Monday, March 28, 2011

From the Heart Comes Spring

Persian Lilac/Syringa x persica

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens

Weeping Cherry/Prunus pendula
I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.  ~Ruth Stout

Narcissus 'Bell Song'

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. 
Victor Hugo

Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.
W. Earl Hall

Twisted Trillium

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
- Lady Bird Johnson

Trillium stamineum

I think my favorite ephemeral is the trillium. I find its mottled leaves are so pretty against the leaf litter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Hellebore Garden

We took a few days to visit family and friends in Georgia. 

Blooming in gardens along the way were star magnolias and camellias. In the northeast corner of Georgia in the higher elevations around Dillard,  wild rhododendrons were everywhere budded and ready to bloom. Just seeing them makes me want to go back when they bloom sometime in May I was told. Oh, there is a place called Dillard House where the restaurant has no menu but serves you all you can eat of everything they have for the day including two or three meats, rolls and cornbread, lots of vegetables, and desert. You will have to take some home with you because it is impossible to eat it all.

This large camellia has a beautiful color similar to Kramer's Supreme and a big boss of anthers.

My sister-in-law's garden in Atlanta is filled with hellebores which means there is a host of flowers for several months of the year. They are quite happy growing around a blue stone patio and paths on a red clay hill with mature deciduous trees overhead. The hellebores in my garden are due to her generosity.

As the season progresses the hellebores are interspersed with seasonal delights: pansy, hosta, hydrangea, spirea, annuals, etc.

You don't often see snow drops/galanthus in the south but you do see snow flakes/Leucojum aestivum with their little bells of white dotted with green. There is a hybrid with larger blooms called 'Gravetye'.

Carolina jessamine/Gelsemium sempervirens beautifies the utility area.

A bathtub and bed frame add a touch of whimsey to Betty Jane's garden.

She uses lots of solor lighting to highlight the garden at night.

Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

When we returned home Narcissus  'Ice Follies' and 'Thalia' were blooming. Also blinding red tulips were blooming...what few the squirrels didn't eat.

Tulipa fosteriana 'Red Emperor'

I always bring home plant souvenirs. This time it was blue-eyed daisies/Osteospermum.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March Flowers

You can find out what's blooming around the world in March if you visit May Dreams Garden for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day which is the 15th of each month.  Take a look and see what can be added to your flower parade.

Wine Helleborus x hybridus

 The hellebores have been blooming since February and the flowers will last for many months.

Helebore x hybridus

Many gardeners are complaining of their losses this year due to the harsh winter; but, the hellebores have been unaffected and are flourishing.

White Helleborus x hybridus
For some reason, I favor the white ones.

Helleborus x hybridus

Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'

Short in stature but color intense, mini Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' can command your attention. Tete a tete means head to head and there are two flowers per stem seemingly in a conversation. This fact may help identify them if they get lost among other minis.

A mulch of leaves remains in the beds until April when it will be removed and added to the compost bin.

Unlike other narcissus, jonquils have tubular rather than flattened foliage.

You can always count on forsythia for a big splash of color.

Lycoris squamigera/Naked Ladies
Lycoris adds a lot of green to the garden as early as February. They will soon be covered with daylilies. Then after the daylilies bloom like a big surprise out will pop the naked ladies.

Texas Red Flowering Quince

For color as intense as any azalea but earlier,  plant quince.


The plants have started growing in the pond but, the fishes are the main attraction now.

Bradford Pear
Fruit trees are the showiest elements of the early spring garden. 

Confederate Violet

Lastly, the violet is lifting its pretty head from the beneath the woodland leaves.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tiny Evergreens

I attended the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show on the last day. Wouldn't you know, my phone/camera was needing a charge. So, here is one floral arrangement that caught my eye. 

As far as the plants were concerned, I found the miniature evergreens of interest and added three new ones to my collection. They grow very slowly and take many years to reach their mature diminutive size making them perfect for trough gardens. These were purchased in 4" pots. 

The source of  miniatures are witches brooms. Normal size trees due to disease, insect damage, etc. sometimes form growths/witches brooms that are more compact. The branches can be grafted to normal rootstock or they can be started from seed of the broom and reproduce the miniaturized form.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Rimpelaar' is a miniature conifer with blueish gray foliage that is hardy in zones 5-9. In ten years it will be a foot tall and wide. Mature Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Rimpelaar'

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis' is a slow growing narrow upright evergreen reaching a height of three to five feet in ten years and is hardy to -30°F. It has a loose irregular upright habit. Mature Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Spiralis'

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Snowkist' is a white variegated conifer that matures at 24"x18''.

I collected Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Golden Sprite' a few years ago and it can be seen here.  I found my previously purchased mini's to not be as hardy as expected in a tiny pot, but in the ground much more hardy.

Learn more about witches' brooms.