Articles

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2018

Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Snow Cone’

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day time and one of the fun parts of posting the monthly flowers is discovering those things that I had forgotten that I previously planted.  Amongst those is the Snow Cone Bloodroot pictured above.  All Bloodroots are good, this one is just a notch above.

Another newcomer to this blog is the single pink Anemonella from Hillside Nursery.  I went on quest last year for a strong pink Anemonella after seeing one at my son’s house in previous years.  He has since lost that plant which was exceptionally pink compared to the normal ‘Pink Pearl’ as it is now marketed.  In any case the one gracing our flower bed is very nice indeed.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Single Pink’

Another Anemonella variant that I posted on recently is Green Hurricane.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

Many of the Anemone’s are flowering right now too, including this very complex nemerosa.

Anemone nemorosa ‘bracteata pleniflora’

Close by are the Corydalis.

Corydalis solida ssp. incisa ‘Vermion Snow’

Corydalis turtschaninovii ‘Eric the Red’

This one, as I’ve noted before is named for the leaves, not the beautiful blue flowers.

One cannot pass by the Camellia bed which has many of the spring ephemerals without seeing one of my favorite trilliums.

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

And the Leucojum are like snowdrops on steroids

Leucojum vernum

Even this far into April the Hellebores continue to provide wonderful flowers.  One that particularly catches my eye is Amethyst Gem.

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Amethyst Gem’

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Amethyst Gem’

This year I decided to give the Primula kisoana another try.  You have to be cautious with this because it wants to spread, so I put it in with the other thugs.

Primula kisoana

I had a minor revelation this week when I thought I had finally succeeded in bring a Shortia into bloom.  However, it turns out just to be Shortia lookalike, but pretty nonetheless.

Oxalis griffithii – Double Flowered

Back in the Alpine beds we have several returnees from previous years.

Aquilegia flabellata v. nana

Androsace barbulata

Primula allionii ‘Wharfedale Ling’

and a new Iris/potentilla combination

Iris babadaghica and Potentilla neumanniana ‘Orange Flame’

And it’s also worth noting that while I tend to get caught up in the small spring ephemerals, there are many other flowers about.  The early Rhododendron in the front yard is always spectacular.

Rhododendren carolinianum

Rhododendren carolinianum

There are many, many Daffodils, both in the yard and in the woods/pasture.

Narcissus ‘Monte Carlo’ in the woods

And the various fruit trees are mostly just coming into bloom.  The apricot is finished, the cherries and peaches just starting, and the Kieffer Pear is flowering as though there is no tomorrow.

Wild Cherries blooming in the woods

Kieffer pear tree

Kieffer pear tree blossoms

As I close this post, it’s worth noting that this spring is well behind previous years in terms of the number and progress of things in bloom.  But I’m good with that.  It gives more time to appreciate everything as it’s happening. 

Turning the Corner to Spring

Double Pink Camellia japonica

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.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Chionodoxa forbesii

There are many other nice Corydalis but here are two that I like in particular.

Corydalis solida ‘Decipiens’

Corydalis kusnetzovii x C.solida ‘Cherry Lady’

Many of the Scilla are of a similar hue to the Chionodoxa but quite different in detail. Look at the anthers in particular.

Scilla biflora

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ anther detail

Once again I can’t say enough good things about Primula vulgaris.  It’s very self-sufficient and flowers for a long time.

Primula vulgaris

A particularly nice Anemone is ‘Green Hurricane’.  The contrast between the early leaves and flowers is stunning.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

While most of the Adonis are finishing two of the special ones are just starting.

Adonis amurensis ‘Pleniflora’

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

Meanwhile in the alpine bed, the Pulsatilla have justified all the effort it took to make them a comfortable home.

Pulsatilla grandis

Pulsatilla campanella

The little Draba rigida comes three weeks after the hispanica.

Draba rigida

Meanwhile I notice that I have a bud on the Alpine Poppy grown from seed last year.  This should be fun.

Papaver alpinum

In the greenhouse there’s a bright red Tulip on display (from tiny bulblets planted last year)

Tulipa linifolia

And some spectacular Tritonia including this one.

Tritonia crocata

And a really nice Gladiolia hybrid

Gladiolus huttonii × tristis hybrid

Also a nice little Ixia that has many, many blooms.

Ixia flexuosa

(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.

Yellow Clivia

Orange Clivia

And the many Daffodils and Forsythia that Beth has been harvesting.

Daffodils galore

Forsythia in bloom

And given the date can the bluebells be far behind…

Bluebells close to blooming

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2018 (very late!)

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Golden Lotus’

A very belated GBBD posting.  I returned from a week in Florida to find that the spring had not really moved along very far in my absence.  There were a number of the regulars in flower, but since the weather has now delivered one of the heaviest snowstorms of the winter, it’s probably just as well that some of the plants waited a little longer.  The Hellebore pictured above is one of many of it’s clan in bloom, but it’s one of my favorites.

The crocus are fully in bloom now.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

This particular clump under the cherry tree expands every year.  Unlike some of the species crocus which seem to lag from competition with each other.

Another spectacular tommy that I’ve lost the name of is this striped variety.

Crocus tommasinianus

The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.

Iris histrioides ‘Major’

It’s interesting to note that the Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’ which is very compact and close to the ground in the Alpine bed is taller and quite lovely in one of the humus-filled garden beds.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

Also making an early spring entry are the little Hacquetia.  The noticable parts are the big bracts whereas the flowers are the little tiny yellow guys.

Hacquetia epipactis

One of my favorite plants for early spring are the Primrose vulgaris.  There is nothing common or vulgar about these little yellow/white flowers spreading every year.

Primula vulgaris

Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.

Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’

I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.

Scilla biflora ‘Roseus’

In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.

Aubretia ‘Blue Beauty’

And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.

Pulsatilla grandiflora

In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.

Freesia ‘Red River’

Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.

Sparaxis Hadeco Hybrid

Moraea sp. MM 03-04a blue

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

Lachenalia unicolor

One of the greenhouse plants we can’t overlook is the Portuguese Squill.  It’s a real enjoyment to watch it go through it’s flowering.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana flower detail

And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.

Ferraria crispa v. nortieri

For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow.  Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.

 

Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring.  One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata.  This little member of the Iris family has a common name of  bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans.  It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night.  For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening.  When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent.  The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above.  When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

Tulbaghia simmleri

This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant.  Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.

Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da!  Clearly a sign of spring.

First daffodil

Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’

And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed

Winter Aconite galore

They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.

There are number of Hellebores making their presence known.  More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom.  One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘Winter’s Song’

It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.

Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.

And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.

Hepatica japonica pink

A New Flower for December

Oxalis palmifrons

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).

Oxalis palmifrons

You may remember that Oxalis palmifrons has these delightful little palm-like leaves, and the flowers are just a marvelous bonus!

Oxalis palmifrons

In the greenhouse there are still more Oxalis in bloom.

Oxalis massoniana

Oxalis caprina

And the Daubenya that blooms very reliably for Thanksgiving.

Daubenya stylosa

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.

Narcissus catabricus ‘Silver Palace’

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.

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

Amazon Lily (Eucharis x grandiflora)

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.

Cascade wallflower (Erysimum arenicola)

And then the first of our nominally spring-blooming camellias.

Camelia japonica red

How’s that for the beginning of December in Maryland…:)

Chinese Alpines

Chinese Alpines Order

I’ve been meaning to put in a plug for Chinese Alpines.  For several years I’ve bought seed from Bjørnar Olsen who lives in China.  This spring he sent a letter saying that he was joining together with a friend, August Wu, to form Chinese Alpines.  They plan to sell bulbs and plants as well as the seeds which Bjørnar has provided in the past.  I received the my first order from them last month and everything is as nice as I would have expected.  If bulbs don’t grow I expect it will be my fault, not theirs.  I’m particularly interested in seeing if I can grow Fritillaria Karelinii, which is very showy in this image from the Fritillaria Group of the Alpine Garden Society.

Fritillaria Karelinii (from Fritillaria Group website)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2017

Crabapple in bloom

Well this is a very unusual flower to see in October.  In fact, I can never remember seeing crabapples blooming in the Fall.  Not only the crabapples but the apples themselves are blooming right now.  So for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day let’s just note that climate change is not just affecting icebergs and glaciers.

It’s been very dry for us with unseasonably warm weather to go with it.  Many of the flowers that were in bloom in September are still blooming now, like the lovely Japanese Anemone.

Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’

And the Toadlilies

Toadlily (Trycyrtis ‘Sinonome’

So I’m going to focus on some of the more unusual individuals flowering around the yard and greenhouse, beginning with a little saxifrage from Far Reaches.

Saxifraga fortunei ‘Select’

Back in the alpine bed is a planting of Lithodora that has been expanding it’s living space since we planted it this spring (from Oliver Nurseries).

Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’

Lithodora has never overwintered with us but this clump seems most likely to do so.

Nearby is the Stachys that we planted this spring.

Stachys lavandulifolia?

Although this was sold to us as lavandulifolia, it looks nothing like what we had seen in Colorado.  It could be cultural or it could also be that this is a different plant.

Also in the alpine bed, I should give some credit to the little clump of Erodium that has been flowering continually since spring.

Alpine geranium (Erodium reichardii ‘Roseum’)

It is hard to go into the greenhouse right now without noticing the large Pomegranate which has become a centerpiece.  And it’s fruit are starting to literally crack open.

Pomegranate opening up

One of the little treasures in the greenhouse is a small scilla relative from North Africa that was just started as a bulb this year.

Hyacinthoides lingulata

It’s just starting to open up and promises to be very nice at this time of year.  Thank you Pacific Bulb Society bulb exchange.

There is also a very nice little Viola that I grew from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Society seed exchange.

Viola chaerophylloides ‘Benizuru’

I think this one can probably go outside but I may propagate it first.

There is a very nice Cyrtanthus in full bloom and many wonderful Oxalis celebrating their rebirth after a dry summer.

Cyrthanthus branchyandrus

Oxalis hirta ‘Gothenburg’

Oxalis purpurea ‘Lavender & White’

And the last item of the day is a new acquisition from the PBS bulb exchange in June.

Seemania Namatanthodes in bud

Seemania Namatanthodes in pot

This South American plant (Argentina/Bolivia) looks to be a real winner.

A Lesson in Patience

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis in bud

I have been growing Haemanthus humilis sap. humilis since 2013.  The seeds were obtained from a contribution from Jim Shields to the Pacific Bulb Society as part of their bulb and seed exchange program.  The plants came pretty quickly the next year but I have waited and waited for any indication that they would like to flower.  And then, as luck would have it this bud appeared the day before we were scheduled to leave on a ten day trip to Colorado.  And as I looked more closely I saw that other pots were also in bud.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis budding

Fortunately my son was able to get a couple of shots later in the week showing their progress and it looks likely that they will still be in bloom when we return home.

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis in flower

Haemanthus humilis ssp. humilis

This is all a testament to patience as you wait for plants to reach their potential.  These pots were full of plant with no indication of flowering, so I was beginning to wonder if they were worth repotting.  It’s also another endorsement for the Pacific Bulb Society which is a wonderful resource for bulbs from all over the world, not just via the bulb exchange which they carry out but for the comprehensive information that is provided by members.

As another example of a plant obtained from the PBS this Eucomis was in flower when I left.

Eucomis vandermerwei

Eucomis vandermerwei

This was obtained from small bulbs distributed by the PBS (also in 2013).