongst those is the Snow Cone Bloodroot pictured above. All Bloodroots are good, this one is just a notch above.
Another newcomer to this blog is the single pink Anemonella from Hillside Nursery. I went on quest last year for a strong pink Anemonella after seeing one at my son’s house in previous years. He has since lost that plant which was exceptionally pink compared to the normal ‘Pink Pearl’ as it is now marketed. In any case the one gracing our flower bed is very nice indeed.
Another Anemonella variant that I posted on recently is Green Hurricane.
Many of the Anemone’s are flowering right now too, including this very complex nemerosa.
Close by are the Corydalis.
This one, as I’ve noted before is named for the leaves, not the beautiful blue flowers.
One cannot pass by the Camellia bed which has many of the spring ephemerals without seeing one of my favorite trilliums.
And the Leucojum are like snowdrops on steroids
Even this far into April the Hellebores continue to provide wonderful flowers. One that particularly catches my eye is Amethyst Gem.
This year I decided to give the Primula kisoana another try. You have to be cautious with this because it wants to spread, so I put it in with the other thugs.
I had a minor revelation this week when I thought I had finally succeeded in bring a Shortia into bloom. However, it turns out just to be Shortia lookalike, but pretty nonetheless.
Back in the Alpine beds we have several returnees from previous years.
and a new Iris/potentilla combination
And it’s also worth noting that while I tend to get caught up in the small spring ephemerals, there are many other flowers about. The early Rhododendron in the front yard is always spectacular.
There are many, many Daffodils, both in the yard and in the woods/pasture.
And the various fruit trees are mostly just coming into bloom. The apricot is finished, the cherries and peaches just starting, and the Kieffer Pear is flowering as though there is no tomorrow.
As I close this post, it’s worth noting that this spring is well behind previous years in terms of the number and progress of things in bloom. But I’m good with that. It gives more time to appreciate everything as it’s happening.
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.
There are many other nice Corydalis but here are two that I like in particular.
Many of the Scilla are of a similar hue to the Chionodoxa but quite different in detail. Look at the anthers in particular.
Once again I can’t say enough good things about Primula vulgaris. It’s very self-sufficient and flowers for a long time.
A particularly nice Anemone is ‘Green Hurricane’. The contrast between the early leaves and flowers is stunning.
While most of the Adonis are finishing two of the special ones are just starting.
Meanwhile in the alpine bed, the Pulsatilla have justified all the effort it took to make them a comfortable home.
The little Draba rigida comes three weeks after the hispanica.
Meanwhile I notice that I have a bud on the Alpine Poppy grown from seed last year. This should be fun.
In the greenhouse there’s a bright red Tulip on display (from tiny bulblets planted last year)
And some spectacular Tritonia including this one.
And a really nice Gladiolia hybrid
Also a nice little Ixia that has many, many blooms.
(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.
And the many Daffodils and Forsythia that Beth has been harvesting.
And given the date can the bluebells be far behind…
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.
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.
The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.
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.
Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.
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.
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.
Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.
I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.
In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.
And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.
In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.
Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.
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.
And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.
For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow. Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.
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).
But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).
Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is 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.
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
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.
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.
Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.
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
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.
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.
And I discovered this year that the seed that I planted from this flower in 2013 has finally yielded a flower as well.
Of course the yellow flowered Adonis cannot be ignored on a sunny day either
These intrepid early flowers had company today. Even the Jeffersonia, which is way out of correct timing, has flowers appearing.
And I discovered as I scraped leaves away that the Helleborus thibetanus was also in flower under the leaves.
It was not surprising to see that more of the Eranthis are also in bloom.
And the alpine bed had the first flowers on the very nice Draba hispanica.
Of course, I shouldn’t ignore two little Moraeas that are blooming in the greenhouse.
Altogether it was really nice to follow up the snowfall of yesterday with work in the yard pulling off the leaves and revealing treasures.