February 2012-GBBD

Welcome friends to the February 2012 edition of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. This time of year often finds a scarcity of blooms to share, but years of researching which plants will flower in winter and also grow in our Zone 7a, no change with the new map, has us falling back on the stalwarts year after year. We will begin with the bulb group, starting off with Iris histrioides ‘Katharine Hodgkin’. In the fall of 2010, Kat was planted in a special place at the side of the daylily hill, the better to see you, my dear. But dastardly diggers of the vole and squirrel family ruined what should have been a grand show. Seven bulbs were saved and moved to the sunny Gravel Garden. So far, five have arisen and it is still early yet.

Also in the Gravel Garden are a couple of grocery store Iris reticulata planted in late winter 2011. These were tagged as crocus, but I could tell from the spike they were iris of some sort. The variety is unknown, but we can vouch for the dark blue color.

I didn’t remember sticking some Crocus tommasinianus ‘Roseus’ into the warmth of the Gravel Garden, thinking they were all growing and being divided and spread in the Fairelurie. But, there they be, looking quite happy. The gravel does give a nice background to the non-brown plants.

Planted originally with Katharine Hodgkin at the side of the daylily hill behind a small stone wall was Crocus biflorus isauricus ‘Spring Beauty’. The digging vandalism seemed to have less effect on these little pretties, thank goodness. Some should probably be moved to the Gravel Garden for safer growing.

There were several varieties of daffodils that came with the property. There is one type that is weeks ahead of the rest. It is shorter in stature with a medium sized trumpet and lighter yellow, slightly twisted petals. It increases much faster and has been spread more and more each year for a carpet to be someday. It might be Narcissus pseudonarcissus, or not.

Helleborus orientalis has seeded itself and is nearly as numerous as the early daffs. Whites, pinks, freckled and solid colors, we love them all. The bloom time coincides with these daffodils, but the hellebores will continue blooming until June.

They have no names and like a box of chocolates, you never know what a batch of seedlings will turn out to be. We do love them all.

Edgeworthia chrysantha is opening the little furry paw-like buds to reveal the honey scented bell shaped flowers. Downward hanging, the only way to appreciate them is to get below and look upwards. Worth it.

For the first time ever, probably due to weird weather conditions of unseasonably warm January temperatures, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ is blooming at the same time as H. ‘Diane’, whose orange blaze petals can be seen in the background here, just across the pathway.

“Hey there, good lookin’!”, says the dashing Arnold. There has always been hope of some sort of cross pollination to occur between these two lovebirds, it being so close to Valentine’s Day when they bloom and all. Maybe this year the fertility gods will shine down upon us. On warmer days, there have been bees in the area. Diane is demure and ready, in my opinion, as she answers back, “Hey there yourself, big boy!”.

There are little odds and ends of flowers at this time, bravely opening in spite of brutally frigid winds and spitting snowfall recently. The garden is still shades of toast and khaki, but green is coming, to veil the hillside in verdancy, soon.


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26 Responses to February 2012-GBBD

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Love those little irises Frances. I can tell your area is having the warmer weather this year too. What fun to have so many blooms during February. It is finally winter here. I guess better late than never.

    Thanks Lisa. We were having a very enjoyable winter, the sun felt so good. Then it got quite cold last weekend and many of the flowers were laying flat on the ground. Warmth this week should perk them back up, I hope!

  2. Jan says:

    I can’t believe that your daffodils are already blooming. Here, where we are so much farther south than you, the foliage has just started coming up. Crazy winter.

    Always Growing

    Hi Jan, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. These are super early daffs, well ahead of all the others we grow by several weeks, always. They are even earlier than usual this year and yes, crazy winter weather!

  3. Linda says:

    Wow Frances, so many blooms in February! Those irises are beautiful. Must be wonderful enjoying blooms in the garden so early in the year.

    We’ve jumped 1/2 a zone with the new USDA map, and even with the mild winter we’ve had, other than some snowdrop and daffodil foliage, the garden here is still sleeping.

    Hi Linda, thanks, so nice to see you here. It is wonderful to have blooms now, and those blooms do seem to be coming a bit earlier this year. Congratulations on the zone uppage, and that new baby in the family, too. Now you can research and find those plants that will give you the earliest possible blooms. I have been doing that for several years. With trial and error, there are now things growing here that flower as early as possible, but I am still on the hunt for more. Of course!

  4. michaele says:

    I don’t usually think to use the word “cornucopia” when it comes to describing what’s in bloom during East Tennessee’s Feb. but your series of pictures was a feast for the eyes. What a delight all those flowering faces must be as you walk about your gardens. I also have some of those very early blooming daffodils that were already part of our property when we moved here 17 years ago. Their declaration of yellow and spring is on the way came as such a nice surprise that first Feb. I now count on them to chase off any winter doldrums that might have crept into my soul.

    Thanks Michaele. There is great diversity here in my garden, for I am more of a plant collector than garden designer, but I am working on trying to be both! I have been spreading those early heritage daffs for over ten years, deciding that early trumps special colors or forms any day. There are other, fancy, and much later daffs here, but none compare with these early ones for happiness inducing! I am glad that you have them, as well.

  5. Gail says:

    Frances, What a delightful show~especially the hamamelis. Diane and Arnold dancing together like Ginger and Fred~Love the brilliant blue of the grocery store Iris rituculata and Kathryn H looks fantastic in the gravel~That gravel is magical! Have a wonderful day in the garden~I understand we are in for a warmer few days! xxoogail ps I am going to check out the sale rack at the grocery store florist shop!

    ThanksGail. What a lovely thought, Diane and Arnold as those two famous dancers. I hope they do the wild thing and produce some viable seeds! HA I have been outside all day, basking in the sunshine and pruning the roses. Hope you find some goodies!

  6. commonweeder says:

    Your photographs are always so beautiful. And of course, your garden is beautiful in every season!

    Thank you, Pat, for those kind words. I wish you could see the garden in person, my photos don’t do it justice.

  7. Marilyn says:

    Love ALL the spring flowers!♥♫

    Thanks Marilyn! These flowers put a song in my heart, too!

  8. Spring has certainly sprung in your garden. I have had the same problem with K. Hodgkin. I plant ’em, they mostly disappear so I just enjoy the precious few that have survived.

    Hi Linda, thanks for visiting, so nice to see you here. I am suspicious about Kat now, others have reported the same rodent problems. Wonder what kind of perfume she is wearing to attract them so?

  9. Leslie says:

    You are weeks ahead of me on the iris and crocus…now I’m excited and want my blooms here! Your garden looks lovely…verdancy or not!

    Hi Leslie, thanks for visiting. These iris and crocus are the earliest of the early. There are later ones that are barely even showing right not. Verdancy certainly helps my happiness level, but the flowers help me hang on until everything leafs out.

  10. spurge says:

    That last shot of your hillside softly lit and dotted with blooms is so lovely! I am in still snow-covered Wisconsin. So nice to see blooms in February (if only online). Thanks for sharing your garden!

    Thanks Spurge. It is not the prettiest photo, but does give an honest portrayal of how the garden really looks right now. Scatterings of flowers but it is definitely still winter here. Glad you enjoyed it!

  11. I am always surprised to see Iris blooming already. Very pretty blooms. Edgeworthia is just sublime. I have two, thinking of adding a third (hate even numbers). Does ‘Arnold’s Promise’ have a clove fragrance? There is a witch hazel that is very clove-y…that is the one I want. We had it in the Learning Garden in VA, can’t remember which one it was. (may be H. vernalis or virginiana)

    I am a little surprised to see the iris blooming too, Janet. The larger retic planting up in the knot garden is not even showing buds yet, although the foliage always appears quite early, in January here. Neither Arnold nor Diane are particularly fragrant unless the weather is much warmer, usually in March. I believe the witch hazel you want is vernalis, it is supposed to be quite fragrant. I want one of those, too.

  12. What is it about Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ that makes squirrels want to dig it up? They weren’t nearly as interested in Iris ‘Pixie’. Someone should do a scientific study to verify our results.
    Your small daffodils are so charming. I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to the simpler, smaller daffodils these days. Your witch hazels are outstanding this year. I hope you get seeds.

    Thanks, MMD. I believe you are on to something about Kat, Linda also complained of digging problems with it. At least now we know and need to give her additional protection, whatever that might be! These daffs are by far my favorite, the time of bloom makes all the difference. There have been seed pods on the Arnold before, but nothing has germinated yet.

  13. Crystal says:

    Beautiful photos. Especially love your iris blooms. Spring has definitely arrived in your garden.

    Thanks Crystal. Those iris are wonderful, nice to see blue at this time of year. All of these were planted as late winter bloomers, to tide me over until the real spring show begins. I can’t wait!

  14. My Kids Mom says:

    I went outdoors with the clippers to bring in many of the blooms, anticipating the 20 degree night predicted for last week. So, now we have a vase full of spring (and those who stayed outdoors did just fine)

    I know, Jill!!! Our weatherman said a couple of nights ago to go out and pick all the daffodils blooming because they would not recover from those low temps, down into the teens here. It made me so mad because I know they will too recover, perk right back up and stand up tall after laying flat from the cold. It happens every single year. We will get quite cold temps while these earliest daffs are blooming, and the hellebores, too. It does not bother them. I feel sorry for anyone who cut all of their flowers from this bad advice!

  15. The photo immediately above your mention of Iris biflorus isauricus ‘Spring Beauty’ looks like a crocus to me. Is it truly an iris?

    Whoa Nellie! Thanks Kathy! I was a bit under the weather when writing the text for this post and you are absolutely right, that is a crocus, not an iris. I will fix it right now.

  16. Everything looks great!! Happy Bloom Day 🙂

    Thanks so much, Emily. Happy Bloom Day back to you.

  17. Lovely dwarf iris Frances – today I was just thinking next Autumn I must plant lots of Iris reticulata, they are such a treat at this time of year.

    I do enjoy the colour of H. ‘Diane’ it has been on my wishlist for a while now, but I still need to find the “perfect” spot for it in this garden. Yours is looking very fine!

    Thanks Karen. These little iris are indeed charming. More is always better when it comes to bulbs. Diane is difficult to site, that is for certain. I thought the gold mops behind her would be more golden when she was blooming, to help offer contrast for she is such a dark color. But the sun shines on the other side of the hedge at this time of year with the evergreens a bright gold on that side. The side that Diane is on faces north and is very shaded now, so the background is green and dreary. Don’t make that mistake!

  18. great blooms that I do not have yet…I love iris Kat…my voles leave my iris alone but not my crocus…I hope to see these same bloms next month1

    Thanks Donna, I hope to see those same blooms on March GBBD!

  19. David says:

    I love your collection. Those Iris (Irisis? Irises? Irisizizes?…what a plural problem…ugh) are so beautiful.
    I didn’t know you had a blue bottle tree! So do I. I guess that makes us garden cousins. LOL

    Hi Cousin David, thanks. As for the correct plural, who knows, but I am going with Iris. HA My bottle tree is small, just a few bottles, but I love seeing that color out in the garden.

  20. Julie says:

    I love your description of the garden–“shades of toast and khaki.” So true! The iris are adorable, and I think I need more of them to brighten our beige winter landscape. Your photos are always so lovely–thanks for sharing!

    Thanks Julie. Those terms for beige look good written down, but the colors in the garden are still quite drab for the most part. I do appreciate your kind words.

  21. Janet says:

    You garden looks blooming in the winter sunshine. I especially like the iris reticulata and the hamamelis. You may have lots of old stalwarts, Frances but they combine beautifully.

    Thanks Janet, you are sweet to say so. Using old fashioned or common plants that grow well here is fine by me. I really dislike garden *trends*! Don’t get me started on that! HA

  22. Rose says:

    What a treat to see all these early signs of spring, Frances! I love daffodils, of course, but the striking blue of your irises is especially eye-catching. Maybe you could put on a little mood music to spark the romance for Arnold and Diane:)

    Thanks Rose. Music fills the air around the garden these days, the birds are in high gear with chirps and whistles. Let us hope it puts Arnold and Diane in the proper mood for love! It appears to me that a glaring mistake has been made in not having the iris and daffodils within shouting distance of each other, thanks!

  23. Scott Weber says:

    I’m super jealous of your Hamamelis…especially Arnold…what sultry blooms! I’m definitely going to look into some of those early-blooming Iris for next year…gotta get some!

    Hi Scott, thanks for stopping by. The witch hazels and early iris are rays of sunshine in late winter here. Every gardener needs some of that warming sun to help them get through the bleaker days.

  24. Hi Francis,
    I enjoyed seeing your lovely spring blooms. We are only 2 zones apart, so, after a few weeks fly by, I should be enjoying a few hellebores and such. I love all hellebores, too, and they way they create their own new ones, but I haven’t seen any new seedlings so far. I love the blue/purple crocus you are thinking about moving.

    I forgot to subscribe to follow up comments. Oh, and I loved your last few sentences, and the word, “verdancy” made me feel even more longing for spring.

    Thanks Sue. Your spring flowers will be blooming right on schedule or perhaps even earlier! It did take a few years before I saw any hellebore babies from the orientalis group, but they are in high reproductive gear now. Crocus and the early iris are so welcome now, I should spread them about more.

  25. Town Mouse says:

    Oh Frances, just stunning. I love how the light plays on your beautiful blooms. And interesting how far ahead of us you are, Iris and Daffodils are still at least a month in the future for me.

    All the more enjoyable to look at yours.

    Thanks Town Mouse, so nice to see you here. There is nothing like a sunny day to perk up these blooms, and the gardener, too. These daffs are weeks ahead of the rest, that is why they are the favorites, not fancy, but early counts for triple in beauty.

  26. Les says:

    Your garden and mine seem to be on the same page, which I would say is a little unusual. I looked out this morning and saw another boom on my Algerian iris, lots of dafs opening and further blooms on the Edgeworthia.

    Hi Les, great gardens think alike! HA Usual or unusual, this garden year is shaping up nicely so far. Let us hold our mouths right so it continues!

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