This is the middle of the gardening year with abundant flowers, never enough rain, and rarely the time to think about what chores to take on next. For Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day I thought it appropriate to lead off with the exotic center of Stewartia Japonica. The last flowers are just finishing up on this wonderful tree. It not only flowers abundantly but has exquisite bark as well.
But the dominant theme for this time of year is LILIES. They are popping out like mad with their extravagant blooms. Some are super tall (Scheherzade) or small (Madame Butterfly), but all are worth paying attention to. Beth often brings them into the house for the fragrance. Here are some of our lily companions.
And at the same time that we are bringing lilies into the house the gladiolias are coming into bloom.
This year I noticed a particular red and white that is large and very frilly. No name yet but I will research that.
In the garden there is a lovely long row of glads and dahlia with flowers still to come.
Our hardest working gardener is son Josh, and he has put a wall of sunflowers on the border of the garden
At the same time there was a volunteer sunflower in the vegetable garden that we just let grow. I would estimate that it stands about 12 feet tall at this point.
I should mention that we put a barn owl box in the pasture.
It’s too late this year but hopefully we get a family next year to take of some of the small critters.
Nearby is a wildflower patch that Josh created by covering the existing grasses with a tarp until he was ready to plant. It’s worked out quite well.
And then lastly, because we live not by flowers alone, here’s an update on the upcoming orchard fruit.
This month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day falls upon my mother’s birthday — her 100th birthday, something very worth celebrating. She has always loved flowers and we shared many moments of picking flowers and harvesting fruit.
And though her body is slowly losing the capabilities it once had, as recently as 18 month ago (pre-covid) we could still share humor and memories.
So as I look around our garden today, I know that I owe a lot my appreciation for gardens and gardening to my parents and grandparents. Today is also my father’s birthday (though he died more than 20 years ago) and their wedding anniversary. They were married at the start of World War II and this courtship poem that he sent from his barracks is an example of the many poems my father wrote during their life together
Meanwhile back here on the hillside we are harvesting gallons of peas and strawberries. Last night we pitted many of the wild cherries that yield every year without spraying or special care.
We’re thinking we should at least plant the seeds
The birds are happy to help out but they mostly work on the cherries that are beyond our reach.
Meanwhile the blueberries are starting to come in and they combine well with cherry juice.
But wait. There are still flowers worth mentioning. A lot of lilies are making their annual appearance.
But also some special additional items worth noting.
In the herb garden the perennials are making quite a statement as encouragement to the hummingbirds.
In the greenhouse there are many Zephyranthes popping up, but they don’t seem to follow any respect for my attempts at labeling.
I peeked in and saw this Hymenocallis blooming the other day (if you don’t catch it quickly it’s gone)
Before leaving this rather long post I do need to mention the Stewartia malacodendron. We have grown Stewartia japonica for years and it’s a wonderful tree with beautiful flowers and bark. It’s just about to come into bloom. But its cousin S. malacondendron bloomed about two weeks ago and it has truly remarkable flowers, well worth the time invested in getting to grow outside of its North Carolina origins.
Well there are so many flowers at this time of the year for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it is difficult to keep track of them all. I’ll give you just a smattering today and think back to all that I should have shared from the last month. The little ice plant shown above is one of many plants exploding out of our alpine bed. Very happy in our zone 7 landscape.
The species peonies and tree peonies are all done and we now moving on to the Itohs and the herbaceous
Our row of bearded Iris is very happily blooming.
Ever since we stopped weeding them amid the grass they have not had borers which used to be a perennial pain.
The early azaleas are pretty much done but the rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas are still blooming.
I’ve particularly liked the compact and floriferous Calanthe discolor, a reliable favorite from the orchid family.
The best of the Clematis remains Niobe though there are number of others in bloom
It’s also worth noting that you can just eat flowers every night and we are always happy to see the strawberries arriving. We have probably 75 feet of row for strawberries and peas that are just starting up.
And in the orchard there are oh so many peaches, pears, and apples getting started.
Back in the alpine bed we have a number of nice items happening.
Particularly nice is a little rock rose that I got from Wrightman’s Alpines last year after seeing them in the wild in Spain.
I think are just barely hardy in Maryland but they seemed to make through the winter and you see the number of buds on them.
On one of the nights recently i caught the orchard looking particularly spending in the evening light and I’ll close with those images.
All the usual suspects are in bloom now for this April Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. Daffodils everywhere, first azaleas, dogwoods, peonies opening up, and spring bulbs of every sort. I’ll focus on some of the things that catch my attention on a morning walk.
It’s hard not to notice the Kwansan double-flowered Cherry when you walk out the back door.
In the backyard the Epimediums are special right now. There are two in particular that came as mother’s day gifts from Garden Visions years ago and are now quite substantial in size.
Another Epimedium that I like a lot is the Wushanense variety with its red leaves and white flowers.
There are also several instances of Erythronium cultivars that add to the explosion of Trout lilies that surround the deck.
There are several spots where we have lovely clumps of star flowers
In addition to the Peonies that are imitating being in flower because of the falling quince flowers, there are other Peonies almost in flower.
The first of the Arisaema and Podophyllum are poking through the ground.
Especially nice was to see a return of the very rare Podophyllum x inexpectatum which I thought we had lost to animals.
The Camellias continue to dominate the flowering landscape
A new addition is the Loropetalum (marginally hardy for our area)
I should not forget the Adonis vernalis which wraps up our Adonis flowering
And the Iris tuberosa which has a nice flowering this year
One of my favorite small troughs features a very nice dwarf Daphne
If we go back to the alpine bed the reliable Armeria is nearing peak bloom growing out of tufa rock
And back in the forest there are many daffodils and the first of the Jack-in-a-Pulpit
In the greenhouse it is Spring in South Africa
It’s also worth mentioning that because we made an early start on the season in the basement this year we have been eating green salads for the last 6 weeks and the plants are even happier now that they can come outside.
We’ve also put the first tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in the garden
There are flowers on the fruit trees, strawberries, and blueberries. Life is good…
Well there has been an explosion of flowers over the last two weeks. We are back to a more wintry cold and windy day today, but we have had some stunning sunny days which have moved us well into Spring. Perhaps nothing captures the change for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day so much as the Hellebores. The variety of shapes, sizes, and colors is remarkable. Here are a few examples
A little plant of Helleborus thibetanus is not to be missed.
The Camellias are all in fat bud or flowering at the moment.
It’s also the time for the daffodils to begin all over our hillside. One of the pleasures of each year are the small clumps in the woods.
Also in the woods are couple nice Scilla that are fun to come upon.
Like the Daffodils they are not bothered by the animals and are gradually expanding.
There are a number of Iris histroides in flower now.
This last is a new addition from Odyssey Bulbs.
The cyclamen coum have been a real pleasure this year. We had never had spring cyclamen before.
The first of the Hepaticas is out in bloom.
The first Glory of the Snow are also making their appearance
They run wild in our pasture and there will be many more on the way.
Back in the alpine area I was pleased to see the Dionysia make a very early appearance
In the same trough is a Saxifrage that is not far behind.
On the sunny side of the alpine beds the Draba hispanica is moving rapidly through flowering
Right next to the Draba the Aubrieta is beginning to flower with many buds visible as well.
And the small Asphodelus that I acquired from John Lonsdale is coming into flower as well.
And in the greenhouse there are rampant pleasures as the plants imagine that we live in the tropics.Amaryllis Green-Red
And then finally a spectacular Ferraria
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.
Meanwhile the first of the spring camellias is blooming again.
Some of the other flowers around the yard are pretty reliable participants in the late winter/early spring bloom.
But it’s worth noting that we have never seen this red heather blooming persistently over the winter.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen flower buds on the Cyclamen coum in January.
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.
In the greenhouse we have more Narcissus showing up. This is a particularly nice one (note the buds yet to open)
We have also decided (in response to Covid) to upgrade our basement lighting and get an early start on the planting year.
And as a result here are the little plants from the seeds that I planted last week on my birthday…
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.
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.
And there is also a little ice plant that is flowering way out of season.
You can see white tips on the snowdrops and the adonis are also coming into bud.
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.
And there is also the beautiful wavy-flowered Nerine undulata still flowering after more than a month of bloom.
We have put up our traditional live Christmas tree, this time a Canaan Fir.
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.
We are still in an extended Fall season that has been remarkably temperate. The weatherman says we could have frost any day now, but meanwhile we (and the plants) have been enjoying the mild weather. The prettiest flowers for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day are the Fall Camellias. Not only do they have the wonderful evergreen leaves, but the flowers are lovely and pickable for further reflection in the house.
This particular camellia is particularly rewarding because I cut it way back and was ready to remove it after a hard freeze when I noticed a little green shoot coming out. It’s now almost to the size it was originally and is covered with buds.
A bit more surprising is to see a flower on one of the Spring camellias.
This will get blasted when that frost comes along.
As you go about the yard it’s hard not to notice the wonderful color of the Japanese maples this year.
And the green patterns on the cyclamen are also very striking.
In the front yard the yellow corydalis has continued its unabated flowering.
Back in the vegetable garden the annuals are still flowering, though running out of steam.
Most striking by far are the calendulas.
And the greenhouse has offered up a South African native Nerine.
As a side note, I tried growing Leonotis this year after seeing it in flower just last year for the first time. I was looking forward to that mane of orange yellow flowers that you can see in the catalogs. Unfortunately it looks as though, even with our long season this year, we may not have enough time to see the flowers before frost.
So my plan is to see if this South African native will grow back from the roots next spring and maybe get an earlier start. Stay tuned.