It’s been a strange winter so far for this Garden Bloggers report. No real snowfall and temperatures that have fallen to 20 degrees on occasion but have mostly been well above normal, even near records for some days. Total precipitation is about 50% above normal. The result is that many flowers are up earlier than usual but get blasted in between glorious flowerings. A case in point is the camellias which have had many flowers but then get browned off when the temperature dips.
On the whole we are just enjoying some our early spring flowers earlier than usual.
The Hellebores are particularly resilient at this time of year.
This is one of the nicest new hybrids.
Of course one also expects to see snowdrops at this time of year, but they are spreading nicely.
The first full flowering in the alpine bed is the Draba hispanica.
In the greenhouse the Cyrtanthus breviflorus and mackenii are flowering.
And our only Geissorhiza is in flower too.
Finally we made two trips to Gettysburg Gardens where I discovered some lovely examples of Veldtheimia bracteata.
These are magnificent plants, sometime called forest lilies, that can easily grow to 2 ft tall with long lasting flowers.
Ok, I’ve just counted and I’ve done 400 posts already. That’s a lot of flowers no matter how I add it up.
It’s hard not to lead off this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day with this stunning Camellia Japonica which has been flowering since November. It probably has 20 blooms on it at this point. Although I expect they will get burnt off with the next hard freeze, it has been a pleasure to see this one flowering on a daily basis with the very mild winter we have had thus far.
Similarly the red Japanese quince is getting ahead of itself.
The Hellebores are less surprising. The niger types are often in flower during any warm spell.
What was a surprise was to see this new pink hybrid also in flower.
This was new acquisition from Plant Delights. It’s been flowering for almost 2 weeks now.
The various snowdrops are up and doing what snowdrops are meant to do.
The yellow witch hazel (Arnold’s Promise) is also in flower but it was too windy to get good photos today. The Adonis are popping up and getting ready to bloom.
The biggest surprise from the outdoor flowers is this little Lewisia in the Alpine bed.
In the greenhouse we have many oxalis and narcissus blooming.
A little more surprising is this Silene that I grew from seed obtained through the North American Rock Garden Society’s seed exchange last year.
It really wanted to be outside but I forgot to plant it out last year.
We made a visit to Gettysburg Gardens last weekend and I brought back a number of treasures including this ground cover
And finally let me close with this lovely hybrid cyrtanthus that I found there.
Well this GBBD posting is almost like an advertisement for camellias. The winter has been very mild so far and not only are the fall camellias doing what they are supposed to do, but the spring camellias are getting into the act too.
In addition I found this morning, for the first time, a bloom on a camellia japonica x sasanqua hybrid that we have been growing for several years.
There aren’t a lot of other flowers out for December so the camellias really steal the show. Here are few things I noticed.
The greenhouse has a few things to put forward besides the oxalis which continue to bloom
And the very first narcissus of the season
Let me open this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with the Fall Camellia shown above. We’ve had a few frosts so most of the outdoor flowers are gone, but the camellias persist and will take any few days of sunshine to blossom some more buds. There even buds on the red Fall Camellia which has not flowered for five years, ever since I cut it way back after what I mistakenly thought was a killing freeze.
There are only a couple of other outside plants in flower including a remnant Fall Crocus which is arriving way after its brethren.
Note to file — plant more Fall Crocus next year.
In one of the troughs that I inherited from Terry Partridge has a sedum that sends up a vertical spike that starts out white and then turns red after the frost hits it.
Still attractively in flower in either case.
For other flowers we need to go inside.
The Amazon Lily is flowering again which it does at least twice a year for us.
It’s been in the same pot with minimal care for decades. We really should give it a transplant.
Another star of the show came in from the greenhouse.
I really like the Nerines in general, but this one has a particularly attractive flower that has been with us for at least 2 weeks now.
I’ve also brought in a little cyclamen that is expanding out of its current pot.
The leaves are just remarkable.
Also in the greenhouse is the usual assortment of oxalis and this coloful Bulbine.
Finally a Moraea to round out the show.
It’s appropriate to feature a zinnia for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post because they are all over the place — in vegetable garden, by the driveway, and in the orchard. It’s hard to disagree with a flower that comes from seed so easily and lasts all season long. In fact zinnias were the first flower we planted when we got inspired to start gardening fifty years ago. We read a book by Jeanne Darlington (Grow Your Own) that led us to scratch a little garden plot next to our student housing. There have been a lot more flowers since …
Typically we have Dahlias and Glads in the vegetable garden just for picking.
And son Josh planted a lot of wildflowers around the property this spring.
Including especially zinnias and sage in the orchard, but also this particularly pretty variety of basil.
My eye tends to get distracted by the perennials, especially those that are giving a bonus rebloom.
There is also a nice little patch of Colchicum in with the wildflowers in the backyard.
As you walk down the driveway it’s hard not to notice the Viburnum with it’s berries hanging out into the drive.
In the greenhouse I found the Scilla maderensis budding up a few days ago.
And now the flowers are opening up.
This is also the oxalis time of the year.
One after another, the Oxalis break into bloom from early September into February.
I’ve also found myself reading up about Zephyranthes and their close relatives Habranthus. These are both part of the Amaryllis family and they are spectacularly easy to grow. They are often called rain lilies because the rapid appearance of the flowers in late summer. I’ve had the yellow forms (like Zephyranthes smalli and Z. jonesi, or Habranthus texensis) for a number of years, but what I’m discovering is that the pink and red forms of the family are really special.
This little Habranthus has white flowers that are tinged pink on the outside.
And these two Zephyranthes are both of the pink persuasion mixed with white.
This last one is especially large for a Zephyranthes. It was found in Mexico on a red mountain, therefore it’s name. Most of the Zephyranthes prefer a southern climate (say zone 8), but they are easy to overwinter in a pot. They make abundant seeds which will start popping up in other pots if you don’t pay attention. I’ve got a number of pots that I thought were tritoma or babiana or some other bulb, only to realize that they were actually Zephyranthes volunteering to use an empty pot.
In the midst of hot days in August it is a reliable pleasure to see butterflies in great abundance throughout the garden. For this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day posting let me begin with some shots of the butterflies that are everywhere right now in Maryland.
It’s also a good time of year to spot the Hummingbird or Clearwing Moth. They are very distinctive with almost invisible wings as the flit about the flowers.
Here are some of the standard flowers around the yard right now.
And of course the glads are still blooming in the cutting garden.
New for us in the Cestrum that we added this year.
And a little more unusual is the diminutive Anemonopsis with it’s waxy flowers.
We also take advantage of the August flowers in the house as well.
And then from the greenhouse
Lastly let me note a seeding success with these hardy camellia seedlings started from seeds purchased from Camellia Forest.
These should be interesting to grow outside in Maryland.
There are so many things happening in the yard right now that it is difficult to keep track of them all. I feel light the perennial puppy dog jumping from one delightful surprise to the other. To begin with the daffodils are exploding in the yard, on the hillside, and in the forest. It seems like a particularly bountiful year for these stellar performers that get ignored by browsing animals.
And the big Magnolia Stellata is fully in bloom
The Hellebores are everywhere with their spectacular but mostly downward facing blooms
But what really engages me in the spring are the smaller ephemerals that mostly have short but lovely blooming cycle.
One of my favorite Corydalis is ‘Beth Evans’
It was delightful to see that not only has this Corydalis seeded itself into the neighboring pathway but it’s also 15 feet away under the holly tree.
I was somewhat surprised that a couple of the Adonis are coming up much later than their brethren.
And my favorite, Adonis amurensis Sandanzaki, is only just now coming into bud.
The alpine beds and troughs also have some early spring flowers in bloom.
This little Burnt Candytuft was planted in tufa, but has jumped ship and is appearing in various places in the alpine bed.
Nearby is a really nice little sea thrift obligingly staying put on the tufa.
Nearby is a very early blooming Lewisia
Two years ago I acquired a nice little Draba from Oliver nurseries that is forming a nice compact mound.
A surprise to me this year was a little Saxifrage that came from Wrightman’s Alpines two years ago.
It’s growing in a very protected location on the shady side of an eastern-facing trough and if it flowered last year I totally missed it.
I shouldn’t ignore the greenhouse which continues to produces some South African gem every week. The latest is a 2 1/2 foot tall Ixia that came from the Pacific Bulb Society last fall.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Edgeworthia by the front road.
It seems they are much hardier in Maryland than I expected.
Finally I need to share an example of the Camellias which also prove to be much hardier than one should really anticipate.
Now it’s time to go out into the yard and see what else is blooming.
Well, I guess it’s a typical March Bloom Day. The weather has oscillated from snowfall to 60 degrees of beautiful. The last snow we had was last week and it disappeared almost as fast as it came. With 70 degrees yesterday.
But this week we are back to spring bulbs in abundance.
The Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) are spreading vigorously and my thought is take some of the seed that appears this year and help things along by spreading it other places.
The first Iris has popped up in the front yard beneath the Stewartia
And the first Scilla are flowering in the woods.
A very special Hellebore is preceeding its brethren with charming striped flowers.
And the Adonis are still flowering in various parts of the yard. Especially nice is the orange variant, Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’
In the alpine bed the Draba is the first to appear
And beside it the first flowers are appearing on the Aubretia.
In the greenhouse, where I tend to think of it as South African spring, the exotic Ferrarias are capturing a lot interest at the moment.
There a number of other unusual flowers at the moment that make nice indoor treats
But for the indoors I have to give the most credit to the Clivias which have been spectacular this year.