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 March 2020

Camellia japonica double pink

Well, I’m super late at posting this month for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day but I’m sure everyone on the planet is aware of all the extraneous forces gobbling up our time and attention.  We returned from a botany tour in Spain and Portugal just under the wire from the border closings and we’re now under self-imposed quarantine while we enjoy the flowering bounty that we found here in Maryland.  The camellia’s are particularly abundant.  I’ve never seen all five of our japonicas blooming at the same time before and with so many flowers!

Camellia japonica double pink

Camellia japonica double pink

Camellia japonica double white

Likewise the Hellebores are enthusiastically greeting the spring.

Hellebore double pink

Helleborus double white

Some of the Helleborus flowers are really exceptional.

Helleborus ‘Peppermint Ice’

Helleborus x hybridus PDN double bicolor

The daffodils are the other mainstay for this season, though it seems like they are all coming at once.

Narcissus ‘Little Gem’

40 year-old planting of King Alfred’s

Narcissus ‘Edinburgh’ on orchard hill

Narcissus ‘Tropical Sunset’

The daffodils on our hillside number into the thousands by now and they are seem to be having a great year.

The star magnolia is always a sign that springtime is here and it’s almost two weeks ahead of last year’s blooming.

Magnolia stellata

As I walk about the yard there are lots of smaller joys of springtime as well.

Iris unguicularis

Ipheion uniflorum ‘Tessa’

Mukdenia rossii ‘Karasuba’

Jeffersonia dubia

Primula vulgaris

Corydalis solida ‘Gunite’

Haquetia

The glory of the snow has its little blue flowers all over our pasture and woods at this point.  But I planted a few of the selected cultivar in the perennial garden and they are quite showy.

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’

Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Pink Giant’

And a very special little Fritillaria always garners my attention.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

When I look at the alpine beds and troughs there are some really special things showing up. Dionysia are happier in Turkey and usually our winters don’t work for them outside on the East Coast, but this one came through just fine.

Dionysia aretioides

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter’

This is a new tulip for me obtained from Odyssey Bulbs last year.  Notice the very crinkled foliage.

Tulipa vvedenskyi

And from John Lonsdale I got a marvelous compact Asphodelus.

Asphodelus acaulis

Paradoxically, even as the springtime is bursting forth with flowers we are getting an outpouring of flowers in the greenhouse, some of which just have to be brought inside.

Green Amaryllis

Clivia in the House

Yellow Clivia in the House

But there are also many other little items in the greenhouse.

Scilla peruviana white

Freesia ‘Red River’

Sparaxis Hadeco hybrid

Babiana rubrocyanea

Babiana purpurea

But probably the most unusual flowers in the greenhouse are the various Ferrarias.  They are the appropriate end to this extra-long posting.

Ferraria ferrariola

Ferraria punctata

Ferraria divaricata

 

 

Eranthis and the Daily Walkabout

Eranthis hyemalis

This is a wonderful time of year to watch the Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) emerge from their slumber.  They spread every year — into the grass and other parts of the garden.  But it’s a nice kind of spreading.  Hardly any other plants are doing anything at this time of year and in six weeks from now they will have disappeared till next year.  There are some other color forms of the winter aconite, either paler yellow or orange shades, but one of my strong desires has been to grow the white species, Eranthis Pinnatifida.  I got one flowering a few years ago, but it didn’t stay with us.  Nevertheless, the flower is so intriguing that I keep persisting.  I ordered one from Japan last fall and got it planted out in December.  I noticed on my daily stroll about the garden that It is growing but it looks like no flowers this year.

Eranthis pinnatifida from Japan

At the same time, and almost so small that i nearly missed it, I found a flowering Eranthis pinnatifida in a seeding pot that I had started in 2016 from seeds obtained from the NARGS seed exchange.

Eranthis pinnatifida

Not only was this little jewel growing but there was another little Eranthis in the same pot.  So hope spring eternal someone once said.

The seed exchanges are a wonderful introduction to new plants that you will never see in a commercial catalog.  My package from the Alpine Garden society arrived just this week.

Seed Exchange package from the AGS

But I have already started many seeds obtained from NARGS, the SRGC, and individual seed vendors.

Seed Exchange plantings

Also in the greenhouse is the first of the Ferrarias to bloom this year.

Ferraria crispa

Ferrarias are very easy to grow and easily one of the most unusual flowers you will ever set eyes on.  The curls around the edge have a fractal quality to them.

I also just brought the first of many Scilla peruviana into the house to enjoy.

Scilla peruviana

But getting back to the daily walkabout, I would be remiss not to note that many crocus and snowdrops are appearing around the yard.

Crocus tommasinianus

And the first Primula is showing it’s flowers as well.

Primula vulgaris

Like the Winter Aconite, these are happy to spread into the lawn.

A more unusual spotting from the walkabout was to see the first pink color in one of the Saxifrages in a trough.

Saxifraga ‘Valerie Keevil’

This little jewel flowered in April last year.

And I also noticed in the alpine bed that one of the Callianthemums from Japan that I planted in December has a bud on it!

Callianthemum miyabeanum

These plants are really hard to find in the U.S. and my thanks to Yuzawa Engei for the wonderful packing to get it here.

 

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

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day December 2019

Camellia sasanqua hybrid

Well this GBBD posting is almost like an advertisement for camellias.  The winter has been very mild so far and not only are the fall camellias doing what they are supposed to do, but the spring camellias are getting into the act too.

Fall Camellia white

Red Fall Camellia

Red Spring Camellia starting to bloom

In addition I found this morning, for the first time, a bloom on a camellia japonica x sasanqua hybrid that we have been growing for several years.

Camellia x ‘Yume’

There aren’t a lot of other flowers out for December so the camellias really steal the show.  Here are few things I noticed.

Euphorbia still in bloom

Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’

Japanese Quince

The greenhouse has a few things to put forward besides the oxalis which continue to bloom

Freesia fucata

And the very first narcissus of the season

Narcissus catabricus ‘Silver Palace’

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day November 2019

Camellia sasanqua

Let me open this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post with the Fall Camellia shown above.  We’ve had a few frosts so most of the outdoor flowers are gone, but the camellias persist and will take any few days of sunshine to blossom some more buds.  There even buds on the red Fall Camellia which has not flowered for five years, ever since I cut it way back after what I mistakenly thought was a killing freeze.

Red Fall Camellia

There are only a couple of other outside plants in flower including a remnant Fall Crocus which is arriving way after its brethren.

Fall Crocus

Note to file — plant more Fall Crocus next year.

In one of the troughs that I inherited from Terry Partridge has a sedum that sends up a vertical spike that starts out white and then turns red after the frost hits it.

Sedum in trough before frost

Sedum in trough after frost

Still attractively in flower in either case.

For other flowers we need to go inside.

The Amazon Lily is flowering again which it does at least twice a year for us.

Amazon Lily

It’s been in the same pot with minimal care for decades.  We really should give it a transplant.

Another star of the show came in from the greenhouse.

Nerine undulata

I really like the Nerines in general, but this one has a particularly attractive flower that has been with us for at least 2 weeks now.

I’ve also brought in a little cyclamen that is expanding out of its current pot.

Cyclamen hederifolium ‘Perlenteppich’

The leaves are just remarkable.

Also in the greenhouse is the usual assortment of oxalis and this coloful Bulbine.

Bulbine frutescens

Finally a Moraea to round out the show.

Moraea polystachys

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day October 2019

Lycoris radiata

A total surprise for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is this lovely Lycoris.  It started blooming last week and I almost missed it because it’s been terribly dry and not very rewarding to check out the growing things.  In general it’s been more a case of survival with less than a 1/4 inch of rain in September and only just now getting a few drops.

We can still count on the annual zinnias, marigolds, and cosmos, but we’re definitely on the light side for flowers right now.  

The Nasturtium in Beth’s raised bed have been putting on quite a show.

Very happy Nasturtium

A couple of the perennials that reliably show up, even with drought are shown below.

Japanese anemone ‘Whirlwind’

Tricyrtis ‘Sinonome’

And a first time plant for us that may or not be perennial is the Cestrum.

Cestrum x ‘Orange Peel’

This flowers all during the growing season in our area.  And it just keeps getting bigger.

There are also some lovely flowers still hanging on the Hydrangea by the back porch.

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

One of the troughs that I inherited from a member of the Potomac Valley Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society has a delectable little Sedum growing in it.

Sedum cauticola (?)

I noticed in the alpine bed several flowers on one of the Daphnes, and that seems quite out of season.

Daphne collina x cneorum

Also in the alpine bed the Sculletaria continues to flower, as it has all year long.

Scutellaria resinosa

In the greenhouse itself, there is a marvelous little gloxinia-looking plant from Bolivia.

Seemannia nematanthodes

The color on this little beauty is really remarkable.

And just outside the greenhouse is a little Zephyranthes that has jumped ship into the alpine bed.

Zephyranthes sp. escapee

Speaking of escapees the grass in the orchard has all of a sudden become Japanese stiltgrass.  This is an almost total takeover in one year.  It’s quite beautiful, but definitely invasive.

Japanese stiltgrass

I did mow it after taking pictures.  Ideally one does this before it sets seeds for next year.