Blooms of February- GBBD

This is a day that brings excitement to the garden blogger’s heart. Will there be anything blooming in the dead of winter, in most places anyway, that can be posted for Carol at May Dreams Gardens bloom day posts on the fifteenth of each month? It is always one of the best posting days since so many participate. She kindly offers links in her comments column and welcomes all who wish to join in the fun. It is a garden blog reader’s paradise.
But one has mixed feelings about all those macro shots of beautiful blooms. What about the context, what about the rest of the plant? Is it hideous, ratty, bug ridden? It has been decided to show some reality in this month’s post, not just extreme close ups, cropping out anything less than perfect. The first photo of a pansy living in a pot outside looks good admittedly. But the little volunteer seedling blooming so sweetly in the rocks looks just as lovely to these eyes.

Yellow crocus tommasinianus look just as pretty closed up as when they are unfurled in a bed of thymus ‘Doone Valley’.

A true reality shot, the flowering quince, chaenomeles, is not quite open, and the hellebore in the rear will be loaded with open blossoms any day now.

As will the winter daphne, D. Odora. This is the third year in the garden for this shrub, it is a slow grower. Last year there were two bloom clusters, it looks like a good flush of bloom will delight us this year.

In full bloom, the erica darleyensis ‘Mediterranean Pink’.

But a close up of the same plant looks so very different. This is what the plant catalogs like to do. Show only the portion of the plant in flower, not giving the prospective buyer the whole story of the plant’s habit.

That was a good sample of what is happening outside. Now let’s go into the house.

In time for Valentine’s Day, the grocery has a good stock of primroses. A pot was put together to take up less room in the sunroom/greenhouse until the individual plants can go to their permanent home under the deck stairs.

The close up is pretty, but doesn’t show the pretty leaves.

Still attractive, but not an honest portrayal.

This is where the indoor plants are grown. There are windows on three sides with shelving, and two skylights in the ceiling with two poles across the top for hanging plants. Designed to be the orchids’ winter home, most all plants are happy here during the cold season.

The abutilon has been blooming since fall.

This vanda will flower again outside in mid summer. It is hanging in a birdola feeder, roots just growing out into the air, no pot or growing medium such as bark or moss. What a plant.

Now we get to my special orchids, the paphiopedilums. This one is P. ‘Oriental Mystique’. The flowers will last for several months as long as the temps are cool.

This guy has been in bud for three months. He was brought into the main house, even with the danger posed by Hazel, the plant eating cat. It is by a heat register to try and coax the bloom open for this month’s post. His name is P.’Onyx Fancy Cherry x P. sukhakuiii.

There are several reasons why these are the favorites of the orchids here. For one thing, they live happily in four inch pots, and space is an issue in the winter retreat for them. They are also fairly easy to rebloom, although it has taken some time to figure out just what it is they want and need in the way of feeding, light, watering and temperature. Oh come on, now, open up, will you?

That’s the stuff, can you do it a little bit more? Feel that nice warm air blowing on you, NO, Hazel, get away from him!

Good boy, we will now relocate you back to the pleasant atmosphere of the greenhouse/sunroom where the fan runs necessary breezes constantly, the air is moist and cool at night and you can be among your own kind. Thank you for opening your lovely self for the blog readers to see, mister paph. Thank you very much.

For photos of some of these same plants that were in bloom in January , click here.

Thanks to all of YOU for stopping by this month’s bevy of beauties, hope to see you again in March.


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45 Responses to Blooms of February- GBBD

  1. Carol says:

    Hi, Frances. What a great bloom day post. I am envious of your orchids, especially Mr. Paph. He is so pretty and exotic looking, I’m glad he opened up for this special day.

    I agree, we show our blooms mostly close up. Especially now, when blooms are small and the surroundings of the few blooms we have are so bare, we like the close ups, don’t we? This summer, I’m going to try to show more “wide views” of the garden in bloom.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Frances says:

    Carol…Thanks. And thanks to you for this fun day, it is always a pleasure to look at everyone’s posts.

  3. Kris at Blithewold says:

    Wow!! There I was thoroughly enjoying (and wanting) the plants in your garden – so far ahead of ours – and then you had to go INSIDE. Now I really want. Your plant shelves are very cool (want) and those orchids (big want). Thanks for stopping by Blithewold so I could know to come by here and have a second Valentine’s!

  4. Frances says:

    Kris…Thanks and welcome. I will be revisiting your site many times.

    Frances at Faire Garden

  5. Annie in Austin says:

    Hello Frances,

    It’s fun to see what you’re growing, whether in macro or after taking a few steps back. We do tend to fall in love with tiny, delicately formed flowers which we enjoy at very close range, so the close-ups do mimic our own experience for our blog readers.

    The orchids are amazing!

    Happy Blooming Day from

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. Annie in Austin says:

    Forgot to ask – what’s the direction/exposure on your plant window?


  7. Frances says:

    Annie…Thanks. The greenhouse/sunroom is at the southeast corner of the house, shaded in summer by a large maple and sunny in winter. I place the paphs on the east side and start seeds on the south side, there is shelving on both walls, adjustable to add more as needed with the seedlings.

  8. robbinscabin says:

    Amazing! Your post has brightened my day so much. Still snowing here so I may have to visit your site again just so I don’t forget what gardens look like! LOL.

  9. Nan Ondra says:

    If I confess that I still love the close-up shots, does that make me shallow? If so, then so be it. That first color-saturated pansy shot is simply amazing. And the orchids, oh my goodness!

  10. chuck b. says:

    I also tend to emphasize close ups because my garden is small and I tend to favor plants with small flowers. And there I was on a big kick last year trying to get everyone to show more long shots and wide angles. Hmph.

    Your Crocus tommasinianus is a show stopper.

  11. Frances says:

    Nan…Of course you are not shallow for loving the close ups, silly, I love them too. But my point was that it’s nice to see BOTH the far and near, also, to show how it’s used in the garden, when outside. The pansy is sweet and the orchids are worth the trouble when they bloom, and for such a long period of time too.

    chuck b…I like to see both, but admit to being drawn to the close up photos just to drool over them. But why bother trying for overall beauty in the garden if you are only going to take close ups? Oh, for the people that see the garden, I forgot. ;->

  12. Pam/Digging says:

    Whether closeups of wide shots, I enjoyed your bloom day post, Frances. I particularly admired your Erica darleyensis ‘Mediterranean Pink’.

    And take care of that wrist. The blog is not only hungry but careless of your health!

  13. Frances says:

    Pam…Thanks. I am going to take a day off tomorrow, really, maybe two days off. I just enjoy it so much, thinking about topics, looking at the pics, writing about them. But the wrist brace is preventing the gardening that needs doing from getting done, like pruning the roses.

  14. Robin (Bumblebee) says:

    I adore your orchids. I continue to work on getting mine to bloom. I have 10 different types and only two are blooming (one hardly). Surely I can do better than 20 percent, yes?

    Glad to have found you…I’ll be back.

    Robin at Bumblebee

  15. Frances says:

    Robin(Bumblebee)…Thanks and welcome. For more about my orchids read the post I did about them.

  16. materfamilias says:

    lovely to see all your blooms, and I do appreciate getting to see the growing conditions rather than simply a glamour shot!

  17. Gail says:


    The Daphne is lovely. What conditions in your garden make it so happy?

    BTW, I am enjoying getting to know you a bit through your garden and posts….this blogging is fun.


  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your presentation is marvelous Frances. I have just the right spot for some of those pansies you posted in the first picture. They have never “volunteered” here. I wonder why?? THey always burn up in the heat here and I know you are in a hotter climate than mine. This really vexes me not being able to have those sweet little johnny jump up volunteers.

  19. Meems says:

    frances: I have to say I’m partial to the close-ups just because the clarity and individuality can be appreciated so much better.

    What a colorful GBBD post-you have some exciting blooms producing indoors and outdoors. Your indoor room is very cool. I especially like the vanda- so tropical and fresh looking. I’m not very handy with orchids…
    Have a great weekend.
    meems@ hoe and shovel

  20. Green thumb says:

    Dear Frances, your Pansy closeups look lovely and so do the Primroses. Great post…keep it up!
    Best Wishes

  21. Frances says:

    materfamilias…Thanks and welcome. It is good to see where these plants grow so we can apply it to our own gardens, I think.

    Gail…Thanks. The daphne is planted in the garage side bed, under a dogwood tree, fairly shady and dry.

    Lisa…Thanks. The pansies do not self sow like the violas, that is the key.They burn up in mid summer here also and I buy more in October, when the bulbs are planted. But there are always seedlings from previous years, they especially like the gravel. That little one is in a rock pile.

    Meems…Thanks. The close ups are fun to look at, but you aren’t really learning anything about gardening from them. Both, I say!

    Greenthumb…Thanks for visiting.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You are so creative with your pics. You made those sweet little crocus look fabulous. And of course your orchids are breathtaking. Love semi

  23. Entangled says:

    I hope somebody figures out a way to transmit fragrances over the internet – I’d love to be around when the Daphne opens.

    And the orchids – oh my! I just bought a Phalaenopsis, but I have serious doubts about whether there’s anyplace in my house it’ll be happy.

  24. Ewa says:

    what a lovely February bloom you have 🙂 beautiful pictures and your shelving at the window is smashing idea! I love it – I never thought of it before… hmmm…

  25. Sue Swift says:

    Kris said exactly what I’d been intending to! Wish I could kep houseplants, but the down side of my balconies is a very dark flat – shaded by the balconies directly above. Any suggestions for houseplants which don’t need a lot of light?

  26. Frances says:

    semi…thanks. Sweet little crocus, must plant more this

    entangled…Thanks. yes, smell-o-vision would be great. My take on the orchids for folks with no greenhouse is, treat them like cut flowers, enjoy them then toss them.

    ewa…Thanks for stopping by. Shelves across windows is a great way to grow things, especially in the winter.

    Sue…Thanks and welcome. I don’t know much about houseplants, but have you considered a grow light set up with shelves, etc. Others seem to be successful with them.

  27. Diane says:

    Frances what lovely blooms. I adore the orchids and I’v never met a pansy face I didn’t love — regardless of whether she lived in a swanky pot or between the cracks!

    Alberta Postcards
    Diane’s Flickr photos

  28. Diane says:

    Frances what lovely blooms. I adore the orchids and I’v never met a pansy face I didn’t love — regardless of whether she lived in a swanky pot or between the cracks!

    Alberta Postcards
    Diane’s Flickr photos

  29. Frances says:

    diane…Thanks, I agree about the pansy faces, some of the best ones are volunteers in the rocks.

  30. Wurzerl says:

    Hi Frances, your post is so interesting for me. I never saw a yellow crocus tommasianus! What variety is it? In my garden I have only C.tommasianus in pink and lilac colors. I love your Vanda, I would like to buy the same for my winter garden. Can you tell me the variety name? The pansy faces are so gorgeous! Thank you for this post.

  31. Frances says:

    Wurzerl…Thanks for visiting, glad you found something interesting. The vanda had no label, was purchased in bud, we were lucky with the beauty of the flower. The crocus is called ‘gipsy girl’. The bag called it ‘bunch flowering’. Now I wonder if it is tommasinianus after all.

  32. Sherry at the Zoo says:

    Your orchids are beautiful! I can see where they would become addictive. I have nothing, notta, to show for bloom day 😦 I just have to bounce around and look at everyone else’s pretties!

  33. Frances says:

    Sherry…Thanks. It is still fun to look at everyone’s blooms, that’s what so great about bloom day!

  34. Diana says:

    Omigosh Frances, your orchids are simply stunning. And i love the shot of your windows full of plants and light. Your perspective of long and close-up shots was a great idea. Your quince is so pretty – I just planted one this week – I’m so drawn by the contrast of the hard, spiky branches against the beautiful delicate flowers. Your orchids make me want one — but I’ve tried before to no avail. What’s your secret?

  35. Salix Tree says:

    I adore the violas. I especially like the ones that self seed themselves wherever they please. Some of my prettiest ones are growing out of the tarmac, silly little things!
    That last orchid, Mr. Paph, is amazing. I have always admired that type, they are so unusual looking, almost alien.

  36. Frances says:

    Diana…Thanks so much. The greenhouse/sunroom is the secret to our orchid success, but what you see is only the success, not the many failures. It has taken years to get it right. There is lots of light, a fan runs 24/7, and there is a sink without hot and cold running water in the corner and a drain in the floor. Everything summers outside in a shelving unit in the shade and comes in when the night temps fall below 50 degrees.

    Salix Tree…Thanks. The violas are much easier to reseed than the pansies. Mr. Paph and all of that type are not to everyone’s taste, but are my faves.

  37. rusty in miami says:

    Francis, you take first place on GBBD for the best pictures. I love the way you capture the essence of the flowers. That P.Onyx orchid is sticking, I got to get me one.

  38. Frances says:

    rusty…wow, that is quite the compliment, with all the great posts out there, thanks. The orchids get me through the winter, that’s for sure.

  39. kate says:

    The Orchids are exquisite and unusual… which I like. I was reading your comments in a later post about your room for the Orchids.

    Just beautiful.

  40. Frances says:

    Kate…Thanks. Some time I am going to post about the greenhouse/sunroom, it has a story to tell.

  41. Ferne says:

    This is the first time I visited your site and I have really enjoyed it! Glad that I found you through Blotanical! I’ll be stopping by more often. I love your orchids!

  42. Frances says:

    Ferne…Thanks so much and welcome. The orchids are cheering on winter days for sure. Do stop by again!

  43. shirl says:

    Hey Frances, what a great variety of blooms!

    One stood out for me simply but its name! I know someone called Vanda but it is still a very pretty flower 😀

  44. Frances says:

    Shirl…Thanks, and that is funny about your acquaintance, Vanda, with the pretty flower name. ;->

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