A very belated GBBD posting. I returned from a week in Florida to find that the spring had not really moved along very far in my absence. There were a number of the regulars in flower, but since the weather has now delivered one of the heaviest snowstorms of the winter, it’s probably just as well that some of the plants waited a little longer. The Hellebore pictured above is one of many of it’s clan in bloom, but it’s one of my favorites.
The crocus are fully in bloom now.
This particular clump under the cherry tree expands every year. Unlike some of the species crocus which seem to lag from competition with each other.
Another spectacular tommy that I’ve lost the name of is this striped variety.
The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.
It’s interesting to note that the Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’ which is very compact and close to the ground in the Alpine bed is taller and quite lovely in one of the humus-filled garden beds.
Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.
Also making an early spring entry are the little Hacquetia. The noticable parts are the big bracts whereas the flowers are the little tiny yellow guys.
One of my favorite plants for early spring are the Primrose vulgaris. There is nothing common or vulgar about these little yellow/white flowers spreading every year.
Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.
I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.
In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.
And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.
In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.
Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.
One of the greenhouse plants we can’t overlook is the Portuguese Squill. It’s a real enjoyment to watch it go through it’s flowering.
And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.
For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow. Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.
At this time of year a number of the South African bulbs come to help us anticipate spring. One of the lovely surprises each spring is Hesperantha falcata. This little member of the Iris family has a common name of bontrokkie (little colourful dress) in Afrikaans. It has the very peculiar ritual of closing up in the daytime and then slowly opening in evening to be fully open at night. For a couple of years I only saw it in bud until I happened to be in the greenhouse one evening. When it is fully open it has a marvelous strong and pleasing scent. The bud has a very distinctive red striping as shown above. When it opens the flowers are a brilliant white (I’ve also seen references to it as the Evening Star Flower which is a good name).
But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).
Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri
This sometimes called sweet garlic or pink agapanthus and it’s also quite fragrant. Both of the South Africans came from the Pacific Bulb Society’s exchange program.
Meanwhile in the outside play areas we have the first daffodil – Ta Da! Clearly a sign of spring.
Can’t be certain of which variety but it is most likely ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’
And the Eranthis are flowering up a storm in the front bed
They are making a serious attempt to move into the grass this year.
There are number of Hellebores making their presence known. More and more they remind me of small azaleas with a much longer season of bloom. One that I like for early bloom is Winter’s Song.
It has the nice attribute of looking sideways and upward as opposed to the hanging bells of many hellebores.
Also in the backyard are quite a number of these dwarf Iris.
Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.
This came from the North American Rock Garden Society Seed Exchange Program in 2016.
And nearby to it is a rather special fritillaria coming into bloom
And as my grandson would say ‘Very special’, just because you have read to the end of this posting, here is a lovely Hepatica, well ahead of it’s relatives.