february-9-2009-045-2It appears we have had the coldest day with the most snow of the year and the warmest day of the year in the same week.february-9-2009-042-2The weather here is often a roller coaster ride of highs and lows.february-9-2009-047-2A roadtrip to Asheville, North Carolina was taken for a triple clan birthday bash last weekend. The Financier, Brokenbeat and Mr. Chickenpoet all were born within a few days of each other, different years of course, in early February. There was snow on the ground at the Fairegarden and the earth was frozen when we left.february-9-2009-038-2Upon the return there were flowers blooming, a grand thaw had occurred and the temperatures were in the 70s. The felcos were located and some trimming was done in the remaining hours before darkness. The next day gardening garb was grabbed and the entire day was spent catching up on chores that had been put off until the ground was warmer. The camera had a look around and found the Crocus chrysantha planted around the perimeter of the quadrants in the knot garden open. There are purple and yellows, but the purples always bloom first. Sedum ‘Purple Emperor’ is emerging in the old metal wheelbarrow now repurposed as a planter that was found on the property.february-9-2009-004-2There is progress in the hellebore buds expansion. After the older leaves were cut last week frigid temps have caused no harm to the petals yet unopened.february-9-2009-006-2The heather bed had been revamped with several of the Ericas removed. Grasses including Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and Stipa tenuissima were added for diversity of form and movement. The red foliage of Calluna vulgaris ‘Firefly’ shows up vividly against the straw color of the grass.february-9-2009-017-2There was some plant shopping done as part of the birthday celebration and gift exchange. Along with gifts for others, a couple of things jumped on the wagon to come back to Tennessee. Cornus sericea ‘Arctic Fire’ for the front and Heuchera ‘Citronelle’, two of each were brought home.february-9-2009-031-2The heucheras will be added to the raised planter at the front of the house. The blue star junipers and the blue Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’ need some chartruese to enliven the scene. That infusion has begun, the new plants will help fill in nicely.february-9-2009-024-2Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ is in full bloom. But she is deserving of her own post.

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50 Responses to Spring?

  1. Gail says:

    Frances, A beautiful sight and post today at Fairegarden! I love the crocus. It is so very vivid! You were right to move the grasses in with the heathers! It looks wonderful. Can’t wait to see the cornus in their new home! Just one little crocus here, but the hellebores are blooming! Have a delightful day in the garden! gail

    Hi Gail, I am finally back in the house after another all day gardenathon. My back hurts but my heart is so happy. Thanks about the heather bed. It looked better as soon as the ericas were taken out. The cornus are dwarf, only 4×4 at maturity, now they are more like 1×1, but the stem coloration is great. They are behind the mailbox on either side of the weeping blue atlas cedar. There will be lantanas in there during the summer for color when the cornus are just green leaves. My hellebores are so close, beginning to open. One more day. The crocus are a surprise, the squirrels usually dig them up, but the thyme has covered them over, I think it protects them from those devils. Hope you were outside again today too!

  2. Janet says:

    Thanks for a great post Frances, I had never seen the Calluna vlgaris “Firefly”. what a stunning small shrub. Will look for it as I start to frequent the garden centers.

    Hi Janet, thanks. If you can’t find the Firefly, you might try the mail order sites like Rock Spray nursery. That is where I got mine.

  3. tina says:

    I love all your design tips, and that Mexican heather really shows up. My Diane is finally blooming too-red! Yeah! Have a great day, it is raining here so I think I will be inside. I sure wish I had your energy.

    Hi Tina, thanks. That is heather Calluna, not the same thing as Mexican heather which is Cuphea hyssopifolia, an annual here. Hooray for your Diane too, so glad she decided to give you some blooms. No rain yet here, and I am about to pass out from working the last to days all day outside. Big jobs too, the mowing of the liriope in the front. I don’t know how many more years I will be able to do that one. Not many unless I start working out! HA

  4. Joy says:

    Frances … OK .. I have to admit to being human and so darn JEALOUS of your garden right now .. pruning , well I would be dancing around like a gigantic fairy in my neon garden clogs having a blast : )
    Those heathers are drop dead red !! I have not been able to get one through a winter here yet. I can’t wait to see my hellebore too : ) The first heuchera that shines is Silver Scrolls .. we have a few others in common but you will be way ahead of me with them smiling back at you sooner ! My hubby is a Valentine’s baby .. so a birthday is due here soon too !
    Great shots of pretty plants/bulbs !!

    Hi Joy, thanks, so sorry you are jealous, but your time will come soon, I promise! Isn’t pruning fun, I love to do the little jobs that aren’t so taxing. This is the second comment that I have complained about hard work. I must be slipping! HA My best luck with the heathers is to buy them small and get them in early spring, plenty of water too for the first year, and mulch. Happy birthday coming up to your little, or big valentine! πŸ™‚

  5. Daphne Gould says:

    Wow flowers. If we had flowers they would be under the snow right now. Yours are absolutely gorgeous. I have no crocus in my garden (the squirrels eat any that get planted – I’ve long since given up), but I do have hellebore for the first time. It was a birthday gift. I had no clue what it was, but read the tag and it said it was hardy in my zone, so planted it out. I’ve been glued to your page anytime you mention them so I can figure out how to take care of them. Luckily you do things at least a month before my northern garden.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. It was just last week that we were under snow too, Friday even. The hellebore was a fantastic gift, hope it does well for you. I cut the foliage when I can see the buds starting to color, that is a good standard to go by. The squirrels are crazy for my crocus too, but I kept replanting them until the thyme groundcover got thick enough to hide them from those devils.

  6. Frances, I am like Joy! JEALOUS! You really inspire me with firefly and the heathers, which I just removed from my wish list…they’re going back on! Diane has been in there for some time and will surely be an addition this year. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Kathy, thanks, but your time will come, and sooner than Joy’s! I really like the callunas, heathers, better than the ericas, heaths. Look for the ones with brilliant winter foliage, like firefly, sunset, blazeaway, multicolor. There are others, but these have done well here for me. Diane has been well worth her cost. Jelena is good too.

  7. Your crocus look so lovely. Your garden is a wonderful prelude to ours. Your zone is ahead of ours as you know. Looking at yours makes me wish even more for spring.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. The crocus have escaped the squirrels by hiding under the thyme, this is the most we’ve ever had. Your spring will be there soon, too! πŸ™‚

  8. Frances — lovely!

    Can you believe the weather we’ve had? I spent the last three days outside.

    This is an indicator that during gardening season, I will be writing blogs and visiting blogs at NIGHT so that I can be out in the garden during the daylight hours!


    Hi Cameron, thanks. It has been the best, I agree. Normally I am able to do little jobs on nicer winter days, but this year there have been so few of those so I am feeling way behind on clean up and pruning. My blogging has suffered, it is all I can do to answer comments, no visiting. I will get back into it soon, rain is in the forecast. I was away for the weekend so missed those first gorgeous days.

  9. Katarina says:

    Frances, your post today made me so happy. If it’s spring in your garden already, then we’re bound to get spring pretty soon too. I hope. Gorgeous pictures!

    Hi Katarina, thanks so much, what a nice thing to say! Your spring will come too, and those wonderful roses will inspire us all! πŸ™‚

  10. Dave says:

    The weather has been great, I only hope a hard freeze doesn’t get us like it did two years ago. I like ‘Firefly’! The arctic fire and heucheras were a very nice presents.

    Hi Dave, it has, hasn’t it? Winter is not over, but some of the clean up and pruning need to be done now. Spring has a habit of coming quickly, but those surprise frosts have a habit of make us gardeners scramble with sheets to cover things too. Firefly is my favorite, but Sunset, or Sunrise, I am not sure which it is, is great too. The cornus and heucheras were presents from me to me. πŸ™‚

  11. Isn’t wonderful to get back out in the garden? It’s certainly lifts the spirits after the dreariness of winter.

    Hi Susan, you are so right. I feel like a new woman, sore but new! πŸ™‚

  12. gittan says:

    Jealous…who? Me? Ofcourse I am! But soon my garden will show the same view of Hellebores and crocus. I just love your post! Of course youa had to buy something for your self =) By the way, Congratulations to the Blotanical awards! You really deserve them / gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks, HA. Your garden is already lovely, and when spring begins with blooms galore it is I who will be jealous. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the good wishes on the awards. Stewart just recently got the badges done even though the awards were several months ago. I am proud and honored for the wins.

  13. Rose says:

    Add me to the list of jealous readers! Your crocuses look so delicate and whisper “spring.” The “Firefly” is something I am definitely going to check out to see if will grow here–I’d love to have that bright red in the winter. And the witch hazel is going on my “wish list.”

    Hi Rose, thanks, your name has been added. All of those should work for you. I did have to mail order Firefly from Rock Spray nursery, a heath and heather firm. Maybe a google will reveal another source too. There are several Callunas that turn colors like that, but Firefly is my favorite. There are several good witch hazels too, Jelena is similar to Diane.

  14. Barbara says:

    oooo’s and awww’s all around – so lovely to see flowers in the garden & to think of you buying outside plants. It’s headed to 50F this week in Oakville – however, don’t think I’ll be seeing any flowers….

    Hi Barbara, thanks so much. That is great news that your temps will get that high, even if winter is still solidly entrenched there. It will make your walks much more enjoyable. πŸ™‚

  15. nancybond says:

    It is so wonderful to see those buds and blooms! Every time I see heather, I fall more and more in love. The red is gorgeous, as is Diane. Thanks for this little peek of spring!

    Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by. It is very spring like at the moment, but winter is still waiting to surprise us again. Firefly and Diane are perfect to open spring here, even though most things are still brown. It won’t be long for either of us to celebrate spring. πŸ™‚

  16. Tuija R. says:

    Ooooo, they are so beautiful. I must waiting for many weeks until anything blooming here 😦

    Hi Tuija, thanks so much. Your spring will come when it is the right time for your plants to be safe. For us, the plants pop out early then often are damaged when another cold spell settle in. But we also love seeing flowers now anyway. πŸ™‚

  17. Racquel says:

    Fabulous color in your garden right now Frances! I am so jealous!!!! No signs of blooms here just yet but anyday now is what I keep telling myself. πŸ˜‰ Look forward to seeing your new additions in their new homes this season.

    Hi Racquel, thanks. You should not be too far behind us with the blooms. Because our winter has been colder for longer periods, the crocus are actually a little late. The large crocus will not be blooming for several weeks, but the early daffs have the buds swelling now. That is when I consider spring to have sprung. πŸ™‚ The new plants are in and the heuchera look good. The cornus is small, so doesn’t make much of an impact yet, but the twigs are colorful.

  18. Hi frances
    It is always fun too read your blog, you have so many beautiful plants to show and you give me severel tips on my plantlist for the spring to come.
    Here in Sweden we have now what we whant in february…snow and cold.
    These week are the skools closed for winter hollydays so it is just perfect.
    but I must say that I`m jeaulus of your crokus.
    All the best Ken

    Hi Ken, thanks, you are so sweet. How fun to have the winter holiday now for outdoor fun in the snow. Your beautiful garden will be blooming when the time is right and I will be envious of all of your beauties too. πŸ™‚

  19. Jean says:

    It seems like we all experienced such an early start to winter. So maybe we’ll all get lucky and get an early start on spring?? Very strange weather out there, in many parts of the U.S. at least. I love your photos. You must spend a lot of time on your hands and knees with some of these shots! πŸ˜‰ Your crocus is to die for.

    Hi Jean, thanks. I think you’re on to something. It’s only fair that spring comes early after that winter we have experienced. As for the photos, those tiny little crocus really get me to my lowest point. πŸ™‚ Those early crocus are not as splashy as the later, larger C. vernus, but I love how early they bloom.

  20. Robin says:

    Your crocus is a sight for sore eyes! Our spring won’t be too far behind.

    Hi Robin, thanks. And hooray for your spring too. We will all have flowers soon, I hope.

  21. andrΓ© says:

    All we Swedes are jealous of your early spring and of your nice pictures. Hopefully, spring will find its way over here too..!

    Hi Andre, thanks! I love the Swedish readers that visit and leave comments here. You all have beautiful gardens and I am sure spring will make it to you too! πŸ™‚

  22. Marnie says:

    I love the macro photos of the tiny emerging plants. We are getting a look at the ground for the first time since December. Record high temperatures have melted most of the snow pack and garden is almost visible. Of course we can’t get near it because we would sink a foot into the mire. Feet must remain firmly on the concrete at all times.

    I wonder why your sight doesn’t recognize me any more?

    Hi Marnie, thanks. I had to get really low to the ground to get them, for those are the tiniest little crocus. I am so glad you can see the earth again, even if you have to view the garden with cartpaths only! πŸ™‚ I don’t know what happened, but your comment was even in my junk email box, that has never happened before. I put you on the safe list, maybe that will help. Don’t really know what is going on. Sorry.

  23. Phillip says:

    Lovely Frances! The crocus is so pretty and I’m going nuts over the Calluna vulgaris – is that a type of heather?

    Hi Phillip, thanks so much. Calluna is heather, Erica is heath, although most people call them all heathers. Firefly is a really good one too. I mail ordered it from Rock Spray Nursery.

  24. The redone Heath/Heather bed looks great already. I also really like the look of Heuchera ‘Citronelle’ with the blues. I bought a ‘Citronelle’ last fall just to go with the flowers of Ceratostigma plumbaginoides.

    Hi MMD, thanks. The heather bed looked better as soon as those Ericas came out. Your citronelle- plumbago combo sounds lucious. Citronelle has been an excellent performer here, probably the best heuchera I have.

  25. Genevieve says:

    Gosh, I am such a sucker for those crocus. That rich color! Like a sky! And then the little orange bits accenting it all…

    I love Diane particularly, too, and those fiery Callunas look fantastic. Thanks for the winter inspiration!

    Hi Genevieve, thanks. Those crocus are so sweet, I love the stamens too. I have spent the last several years trying to have stuff going on in winter in the garden here. It is finally paying off. πŸ™‚

  26. Darla says:

    What a breath of fresh air this post is. All very lovely, maybe you needed to step away from the gardens for a little while for it to do it’s thing!! A watched pot never boils. LOL Happy birthday to your gang. Come read about my problem!!

    Hi Darla, thanks so much. I had been checking everday for those crocus to open, they often do so in January, but not this year. I am so behind with the blog reading after spending so much time outside, but promise to come and see what’s up with all of you!

  27. Monica says:

    Yay, spring! It was my mother’s birthday last week, too. Neither of us has a Financier, though, come to think of it. We each used to have one, mind you, but they were both a bit more trouble than they were worth! πŸ˜‰ But I digress. Love the crocus and they ‘Firefly’ heathers are stunning.

    HA Monica, you just crack me up!!! And happy b-day to your mom too. Thanks for stopping by and giving me a good laugh.

  28. skeeter says:

    I believe our little rodent General Beauregard Lee in Georgia was on the money with his Early Spring prediction on Groundhog Day!

    Happy Birthday one and all…

    Hi Skeeter, way to go little BO! It was very cloudy here on groundhog day, in fact we got three inches of heavy snow, so early spring it is! For now anyway. Thanks for the birthday wishes, too. πŸ™‚

  29. Catherine says:

    Lots of things looking good in your garden. We thought spring was coming here, but it decided to snow again. I’m still planning to go plant shopping today. Glad you had a nice time celebrating birthdays!

    Hi Catherine, thanks, it is starting to pick up here at bit. We could still get snow too, and there is more cold weather to come, but the flowers sure are cheering. Have a great plant shopping trip. Thanks for the birthday wishes, too. πŸ™‚

  30. walk2write says:

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that the roller coaster weather doesn’t take a nosedive again for you. Your comment about the plants just somehow jumping on the shopping cart (or is it buggy for you too?) was right on the mark. How dare they do that?! Happy birthday to the various members of your clan.

    Hi W2W, thanks for the finger crossing, but we will have more cold weather for sure. It is just too early yet, but these flowers blooming really let us know that spring is getting ready to come for real soon here. Plants especially like to jump on our wagon when our backs are turned. Sometimes we don’t even remember them when something new blooms in the garden. Thanks too for the birthday wishes.

  31. Beautiful photos Frances especially the Sedum β€˜Purple Emporer’it looks a bit cold though…
    Today we have had a nice February day with sunshine, it was cold but I could sence ‘spring is in the air’. πŸ™‚ Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks. Purple Emperor was warm and toasty when that photo was taken. Thanks for the correction too, I often miss things like that and appreciate your subtle nudge! I am so happy for you feeling spring in the air, even with cold temps. I believe the corner has been turned! πŸ™‚

  32. Kathy says:

    I am another one in the jealous camp. Snow on the ground in every direction. However, if we have higher temps and rain tomorrow as they are predicting, perhaps that will change.

    Hi Kathy, thanks, but your spring will come too, I promise. I hope the weather gives you a break and a chance to peruse your garden. πŸ™‚

  33. TC says:

    The only sure sign of spring here is when I’m out in flip-flops! New growth don’t count. ;~P

    Hi TC, well, you sure could have worn flip flops here the last few days. I even thought briefly about turning on the air conditioner, but didn’t. πŸ™‚

  34. Sara says:

    No spring in sight here, so your lovely photos is some comfort. I think I will invite a lovely lady named Diane into my garden this year :o)

    Hi Sara, thanks and welcome. Diane is a gracious addition to any garden. It makes me happy to think of offering comfort from the cold of winter. πŸ™‚

  35. Brenda Kula says:

    Those first photos are stunning, Frances! Love that shade of purple.

    Hi Brenda, thanks so much. The little crocus are very sweet.

  36. Teza says:

    Oh how green, and I mean a deep dark GREEN with envy and jealousy am I! Stunning photographs. I think the colour of my world went to visit you…. its so dull and dreary around here lately! The ‘Arctic Fire’ will be splendid when it reaches maturity. I have always wanted one for the winter stems but find them a weak grower up here. Thanks for injecting a much needed burst of colour into my day!

    Hi Teza, thanks so much. Green becomes you. πŸ™‚ Arctic Fire is a little thing right now, I know it is a dwarf, which is a good thing for the space in which it is planted. I hope it does well, I love the stem color already. Your spring will come too and it will be gorgeous.

  37. VW says:

    My favorite picture is the first one, of the crocus bud. It seems to embody all the hope of spring to come (not for a while to my garden, though). We have a triple-birthday bash planned for my mom, sister and daughter in early March. Love those triple bashes! -VW

    Hi VW, thanks for visiting. I liked that photo too, that’s why it got to lead the parade. The moss looks fabulous, it is so photogenic, never moving in the wind like the flowers do. HA Your birthday triple play sounds delightful, all females for you, ours is all male! πŸ™‚

  38. Cinj says:

    Wow, you’ve got a lot going on there. It was pretty nice here today too. The chinok winds were howling around here today.

    Hi Cinj, thanks. I am so glad you have had some nicer weather too. We are in a wind advisory today then those strong tornadic storms are coming. Batten down the hatches, or in this case, lawn furniture!

  39. Aahh!! Warm air I love it. No sight of any crocus yet. You are always ahead of me though. My Erica, I noticed got tip burn this winter. Why did you take yours out?

    The Hammamelis is gorgeous. Is that two colors on one plant or two plants?

    Hi Christopher, I was thinking about you as we drove by your exit, hoping you were getting some work done on cozy cabin. Your snowdrops are ahead, my three are just now showing buds. I bought those little C. chrysanthas at BB Barnes in 2000. As for the Ericas, that bed had too many of them and is right off the garage deck. Now enough summer interest. I left two newer white Ericas in there, and still have several others in other areas. Crazy Diane with the two colors this year. I am writing a post about her and have a theory of why that happened, but normally they are all a reddish color. The new one has yet to open, but is loaded with buds. Transplant shock may be causing the delay. I hope it blooms this year and the buds don’t just fall off.

  40. Those are pretty good signs of spring to me, Frances. No warm air here except inside, or at political gatherings. I eagerly await your hellebores unfurling (mine, like the Ericas and Callunas, are buried under three feet of snow still…)

    Hi Jodi, thanks for visiting. We have plenty of hot air, or gaseous air at local political meetings too. I try and ignore the silliness. The snow is protecting your precious flowers until the time is right, then I will get to relive spring again through your garden’s bursting out!

  41. Jan says:

    Francis, everything seems to be looking good even though the weather is fluctuating like crazy.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks for visiting. Fluctuating weather is normal for here, rather than all cold all the time! Hope this storm system that is coming is gentle with us. πŸ™‚

  42. lynn says:

    Hi Fairegarden, so glad to have found you! I quickly perused your archive and will make time to read how you made your water garden..that’s my dream this year (ok, for the last 3 years!). It looks like a manageable size. Love the photo of the red heather..thanks for sharing!
    Lynn (in NJ)

    Hi Lynn, thanks and welcome. I am glad you found me too, for now I can visit your lovely blog. Good luck with the water garden project. It is a rewarding feature and you will love yours.

  43. Monica says:

    Well, if you can’t find humor in a failed marriages, you pretty much have nothing! πŸ˜‰

    Right you are. πŸ™‚

  44. Your blog photos are always so beautiful, but the crocus pictures are exceptional….so striking. You can almost feel the chilly air that surrounds them!

    Hi Theresa, thanks and welcome. The crocus on that day were the opposite of chilly, it was in the 70s! No wonder they were blooming. Our weather goes up and down like that regularly, the plants must be adaptable.

  45. chuck b. says:

    I have a little witchhazels update too: Two little flowers have unfurled on my small, potted ‘Diane’. I have a bunch of flowers unfurled on a small, planted ‘Primavera’, but I can’t seem to take a picture of them in-focus.

    Hi Chuck, hooray for your witch hazel flowers. It is hard to get those spidery petals to focus, it confuses the camera! I take twenty to get one decent one.

  46. Sue says:

    Wow, I am supposed to be doing some cleaning, so I didn’t get all those comments read, but I love your post, and it does look like spring to me! I am going to be on the hunt for some hellebores.

    Hi Sue, thanks and uh oh to the cleaning! The comments can be daunting, but sometimes there is useful info in them. Hellebores should be quite happy in your Nebraska garden. πŸ™‚

  47. Very lovely, Frances. You were welcomed back home with some color and new life:) I’m sure mine can’t be too far behind. I enjoyed seeing your new shrubs and plants and have gotten some new ideas, of course…as always happens when I stop by!

    Hi Jan, thanks so much. Spring came all of a sudden here and I nearly missed it by being out of town. I know winter will make itself felt a few more times, but we have turned the corner when the crocus and hellebores begin blooming. Yours should be right around the bend too! πŸ™‚

  48. What do you call the group natal celebration, Frances? The Aging of Aquarians?

    Crocus envy here!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Hi Annie, HA, good one! The name of this get together is the birthday bash, but your name is much better. I may have crocus, but you can have bulbine! πŸ™‚

  49. Steve says:

    My goodness, Francis, those pictures are small miracles of gorgeousness. Wow!

    Hi Steve, thanks so much. The little crocus are so tiny, only a couple of inches tall, if that. The macro shots bring them to the eye to marvel at their beauty close up. No bending involved. πŸ™‚

  50. Kathleen says:

    What great weather to return home to Frances. I think it won’t be long before I have a crocus to two blooming here too. Of course I’m a fan of the macros so the crocus and ‘Purple Emperor’ are my faves of this post. Just stunning. I always have muscles that ache when I first get back to gardening ~ if that’s true for you, I hope you’re taking it easy in between. Enjoy that wonderful weather before it flips again.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks. My body was scolding me for not easing into the big gardening chores, but I had so much to do and know that the cold will return off and on again for a while longer. Ibuprofen keeps me going. πŸ™‚ So happy to hear your crocus are going to be blooming too, hooray for early spring! And I would love to see your lion’s tail in bloom!

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