Bloom Day. It is the reason we decided to enter the blogdom. When Carol of May Dreams invented Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in February, 2007 three years ago, Happy Anniversary Bloom Day!, we had been reading garden blogs with avid ardor, searching them out from blogrolls on sidebars. The big listing of Blotanical was not yet up and running. With each passing month, we would go out in our garden, camera in hand and take photos, pretending we were joining in the blog fun, playing make believe bloom day. One thing led to another and in December of that year, why oh why December? Why not April, May, June, July, when there were blooms galore?… We jumped into the blogging world for the sole purpose of showing what we had blooming on the fifteenth of each month. In the exitement of being a blogger, the fact of scant blooms never entered our impulsive thoughts. January was hardly any better, and by February, it was scraping the bottom of the barrel. Thank goodness for the greenhouse/sunroom where the orchids, most of them winter bloomers, well of course!, offered photo opportunities. 2010 has knocked us to our knees, this winter seems harsher than previous ones, with so little sunshine to brighten a mood. As the middle of the month grew closer we traipsed the garden paths, bundled like the Michelin Man’s wife in many layers of dress, with boots, hats and gloves on the extremities, checking the usual suspects that might be in bloom. There were a couple of things, so tiny and insignificant in our SAD state. The idea was hatched to check the two previous February bloom day posts for inspiration.
Feb Bloom Day 2009 was
all mostly about orchids.
Blooms Of February-GBBD, the 2008 offering was much the same.
Even though we have shown the orchids before, there is nothing left to do but keep the tradition going. Above is Paphiopedilum ‘Quasky #3 x Quasky #4’, again. Sniff.
From the left: P. ‘Oriental Mystique’, P. holdenii, P. ‘Onyx Cherry’ in bud, and P. ‘Quasky’. The full names can be found on our Orchids Page on the sidebar. These really should be giving way more pleasure to a flower loving gardener than they are, especially the first time ever three blooms at one go on holdenii. Sigh.
Also in the greenhouse, and also in every February bloom day post are the grocer’s primroses. We simply cannot resist their charms and plant them outdoors when the weather warms a little, usually in March. These plants are very cold tolerant, it has been found.
We have decided to combine Pam of Digging’s Foliage Day with the Bloom Day for a little padding of excitement. Think of it as the filler in a bouquet of flowers. Seldom mentioned and rarely shown are the other types of plants that get to take up space in the winter greenhouse frost free atmosphere. These Tillandsia Bromeliads have been living on a wooden trellis, tied with fishing line, that was brought inside the greenhouse each year. It was decided to cut the line and place them into this metal pan for the sake of space this year and has worked well. There is one larger specimen that just sits by itself on the cedar shelf. The names of these are not known, but we call the little one Pineapple Princess, note the deftly drawn blue circle around it in the image above.
Another type of Bromeliad, the Earth Star, Cryptanthus, live in this terra cotta seed tray and accompany the orchids outside in the summer, inside in the winter. They take up little room and are so easy that they are ignored completely except for the in and out trips. (What the…? Is it just me, or does this shot make one dizzy?) Anyway. There used to be more Bromeliads, tied to an old snag that was planted in a large pot filled with gravel. It was huge and heavy, very difficult to move in and out of the greenhouse and it rotted anyway. The large broms were composted and these two smaller types allowed to remain. It was cool looking, that tree limb, though. You know, our mood seems to be brightening.
Before we leave the relatively warm but actually cool, 50 F at night, 60 F or higher depending on the sunshine, moist environment of the greenhouse, the leaves of seed grown Salvia transsylvanica beg to be included for the foliage portion. There are
thirty one make that twenty-seven, I forgot that one four-pack is S. sclaraea, healthy plants in this flat, one cell is empty, waiting to be planted en masse, very close together somewhere in the garden. There are a couple of ideas here about where they should go, including the Fairelurie area by the driveway Muhlenbergia capillaris planting. We will wait to see what pops up there before planting out occurs.
Out the back door of the mud room we go. Fully outfitted in heavy overcoat, scarf, hat, gloves and boots, it was our pleasure to lend you these extras, for we know that garden perusing is much more enjoyable without chattering teeth and shivering shins. Let us go to the spot under the garage deck that is home to the last remaining grocer’s primrose. I see that each year it is the first one open, shown in the February posts. This used to be the spot for all the primroses of this type, for it is well protected by the deck above from wind and cold. Because this is a slight bit warmer, and wetter due to being at the foot of the retaining wall, the slug population is centrally located here. Their favorite entree is primrose, it is their filet mignon. To repel these slimy beasts we have tried dryer lint, egg shells, diatomaceous earth, cat hair, copper collars, beer and poisons harsh and less harsh. Only the poisons work and even then only for a very short time. The solution has been to move the plants out to drier parts of the garden. Happily the primroses have been fine out there, and this blue one will join his brothers away from the slime pit soon.
For the foliage portion of the program we offer one of the primroses that were moved last year with the others to the pathway along the lower edge of the daylily hill. Yes dear readers, it is the Primrose Path. This plant is fully budded and shows no damage from hungry slugs and just a little from ferocious frost, ready to bloom soon and on into spring. It is probably white, but we won’t be sure until it reveals itself to us. Smile.
Other regular participants in bloom days past are the Violas. Fall planted and tattered by spring, the strong root systems developed over the winter months allow for fabulous displays of flowers when the weather warms, much more so than spring planted ones. This year we added a black and white mix of colors with hopes of an elegant display beginning next month. One or two blooms can usually be found on these during the winter, but this year it was more difficult to find an undamaged gem.
Truth in advertising shows the little guys in the raised planted box that was originally intended for food but has now been given over to dahlias. Upland cress sown at the same time late last summer is a pretty evergreen accessory.
Over at the slightly protected east facing area next to the garage, between the pink flowering dogwood and the large Sambucus ‘Aurea’ the Autumn Ferns, Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, Hellebores (old foliage intact) and white blooming Gumpo Azaleas form an evergreen carpet of textural interest. Mixed daffodil bulbs are peeking up and there are hostas still asleep to round out this shady planting, one of very few spots of that type here. But more and more shady places are coming into being as the young trees we have planted grow larger. Grin.
Not all Heucheras do well here. Our hot humid summers are anathema to many. Those with H. villosa in their bloodsteam can take it though, and H. villosa ‘Citronelle’ has proven that it belongs in the Fairegarden.
Located along the edge of the rock wall planter that was built when the main house and the garage were joined with the rock faced facade of the addition, the chartruese Citronelles, along with one H. villosa ‘Caramel’ that does not show up as well and will be moved later, contrast with the blue evergreen foliage of Blue Star Junipers and Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Boulevard’. Last year’s planting of the gold leaf Yuccas, Y. filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’ in the blue pot collection has also been a success. We wanted year around color with zero maintenance. That may seem a tall order, the yuccas have proven up to the task.
We end the show with the Faire Diane, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’. She is the stalwart of the winter garden, planted in front of, and way too close to, the hedge of Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mops’. Constant pruning keeps the thread leaves away from her limbs so that her beauty can shine unobstructed. It is hoped that as she grows larger, and she is ever so slow at growing, that she will send new shoots away from the larger than it was supposed to be evergreen.