Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day May 2018

Pink Rhododendron by the back fence

Well, I’m late for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day again, but my excuse is that I returned from California late in the day and I was lucky just to get some pictures much less get them posted.  The next day saw mammoth rain storms that have closed roads and bridges all over Frederick County.  At the moment we’ll just feel lucky that we live on the top of a hill.  Actually it’s not just luck.  We lived on a part of George Washington’s River Farm in our previous house complete with flooded basements so we compensated for that.  I think you are allowed to learn only one thing each time you move.  Anyway there were a few charmers in bloom when I got back, although a few hot days had accelerated through a few blooms.  As noted above the Pink Rhododendron above is one of our favorites.

Our best Rhododendron

It’s cousins, the Azaleas, are also showing magnificently.  Two particular examples are Exbury Hybrids.

Exbury Azalea ‘Gibraltar’

Exbury Azalea ‘Klondyke’

The first of the herbaceous Peonies is in bloom as well.

Peony ‘Sweet Shelly’

Two of the many Columbines are worth noting as well.

Aquilegia buergeriana var. oxysepala

Pink Columbine

Right nearby to the Pink Columbine is the first sighting of the Clematis ‘Niobe’ for the year.

Clematis ‘Niobe’

At the side of the garage is a very reliable Korean Lilac.  

Persistent Korean Lilac

We forgot about planting this one twice and assumed it was dead in dried out pot.  Each time it returned to life so I finally gave it a good home and it is happily blooming now.  Right next to it is a quite cute little Enkianthus that is blooming now.

Enkianthus alatus

One of my favorite rock garden plants is Edraianthus.  One is blooming in a little trough right now.

Edraianthus serpyllifolius

Edraianthus serpyllifolius in trough

Another Edraianthus just coming into bloom is one of the best cushion plants we have.

Edraianthus pumilio

Another trough specimen is the Silver Sax at the back door.

Sliver Sax in bloom (Saxifraga x ‘Southside Seedling’)

In the greenhouse a white-pink Bougainvillea is fully in bloom.

White-Pink Bougainvillea

Time to move this one outside.

Also there is a Zephyranthus with pretty notable color.

Zephyranthes katheriniae ‘Rubra’

And the Pomegranate in the greenhouse is well into bloom.

Pomegranate in flower

Finally Beth has been picking Iris for use in the house.

Bearded Iris in the house

And let me close with a picture I took in California of one of the plants from the Univ of Calif Botanic Garden (deserving of a blog post all on it’s own)

Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus cinerascens v. Ehrenbergii )

Paeonia time

Paeonia rockii

Well this year the beginning of May is hello time for the first of the Peonies.  My favorite is probably the species Paeonia rockii shown above.  It’s named for Joseph Rock, an early 20th century plant explorer.  There are many hybrids derived from this tree peony.

Actually the first Peony to bloom for us is Molly the Witch.  Although it doesn’t have the yellow color that the Mollys are famous for, it’s still a very pleasing flower.

Molly the Witch (Paeonia mlokosewitschii)

The next one in line is another species Peony, Paeonia osti.

Paeonia osti

And then we have two herbaceous species.  One is Paeonia obovata.

Paeonia obovata

And then a larger flowered, stronger growing version, Paeonia obovata var. willmottiae.

Paeonia obovata var. ‘Willmottiae’

Both of these are characterized by lovely foliage and large, exotic-looking seeds on into the Fall.

And then we have the larger, well-established tree peonies.

Pink Tree Peony

Pink Tree Peony

Other highlights right now are the Moroccan Poppies that overwintered in the Alpine Bed.  

Morrocan Poppy (Papaver atlanticum)

I had no reason to expect that these would be evergreen all winter and then come on like gangbusters as the season progresses.

Morrocan Poppy (Papaver atlanticum)

Next to them are several Lewisias.

Lewisia cotyledon hybrid

Lewisia longipetala ‘Little Peach’

Also in the same bed is the Pink Betony that I am absolutely loving this year.  It is feathery to touch and abundant in it’s flowering.

Stachys lavandulifolia

In one of the troughs at the front of the greenhouse the Gentians are doing what Gentians are supposed to do.

Gentiana acaulis

In another trough a campanula (whose name I have forgotten) is having pronounced bloom out of the tufa rock with Viola pedata nearby.

Campanula? out of tufa

It’s worth noting that this is also the time of year to be grabbing seeds to share with other gardeners in the seed exchanges.

Harvesting Adonis seeds

Eranthis seeds

I was also very pleased to see that the Jack in a Pulpits had moved further up the slope of our backwoods toward the house.  Two more clumps were found at least 70 feet further up the hill than ever before.  I’m amazed that they spread so fast.

Jack in a Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum )

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. 

Turning the Corner to Spring

Double Pink Camellia japonica

This Camellia has been flirting with blooming all winter long but now it’s buds have finally gotten clearance to bloom and they are blooming abundantly.

We were in Boston for Easter and it was delightful to return to a flower-filled garden.  The Corydalis and Chionodoxa are instant scene stealers.

Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’

Chionodoxa forbesii

There are many other nice Corydalis but here are two that I like in particular.

Corydalis solida ‘Decipiens’

Corydalis kusnetzovii x C.solida ‘Cherry Lady’

Many of the Scilla are of a similar hue to the Chionodoxa but quite different in detail. Look at the anthers in particular.

Scilla biflora

Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ anther detail

Once again I can’t say enough good things about Primula vulgaris.  It’s very self-sufficient and flowers for a long time.

Primula vulgaris

A particularly nice Anemone is ‘Green Hurricane’.  The contrast between the early leaves and flowers is stunning.

Anemonella thalictroides ‘Green Hurricane’

While most of the Adonis are finishing two of the special ones are just starting.

Adonis amurensis ‘Pleniflora’

Adonis amurensis ‘Sandanzaki’

Meanwhile in the alpine bed, the Pulsatilla have justified all the effort it took to make them a comfortable home.

Pulsatilla grandis

Pulsatilla campanella

The little Draba rigida comes three weeks after the hispanica.

Draba rigida

Meanwhile I notice that I have a bud on the Alpine Poppy grown from seed last year.  This should be fun.

Papaver alpinum

In the greenhouse there’s a bright red Tulip on display (from tiny bulblets planted last year)

Tulipa linifolia

And some spectacular Tritonia including this one.

Tritonia crocata

And a really nice Gladiolia hybrid

Gladiolus huttonii × tristis hybrid

Also a nice little Ixia that has many, many blooms.

Ixia flexuosa

(All four of these bulbs from the Pacific Bulb Society).

Of course the greenhouse also contributed to the inside of the house where we have some magnificent Clivia on display.

Yellow Clivia

Orange Clivia

And the many Daffodils and Forsythia that Beth has been harvesting.

Daffodils galore

Forsythia in bloom

And given the date can the bluebells be far behind…

Bluebells close to blooming

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day March 2018 (very late!)

Helleborus x hybridus ‘Golden Lotus’

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.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’

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.

Crocus tommasinianus

The early Iris have persisted for quite awhile now and they seem to be expanding as well.

Iris histrioides ‘Major’

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.

Fritillaria stenanthera ‘Cambridge’

Nearby is is the beautiful Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’ that I acquired from Garden Visions.

Jeffersonia dubia ‘Dark Centers’

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.

Hacquetia epipactis

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.

Primula vulgaris

Most of the Daffodils are still in the bud stage but the little Jack Snipe in the woods are fully engaged.

Narcissus ‘Jack Snipe’

I also noticed along the woodland trail the tiny Scilla biflora are not only flowering but they are spreading as well.

Scilla biflora ‘Roseus’

In the alpine bed the aubretia are just starting to spill over the rock wall, showing what is likely to come this year.

Aubretia ‘Blue Beauty’

And the one of the Pasque flowers in the same bed is ready to explode into bloom.

Pulsatilla grandiflora

In the greenhouse we continue to see a succession of the South African delights, for example this glorious Freesia.

Freesia ‘Red River’

Then there are Sparaxis, Moraea, Ornithagalum, Lachenalia, etc.

Sparaxis Hadeco Hybrid

Moraea sp. MM 03-04a blue

Ornithogalum sp. (ex McGary PBS)

Lachenalia unicolor

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.

Scilla peruviana

Scilla peruviana flower detail

And finally I would be remiss not to note the first of the Ferrarias to come into bloom.

Ferraria crispa v. nortieri

For all there exotic beauty these are remarkable easy to grow.  Check out the Pacific Bulb Society.

 

Hesperantha falcata and more…

Hesperantha falcata 4pm

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).

Hesperantha falcata 6pm

But it’s not until the fully open phase that you get the scent designed to attract moths (and humans as it turns out).

Hesperantha falcata 11pm

Another South African that is blooming in the greenhouse right now is Tulbaghia simmleri

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.

First daffodil

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

Winter Aconite galore

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.

Helleborus x ericsmithii ‘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.

Iris histroides ‘Major’

Over in the Alpine bed the Draba hispanica that is comfortably nested in tufa is making steady progress to opening its flowers.

Draba hispanica in tufa

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

Fritillaria stenathera ‘Cambridge’

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.

Hepatica japonica pink

It’s Adonis Springtime

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’

All it took was a lovely 50 degree day to bring lots of flowers into bloom.  Especially lovely is this spectacular Adonis from the Chichibu mountain region of Japan.  The entire six year-old plant keeps slowly expanding and it is worth the wait.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ in the late afternoon light

And I discovered this year that the seed that I planted from this flower in 2013 has finally yielded a flower as well.

Adonis ‘Chichibu Beni’ Seedling

Of course the yellow flowered Adonis cannot be ignored on a sunny day either

Adonis ‘fukujukai’

These intrepid early flowers had company today.  Even the Jeffersonia, which is way out of correct timing, has flowers appearing.

Jeffersonia dubia

And I discovered as I scraped leaves away that the Helleborus thibetanus was also in flower under the leaves.

Helleborus thibetanus

It was not surprising to see that more of the Eranthis are also in bloom.

Eranthis hyemalis ‘Schwelglanz’

And the alpine bed had the first flowers on the very nice Draba hispanica.

Draba hispanica

Of course, I shouldn’t ignore two little Moraeas that are blooming in the greenhouse.

Moraea macronyx

Moraea ciliata

Altogether it was really nice to follow up the snowfall of yesterday with work in the yard pulling off the leaves and revealing treasures.