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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2017

Pulsatilla grandis

We’ve just had messy snowfall that has undone a lot of the progress that we had made toward Springtime.  However, I will share a some of the flowers as they were before the snow, including the above lovely Pasque Flower which is about to show its purple flower in the new alpine bed.

Next to the Pulsatilla is this cute little Ornithogalum that flowers completely flat to the surface of the ground.

Ornithogalum fimbriatum

Ornithogalum fimbriatum

Also in the alpine bed is a new Corydalis

Corydalis shanginii ssp, ainae compact form

The hepaticas have continued to appear.  Small little jewels.

Hepatica nobilis v. pyrenaica

Hepatica nobilis pink

Hepatica americana

Hepatica japonica red/white

Meanwhile the Adonis is still providing interest.

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ backside

And we planted the wonderful Primula vulgaris after visiting England in 2008.  They are prospering in various parts of the yard.

Primula vulgaris under the apple tree

Meanwhile the first of the Glory of the Snow is starting to flower.

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa)

These are happily growing in the yard and the pasture.

Finally in the yard and the woods the scilla are growing now.

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’

The stamens are a wonderful shade of blue.

It’s hard to ignore some of the lovely things happening in the greenhouse as well.  In particular the ferrarias are now starting to flower.

Ferraria crispa

And some of the other south africans

Babiana rubrocyanea

Freesia ‘Red River’

Gladiolus sp.?

Sparaxis in a basket

Sparaxis hadeco hybrid pink

Spring is happening both outside and in the greenhouse.  What can you contribute to Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.

 

Catching up

Adonis amurensis Chichibu Beni

We returned from traveling last week to find that the plants had been growing without us.  I need to do just a little catch up on what we found on our return because some of the plants are truly special.  The Adonis shown above is one of the best special varieties that you can buy for only a second mortgage on your garage.  Some of the others might require selling your garage.  This is the first year when it is clear that the clump is establishing itself and flourishing.

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

It is truly spectacular.

Meanwhile the Adonis fujukaki is easily the most vigorous and visible of the Adonis clan.  At least around here.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

Meanwhile another that I have been calling garden variety Adonis amurensis has impressed me once again with the brilliant shiny petals.

Adonis ‘Shiny Petal’

I’m not sure that it is the standard species at all.  Note how it does not possess a normal number of stamens.  I’ve got a couple of seedlings coming along and I think they were from this plant.  We’ll see what happens.

Of course the one Adonis that originally caught my eye was Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’ which has this incredible lion’s mane of green feathers around the third series of petals.  Totally unique.

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’

Lest I am accused of Adonis mania, I will also note that we have a Jeffersonia that blooms well in advance of its colleagues.  And it is a standard Jeffersonia dubia with the violet petals, yellow stamens, and green ovary.

Jeffersonia dubia

But last year, my son gave me a special new Jeffersonia from Garden Visions that Darryl Probst brought back from Korea.  It has dark stamens and a purple ovary.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

It’s quite different and seems to be lasting quite well.

Another plant that is early for its kinfolk is the Hepatica nobilis pink.  Note the cute little stamens on these guys as well.

Hepatica nobilis pink

A pretty plant that shows up this time of year but never quite fulfills its potential is Helleborus thibetanus

Helleborus thibetanus

I have yet to get it to fully open to the camera.

Next to the greenhouse in a trough is a pretty little clump of Draba acaulis that seem to have suffered from last summer’s dryness.

Draba acaulis

And inside the greenhouse is another plant with remarkable colored stamens.

Scilla cilicica

Scilla cilicica stamens

These should be hardy outside and I need to give them a trial.

I had also promised more Moraeas and this is one.

Moraea vegeta

I also have an image to share of the fully open Enkianthus quinqueflorus.

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

Finally in the Alpine bed there was beautiful Fritillaria that was a distinctive showpiece.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Karatau’

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Karatau’

Almost Missed Them

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

With so much happening out of doors right now it would be easy to pass by some of the things happening in the greenhouse.  At the back of the greenhouse I almost missed seeing the flowers of this lovely evergreen Einkianthus.  I’m usually looking at the pots, especially when for what is just popping up from seed and I had already concluded there were no flower buds on this Einkianthus.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this shrub has many flowers on it (the first time for us).  Apparently the flowers follow the leaves.  The drooping bells are much larger and prettier than the normal Einkianthus alatus, but the plant is probably not hardy here.  We put the pot in the ground after last frost.

Einkianthus quinqueflorus

It is especially easy to miss the Moraeas since the flowers have very short duration.  But the colors are marvelous from these little plants from the iris family.

Moraea macronyx

I don’t know if the torn petals were from normal wear and tear or some critter.  But what was left is lovely.  Wait till next year.

Two more stunning Moraeas follow.

Moraea tripetala ssp. tripetala

Moraea elegans

I should have more Moraeas over the next few weeks.

There are also several lachenalias in bloom.

Lachenalia unicolor

And a marvelous little ornithogalum.

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

This one may be worth a try outside.

And another almost missed is this lovely hesperantha.

Hesperantha falcata showing unopened bud as well

On a hunch I went out to the greenhouse after supper and found the hesperantha was blooming although all the buds had been tightly closed at 3pm.  Apparently this hesperantha specializes in serving the nighttime insects.  How many of those we have in Maryland right now I’m not sure.  I first grew this plant several years ago and then lost the parent but I had saved the seed and this is the first child of that mother plant.  By the way all of these plants except the Einkianthus came from the Pacific Bulb Society‘s seed and bulb exchanges.  It’s a marvelous source of botanical marvels.  Besides opening at the night the Hesperantha falcata exudes a lovely scent to attract all of us late night flower hunters…

Hesperantha falcata

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2017

Mixed Hellebores

The first Hellebores are coming into bloom for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day.  That striking green contrast is provided by Helleborus viridis.

Our weather is flirting with winter and spring as the days go by.  The snowdrops don’t seem to mind either choice as illustrated by the the exotic Blewbury Tart.

Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’

In addition to it’s multiple tepals the flower is outward facing, not doing the normal droop of snowdrops.  See these Galanthus nivalis for comparison.

Galanthus nivalis

The other interesting flowers at this point are the Adonis.  They open only in the sunshine and by late afternoon are already closing.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ in shadow

There still only just a couple of open buds on the Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu beni’.

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Eranthis are abundantly open at this point, including the soft butter yellow Eranthis hyemalis ‘Scwefelglanz’.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwefelglanz’

There is one plant of Jeffersonia dubia that is way ahead of the other Jeffersonia.  It has a ton of buds just opening.

Many Jeffersonia dubia buds

And one plant of Cyclamen coum is cautiously opening.

Cyclamen coum

In the new alpine bed, we have the first buds showing on a little draba that I put into Tufa last fall.

Draba hispanica in tufa

It seems to be quite happy growing in the rock.  The plant was from seed planted last January (2016) as part of the NARGS seed exchange.

And the Fritillaria stenanthera Karatau that I shared recently is putting out its first blossoms.

Fritillaria stenanthera Karatau

In the greenhouse many Oxalis continue in bloom.  One that I like especially is O. obtusa.

Oxalis obtusa MV6341

Notice the striping from the rear.

Oxalis obtusa MV6341 from the back

And an absoute charmer is this bulb from the PBS exchanges.  Actually that’s where the Oxalis came from too.

Hesperantha paucifolia

Hesperantha paucifolia

Unlike many of its kin, the flowers seem to be hanging around. It’s been in flower like this for more than a week.

 

More on the Verge of Springtime

Adonis amurensis ‘Chichibu Beni’

Another of the Adonis is making the first steps toward Springtime.  It’s not as big and showy as the yellows but somehow that orange color is arresting at this time of year.

The yellow Adonis ‘Fukujukai’ continues to be the big attention getter in the yard with its near perfectly shaped flowers.

Adonis ‘Fukujukai’

But we also have the Winter Aconite stepping forward, in fact creeping forward into the lawn.

Eranthis hyemalis spreading into the lawn

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis )

I’ve even seen the first crocus showing up in the lawn.

First crocus in the lawn

What could be a better sign of spring.  Unless perhaps it’s the Jeffersonia about to open its first bud.

Jeffersonia dubia in bud

The korolkowii crocuses continue to flower in the Alpine bed.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Agalik’

This fine weather (except for a minor reversion to colder weather today) has allowed me to get loads of compost in from the local landfill and begin top dressing the gardens.

Compost from our landfill operation

It’s so good to work in the soil again.

Meanwhile in the greenhouse the little Thlaspi rotundifolia has been spreading a honey sweet fragrance way beyond the size of the flowers.

Thlapsi rotundifolia

And a splendid Hesperantha that came from last year’s Pacific Bulb Society distributions is just coming into bloom.

Hesperantha paucifolia

What a great start to the year!

First Crocus for 2017

Crocus korolkowii ‘Agalik’

Well the first crocus for this year popped out on a 53 degree day today.  Although it gives the illusion of being a double crocus it’s really just double-nosed if such a descriptor can be applied to a crocus.  In other words it’s two separate flowers but beautiful nonetheless.  Apparently this is not unusual for the species.  Rukšans in his marvelous reference ‘Buried Treasures‘ says that as many as 20 flowers can be found coming out of a single corm.  I mentioned in an earlier post that you can get these little early blooming gems Augis’ Bulbs in Lithuania but they can also be obtained from Odyssey Bulbs in Massachusetts.  How we missed growing this crocus all these years is beyond me.

And close by, just starting to open in the new alpine bed, is the related variety Crocus korokowii ‘Marble Tiger’ with distinct markings on the outside of the petals.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

Ironically, in the greenhouse, we have star flower which almost has a similar appearance.

Tristagma sellowianum

Another spot of yellow in the greenhouse is one of the small narcissus.

Narcissus romieuxi ‘Julia Jane’

I noticed today that the first flowers are appearing on an alpine plant that I started from seed last January.

Round-leaved Pennycress (Thlaspi rotundifolium)

This is distinctly unimpressive thus far, though in the Dolomites it had tons of flowers covering the plants, almost like a cushion.  I’ll put it outside this spring and maybe it will be more floriferous with a cold winter.

Also blooming in the greenhouse (still) is the South African Cyrtanthus that first came into bloom over a month ago.  This is a winner.

Cyrtanthus mackenii

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2017

Algerian Clementine (Citrus clementina)

As you might imagine the lead photo from this month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is not growing outside.  In fact all these flowers came out while the little Clementine was living in the basement.  I find the citrus do quite well in the basement with minimal light and hardly any watering.  But once it started to flower like this (it is covered with flowers) I decided I better make room for it in the greenhouse where it might actually get some light.  And who knows maybe it will get pollinated as well as I don’t exclude insects from the greenhouse.  I had put the citrus in the greenhouse originally and they had lots of disease and insect problems that I now attribute to too much watering.  I’ve since slowed my greenhouse watering schedule in the wintertime and perhaps it will work out better this time.

Meanwhile, as the song says ‘The weather outside is frightful’, or at least it’s been cold enough that not much is happening.  That’s probably good for the plants in the long run but I can’t help looking at the few things that are starting to grow, as in snowdrops.

Galanthus nivalis

Just as regular as can be, the snowdrops are back again and right on schedule.

We also have a red camellia japonica that always wants to be first off the mark.

Red Camellia opening

Meanwhile the Adonis are very close to blooming.

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’ in bud

Just a couple more 50 degree days will see these guys opening up with their bright yellow flowers.  And then they will stay in bloom until April.

Another flower that is on the verge (stay tuned) is the new crocus that’s been planted in the new alpine bed.

Crocus korolkowii ‘Marble Tiger’

These were in the collection that I ordered from Augis’ Bulbs this year.  They have a wonderful selection and you can order by personal check.

The other flowers are in the greenhouse.  In addition to the oxalis, the hoop daffodils are still making a show.

Narcissus ‘Taffeta’

Narcissus seedling ex Roy Herold

I also wanted to share the planting of our Christmas tree.  We’ve had a family tradition of purchasing a live tree and then planting it outside after Christmas.  The first tree was a white pine that was planted 40 years ago in the middle of the backyard.  It is probably 40 ft tall at this point.  The trees have been moving further from the house by necessity.  Most recently we’ve started a little grove at the bottom of the pasture.

Kubota with extensions on bucket to move the Christmas tree

Hollowing out a hole for the Christmas tree

Son Josh helps get this year’s tree (a Douglas Fir) in place

Well, that’s the state of gardening on our hillside today.  Let me close with a shot of the Heavenly Bamboo taken this morning after an overnight rain.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2016

Red Cattleya Orchid

Well real winter has arrived just in time for bloom day.  I took a walk around the yard and could not discover a single flower outside.  That is very rare.  I found one camellia bud that was seriously considering blooming.

Red Camellia Bud

But the outside looks to be in for a cold spell.  The real flowers are in the greenhouse or in the house at this point.  The house spectacular is the red cattleya orchid that blooms every year at about this time.

Red Cattleya Orchid

It has a marvelous fragrance to compliment the exotic flowers.  This orchid spends the whole spring, summer,and fall on the  porch with zero care, so it’s very nice that it rewards us with these flowers when we bring it inside for the winter.

Another plant that has been sharing it’s flowers with us in the kitchen actually came from the greenhouse. It’s Cyrtanthus mackenii, part of a large genus in the Amaryllis family.

Cyrtanthus mackenii

This south african native blooms for a long period with a succession of long tubular flowers and seems to relish being crowded in the pot.

Cyrtanthus mackenii close-up

Another greenhouse plant that is very consistently flowering after thanksgiving is Daubenya stylosa.

Daubenya stylosa

The beautiful yellow stamens are an absolute magnet for slugs.  I didn’t actually know that I had slugs in the greenhouse until the Daubenya started blooming.

There are numerous oxalis still in bloom, such as this purpurea.

Oxalis purpurea ‘Cherry’

The next flowers coming into bloom are the small hoop daffodils.  Silver Palace is an example.

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

Narcissus cantabricus ‘Silver Palace’

I think this is about the third year of blooming and they are starting to fill the pot quite nicely.

I had a little thrilling adventure in the greenhouse last week.  I looked at the weather station that I keep in the utility room to monitor the greenhouse temperature and saw, to my dismay, that the temperatures were dipping close to freezing.  By 2am the temperature showed to be 33 degrees so I found myself out in the greenhouse checking on the function of the two heaters that I use to keep the temperatures up.  They both seemed to be working ok and plants seemed to be handling the cold so I went to bed.  In the morning I saw the temperature had dipped to 31 degrees.  What then discovered was that I had been looking at the ‘old’ weather station.  Last year I put in a new one and moved the ‘old’ sensor to the garage.  When I put a new battery in the ‘new’ weather station it dutifully reported temperatures closer to 50 degrees which is more what I had in mind.

Just ask this Gerbera if 50 degrees is more the temperature that it enjoys…

Red Gerbera