This month’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day falls upon my mother’s birthday — her 100th birthday, something very worth celebrating. She has always loved flowers and we shared many moments of picking flowers and harvesting fruit.
And though her body is slowly losing the capabilities it once had, as recently as 18 month ago (pre-covid) we could still share humor and memories.
So as I look around our garden today, I know that I owe a lot my appreciation for gardens and gardening to my parents and grandparents. Today is also my father’s birthday (though he died more than 20 years ago) and their wedding anniversary. They were married at the start of World War II and this courtship poem that he sent from his barracks is an example of the many poems my father wrote during their life together
Meanwhile back here on the hillside we are harvesting gallons of peas and strawberries. Last night we pitted many of the wild cherries that yield every year without spraying or special care.
We’re thinking we should at least plant the seeds
The birds are happy to help out but they mostly work on the cherries that are beyond our reach.
Meanwhile the blueberries are starting to come in and they combine well with cherry juice.
But wait. There are still flowers worth mentioning. A lot of lilies are making their annual appearance.
But also some special additional items worth noting.
In the herb garden the perennials are making quite a statement as encouragement to the hummingbirds.
In the greenhouse there are many Zephyranthes popping up, but they don’t seem to follow any respect for my attempts at labeling.
I peeked in and saw this Hymenocallis blooming the other day (if you don’t catch it quickly it’s gone)
Before leaving this rather long post I do need to mention the Stewartia malacodendron. We have grown Stewartia japonica for years and it’s a wonderful tree with beautiful flowers and bark. It’s just about to come into bloom. But its cousin S. malacondendron bloomed about two weeks ago and it has truly remarkable flowers, well worth the time invested in getting to grow outside of its North Carolina origins.
Well there are so many flowers at this time of the year for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day it is difficult to keep track of them all. I’ll give you just a smattering today and think back to all that I should have shared from the last month. The little ice plant shown above is one of many plants exploding out of our alpine bed. Very happy in our zone 7 landscape.
The species peonies and tree peonies are all done and we now moving on to the Itohs and the herbaceous
Our row of bearded Iris is very happily blooming.
Ever since we stopped weeding them amid the grass they have not had borers which used to be a perennial pain.
The early azaleas are pretty much done but the rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas are still blooming.
I’ve particularly liked the compact and floriferous Calanthe discolor, a reliable favorite from the orchid family.
The best of the Clematis remains Niobe though there are number of others in bloom
It’s also worth noting that you can just eat flowers every night and we are always happy to see the strawberries arriving. We have probably 75 feet of row for strawberries and peas that are just starting up.
And in the orchard there are oh so many peaches, pears, and apples getting started.
Back in the alpine bed we have a number of nice items happening.
Particularly nice is a little rock rose that I got from Wrightman’s Alpines last year after seeing them in the wild in Spain.
I think are just barely hardy in Maryland but they seemed to make through the winter and you see the number of buds on them.
On one of the nights recently i caught the orchard looking particularly spending in the evening light and I’ll close with those images.
All the usual suspects are in bloom now for this April Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. Daffodils everywhere, first azaleas, dogwoods, peonies opening up, and spring bulbs of every sort. I’ll focus on some of the things that catch my attention on a morning walk.
It’s hard not to notice the Kwansan double-flowered Cherry when you walk out the back door.
In the backyard the Epimediums are special right now. There are two in particular that came as mother’s day gifts from Garden Visions years ago and are now quite substantial in size.
Another Epimedium that I like a lot is the Wushanense variety with its red leaves and white flowers.
There are also several instances of Erythronium cultivars that add to the explosion of Trout lilies that surround the deck.
There are several spots where we have lovely clumps of star flowers
In addition to the Peonies that are imitating being in flower because of the falling quince flowers, there are other Peonies almost in flower.
The first of the Arisaema and Podophyllum are poking through the ground.
Especially nice was to see a return of the very rare Podophyllum x inexpectatum which I thought we had lost to animals.
The Camellias continue to dominate the flowering landscape
A new addition is the Loropetalum (marginally hardy for our area)
I should not forget the Adonis vernalis which wraps up our Adonis flowering
And the Iris tuberosa which has a nice flowering this year
One of my favorite small troughs features a very nice dwarf Daphne
If we go back to the alpine bed the reliable Armeria is nearing peak bloom growing out of tufa rock
And back in the forest there are many daffodils and the first of the Jack-in-a-Pulpit
In the greenhouse it is Spring in South Africa
It’s also worth mentioning that because we made an early start on the season in the basement this year we have been eating green salads for the last 6 weeks and the plants are even happier now that they can come outside.
We’ve also put the first tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in the garden
There are flowers on the fruit trees, strawberries, and blueberries. Life is good…
Well there has been an explosion of flowers over the last two weeks. We are back to a more wintry cold and windy day today, but we have had some stunning sunny days which have moved us well into Spring. Perhaps nothing captures the change for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day so much as the Hellebores. The variety of shapes, sizes, and colors is remarkable. Here are a few examples
A little plant of Helleborus thibetanus is not to be missed.
The Camellias are all in fat bud or flowering at the moment.
It’s also the time for the daffodils to begin all over our hillside. One of the pleasures of each year are the small clumps in the woods.
Also in the woods are couple nice Scilla that are fun to come upon.
Like the Daffodils they are not bothered by the animals and are gradually expanding.
There are a number of Iris histroides in flower now.
This last is a new addition from Odyssey Bulbs.
The cyclamen coum have been a real pleasure this year. We had never had spring cyclamen before.
The first of the Hepaticas is out in bloom.
The first Glory of the Snow are also making their appearance
They run wild in our pasture and there will be many more on the way.
Back in the alpine area I was pleased to see the Dionysia make a very early appearance
In the same trough is a Saxifrage that is not far behind.
On the sunny side of the alpine beds the Draba hispanica is moving rapidly through flowering
Right next to the Draba the Aubrieta is beginning to flower with many buds visible as well.
And the small Asphodelus that I acquired from John Lonsdale is coming into flower as well.
And in the greenhouse there are rampant pleasures as the plants imagine that we live in the tropics.Amaryllis Green-Red
And then finally a spectacular Ferraria
Last Monday the sun finally broke through and the temperatures started rising. And the Adonis needed only the slightest hint to start opening their flowers. By Wednesday they were fully on display — at last!
The thing about the Adonis is that they are not easy to find and take forever to spread. Since they are sterile you can’t rely on seeds for them to spread and the slow propagation seems to make them unappealing to nurserymen. So if you find them, buy them. They are the first reward for the end of winter.
Of course there are other good signs that we are moving into springtime. Winter Aconite are another of my favorites steps to springtime and the first to show up this year are the slightly paler German version
I was also please to see that a more another Winter Aconite cultivar was also appearing already.
But even more special was a little flower poking up in the cold frame.
This is particularly stunning little flower that I had outside a few years ago and it disappeared. I’m not sure I have the confidence to take this one outside of the cold frame yet.
There are also several crocus popping out.
In addition I’m pleased to see that the snowdrops are moving into the lawn.
Of course the witch hazels are happy to tell you that it is springtime also.
More surprising is to see the first flower on the primula vulgaris.
I also saw a Northern Flicker at the bird feeder and that never happens in wintertime for us
Well it’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and the picture above is NOT what our garden looks like. The picture is from the same day last year. This year you have to search really hard to find flowers amid the ice and snow. We are probably 2 weeks behind last year in flowers. Here is the same set of Adonis this year.
February has been super dreary with low temperatures, cloudy days, and intermittent snow. What follows is my attempts to find some flowers for this Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day. First of all we must give credit to the snowdrops which persist no matter what.
And then there is that first hybrid Hellebore which started flowering in December.
Likewise the Heather hybrid that started flowering in November just continues to ignore the crummy weather.
The Camellia’s have hung in there too, although I know they would like warmer weather.
Usually I would expect to see the first witch hazel blossoms by now, but I must say they are much smaller and more beaten back than usual
Aside from those instances in the outside world we have to turn to the greenhouse plants. This Lachenalia came from Gettysburg Gardens last year.
It is multiplying rapidly in the greenhouse.
There is also another Cyrtanthus which I think I have identified based on descriptions on the Pacific Bulb Socity site.
And then lastly, a very cute little false yellow crocus which provides it’s own grassy leaves and bright yellow flowers for multiple weeks.
Well the fall camellia next to the garage continues to be our most reliable bloomer for Garden Blogger Bloom Day and the wintertime. It’s hard not to imagine the backyard without the camellias. They are such a continuing delight. The hybrid that I picked up from the camellia society a couple of years ago has been blooming all winter long as well, but the flowers are starting to decrease in size.
Meanwhile the first of the spring camellias is blooming again.
Some of the other flowers around the yard are pretty reliable participants in the late winter/early spring bloom.
But it’s worth noting that we have never seen this red heather blooming persistently over the winter.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve never seen flower buds on the Cyclamen coum in January.
I wanted to include a picture of the buds on one of the other Hellebores as well. This is a particularly dark foliaged plant with dark red flowers as well. It looks like it wont’ be long till this one is in bloom.
In the greenhouse we have more Narcissus showing up. This is a particularly nice one (note the buds yet to open)
We have also decided (in response to Covid) to upgrade our basement lighting and get an early start on the planting year.
And as a result here are the little plants from the seeds that I planted last week on my birthday…
This was the first snow we’ve had this year and indeed the first really cold weather.
This was definitely a different and unusual Christmas. One to regret the things we missed and to be thankful for the things we still have. Our youngest son ended up spending the Fall with us and then on through Christmas. He has sparked the rediscovery of the many things that we associate with the holiday season around Ball Rd. There are many large and small things that connect us with past shared memories.
In addition we jointly watched the Christmas Revels celebration in Cambridge. It was great fun and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to move forward into the new year with contemplation of the way the human community has moved from the dark to the light over centuries. On the night before Christmas we tuned into the Follen Unitarian Church in Lexington, MA where the Reverend Claire Feingold Thoryn delivered a marvelous sermon discussing the Christmas Weed Tree of Toledo, Ohio and what that means for the rest of us.
Finally I should mention that I had a chance before Christmas to preview a new book written by a good friend.
Tropical Plants and How to Love Them will be available in March but it can be ordered now on Amazon. It is a wonderful exploration of tropical plants for the temperate gardener and I think a great many people will enjoy both the authoritative descriptions and Marianne’s always entertaining writing style. Highly recommended!