Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2021

Delospermum cooperii

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

Peony ‘Sweet Shelly’

Itoh Peony ‘Morning Lilac’

Our row of bearded Iris is very happily blooming.

Pink Bearded Iris

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.

Rhododendron in the Camellias

Rhododendron ‘Chionoides’

Azalea Exbury hybrid ‘Klondyke’

I’ve particularly liked the compact and floriferous Calanthe discolor, a reliable favorite from the orchid family.

Calanthe discolor

The best of the Clematis remains Niobe though there are number of others in bloom

Clematis ‘Niobe’

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.

Strawberries starting fruit

And in the orchard there are oh so many peaches, pears, and apples getting started.

Peaches coming along

Back in the alpine bed we have a number of nice items happening.

Alpine Daisy

Lewisia cotyledon

Ornithogalum exscapum amidst the Antennaria and Arnebia (Pussytoes and Sandwort)

Particularly nice is a little rock rose that I got from Wrightman’s Alpines last year after seeing them in the wild in Spain.

Cistus albanicus

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.

Evening light

Sunset

Path to small orchard

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2021

Rhododendron carolinianum

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.

Kwanzan Cherry in first bloom

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.

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’

Epimedium x rubrum ‘Sweetheart’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilac Seedling’

Another Epimedium that I like a lot is the Wushanense variety with its red leaves and white flowers.

Epimedium wushanense ‘Sandy Claws’

There are also several instances of Erythronium cultivars that add to the explosion of Trout lilies that surround the deck.

Erythronium californicum ‘White Beauty’

There are several spots where we have lovely clumps of star flowers

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Tessa’

In addition to the Peonies that are imitating being in flower because of the falling quince flowers, there are other Peonies almost in flower.

Peony with imitation red flowers

Paeonia caucasica

The first of the Arisaema and Podophyllum are poking through the ground.

Flower buds on Podophyllum delavayii

Especially nice was to see a return of the very rare Podophyllum x inexpectatum which I thought we had lost to animals.

Podophyllum x inexpectatum

The Camellias continue to dominate the flowering landscape

Red/white camellia

So many camellias

A new addition is the Loropetalum (marginally hardy for our area)

Loropetalum newly added to herb bed

I should not forget the Adonis vernalis which wraps up our Adonis flowering

Adonis vernalis

And the Iris tuberosa which has a nice flowering this year

Iris tuberosa

One of my favorite small troughs features a very nice dwarf Daphne

Daphne in one of the small troughs

Daphne detail

If we go back to the alpine bed the reliable Armeria is nearing peak bloom growing out of tufa rock

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

And back in the forest there are many daffodils and the first of the Jack-in-a-Pulpit

Narcissus ‘Chromacolor’ in the woods

First jack-in-a-pulpit in the woods

In the greenhouse it is Spring in South Africa

Tritoma crocata

Ferraria divaricata

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.

Salad greens brought from the basement

We’ve also put the first tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in the garden

Tomatoes from basement

There are flowers on the fruit trees, strawberries, and blueberries.  Life is good…

Flowers on the blueberries

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2021

Helleborus in profusion

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

Helleborus ‘Kingston Cardinal’

Helleborus Ice N’ Roses Red

Hellebore white/pink double

Helleborus x lemonnierae ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

A little plant of Helleborus thibetanus is not to be missed.

Helleborus thibetanus

The Camellias are all in fat bud or flowering at the moment.

Double Pink Camellia japonica

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.

Narcissus ‘Little Gem’

Also in the woods are couple nice Scilla that are fun to come upon.

White Squill in the woods

Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea’

Like the Daffodils they are not bothered by the animals and are gradually expanding.

There are a number of Iris histroides in flower now.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Iris histroides ‘Finio’

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.

Cyclamen coum

The first of the Hepaticas is out in bloom.

Hepatica x media

The first Glory of the Snow are also making their appearance

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

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

Dionysia involucrata

In the same trough is a Saxifrage that is not far behind.

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

On the sunny side of the alpine beds the Draba hispanica is moving rapidly through flowering

Draba hispanica

Right next to the Draba the Aubrieta is beginning to flower with many buds visible as well.

Aubrieta ‘Royal Red’

And the small Asphodelus that I acquired from John Lonsdale is coming into flower as well.

Asphodelus acaulis

And in the greenhouse there are rampant pleasures as the plants imagine that we live in the tropics.Amaryllis Green-Red

Scilla peruviana

Lachenalia unicolor

And then finally a spectacular Ferraria

Ferraria crispa

 

 

 

 

 

Our 2020 Christmas

Snow came in mid-December for us and lasted on the ground until Christmas

This was the first snow we’ve had this year and indeed the first really cold weather.

The snow was the first we’ve had in quite some time and led to good opportunities for sledding

We have about a 600 foot run down the pasture which gives a long walk up the slope for exercise

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.

An ancient nativity set

The potted rosemary has lights in the front hallway

A good friend gave us this small Christmas tree which comes out before Christmas

Two friends who miss the grandkids

Greens and Reds await Christmas

Stuffed animals and the greens

A cardinal and wreath

Pewter mice from Malaysia

The mantle dressed in green

Cuttings from the Japanese Quince

Christmas tree at night

Nerine x ‘Pink Triumph’ comes in from the greenhouse

Sunflower seed cookies

Christmas tree on Christmas morning

Enjoying Christmas morning with the rest of the family in Massachusetts

An Exhausted Christmas Elf

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

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!

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day June 2020

Asiatic Lily ‘Netty’s Pride’

Well there are many flowers blooming for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but the lilies have captured my attention.  These are just the first of the lilies coming down the pike but they capture the eye when you walk about the yard.  Besides ‘Netty’s Pride’, another contender for attention is this additional Asiatic hybrid.

Asiatic Lily ‘Forever Susan’

In Beth’s herb bed we have a brilliant yellow whose name has long since passed.

Yellow Asiatic Lily in the Herb bed

Then there also the Martagon lilies with their clustered flowers.

Martagon Lily ‘Arabian Knight’

Martagon Lily ‘Claude Shride’

This last one is a striking red.  So much so even in the catalog that I have already ordered more for planting this fall even before I saw this one in bloom.  We are beginning to attribute such actions to covid-brain around here…

A lily-wannabe that is pretty in its own right is the Alstromeria ‘Sweet Laura’.

Alstromeria ‘Sweet Laura’

Among the other highlights are two gentians with lovely blue flowers

Gentiana dahurica

Gentiana septemfida (Summer Gentian)

And then there is this Asclepias cultivar with stunning clusters of bright yellow flowers.

Asclepias tuberosa ‘Hello Yellow’

Nearby is Hypericum having one of its most floriferous years ever.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum calycinum)

In many places we have triteleia showing up from plantings that go back many years.

Triteleia laxa ‘Queen fabiola’

And for a spot of orange we added a little calceolaria this year from Sequim Rare Plants out in Washington State.  I’m sure it’s not hardy here, but worth the experiment.

Calceolaria integrifolia ‘Kentish Hero’

A delightful surprise was to see the pointy little head of the arisaema candidissimum finally show up.

Arisaema candidissimum emerging

Every year I am at the point of giving up on this plant given that many other arisaemas have long since put up there leaves.  And then lo and behold, up it comes.  And it’s relative in lateness arisaema fargesii arose the next day.  Both are stunning arisaemas and well worth the wait.

Of course it’s important to add that around here fruit and vegetables are dominating the gardening scene.  We’ve been picking strawberries for three weeks and now the raspberries and blueberries are bursting forth.

Raspberries coming ripe

We also have cherries from the wild trees in the forest.

Wild Cherries in our woods

We figure these are seedling planted by the birds from our original orchard trees (and they are now 30-40 ft tall).  I picked some from the best tree today.

Best Wild Cherry Tree

 

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2020

First Bearded Iris of the season

Well here we are in mid-May for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day in what will be a memorable year for everyone.  Gardening supplies are selling out everywhere as people to turn to something they can do at home.  At the same time the season has numerous variable weather days ranging from a very early springtime to an actual freeze on May 9th, something I’ve never seen here before.

Ice off of tarp

We covered the raised bed with tarps and when it rained overnight we found sheets of ice on the tarps in the morning.  Oddly enough not a single plant was harmed in the process.

There are so many flowers everywhere it is hard to know where to start.  The front circle bed abounds with allium that have been spreading all around the garden in between penstemon and centaurea.

Front bed with alliums

Centaurea montana

Also in the front yard we have a self-expanding garden of wood poppies.

Wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

And near by are their white-colored friends.

Snow Poppy (Eomecom chionantha)

Both are willing to spread everywhere but I try to limit them to the front yard where the deer will occasionally browse.

In the back yard the tree peonies have been magnificent.

White Tree Peony

White Tree Peony

Even one of the species peonies is still blooming.

Paonia obovata

We are beginning to see the first of the Itoh and herbaceous peonies.

Peony ‘Scarlet O’Hara’

In addition to the bearded Iris at the beginning of this post there is the regular blooming of the Japanese Roof Iris and a delightful new small yellow Pacific Coast Hybrid that I got this year from Sequim Rare Plants.

Japanese Roof Iris (Iris tectorum)

PCH Iris ‘Mandalay Bay’

The Rhododendrons are making their annual appearance.

Exbury hybrid Azalea ‘Gibraltar’

Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’

This last one is a particular favorite.  The glorious scent wafts onto the deck all day long.  It has a wonderful history going back to the mid-1800’s (see this detailed write-up from the American Rhododendron Society.

Rhododendron ‘Viscosepala’

This is also the time of year when the various podophyllums are putting out their flowers.

Podophyllum pleianthum

Podophyllum pleianthum flower

Podophyllum delavayi

Podophyllum delavayi flower

Then there are various treasures to be found around the yard.  These are things I would be sure to point out if we touring together.

Glaucidium palmatum

Calochortus splendens ‘Cupido’

Iris gracilipes

Scilla peruviana

Normally this Scilla is very iffy for us outside but we had such a mild winter it has come out flowering as if were at home in the mediterranean.

Allium nevskianum

Disporum cantoniense ‘Night Heron’

Looking back through the monument bed we see a fully flowering Delaware Valley White

Path in monument garden

and a special aquilegia

Aquilegia buergeriana

Ending back at the Alpine bed we see a very robust flowering of one of the clumps of dianthus

Alpine bed, south side

Dianthus petraeus subsp. petraeus

Dianthus petraeus subsp. petraeus

Finally I will close with a new Edraianthus in a trough at the end of the greenhouse.

Edraianthus graminifolius

Stay healthy and garden well…

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.

 

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.