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It’s Spring — Finally!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ in the snow

Last Monday the sun finally broke through and the temperatures started rising.  And the Adonis needed only the slightest hint to start opening their flowers.  By Wednesday they were fully on display — at last!

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

The thing about the Adonis is that they are not easy to find and take forever to spread.  Since they are sterile you can’t rely on seeds for them to spread and the slow propagation seems to make them unappealing to nurserymen.  So if you find them, buy them.  They are the first reward for the end of winter.

Of course there are other good signs that we are moving into springtime.  Winter Aconite are another of my favorites steps to springtime and the first to show up this year are the slightly paler German version

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

I was also please to see that a more another Winter Aconite cultivar was also appearing already.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Orange Glow’

But even more special was a little flower poking up in the cold frame.

Eranthis pinnatifida

This is particularly stunning little flower that I had outside a few years ago and it disappeared.  I’m not sure I have the confidence to take this one outside of the cold frame yet.

There are also several crocus popping out.

First Crocus

In addition I’m pleased to see that the snowdrops are moving into the lawn.

Snowdrops moving into the lawn

Of course the witch hazels are happy to tell you that it is springtime also.

Hamamalis x intermedia ‘Diane’

More surprising is to see the first flower on the primula vulgaris.

Primula vulgaris

I also saw a Northern Flicker at the bird feeder and that never happens in wintertime for us

Northern Flicker at the feeder

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2021

Camellia sasanqua red

Well the fall camellia next to the garage continues to be our most reliable bloomer for Garden Blogger Bloom Day and the wintertime.  It’s hard not to imagine the backyard without the camellias.  They are such a continuing delight.  The hybrid that I picked up from the camellia society a couple of years ago has been blooming all winter long as well, but the flowers are starting to decrease in size.

Camellia hybrid white/pink

Meanwhile the first of the spring camellias is blooming again.

Camellia japonica red

Some of the other flowers around the yard are pretty reliable participants in the late winter/early spring bloom.

1st Snowdrops

Japanese Quince

Helleborus niger HGC® ‘Jacob’

But it’s worth noting that we have never seen this red heather blooming persistently over the winter.

Krarmer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen flower buds on the Cyclamen coum in January.

Cyclamen coum flower buds

I wanted to include a picture of the buds on one of the other Hellebores as well.  This is a particularly dark foliaged plant with dark red flowers as well.  It looks like it wont’ be long till this one is in bloom.

Helleborus ‘Ice and Roses Red’

In the greenhouse we have more Narcissus showing up.  This is a particularly nice one (note the buds yet to open)

Narcissus romieuxii ‘Atlas Gold’

We have also decided (in response to Covid) to upgrade our basement lighting and get an early start on the planting year.

New LED light added for starting seeds

And as a result here are the little plants from the seeds that I planted last week on my birthday…

First seedlings for 2021

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2020

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’

Well it is December so it’s not surprising that the first Hellebore is blooming for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  Helleborus Niger is always well ahead of it’s compatriots in providing winter bloom.  Nonetheless it’s still the camellias that are providing the most stunning flowers around our hillside.

Hybrid Fall Camellia

Hybrid Fall Camellia detail

Red Camellia sasanqua

Red Camellia japonica

The camellias are pretty consistently with us for the fall and then on again off again until into the springtime.  More surprising is the heather that is blooming right now.

Kramer’s Rote Heather (Erica x darleyensis)

And there is also a little ice plant that is flowering way out of season.

Delosperma cooperi

You can see white tips on the snowdrops and the adonis are also coming into bud.

Adonis buds

But we are expecting 10 inches of snow tomorrow (the first real snow we’ve had this year), and that means the plants are likely to slow down for awhile.

In the greenhouse we have a number of early daffodils in bloom.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

And there is also the beautiful wavy-flowered Nerine undulata still flowering after more than a month of bloom.

Nerine undulata

We have put up our traditional live Christmas tree, this time a Canaan Fir.

Canaan Fir Christmas Tree

This will be planted out in the pasture after the holidays.

December 15th is also the first day for choosing seeds from the North American Rock Garden Society’s Seed Exchange.  I was up early this morning (late last night) putting in my request for my 35 1st choice seed packets on the list.  This is great fun and I would encourage everyone to get involved.  There are 2480 taxa available including many rare and unusual varieties that you will not find from commercial sources.

NARGS Seed Exchange

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2020

Colchicum autumnale ‘Pleniflorum’

I’ll lead off this GBBD posting with colchicum which has been spectacular this fall. They are hardy, reliable, and beautiful — the sort of qualities that beg for planting more.  So I did…

It’s been all in all a marvelous fall here in Maryland.  Mostly bright sunny fall days with just enough rain to keep everything going well.  Altogether we are 8 inches ahead of the usual rainfall here.  The annuals have continued to bloom and I noticed that the cosmos along the fence line have decided on a fall renewal of their blooms.

Cosmos fall rebirth

And the calendulas in the raised bed are bright and beautiful.

Calendula (Alpha from Johnny’s Seeds)

Under the cherry tree in the back yard a clump of cyclamen hederifolium is putting up flowers before the leaves are showing.

Cyclamen hederifolium

Japanese windflowers are spectacular as usual for this time of year.

Japanese anemone ‘Whirlwind’

And they are joined by various instances of toad lilies (such a strange name for exotically beautiful flowers).

Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

The canna lily that returned from last year is soldiering on in a very crowded garden bed.

Canna ‘Lemon Punch’

And month by month the cestrum continues a flowerful statement at the back gate.

Cestrum ‘Orange Peel’

I noticed that the beautyberry bush is covered with its distinctive purple berries right now.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

In the alpine bed by the greenhouse there is a rather striking little saxifrage from Japan.

Saxifraga fortunei ‘Beni Zakura’

In the greenhouse itself the oxalis are dominating the show.

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

But there is also a rather special scilla that I brought into the house.

Scilla madeirensis

These are not easy to find, but they seem to be quite reliable bloomers.

While I was out in the vegetable garden I found many more dahlias still in bloom

Decorative Dahlia

and lots of monarch butterflies visiting the many tithonia.

Monarchs in the garden

In addition I found a very distinctive moth that I had never seen before.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea)

Of course, it’s important to note that at this time of year, one does not live on flowers alone.

Raspberries yielding fall crop

Raspberries in abundance

We have been bringing in bowl after bowl of raspberries for the last 6 weeks.

And finally to cap it off here is the apple pie that we made for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day…

An Apple Pie from the orchard

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day September 2020

Very Decorative Dahlia

Dahlias seem to be taking center stage for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  I start each year with the intention of posting up the large dahlias in the garden but at first they seem to be supporting themselves just fine.  However, by this point in the season I find that they are mostly lying on the ground with their enormous flowers and it’s hard to prop them up without snapping the stems.  So perhaps next year I will get them propped up (but probably not…).

Dahlia in the garden

But my favorite dahlia is one stemming from a Welsh hybridizer in the 1920’s.  The contrast of the bright red flower with the dark foliage is always noteworthy.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Llandaff’

Elsewhere we find the roses making a comeback as they always do for a second bloom.

Rose ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’

Nearby is a perennial bloomer that was said to be marginal in our area but we find this striking salvia comes back every year and is actually increasing it’s stand.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Next to the salvia is a remarkable perennial that dies down to the ground for the winter in Maryland and then comes back vigorously in the springtime.  It’s been flowering all summer long and shows no sign of stopping.

Cestrum x ‘Orange Peel’

Also in this garden bed are several instances of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  Talk about a low maintenance plant — I hardly notice that its there until it starts flowering.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Behind this garden is a very large crepe myrtle which is blooming quite happily at the moment

Crepe Myrtle

Out in the pasture is a butterfly bush that is having a lot winged visitors right now.

Buddleia

One of the really nice sights in the yard at the moment is the Limelight hydrangea framed by a pyracantha.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ with Pyracatha ‘Mojave’

I noticed while walking about the yard that the arisaema fruit is almost as showy as a flower.

Arisaema ringens

And as we turn to fall, the greenhouse is already putting out some showy flowers.

Sinninglia sp.

Habranthus magnoi

Nerine masoniorum

and finally the first of the many oxalis that will run through December.

Oxalis bowiei

We feel blessed to have wonderful fall weather in Maryland compared to the horrific fires in the west and torrential rains in the south.  Stay safe.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day July 2020

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Anastasia’

There are many things blooming at this time of year, but none more assertively demands the attention of your senses than the large oriental lilies.  There are other flowers for Garden Blogger’s Bloom day, but i’m going to focus on the lilies.

First and foremost is Anastasia which is so tall and has so many flowers that it is a major task to keep it upright each year.  This year we were late so the flowers are bound together in a way that makes them hard to pick.  Nonetheless Beth managed to put some on the fireplace.

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Anastasia’

Anastasia on fireplace

The last carryover from some of the species lilies was this very special hybrid from lilium henryi.

Lilium henryi hybrid ‘Madame Butterfly’

But most of the focus is on the orientals right now.

Oriental lily ‘Time Out’

Lilium oriental ‘Casablanca’

Lily oriental white/yellow

This last one sits next to Lilium ‘Casablanca’ but is clearly not the same.  It’s twins are in other parts of the same bed, but in the center not way over to the edge where this one’s 6 foot tall flower is way out of size.  Is this ‘Time Out’?  If so my other ‘Time Out’ is quite different with the yellow suffused, not in a stripe.  I’ll have to buy more lilies to sort out the difference…

Another instance of a lily not being where I put it is this Scheherezade.

Lilium orienpet hybrid ‘Scheherazade’

It sits across the garden pathway from where the main clump of scheherazade was located.  I say was, because this spring the gardener, in a fit of unusual weeding activity broke the stem off the main clump of the Lilium ‘Scheherazade’.

Back in the house again the Stargazer lilies got removed before I could photograph them outside.

Stargazer lilies on mantel

Now there are other flowers in the garden.  In particular I would point out the Hydrangea ‘Blue Billow’ not merely because it has never bloomed blue for us, but because it really contributes to the monument bed at this time of the year.

Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Billow’

There are several spots where the crocosmia are blooming.  What a marvelously reliable flower.  Kind of like a compact glad that you never have to care for.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’

The greenhouse has two zephyranthes cultivars that I particularly like.

Zephyranthes miradorensis

Zephyranthes katherinae rubra

And there are sunflowers that get collected along with annuals from the vegetable garden.

Sunflower collection

Finally I should note that we’ve had a bumper crop of garlic, this first 1/3 of which is now drying out in the garage.

First third of the garlic harvest drying in garage

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2020

Asiatic Lily ‘Netty’s Pride’

Well there are many flowers blooming for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but the lilies have captured my attention.  These are just the first of the lilies coming down the pike but they capture the eye when you walk about the yard.  Besides ‘Netty’s Pride’, another contender for attention is this additional Asiatic hybrid.

Asiatic Lily ‘Forever Susan’

In Beth’s herb bed we have a brilliant yellow whose name has long since passed.

Yellow Asiatic Lily in the Herb bed

Then there also the Martagon lilies with their clustered flowers.

Martagon Lily ‘Arabian Knight’

Martagon Lily ‘Claude Shride’

This last one is a striking red.  So much so even in the catalog that I have already ordered more for planting this fall even before I saw this one in bloom.  We are beginning to attribute such actions to covid-brain around here…

A lily-wannabe that is pretty in its own right is the Alstromeria ‘Sweet Laura’.

Alstromeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Among the other highlights are two gentians with lovely blue flowers

Gentiana dahurica

Gentiana septemfida (Summer Gentian)

And then there is this Asclepias cultivar with stunning clusters of bright yellow flowers.

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

Nearby is Hypericum having one of its most floriferous years ever.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum calycinum)

In many places we have triteleia showing up from plantings that go back many years.

Triteleia laxa ‘Queen fabiola’

And for a spot of orange we added a little calceolaria this year from Sequim Rare Plants out in Washington State.  I’m sure it’s not hardy here, but worth the experiment.

Calceolaria integrifolia ‘Kentish Hero’

A delightful surprise was to see the pointy little head of the arisaema candidissimum finally show up.

Arisaema candidissimum emerging

Every year I am at the point of giving up on this plant given that many other arisaemas have long since put up there leaves.  And then lo and behold, up it comes.  And it’s relative in lateness arisaema fargesii arose the next day.  Both are stunning arisaemas and well worth the wait.

Of course it’s important to add that around here fruit and vegetables are dominating the gardening scene.  We’ve been picking strawberries for three weeks and now the raspberries and blueberries are bursting forth.

Raspberries coming ripe

We also have cherries from the wild trees in the forest.

Wild Cherries in our woods

We figure these are seedling planted by the birds from our original orchard trees (and they are now 30-40 ft tall).  I picked some from the best tree today.

Best Wild Cherry Tree

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2020

Paonia macrophylla (?)

It is a very flower-filled time for the GBBD post.  Like everyone, we have flowers blooming everywhere and part of my dilemma is always where to focus my time and attention.  The species peony shown above led me down an internet road trying to untangle the details of peonies with glabrous styles, purple anthers, and smooth undersides of leaves.  On top of that it was just a lovely little peony that I cannot recall acquiring.  

There are many other peonies, either flowering or about to flower.  I have to admit that I am partial to the species peonies.

Paonia daurica

Paeonia ostii

Nearby the Iris japonica are taking over their region of the garden.

Iris japonica ‘Eco Easter’

Iris japonica ‘Wuhan Angel’

These are definitely spreaders so you want to choose their location with care.  

Similarly I’ve noticed how some of the anemones and primroses are happy to spread each year.

Primula sieboldii ‘Chubby One’

Thinking of spreaders, I have tried to move the Cascadian Wallflower from parts of the garden each year and it always finds a new place to make an appearance.  But it’s so lovely it’s hard to not just appreciate it.

Erysimum arenicola (?)

In addition an orange flowered wallflower reappeared from a wildflower mix that went in last year.

Wallflower as perennial

Common but beautiful orange wallflower (Erysimum)

The yard as a whole is blessed by the things which happen in the mid-Atlantic April, like azaleas, viburnums, dogwood, and flowering fruit trees.

Back bed springtime

Coral Bells Azalea under Viburnum carcephalum (Fragrant Snowball)

While out in the orchard, things are in extravagant bloom this year.

Granny Smith Apples in bloom

Flowers galore on Spitzenburg apple

The Spitzenburg is one of the finest apples you will ever taste, but when you look at the trunk of this little guy you have to be grateful that it is producing any apples at all.

Trunk of Spitzenburg

Hidden around the yard are still some smaller gems that i look forward to each year.

Hylomecon japonicum

Anomonella thalictrum single pink

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

Arisaema ringens

And when we go back to the troughs, the first Gentiana is showing up.

Gentiana acaulis

The alpine beds themselves are both chock full of interesting things like daphnes, stonecress, iris, poppies and the like.

Alpine bed north side

Alpine bed south side

Particularly noteworthy is a little Lewisia returning to claim its space.

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Raspberry’

and an Androsace which is always welcome.

Androsace sarmentosa ‘Rock Jasmine’

As well as the always striking Bird’s Foot Violet.

Viola pedata

In the greenhouse itself are still things which worth sharing or bringing into the house.  The Ferrarias have been blooming since February.

Ferraria ferrariola

Other South Africans include two Ixias, tritonias, and Ornithogalums.

Ixia dubia (?)

Ixia hybrid on a 30″ stem

Tritonia crocata ‘Princess Beatrix’

Ornithogalum dubium

And, of course, we continue to harvest daffodils from our years of planting.

Arguros and other daffodils

Hoping this post finds the reader healthy and able to enjoy the spring.