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.

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

 

Easter Surprises

Kwanzan Cherry

When the cherries are in bloom I am often reminded of this celebration of springtime.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

 

Now, of my three score years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

It only leaves me fifty more.

 

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.  — A.E. Housman

 

It’s the sort of enchanting notion that can get you out and about on an Easter morning.  And when I did so I was immediately rewarded by a visit from an Angel, Wuhan Angel to be specific.

Iris japonica ‘Wuhan Angel’

I’ve had a fitful relationship with the Iris Japonica because the other cultivar that I have is fairly aggressive and I’ve banned it to the shade garden reserved for thugs.  I haven’t seen blooms on it for years and I was thinking of taking it out of even that hidden spot until I saw this morning’s white angel and so I went back to check on it and found that it too is coming into bloom, probably by tomorrow, and it is appropriately named ‘Eco Easter’ courtesy of Plant Delights.

There were other benefits of this morning’s walk around the yard.

Two more Peonies had their first blossoms (P. caucausica bloomed last week)

Paeonia daurica subsp. mlokosewitschii (Molly the Witch) – no yellows around here…

Paeonia ostii

This is a spectacular species tree peony.

It’s also blooming time for the merry bells and fairy bells

Uvularia grandiflora (Bellwort or Merry Bells)

It’s easy to confuse these with the Disporum flavens (Fairy Bells) which blooms at the same time.  But an easy way to see the difference is to note that the flowering stem comes from within the leaf on the Uvularia.  The Disporum flavens is also simply more floriferous.

Disporum flavens (Yellow Fairy Bells)

Nearby the first of the arisaemas is getting ready to strut it’s stuff.

Arisaema ringens

And the white glaucidium is a dramatic addition.

Glaucidium palmatum ‘Album’

Under the Kousa Dogwood there is planting of tulips that is commanding attention right now.

Tulip ‘Yellow Spring Green’

Let me close this Easter message with a peek at the Alpine bed which is accented at the moment by a fully open display of Delosperma

Delosperma ‘Gold Nugget’ and friends (aubrieta, armeria, dryas, lewisia, and aethionema)

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day April 2019

Camellia pure white

Well, not only has spring jumped forward for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but it looks as though we are done with frost for this year, weeks in advance of the norm.  The Camellias have had a great run of bloom, producing more flowers than we could have imagined.

Camellia pink in abundance

The daffodils and hellebores have provided multiple pickings each day to feed the household vases.

Daily indoor spring flowers

Meanwhile, I go on a daily treasure hunt to see what has popped up from previous plantings.  Like the following little treasures.

Erythronium revolutum ‘White Beauty’

Ranzania japonica

Peltoboykinia watanabe

Primula kisoana

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Peppermint Ice’

Oxalis griffithii – Double Flowered

Trillium pusillum ‘Roadrunner’

And then there is the further development of plants I had noted in earlier posts, like this lovely anemonella

Anemonella ‘Green hurricane’

And the last of the adonis.

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

Of particular note are the bloodroots.

Sanguinaria multiplex

These last in flower much longer than the standard species.  Similarly, the new semi-double cultivar ‘Snow Cone’ is wonderful in the way that the flowers expand in size each day and lasts about as long as the double-flowered.

Sanguinaria ‘Snow Cone’ next to Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’

Sanguinaria canadensis Snow Cone’

This little beauty came from Garden Visions.

Then there are flowers in the troughs and alpine beds like this very tiny phlox.

Phlox sileniflora

and this colorful geum

Geum reptans

The dwarf columbine has it’s first flowers out

Aquilegia flabellata v. nana

And some of the flowers I’ve noted earlier have continued to expand.

Aubrieta ‘Blue Beauty’

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Raspberry’

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

There is also a very compact, low to the ground ornithogalum that I can’t put a name on at the moment (but it’s lovely even without a name)

Delightful ornithogalum in the alpine bed

Finally, I spent a couple of seasons trying to trace down a single pink anemonella, and I finally have one that is blooming very nicely.

Anemonella ‘Single Pink’

April Delights

Daffodils in conversation

There are so many things happening in the yard right now that it is difficult to keep track of them all.  I feel light the perennial puppy dog jumping from one delightful surprise to the other.  To begin with the daffodils are exploding in the yard, on the hillside, and in the forest.  It seems like a particularly bountiful year for these stellar performers that get ignored by browsing animals.

Narcissus ‘Tropical Sunset’

And the big Magnolia Stellata is fully in bloom

Magnolia stellata

The Hellebores are everywhere with their spectacular but mostly downward facing blooms

Double flowered White Hellebore

Helleborus Double-White

Hellebore double purple

But what really engages me in the spring are the smaller ephemerals that mostly have short but lovely blooming cycle.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Eyes’

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Eyes’

Hepatica light pink

Hepatica nobilis white

Sanguinaria multiplex

Hacquetia epipactis

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

Corydalis solida ‘Gunite’

One of my favorite Corydalis is ‘Beth Evans’

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

It was delightful to see that not only has this Corydalis seeded itself into the neighboring pathway but it’s also 15 feet away under the holly tree.

I was somewhat surprised that a couple of the Adonis are coming up much later than their brethren.

Adonis amurensis ‘Beni Nadeshiko’

Adonis amurensis ‘Pleniflora’

And my favorite, Adonis amurensis Sandanzaki, is only just now coming into bud.  

The alpine beds and troughs also have some early spring flowers in bloom.

Aubrieta ‘Royal Red’

Pulsatilla grandis

Aethionema saxatile

This little Burnt Candytuft was planted in tufa, but has jumped ship and is appearing in various places in the alpine bed.  

Nearby is a really nice little sea thrift obligingly staying put on the tufa.

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

Nearby is a very early blooming Lewisia

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Raspberry’

Two years ago I acquired a nice little Draba from Oliver nurseries that is forming a nice compact mound.

Draba rigida

A surprise to me this year was a little Saxifrage that came from Wrightman’s Alpines two years ago.

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

It’s growing in a very protected location on the shady side of an eastern-facing trough and if it flowered last year I totally missed it.

I shouldn’t ignore the greenhouse which continues to produces some South African gem every week.  The latest is a 2 1/2 foot tall Ixia that came from the Pacific Bulb Society last fall.

Ixia hybrid

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Edgeworthia by the front road.

Edgeworthia chrysantha

It seems they are much hardier in Maryland than I expected.  

Finally I need to share an example of the Camellias which also prove to be much hardier than one should really anticipate.

Camellia japonica Pink with dozens of flower buds.

Now it’s time to go out into the yard and see what else is blooming.

 

Alpine Success

Papaver alpinum

Five years ago I had the notion of building a 3 foot by 14 foot raised bed on the side of the greenhouse that would simulate alpine conditions with a well draining stony soil that was over 2 feet deep.  You have to work at it to convince alpines to be happy in the Maryland climate.  The construction was long and hard.  Just moving 84 cubic feet of soil is a chore.  But I was more that pleased with the result (think of it as a giant trough).  Things which were difficult to grow now became rambunctious.  Although the bed was fast draining, it also retained moisture well so that watering was not a big issue.  I built the bed on the shady side of the greenhouse and discovered that while that worked well for some things my notion of the Aubreita cascading over the wall didn’t work because, strangely enough, it grew towards the sun which was on the other side of the greenhouse.  So I have begun to tailor the planting on that side to things which were happy with a bit of shade, such as a couple of nice dwarf Rhododendrons.

Rhododendron ‘Ginny Gee’

Meanwhile there a number of plants like the dwarf Aruncus and two Daphnes that seem to be very happy.

Alpine bed on the shady side

In the meantime I decided to build a second Alpine Bed on the other side of the greenhouse which have a sunnier outlook.  I finished that construction project last year and this is the second growing season for the sunny side.  There have been a number of successes for that side and the latest is seeing the little Alpine Poppy for the first time yesterday.

Papaver alpinum

This came from seed obtained from the Scottish Rock Garden Society‘s annual seed exchange in 2017.  I got only this single plant from the seeding and it sat quite tiny and unmoving through the 2017 season.  But I had read that it wants a cold winter before flowering and indeed this seems to be the case.  From the Poppy’s point of view it’s in a very appropriate mountain environment.

Alpine Poppy in the Alpine Bed

Overall the sunny Alpine Bed looks really nice as spring begins.

Alpine bed on the sunny side

The Stachys and the Aubreita show every sign of diving over the wall the way I had hoped.

Stachys lavandulifolius

Hidden amidst the Aubreita is a fabulous eye-catching group of ice plants

Delosperma congestum ‘Gold Nugget’

This is from the highest part of the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa and despite it’s succulent nature it is complete hardy here.  

Other happy residents of the sunny Alpine Bed are growing out of the tufa rock.

Aethionema saxitile

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

Suffice it to say I really enjoy the Alpine Beds!

Around the corner, at the front of the greenhouse is the first of my troughs with a now six year-old planting of Vitaliana, another alpine native.

Vitaliana primuliflora

Of course there is life outside of the Alpine beds, and I should share the posting on jewels in our garden from Dan Weil.  He spent last Saturday on his stomach crawling around the yard taking some very nice images of the little spring ephemerals in our yard.  Dan is an artist (paint and photography) with considerable talent and looking at other parts of his website is also rewarding.

In closing, the Kwanzan Cherry came into bloom yesterday, always a lovely milestone for the season.

Kwanzan Cherry

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.