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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 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.

 

Catching up with Spring

Paeonia caucasica

Spring has been rapidly moving onward in the mid-Atlantic.  Bringing us, for one thing, the first flowering of a lovely peony above that we acquired from John Lonsdale two years ago.

We like the rest of society have been dutifully staying at home and, in our case, appreciating all the horticultural bounty that nature has to offer.  This year many of the plants are well in advance of the norm.  Although our nominal last frost date is 2-3 weeks from now the flowering fruit trees (even apples) are already in bloom.  Especially bountiful are the blossoms on the Asian Pear.

20th Century Asian Pear (Nijisseiki)

20th Century Asian Pear blossoms

Even the Kwanzan Cherry is fully in flower, fully two weeks ahead of last year.

Kwanzan Cherry

I had the intent to track the progress of the garden a bit closer than usual, but I find myself jumping from one object to another as the plants keep popping up.  Erythroniums are especially lovely in the spring, sort of a precursor to the larger lilies to follow.  We have a raised bed by the deck that is crammed full of trout lilies (Erythronium americanum).  This is what it looked like a week ago.

Erythronium americanum

Many years I ago I dug some of these and moved them out to forest in multiple locations.  Although the plants have succeeded marvelously in the woods, despite deer and other animals, they do not flower.  They spread like mad but they seem to have no interest in flowering.  So last year I thought I would inspire them by planting in their midst some horticultural cultivars which have always flowered in the yard (Erythronium ‘Pagoda’).  And, indeed, they shot up lovely looking buds which the deer promptly chopped off.  Perhaps the E. americanum are simply wiser than me and know that it would be foolish to flower in the forest.

In any case we still have Erythronium to enjoy in the yard.

Erythronium ‘Pagoda’

Erythronium revolutum ‘White Beauty’

Another spectacular genus to enjoy right now are the Epimediums.  Beth was gifted with two Epimediums years ago that established large and lovely clumps at the back fence.  Not only are the flowers lovely, but the leaves are beautiful in the own right.

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’ flowers

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’ flowers

Other Epimediums are well established in other parts of our garden.

Epimedium ‘Pretty in Pink’

Queen Esta Epimedium

Some more traditional parts of the garden probably include this very hardy and early azalea.

Hardy pink Azalea

A spectacular little primrose hybrid.

Magnificent little primula

Multiple trilliums such as the T. grandiflorum

Trillium grandiflorum

Daphne at the front fence

Daphne x transatalantica

And a new japanese quince that I received as a father’s day gift last year.

Chaemoneles speciosa ‘Double-take Scarlet’

But gardens are not made with flowers alone.  There are some special green things on their way right now.  The little Pteridophyllum has the glossiest green, fern-like foliage at the start of the year.

Pteridophyllum racemosum

Peltoboykinia comes from the high mountains of Japan but seems to be happy here in Maryland.

Peltoboykinia watanabei

Multiple variants to may-apples are on their way.

Podophyllum delavayi

And the first of the Arisaemas is on its way.

Arisaema ringens

While i’m in the yard, I still need to mention the star flowers that have been a real pleasure this year.  This little Ipheion has been flowering for weeks now.

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Tessa’

As we go back to the Alpine bed there are a lot of flowers calling for attention

Alpine bed, south side

Two that always stand out are the Pulsatilla and the Armeria.

Pulsatilla campanella

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

And at the greenhouse entrance is a trough with a delightful little Androsace that has been a regular participant in our springtimes.

Androsace barbulata

But before I leave off posting for today, let’s take a walk to the forest, through the garden gate and past the very large wild cherry trees.

Wild Cherries

Our trail leads us past many clumps of daffodils that have been planted over the years, past scilla, toothwort, hepatica, anemone, muscari and bluebells

Mertensia virginica

To a very special clump of daffodils with haunting green eyes.

Narcissus ‘Arguros’

Arguros is the Greek word for silver and seems appropriate for this treasure.

May this posting find you healthy and able to enjoy the world around you.

 

Eranthis and the Daily Walkabout

Eranthis hyemalis

This is a wonderful time of year to watch the Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) emerge from their slumber.  They spread every year — into the grass and other parts of the garden.  But it’s a nice kind of spreading.  Hardly any other plants are doing anything at this time of year and in six weeks from now they will have disappeared till next year.  There are some other color forms of the winter aconite, either paler yellow or orange shades, but one of my strong desires has been to grow the white species, Eranthis Pinnatifida.  I got one flowering a few years ago, but it didn’t stay with us.  Nevertheless, the flower is so intriguing that I keep persisting.  I ordered one from Japan last fall and got it planted out in December.  I noticed on my daily stroll about the garden that It is growing but it looks like no flowers this year.

Eranthis pinnatifida from Japan

At the same time, and almost so small that i nearly missed it, I found a flowering Eranthis pinnatifida in a seeding pot that I had started in 2016 from seeds obtained from the NARGS seed exchange.

Eranthis pinnatifida

Not only was this little jewel growing but there was another little Eranthis in the same pot.  So hope spring eternal someone once said.

The seed exchanges are a wonderful introduction to new plants that you will never see in a commercial catalog.  My package from the Alpine Garden society arrived just this week.

Seed Exchange package from the AGS

But I have already started many seeds obtained from NARGS, the SRGC, and individual seed vendors.

Seed Exchange plantings

Also in the greenhouse is the first of the Ferrarias to bloom this year.

Ferraria crispa

Ferrarias are very easy to grow and easily one of the most unusual flowers you will ever set eyes on.  The curls around the edge have a fractal quality to them.

I also just brought the first of many Scilla peruviana into the house to enjoy.

Scilla peruviana

But getting back to the daily walkabout, I would be remiss not to note that many crocus and snowdrops are appearing around the yard.

Crocus tommasinianus

And the first Primula is showing it’s flowers as well.

Primula vulgaris

Like the Winter Aconite, these are happy to spread into the lawn.

A more unusual spotting from the walkabout was to see the first pink color in one of the Saxifrages in a trough.

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

This little jewel flowered in April last year.

And I also noticed in the alpine bed that one of the Callianthemums from Japan that I planted in December has a bud on it!

Callianthemum miyabeanum

These plants are really hard to find in the U.S. and my thanks to Yuzawa Engei for the wonderful packing to get it here.

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day February 2020

Narcissus ‘Rinjveld’s Early Sensation’

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.

Camellia japonica red

Camellia japonica ‘Pink’

On the whole we are just enjoying some our early spring flowers earlier than usual.

Adonis amurensis ‘Fukujukai’

Jeffersonia dubia

Eranthis hyemalis

The Hellebores are particularly resilient at this time of year.

Helleborus viridis

Helleborus x hybridus PDN Yellow

Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

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.

Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’

Galanthus nivalis ‘Blewbury Tart’

The first full flowering in the alpine bed is the Draba hispanica.

Draba hispanica

In the greenhouse the Cyrtanthus breviflorus and mackenii are flowering.

Cyrtanthus breviflorus

And our only Geissorhiza is in flower too.

Geissorhiza inaequalis

Finally we made two trips to Gettysburg Gardens where I discovered some lovely examples of Veldtheimia bracteata.

Veldtheimia bracteata

These are magnificent plants, sometime called forest lilies, that can easily grow to 2 ft tall with long lasting flowers.

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day January 2020

Camellia japonica red

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.

Japanese Quince

The Hellebores are less surprising.  The niger types are often in flower during any warm spell.

Helleborus niger ‘HGC Jacob’

What was a surprise was to see this new pink hybrid also in flower.

Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

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.

Snowdrops

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.

Adonis lined up ready to go

The biggest surprise from the outdoor flowers is this little Lewisia in the Alpine bed.

Lewisia (probably cotyledon)

In the greenhouse we have many oxalis and narcissus blooming.

Narcissus romieuxii ‘Atlas Gold’

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.

Silene yunnanensis

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

Arisarum proboscideum (also known as mouse tails)

And finally let me close with this lovely hybrid cyrtanthus that I found there.

Cyrtanthus hybrid