At this time of year you can go to most places along the potomac watershed and see hosts of bluebells (Mertensia virginica). Our favorite bluebell hot spot is the Worthington Farm, a part of the Monocacy National Battlefield, that is about 2 miles from our house. The trail down to the river runs through a woodland that is covered with spring beauties (Claytonia virginica).
Note the pink stamens.
The path to the bluebells also has many star of Bethlehem
When you get to the river the annual explosion of bluebells is very difficult to capture in the camera lens.
Note how high the river is after a thunderstorm in the mountains the night before.
Individually the bluebells usually have pink buds that turn to blue, but they can be pink or even white.
In any case it’s a great time to go out a see the wildflowers, in addition to growing your own…:)
As I was gathering up pictures for this post, I found it hard to stay focussed on the task. Each image I came across seemed to lead me down a path of ‘what was the name of that flower?’. I clearly need a garden elf who goes around checking on labels. Anyway, let me begin by saying April is, as always, a time of flower abundance so that Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is necessarily a picking and choosing of which flowers to display. The daffodils are everywhere and their fragrance dominates the inside of the house and all of the gardens. But it is also a time to revel in the Hellebores who, though they started much earlier, have not gone away at all.
In contrast, it is worth noting that this is the peak time for the spring ephemerals which clamor to be appreciated for their very short time on the stage. They are generally around for just a few days at most and require getting down on your hands and knees to see the wonderful details.
A longer lasting springtime favorite is the Roadrunner trillium.
In the orchard and the woods the cherries are in bloom.
And alpine bed and troughs feature some distinctive flowers that are not usually part of the Maryland landscape.
Inside the house, the clivia is trying hard to make us focus on indoor flowers.
And lastly, since I am well past the normal posting time, let me close with the latest Cypripedium that we added from this year’s visit to Plant Delights. It’s a ahead of it’s season because I’ve just taken it from the greenhouse.
Beth and son Josh dyed Easter eggs yesterday to continue a tradition going back many years. No little kids around this weekend but we can pretend.
The first week of April is a great time for the spring ephemerals. It seems like everything wants to come out the ground at once following the winter doldrums. I am especially fond of hepaticas and they are in the midst of their bloom cycle right now.
This is a particularly large flowered hepatica that I got several years ago from Seneca Hill Perennials (now closed).
Also in flower is a lovely pink seedling from Hillside Nursery.
A few years ago I got a pink seedling from Thimble Farms that has lovely purple stamens. It’s very hard to photograph because the slightest breeze will set it to vibrating.
I’ve also noticed that one of the american hepaticas has a very nice pink cast to it.
There are more hepaticas still emerging. Meanwhile their friends the corydalis are popping up around the yard.
One of Janis Ruksan’s best corydalis is Gunite, named after his wife.
A rather special flower is the Fritillaria stenanthera.
It is unlike any other Fritillaria that we have.
The flowers point outward and are individually quite lovely. It seems to be thriving outside.
Right beside it is a very nice adonis. This was apparently a spot that I thought was exceptional because I put two rather nice plants in about the same place. We will let them work it out.
Of course my go-to Adonis for distinctive variety is always Adonis ‘Sandansaki’.
In it’s early stage it has only a small green bud in the midst of a yellow flower. By the end, it’s pretty much all green lion’s mane.
It has three buds this year, the most ever.
Other yellow highlights are in the troughs and the alpine beds.
This one sits in the small trough by the back door.
The Draba acaulis is in one of the large troughs by the door to the greenhouse. Nearby is a pasque flower getting ready to emerge.
Reliably scattered around the yard are Primula vulgaris to reflect the way they are found in the wild in England.
And of course I’ve not mentioned the daffodils all over the place or the Hellebores that are everywhere — but that’s another story…
The greenhouse has been celebrating the oncoming springtime with a celebration all its own. All those South African plants that don’t really make it on the outside in Maryland are just having fine time in the greenhouse. Everyone that opens up is another surprise when I go out to the greenhouse.
Speaking of surprises I need to resolve the nocturnal dilemma that I mentioned in my last posting. I had asked for an ID for the lovely white flowers that surprised me by opening only at night. As it turns out I got two helpful replies that pointed toward Hesperantha cucullata. I followed up by looking at the NARGS seed distribution for 2013 where I had gotten the mislabeled seed and found that there was Hesperantha falcata in the distribution. I looked at the characteristics of the flower and I think this is the most probable identification. However, Mary Sue Ittner notes that H. cucullata is frequently mislabeled as H. falcata. At her suggestion I took the flowers into the house where we could observe the after dark behavior. It turns out that they gradually opened as the night progressed, being fully open after about 9pm, with a gradually increasing jasmine-like fragrance that peaked about 2am. It’s a wonderful plant.
I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Florida to photograph birds and many of the outside springtime flowers are beginning to come out. But just to finish the greenhouse theme, let me share some of the other greenhouse flowerings that have occurred.
And then to close with two of the Ferrarias.