Crocus are always a sign of springtime. These were planted a few years ago and they continue to multiply each year. I am frequently struck by how nice the singular color looks compared to the easter egg approach that I took for years.
Nearby is the Crocus ‘Ruby Giant’ which has been clipped by the rabbits (I think) in one of the plantings).
A very early bloomer for us every year is the common English Primrose.
We planted a number of these after a trip to England in 2008. Now each of those has become a clump that is easily divided into many plants. I split one into about 15 plants last week. I like the plain species rather than the various hybrids derived from the species.
In the woods we now have our best early Daffodil.
These tiny little guys are very hardy and naturalizing nicely. And they are dependably early. Nearby the Puschkinia continue to make a statement in the woods.
I think it’s also worth sharing the Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ again as it moves through its multi-stage flowering.
In the greenhouse a newcomer is the Sparaxis grown from seed distributed through the Pacific Bulb Society.
The entire greenhouse is awash in the fragrance of orange blossoms right now.
Our first little Hepatica is in bloom right now (a small white Hepatica japonica) but what I found even more striking was in a visit to my eldest son in Boston, I’ve seen flowers on the Hepaticas in his cold frame. Boston itself is still weeks behind us, but in the cold frame I would say the Hepaticas are at least a week ahead of us. These particular Hepaticas are seedlings of Hepatica japonica cultivars grown from seeds he obtained from Denmark three years ago. They show some of the range of unusual flower color and quality that are rarely offered for sale in the U.S. These are small but beautiful gems that speak for themselves.
My own first year seedlings from the same grower are just now coming up in Maryland so these are sort of surprises I have to look forward to in two more years.
Well, I’m late with posting this month for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, but the flowers have been popping out and I’ve been enjoying the outside for a change. The Iris above is part of hundreds of bulbs that were added to the new Monolith garden last fall. So far this the first one to flower besides the snowdrops and winter aconite. Out in the front yard the winter aconite continue to spread, even creeping into the grass.
These all started with just a handful of bulbs. They individually very pretty but as a mass they are striking. Even the early bees are appreciative.
Anyone who is curious about Eranthis should see the January issue of the International Rock Gardener, which was dedicated to Eranthis. If you are not familiar with the IRG it an online resource on the Scottish Rock Garden Club site with spectacular images and descriptions of unusual flowers.
The crocus are all over the lawn now as evidenced by this lovely example.
A few Hellebores are open but mostly they are in the plump bud stage where they are also beautiful.
In the woods I see that the Puschkinia are lighting up the path.
I always forget how early they are.
In one of the troughs a little Draba is beginning to flower.
I should have mentioned also that the house still has some spectacular flowers, none more striking that this Yellow Clivia.
There is also a new Moraea flowering in the greenhouse that I’ve never seen before. The Moraeas tend to have wonderful detailed coloration when you look at them closely.
This one came from small bulbs distributed by the Pacific Bulb Society last July.
Let me close with some more images of truly unusual flowers that I’ve written about in recent posts.
It’s a great time of year!
Three Ferraria crispas are blooming in the greenhouse right now. Each show the finely curled leaves that characterize the genus with much darker coloring than the ferrariola that bloomed earlier. This one came from Annie’s Annuals marked as Ferraria ferrariola which it clearly is not. Even within the species though there seems to be a fair amount of variation.
This ‘form B’ is from Telos Rare Bulbs and it has both lighter coloring and smaller flowers.
Another South African Bulb blooming in the greenhouse right now is Spiloxene capensis.
It has 2″ plus sized flowers that open during sunshine and last for several days. Of much shorter duration are the small Romulea rosea (grown from seed) where you have to be really observant if you want to see them while the flower is doing it’s thing.
Makes you wonder how that evolved as an evolutionary trait.
There is also a Babiana from seed that has been blooming for a couple of weeks now.
I should note that the Greenhouse has also produced some delightful clementines for us over the past month.
They don’t look like much on the outside but they’ve been very tasty.
It’s been a long cold winter so it was really nice to see that the Gymnospermiums that I planted last September are really hardy. These flower buds have been above the ground for the last 8 weeks during which we’ve had many nights with single digit temperatures . However this particular Gymnospermium come from Uzbekistan and seem not to have noticed the cold weather. This is a herbaceous relative of the Mahonia and you can see the flower similarity with the chain of buds forming. Its neighbor in the Alpine bed is also showing its first flowers.
The flowers on Gymnospermium darwasicum are somewhat smaller but to my eye maybe even prettier. This one comes from Tajikistan and seems equally unfazed by the temperatures.
I’ve just returned from 10 days in North Carolina and Florida (flowers, birds, and spring training). On my way I stopped at Plant Delights and took advantage of their open house again.
When I got home the Washington area was recovering from yet another week of snow and ice.
Since then we’ve had some very nice days in the 50’s and 60’s and the springtime parade is starting. The snowdrops are reaching their peak now with many clumps from previous years getting denser.
And of course the Winter Aconite are always an early contributor to springtime flowers.
These two are pretty dependable regulars. But what caught my eye this week was the little pink exquisite flower from Helleborus thibetanus.
This wonderful little springtime ephemeral was unknown to western gardens until the 1990’s and it’s still pretty unusual. The history of it’s rediscovery is journaled by Graham Rice. It’s much smaller than other Hellebores and the wonderfully fringed leaves will completely disappear after flowering takes place. I bought this one at Pine Knot Farms last spring and I’ve no idea where you would find another this year but It’s well worth looking for.
I was really pleased to see that one bud of my Adonis amurensis ‘Sandansaki’ still remains.
It’s by far my favorite Adonis and because of the multi-petaled character it doesn’t set any seed — so I’m dependent on the plant expanding underground…