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!
Likewise the Hellebores are enthusiastically greeting the spring.
Some of the Helleborus flowers are really exceptional.
The daffodils are the other mainstay for this season, though it seems like they are all coming at once.
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.
As I walk about the yard there are lots of smaller joys of springtime as well.
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.
And a very special little Fritillaria always garners my attention.
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.
This is a new tulip for me obtained from Odyssey Bulbs last year. Notice the very crinkled foliage.
And from John Lonsdale I got a marvelous compact Asphodelus.
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.
But there are also many other little items in the greenhouse.
But probably the most unusual flowers in the greenhouse are the various Ferrarias. They are the appropriate end to this extra-long posting.
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.
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.
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.
But I have already started many seeds obtained from NARGS, the SRGC, and individual seed vendors.
Also in the greenhouse is the first of the Ferrarias to bloom this year.
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.
But getting back to the daily walkabout, I would be remiss not to note that many crocus and snowdrops are appearing around the yard.
And the first Primula is showing it’s flowers as well.
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.
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!
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.
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.
On the whole we are just enjoying some our early spring flowers earlier than usual.
The Hellebores are particularly resilient at this time of year.
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.
The first full flowering in the alpine bed is the Draba hispanica.
In the greenhouse the Cyrtanthus breviflorus and mackenii are flowering.
And our only Geissorhiza is in flower too.
Finally we made two trips to Gettysburg Gardens where I discovered some lovely examples of Veldtheimia bracteata.
These are magnificent plants, sometime called forest lilies, that can easily grow to 2 ft tall with long lasting flowers.
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.
The Hellebores are less surprising. The niger types are often in flower during any warm spell.
What was a surprise was to see this new pink hybrid also in flower.
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.
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.
The biggest surprise from the outdoor flowers is this little Lewisia in the Alpine bed.
In the greenhouse we have many oxalis and narcissus blooming.
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.
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
And finally let me close with this lovely hybrid cyrtanthus that I found there.
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.
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.
There aren’t a lot of other flowers out for December so the camellias really steal the show. Here are few things I noticed.
The greenhouse has a few things to put forward besides the oxalis which continue to bloom
And the very first narcissus of the season
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.
There are only a couple of other outside plants in flower including a remnant Fall Crocus which is arriving way after its brethren.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The leaves are just remarkable.
Also in the greenhouse is the usual assortment of oxalis and this coloful Bulbine.
Finally a Moraea to round out the show.
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.
A couple of the perennials that reliably show up, even with drought are shown below.
And a first time plant for us that may or not be perennial is the Cestrum.
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.
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.
I noticed in the alpine bed several flowers on one of the Daphnes, and that seems quite out of season.
Also in the alpine bed the Sculletaria continues to flower, as it has all year long.
In the greenhouse itself, there is a marvelous little gloxinia-looking plant from Bolivia.
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.
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.
I did mow it after taking pictures. Ideally one does this before it sets seeds for next year.
It’s appropriate to feature a zinnia for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day post because they are all over the place — in vegetable garden, by the driveway, and in the orchard. It’s hard to disagree with a flower that comes from seed so easily and lasts all season long. In fact zinnias were the first flower we planted when we got inspired to start gardening fifty years ago. We read a book by Jeanne Darlington (Grow Your Own) that led us to scratch a little garden plot next to our student housing. There have been a lot more flowers since …
Typically we have Dahlias and Glads in the vegetable garden just for picking.
And son Josh planted a lot of wildflowers around the property this spring.
Including especially zinnias and sage in the orchard, but also this particularly pretty variety of basil.
My eye tends to get distracted by the perennials, especially those that are giving a bonus rebloom.
There is also a nice little patch of Colchicum in with the wildflowers in the backyard.
As you walk down the driveway it’s hard not to notice the Viburnum with it’s berries hanging out into the drive.
In the greenhouse I found the Scilla maderensis budding up a few days ago.
And now the flowers are opening up.
This is also the oxalis time of the year.
One after another, the Oxalis break into bloom from early September into February.
I’ve also found myself reading up about Zephyranthes and their close relatives Habranthus. These are both part of the Amaryllis family and they are spectacularly easy to grow. They are often called rain lilies because the rapid appearance of the flowers in late summer. I’ve had the yellow forms (like Zephyranthes smalli and Z. jonesi, or Habranthus texensis) for a number of years, but what I’m discovering is that the pink and red forms of the family are really special.
This little Habranthus has white flowers that are tinged pink on the outside.
And these two Zephyranthes are both of the pink persuasion mixed with white.
This last one is especially large for a Zephyranthes. It was found in Mexico on a red mountain, therefore it’s name. Most of the Zephyranthes prefer a southern climate (say zone 8), but they are easy to overwinter in a pot. They make abundant seeds which will start popping up in other pots if you don’t pay attention. I’ve got a number of pots that I thought were tritoma or babiana or some other bulb, only to realize that they were actually Zephyranthes volunteering to use an empty pot.