This was the first snow we’ve had this year and indeed the first really cold weather.
This was definitely a different and unusual Christmas. One to regret the things we missed and to be thankful for the things we still have. Our youngest son ended up spending the Fall with us and then on through Christmas. He has sparked the rediscovery of the many things that we associate with the holiday season around Ball Rd. There are many large and small things that connect us with past shared memories.
In addition we jointly watched the Christmas Revels celebration in Cambridge. It was great fun and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to move forward into the new year with contemplation of the way the human community has moved from the dark to the light over centuries. On the night before Christmas we tuned into the Follen Unitarian Church in Lexington, MA where the Reverend Claire Feingold Thoryn delivered a marvelous sermon discussing the Christmas Weed Tree of Toledo, Ohio and what that means for the rest of us.
Finally I should mention that I had a chance before Christmas to preview a new book written by a good friend.
Tropical Plants and How to Love Them will be available in March but it can be ordered now on Amazon. It is a wonderful exploration of tropical plants for the temperate gardener and I think a great many people will enjoy both the authoritative descriptions and Marianne’s always entertaining writing style. Highly recommended!
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.
And the calendulas in the raised bed are bright and beautiful.
Under the cherry tree in the back yard a clump of cyclamen hederifolium is putting up flowers before the leaves are showing.
Japanese windflowers are spectacular as usual for this time of year.
And they are joined by various instances of toad lilies (such a strange name for exotically beautiful flowers).
The canna lily that returned from last year is soldiering on in a very crowded garden bed.
And month by month the cestrum continues a flowerful statement at the back gate.
I noticed that the beautyberry bush is covered with its distinctive purple berries right now.
In the alpine bed by the greenhouse there is a rather striking little saxifrage from Japan.
In the greenhouse itself the oxalis are dominating the show.
But there is also a rather special scilla that I brought into the house.
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
and lots of monarch butterflies visiting the many tithonia.
In addition I found a very distinctive moth that I had never seen before.
Of course, it’s important to note that at this time of year, one does not live on flowers alone.
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…
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.
Nearby the Iris japonica are taking over their region of the garden.
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.
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.
In addition an orange flowered wallflower reappeared from a wildflower mix that went in last year.
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.
While out in the orchard, things are in extravagant bloom this year.
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.
Hidden around the yard are still some smaller gems that i look forward to each year.
And when we go back to the troughs, the first Gentiana is showing up.
The alpine beds themselves are both chock full of interesting things like daphnes, stonecress, iris, poppies and the like.
Particularly noteworthy is a little Lewisia returning to claim its space.
and an Androsace which is always welcome.
As well as the always striking Bird’s Foot Violet.
In the greenhouse itself are still things which worth sharing or bringing into the house. The Ferrarias have been blooming since February.
Other South Africans include two Ixias, tritonias, and Ornithogalums.
And, of course, we continue to harvest daffodils from our years of planting.
Hoping this post finds the reader healthy and able to enjoy the spring.
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.
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.
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.
Some of them are easily ten feet tall.
But they are all wonderful for birds, bees, and humans alike.
A close namesake is the Mexican Sunflower
Tithonia are also very popular with bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
The vegetable garden also features gladiolus in quantity.
The glads get displayed in the house.
Along with several kinds of Cyrtanthus from the greenhouse.
Think of Cyrtanthus as smaller, more refined Amaryllis.
Also in the greenhouse right now are the little scilla relatives from Japan
In the Alpine bed we find the most recent Gentian to come into bloom.
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
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.
Of course gardeners do not survive on flowers alone.
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…
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…
I have been growing Oxalis palmifrons since 2013 without a hint of a flower to be seen. This year, upon my return from Thanksgiving in Boston, I was surprised and happy to see the first buds on the little Oxalis palmifrons (obtained from Plant Delights).
You may remember that Oxalis palmifrons has these delightful little palm-like leaves, and the flowers are just a marvelous bonus!
In the greenhouse there are still more Oxalis in bloom.
And the Daubenya that blooms very reliably for Thanksgiving.
I remember first seeing it at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden over a Thansgiving holiday.
Also in bloom from the greenhouse (though I’ve brought it into the house to enjoy) is the first of the small Narcissus for this year.
I actually counted 24 blooms in the pot tonight.
In the house for the winter time is the Amazon Lily. Characteristically this one flowers every thanksgiving holiday in celebration of the fact that it belonged to Beth’s mother who always used to prepare the thanksgiving meal for the family. And it flowers again outside in July. This year it seemed to outdo itself with flowers which carried a wonderful fragrance we had not noticed before.
Bear in mind that this plant has been in the same pot for about 30 years with only occasional watering.
Something funny happened on the way to the greenhouse to take some of these pictures. Despite the fact that we have been down to 20 degrees in mid-November, the subsequent weather has only hovered around freezing for the lows. I noticed a very spritely little wallflower in bloom.
And then the first of our nominally spring-blooming camellias.
How’s that for the beginning of December in Maryland…:)