What Looks Good Now-Early March 2011

Things are looking up around the late winter Fairegarden.

The leap of faith required when planting annuals right before winter is paying the dividends. Violas that have barely hung on through snow, hail, wind, torrential rain, sub-freezing temps for weeks on end and dark of night are now perking up. The ornamental kale, shown in the opening shot, that was nearly pulled when the centers turned to brown mush after being blanketed with snow and ice for a month are regrowing. Hallelujah!

Little Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Goldcrest’ is looking good in the blue glazed container with those Antique Shades violas. This is most likely not a permanent planting, but for now it brings a smile.

The second daffodil to open each spring here is N. ‘Jetfire’.

Crocus ‘Pickwick’ joins C. bicolor ‘Spring Beauty’ to give more tooth to the scene at the side of the daylily hill.

A blue hyacinth from Walmart is giving a peep show of things to come.

What was thought to be volunteer parsley seedlings turned out to be volunteer cilantro seedlings. These have been covered with snow, endured the exceptionally cold winter in a raised box and have provided many an accoutrement to fine meals of Mexican and Spanish descent. Perhaps there will be parsley babies later? I distinctly remember sprinkling the seeds in there.

Have I told you today how much I love the pea gravel as mulch? Dicentra eximia loves it as well.

Have I told you today how much I love Annie’s Annuals? The addiction to buying plants takes a hit during the depths of the short days of January. Annie’s is the go-to place to fill the need, sending healthy and even flowering, well rooted pots of plants to a snow covered Tennessee home. Heuchera sanguinea ‘Sioux Falls’ was held in the greenhouse along with several other must have purchases until it seemed the time was right to plant them outside. It was feared that the blooms would be frozen when winter coughs up a few last hairballs of cold, but so far, so good. The red flowers are being entered into the gene pool of Heuchera hanky-panky that goes on around here. Planted in the trough to replace the seedling H. ‘Faire Piecrust’ which has been repotted to grow on to a larger size for division, the bright green leaves and brilliant blooms bring happiness already.

A recent severe thunderstorm that kindly left the preternaturally blooming Sioux Falls unscathed was not so kind to Faire Diane, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’. This photo was taken right before the storm hit, showing the full formal regalia. After the violent clouds moved on and the sun came out, not a single petal was left on the witch hazel. That has never happened before, it is hoped it never happens again. At least we have these images as a reminder of her good if brief show in 2011.

The slope behind the main house, to the right of the wide concrete stair pads, has been colonized with Hellebores. The flowers of most hang downwards, asking an inquisitive photographer to crawl on her belly for a looksee. This seedling has a brighter outlook, facing the world head on. There will be more photos to come as the numerous Helleborus orientalis open fully.

The greys and browns are quickly giving way to the colors of spring. May we always be astounded by it.


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22 Responses to What Looks Good Now-Early March 2011

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your garden is so full of spring buds and blooms Frances. It is exciting to see what will soon be showing here. Have a great weekend.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for dropping by. I am amazed each day at how spring like the garden looks when the sun is high enough to illuminate the slope. It is exciting. You too have a wonderful weekend. πŸ™‚

  2. Randy Emmitt says:


    I think Jetfire was our first daffodil to open, then Baby Moon which is featured in my current posting. The cilantro looks pretty good, I hate buying it, goes bad fairly quickly.

    Hi Randy, thanks for visiting. I love Baby Moon, it is on the wish list but I never buy it for some reason. Too tempted by other bulbs, we have so many daffs here. The cilantro came up right as winter was starting. I can’t count how many times I have sown cilantro seeds with no germination. Now I know, it wants to grow in the winter! The plants will be allowed to go to seed and the stems will be shaken over the bed to keep it going.

  3. Layanee says:

    You are off and running Frances. Poor Diane. At least she had a few days in the sun before losing her skirts in the wind. Nature can sometimes seem so cruel. Nothing here yet but the promise of high 50’s in the next few days.

    Hi Layanee, thanks for stopping by. Poor Diane is right. She is but a shadow of her former self. Good thing there are other flowers for the bees to visit. Your temperature forecast sounds like good for snow melting. Hope it happens and you are surprised with bulbs showing! πŸ™‚

  4. Valerie says:

    It was lovely to see your spring bloomers. Gives me hope that spring will come to us soon. V

    Hi Valerie, thanks. Spring will come for everyone, in its own good time. It has decided to visit us earlier than last year, we are glad! πŸ™‚

  5. Laurrie says:

    That ornamental kale caught my eye, it’s so FLUFFFFY (you had to see the movie Despicable Me). Such a clean refreshing looking plant, all green and white and frilled.

    Your poor Diane witch hazel!! Mine is still young, and still stingy with any blossoms at all. They remain few and tightly curled, and don’t seem to want to do anything all through winter and spring. I’m hoping as she matures she will look more like yours (pre disaster)

    Hi Laurrie, thanks for stopping by. I haven’t seen that movie, but when or if I ever do, will look for the reference. It took Diane a few years to have many blooms, she is 8-9 years in the ground here now. Yours will grow and do well. I hope yours never gets undressed like mine did this year. It is embarrassing to look at! πŸ™‚

  6. Kathy says:

    “when winter coughs up a few last hairballs of cold” I loved that line, perfect imagery!

    Thanks Kathy, glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  7. gail says:

    Frances, I love your gravel, too. So many pretties grow in that wonderful medium! If I can talk Mr I into carrying bags to the wayback~gravel will soon be on the paths in the Garden of Benign Neglect. We’ll see if it’s the gravel or the Fairegarden magic! Just in case, end some magic wishes this way! I like the Goldcrest in the blue container. It’s my hope that spring will always astonish me…xxoogail

    Thanks Gail. The gravel is wonderful, but the bags are very heavy. It might be easier if Mr I could use a wheelbarrow. Our hill is too steep to push the barrow up it, easier to just carry the bags. I need a small wagon or something to haul the bags on the lower levels. Or The F. May Clay And Limestone be even more full of magic that it already is, whoosh! (Sound of wand waving and sending magic your way.) πŸ™‚

  8. goodtogrow says:

    Ah spring! Pretty blooms, Frances! I’m a complete sucker for Hyacinths.

    Hi Good, thanks. I agree about the Hyacinths, and always buy the potted ones at the big box stores around this time of year to stick into the ground after enjoying them in containers first. That has been the best way to plant them for me, I can see where all the other bulbs are and where more are needed. Cheap and fun. πŸ™‚

  9. I love the kale — such interesting colors. makes me hungry! beautiful spring garden. thanks for sharing with those of us whose ground is still cold and hard. But I do see a few bulbs popping their little green heads up here and there, so there’s hope!

    Hope, Cindy, hope lives! Thanks for visiting. The kale was a surprise, it looked dreadful just a few weeks ago. The purple leaf kale had to be pulled, perhaps if left growing it too would regrow pretty centers. Next year it will be given more of a chance. πŸ™‚

  10. Lola says:

    Oh my, I will have to get the jet fire for my garden. Poor witch hazel it did show your how pretty she was.
    We are really going now. Spring surely has arrived. A lot of work & some won’t get done.

    Hi Lola, glad to hear your spring is moving forward. As for the work, we just do what we can, but I am really glad to have cut the hellebore foliage. πŸ™‚

  11. ‘Pickwick’ is exquisite, as in ‘Jetfire’. Enjoy your cilantro!

    Hi janet, thanks. What a luxury to go out and pick the needed cilantro. It gets added to many dishes just to have something fresh from the garden included. Pickwick might be my favorite crocus, don’t tell the others. πŸ™‚

  12. Eileen says:

    Frances, the blooms look lovely. I think I have some pansies that will come back also. They were in the hayracks under my Christmas greens!


    Hi Eileen, thanks. That is great about your protected pansies! We cover lots of things with the cut off Christmas tree branches, they are perfect for that reuse! πŸ™‚

  13. It DOES look good, almost good enough to eat. Your witchhazel was gorgeous! I’m hoping that mine grows up to be as lovely; it is still very young.

    I don’t think it is possible to overstate the goodness of pea gravel mulch, myself!

    We got our very first daffodil yesterday. I guess spring is really here. I planted my peas and some spinach and lettuce. They got well watered in by the rain we had during the night.

    Hi Hands, thanks. Diane was having a better than ever year, too. Oh well, there is always the future to look forward to. Hooray for your daffodil and the veggie planting! I love the tradition of planting peas into the cold earth, knowing it has been done for centuries. We are now getting that rain, we needed it! πŸ™‚

  14. Linda says:

    I haven’t seen a witch hazel in that color before, where have I been? It is stunning and so sorry to hear you only had a short time to enjoy it. Your Spring photos are a treat up here where we still have a snow covering, thanks!

    Hi Linda, thanks. Diane is a very unusual color, she starts off darker almost red in the coldest temps and becomes lighter with age and warmth. She will usually last in bloom the entire month of March, so we will miss her colored streamers as the rest of the garden wakes up. Your spring will come soon! πŸ™‚

  15. That opening shot of the kale is a stunner. Always interesting how the garden continues to provide us with events that we’ve never experienced before β€” like your witch hazel. I think that is one of the things I’ve realized from taking photos. I plan on getting more shots next season and then it’s years before the same thing happens again!

    Hi Linda, thanks. We waited for years for Diane to bloom well, this was a good year. We hope she is full of flowers next year and beyond. Gardening keeps us humble. πŸ™‚

  16. Anna says:

    Sorry to hear about what happened to your beautiful ‘Diane’ – did the thunderstorm bring any hail with it or do you think wind was responsible Frances? I do like those gloriously feathery markings on ‘Pickwick’.

    Thanks Anna. It was the high sustained wind mixed with the heavy downfall of rain, there was no hail that day. It was like a hurricane! Pickwick is a champion here, the voles and squirrels attack but there are always some Pickwicks blooming every year. I should add more, even though it is later and sometimes the warm temps shorten the bloom time. Weird late winter weather here, always.

  17. Lee says:

    Your gardens and photography are really beautiful and the photographs of your Witch Hazel and Helleborus are stunning. The flowering shrubs should do very well this year with the blanket of snow we have had all winter long. Your gardens seem to be having a nice start. Happy gardening!

    Hi Lee, thanks and welcome. Your plants are lucky to have that blanket of snow to protect and provide moisture. We can get snow but it seldom hangs around more than a day. This year was different and I hope the plantings appreciate it. Happy gardening to you! πŸ™‚

  18. Diana says:

    Wonderful blooms in your garden, Frances. The color on those Violas is so rich and vibrant they seem to shout, ‘Look at me!.’ Your Hellebore looks just like my ‘Phoebe’ — do you know what kind it is? She’s beautiful.

    Hi Diana, thanks so much. All of my Hellebores are simply the species or seedlings of them. No names. There is a good mix though, there might be a post coming about them soon! πŸ™‚

  19. Alistair says:

    Hi Frances, Shame about your Hamamelis Diane, it does look a beauty, I am going to find a spot for this one.The Violas and Pansies often look like they have only just managed to survive the winter. I often wonder why we just don’t pick them up at the garden centre in early March and still manage to get three months out of them. Jetfire, I am always banging on about this one, definitely my favourite.

    Hi Alistair, thanks. Diane was having a good year, but better luck in 2012! The violas do so much better here if planted in the fall, growing good root systems during the winter, then blooming like crazy come spring. We will add some in spring too, but it gets hot so quickly here that those don’t have much of a chance to establish before burning up. There is no comparison to the size of the fall planteds. Jetfire is a darling! πŸ™‚

  20. Lisa says:

    Annie’s Annuals is just a few towns away from me — dangerous and expensive proximity!

    Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting. Oh my, that would be dangerous for me as well! πŸ™‚

  21. Nutty Gnome says:

    Superb photos and lovely colours. That Witch Hazel is stupendous …pity it was so short lived though!

    Hi Liz, thanks. Diane will be back next year, barring the world coming to an end before then. She will leaf out and provide a nice backdrop for the summer flowers, then give a blaze of glory come fall. And then… πŸ™‚

  22. ilona says:

    I’m overwhelmed, just overwhelmed by the beautiful photos in this post. Maybe because I’ve been so starved for spring… but it was a virtual feast of beauty.

    Thanks Ilona. Spring flowers and foliage never looks so good as it does first thing when the growing season begins. That is why we are heavy on the earliest blooming plants here. I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

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