It is bloom day, that special day in the garden blogdom where everyone posts about what is blooming in their space, thanks to an idea that bloomed in the mind of sweet Carol of May Dreams. Let us get right to it then. The star, the high point, the darling of the moment is Edgeworthia chrysantha. In this, the third year from planting the little sticks sent from Wayside Gardens, the first flowers have burst forth from the furry little round buds that have hung around all winter. The reason for the purchase, even though we had never heard of this small tree before, let alone seen one in a garden setting or even in a photograph, was the promise of fragrance that would spin your head around in late winter. It does indeed give a whiplash snap to the neck as we pass by it.
How to best describe the scent is difficult. It is like a mixture of the sweetest most wonderful flowers you have ever been lucky enough to inhale, lilacs, roses, honeysuckle, honey and baby powder all rolled into the yellow downward facing flowers of this amazing tree. These flowers have just begun to open enough for the sweet smell to waft around the garden. How long they remain in bloom will be noted, as will what happens next. Will there be seed pods of some sort, or berries or fruit?
Entering the third month of bloom and having the best year ever is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’. Age becomes Diane, for the number of flowers is astounding. Cooler than normal temps and above average rainfall have conspired to send her to never before seen heights of splendor. On last check however, no fragrance at all was detected, and we gave as good a sniff as possible. Nothing.
On the other hand there is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’. I checked the tag on this and it reads ‘Arnold’s Promise’, but research seems to favor plain old Arnold. Does anyone know which is correct?
Anyway, Arnold is quite fragrant and is sporting flowers up and down every branch. New last year, he has been an excellent addition to the yellow/white garden that is trending blue at the moment. That always seems to happen with these themed gardens, more colors needed.
Sometimes neglected, the Mahonia bealei continues to bloom for a third month. Under the tall Loblolly pines, it planted itself right at the base of one of the largest pines. In the beginning we tried to dig it out and could not. Then we cut it down to the ground every year to discourage it, it wasn’t fazed. Now we just let it go, and have even transplanted the various seedlings back to the Japanese garden for some evergreen pizzazz. The light blue berries are delightful to bird and human alike, so it will stay as we have declared a truce.
Of the spring bulbs, the crocus are the earliest here. One hundred Crocus tommasinianus ‘Rosea’ were planted amongst the Geum triflorum at the path edge of the Fairelurie that holds the sweep of muhly grass by the driveway .
One hundred may seem like a lot of bulbs, but our noble feline Kitty has kindly agreed to provide perspective by stepping into the shot. The shadow of the camera toting gardener also shows what a small impact this mass planting is, underwhelming to say the least. But these bulbs were dug and spread about in the area right after the shot, and will be spread each year until the whole thing is filled in with rosy cups in late winter. Or that is the vision.
Many of the heaths, Erica ssp. have been removed from the Fairegarden. The winter flowers are not very substantive and the foliage is lackluster the rest of the year. A couple have done well over in the flat garden, our most alkaline spot due to its former life as a gravel driveway for the house next door that was torn down to make way for our garage. Reported as acid loving but cuddled up against a lavender plant, this low growing heath was allowed to stay. The blooms are nice but it is the short stature that is the saving grace for this one.
Up at the top of the slope behind the main house, the knot garden is fixin’ to shine. Antique Shades Violas were planted in the gravel at the front of each quadrant last fall. In the past there has been destructive digging by the devil squirrels determined to commit mayhem as they bury then hunt for the black walnuts whose trees grow nearby. A thick gravel mulch on top of the violas and in the quads themselves has proven to be a good strategy to thwart the digging. It promises to be a good year when the Spring Green viridiflora tulips open in the quads.
Another Paph has opened since last month’s bloom day. Paphiopedilum Onyx ‘Fancy Cherry’ x Paph. sukhakulii is always later than the others of this type.
This lateness does allow for his grand opening to be photographed out of doors since the weather has finally moderated somewhat by then. After the photo shoot he is whisked safely back into the greenhouse for another month until the orchids and seedlings can safely live outside for the summer.
The hellebores have just begun to open. An experiment was conducted with their ratty looking old foliage this year, it was not cut off as is usually done. Temps too cold for outdoor chores, too many hellebores and a general malaise that settled into the gardener all contributed to this lack of activity. The fear is that the appalling leaves will detract from the beauty of the bounteous blooms. That may be so, but it may just be the reason that cropping of images was invented, to hide the sad bits whilst allowing the good to appear impeccably groomed.
To see the March blooms of previous years click on the links below: