What Looks Good Now-Early February Promise

Welcome to the search for pretty and/or attractive currently on stage in the Fairegarden. Violas meet that criteria. The notes to self list had in caps and underlined, plant more violas in the fall. We did follow that helpful tip and the expectations are high for the late winter into spring-early summer showing to be the best ever. Under the arbor is a wire hanging basket filled with these beauties growing atop some half price daffodils, yet to emerge.

Speaking of daffodils, the earliest to bloom here are those that came with the property by the multitudes, thought to be N. Rijnveld’s Early Sensation but might be N. pseudonarcissus. This type, whatever they are, spring out of the cold earth with flower buds showing, ready to open during a spate of warm days. Born pregnant, as it were.

Fall of 2009 found us planting some new to us varieties of Muscari. We are awash in the little blue belled M. armeniacum, could be M. neglectum that was here already, so wanted to try a few more varieties. M. macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ was underwhelming in stature and scent, but holds more promise this, its second year.

Primroses from the grocery have been added each year after spending quality time in the greenhouse/sunroom. Offered around Valentine’s day and before, in bloom, we cannot resist the green crinkly eaves and sporty blooms. Planted in the more protected area under the garage deck stairs, they would bloom early each year. But that space turned out to be a slugfest, with those slimey critters feasting on the dainty delights without cessation. Slowly the primroses were moved out into the big brave world of garden beds, trying to find the most moist spots at the base of rock walls. This strategy has been a success, is the happy report.

Pink Malva unknown

Dianthus 'Little Boy Blue'

Geranium sanguineum

Digitalis obscura 'Sunset'

Various evergreen perennials are showing off with bright and colorful foliage.

The tree peonies are scouted for promising swelling of the more bulbous protuberances. P. suffruticosa ‘Hatsugarasu’ holds the most promise at present.

The leftover bits from the magnificent red maple tree Ferngully continue to make their presence felt with puff ball fungus popping up wherever the remains lie. The garden is quite desolete overall, don’t be mislead by the macro shots shown earlier. But there is hope aplenty, if one but knows where to look.

To think the addition of the native Yucca was resisted for many years (thanks Pam!) is a laugh, considering the joy that Y. filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ brings to the garden, with a side order of Sedum ‘Angelina ‘ (Jolie). Love the little pinky bit at the tips of both.

Out front, the group of five large blue pots holds five less brilliantly colored Yucca ‘Golden Sword’, still lovely though. (Yes, the pink blobs are the photographers slogger clad feet.)

While all of the above photos show a garden approaching spring with relish, winter is still heavy upon us. The scene could change quickly depending on the whims of the weather gods. We live in zone 7a, where winters are generally mild, unlike the more northernly zones whose landscapes can be blanketed in white for months with no sign of garden growth. Poufy white flakes descend on us as well sometimes, too. The exact same blue pot of Golden Sword as the shot before, taken January 11, 2010, is the proof in the snow pudding.


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20 Responses to What Looks Good Now-Early February Promise

  1. chickenpoet says:

    That Geranium sanguineum looks alot like one of those native wildflowers you love; is it? I do not think I have ever seen the garden so clear. I left everything in my garden this year. Zinnia & Tithonia stalks are still standing. I am curious to see what will carry over. I decided to take a course in Semi’s School of Gardening. Love, CP.

    Hi dear Chickenpoet, thanks for stopping by. That Geranium is not a wildflower, but there is another Geranium that is a native to our region. Letting stuff stand should give you some interesting results. The Semi School is a wise choice. We only recently cut everything down so the bulbs could be seen on a clear field. The area that used to be the old driveway was covered in pea gravel, I love the look, but it will fill in completely with plants soon.
    Much love,

  2. Donna says:

    your garden looks a lot like mine in bloom under the snow…had more this weekend and frigid temps this week mean I will not see anything at least not this week…hoping for some warm air soon πŸ™‚

    Hi Donna, thanks for visiting. I now understand the meaning of the deep snow cover after Christmas and then the early January storms we had here that left a foot of snow each time. It was pretty in the beginning, however. We are used to seeing the brown and grey. The snow is a good blanket for the plants, that much is true.

  3. Randy Emmitt says:


    It is our second year with Golden Fragrance also. Judgment is still out there, the leaves came out in the fall, not noticed any buds yet.

    Hi Randy, thanks for adding that. We had read a magazine article about how wonderful the lesser known Muscari varieties were. They were so small, they might make more of an impact in a pot or by the wall. We shall see how they do this year, like you. I had to search into the personal plant parts to see those buds. πŸ™‚

  4. Valerie says:

    I will just enjoy your new growth with you until such time as mine appears somewhere down the road.

    Thanks Valerie. We are zone 7a, that usually means spring comes to visit us sooner than much of the country. We have also planted many early bloomers, bulbs and others, because we are impatient. It is happening here, even though winter is not nearly done with us. πŸ™‚

  5. Patsi says:

    Love the snow shot.
    Can’t believe you have daffodils already.
    Lucky girl.

    Hi Patsi, thanks. These are not just any daffs, they are super early ones, two weeks or more ahead of all the rest. Most of the others are not even out of the ground yet. πŸ™‚

  6. Garden Walk Garden Talk says:

    Your yucca is such a fun photo with the snow covering. The primrose is such a plant of promise. The photo above is screaming spring to me. I buy them from the grocery store like you and after they bloom like crazy inside, they get to reshow their stuff outside.

    Hi Donna, thanks. That was so much snow, everything in the garden was nearly unrecognizable. You have reminded me to pick up some primroses at the grocery today, I haven’t gotten any yet this season. It is time! πŸ™‚

  7. Marguerite says:

    I know the weather could change any minute yet I’m still green with envy at your shots of bulbs beginning to push their way out of the ground. We’ve had endless amounts of snow in the last 2 weeks and I’m beginning to forget what flowers look like.

    Hi Marguerite, thanks for visiting. The bulbs won’t wait, cold weather, snow or whatever. If you have forgotten what flowers look like, you might want to visit the grocery. Thank goodness the marketing geniuses like to push flowering plants, not just cut flowers for Valentine’s Day. πŸ™‚

  8. Alistair says:

    Frances,there is a lot which gives pleasure in the late Winter garden, even in our northerly situation in Scotland where we also get long breaks from the snow. Your native Yucca is one cheerful looking plant. The Digitalis Obscura is very unusual, looks similar to some of the Euphorbias.

    Hi Alistair, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you have some happiness in winter too, snowdrops? I wish all the Yuccas here were Color Guard, it is the best by far. The Digitalis is a strange one, it really looks nothing like the other, flat to the ground ones we also grow.

  9. Gail says:

    Frances, Your violas have the prettiest little faces~Are they fairegarden magical offspring? I planted mostly blues~and they have survived the snow and extreme cold beautifully. Love the yuccas~They are now one of my favs. What a dependable, indestructible plant! β€˜Color Guard’ is planted in a container, where it can survive the wet winter and poor drainage. I have similar long views~ The budding and greening plants give me hope that Spring will arrive while they break the tedium of my overly brown garden! xxoogail

    Dear Gail, thanks. No, these are store bought Violas. The offspring don’t bloom until May, up in the knot garden gravel. We love the blue ones, also planted several flats of them to complement the yellow daffs in a few weeks. I am so glad you found Color Guard, it is a winner. Still mostly brown and grey, but things are happening out there! πŸ™‚

  10. Gosh, Frances, you’ve got a lot of “spring” going on there! I’m up here under 15+ inches of snow, wondering what my hellebores are doing under all of it. I can only hope they’re staying warm under there. Your viola is gorgeous!

    Hi Kylee, thanks. You all with the snow, keep it up north where it belongs, please! It does provide great moist insulation for the plants. Our plants here are not used to it, and neither are the gardeners. (Or drivers! Yikes!) πŸ™‚

  11. Central's Spec. Ed. Science Lesson says:

    We loved the pointy snow covered plant. The class said “Oh, sharp!” when they saw it. We looked at pictures of what it could remind us of. We decided it looked like a snow sea urchin.

    Hi Class, I am so glad you found this post to your liking. A snow sea urchin is exactly what the snowy Yucca looks like. Well done. A’s for all! πŸ™‚

  12. Sharon says:

    Your daffodils are higher than mine, which are just barely poking above the ground, I need to look at the bag that the 3 colors of muscari came in to see what kinds they are, one of those colors are already sprouting, my sister gave them to me for Christmas, and they came ‘pregnant’ as well, meaning they had grown small baby bulbs, while in the bag they came in. I’m thinking of buying some already blooming bulbs and enjoying them for the now, then let them be outside for next year. I haven’t decided what kind I’ll get. I’m broke up with my boyfriend right now, and need to cheer myself up this Valentines Day.

    Hi Sharon, thanks. These daffs are not like the rest, they are so super early, weeks ahead of all the rest. Three colors of muscari sound delightful, what a show that will be. As those prepotted bulbs become available, we always add a few. It is the only time you can see where bulbs need to be added, in spring, as opposed to fall when everything is hiding. We do not rely on others to feed our plant buying addition, thank goodness, or else we would starve! πŸ™‚

    I went to my local grocery store, and the lady from the floral department was getting ready to mark down some potted bulbs, the blooms were just about spent, she gave them to me for 45 cents each! I also got some more daffodil bulbs for $1.99 with 9 bulbs a box.

    That is fabulous, Sharon! Way to shop smart. You were doing them a favor by taking those spent bulbs off their hands. All good. πŸ™‚

  13. Looks like spring to me. Those violas are too sweet.

    Hi MMD, thanks. It is the beginning of spring here. Violas are my weakness, I love them all. πŸ™‚

  14. rachel says:

    Hi there, spring greetings from the UK! I came across your blog while looking for images of primula veris seedlings – i’m studying horticulture and for my plant production module i’m trying to raise about 100 plants for sale in our college plant nursery.
    Anyway I love your photos, they’re so crisp and perfect! I like taking close ups of plants, I’ve been out tidying my little courtyard and snapping away to record all the new growth – remarkable that my Dicentra spectablis ‘alba’ is bursting with life after our incredibly cold temperatures this winter! I think spring is my favourite season – all those old friends re-emerging, just love the feeling of new hope and warm sunshine just around the corner. I’ll be checking back to see what your daffodils look like, they’re my absolute favourite, i’m collecting a few more varieties each year! I think you’re a bit further south than I am, my snowdrops are nearly out, have to wait a bit longer for my daffs!

    Hi Rachel, thanks for dropping by and welcome. Good luck with your P. veris seedlings! Those are simply wonderful little plants with the sweetest flowers ever. It sounds like you have some spring showing with snowdrops and Dicentra makig their moves. We have several varieties of daffs, you can see them on the page on my sidebar, Plants we grow, spring bulbs.

  15. How nice to see something green and growing in a garden. Right now we are still blanketed in snow from the last storm which still hasn’t melted yet, and more to come tomorrow.

    It is heartening to be reminded of what I know is hiding out here, waiting for spring to come.

    Hi Hands, thanks. That snow blanket is a good thing for the plants, we very rarely get any snow that lasts longer than a few hours so our plants are tough souls. Spring is coming, whether Old Man Winter wants to leave or not! πŸ™‚

  16. Scott Weber says:

    Ahhh…it’s so exciting to see all the emerging plants…every day is like christmas morning!

    Hi Scott, thanks. You are so right, it is like presents for us gardeners coming up out of the ground. What a nice way to put it! πŸ™‚

  17. commonweeder says:

    I am forcing muscari this year and they are starting to come into beautiful blue bloom Outside I have at least 3 feet of snow.

    Hi Pat, great on the Muscari! That is one way to beat the weather gods! That blue must be so welcome about now. πŸ™‚

  18. joey says:

    Awe, the early promise of spring! I’m in awe of all the beauty budding in your garden, Frances. My garden still sleeps under a heavy blanket of snow. I too have had excellent luck with grocery store Primroses that make me very happy πŸ™‚

    Thanks Joey. Great to hear that you have had the same success with the grocery primroses. A few more jumped into my cart this week from there. That blanket of snow is such good insulation for the plants. Our poor plants have no such cover to depend upon.

  19. Carol says:

    You can never plant too many violas, ever. I love those flowers.

    Hi Carol, I agree completely. Must add to the notes to self, more more more violas. πŸ™‚

  20. I have fallen in love with violas too, and really need to plant more next year. You have some wonderful buds appearing, so exciting. I love this time of year. Everything appears to be at its most desolate, but if you look closely there are signs of life all over the place. Lovely.

    Hi Janet, thanks for visiting. Desolate is the key word, if there is not careful perusal out in the garden. Lots of stuff happening just at ground level. πŸ™‚

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