Entries in daffodil (7)


Pre-Spring in the Garden

Temperatures here have fluctuated from near freezing to shirt-sleeve warm. On warmer days I have enjoyed the chance to kick off 2017 gardening with clean-up and late winter pruning. Early bloomers are trying to push the season into spring a bit early. I know hard frosts are still likely; but as more blooms open daily, I am getting excited about spring. I won't say spring has arrived, but we are definitely into pre-spring!

Here is a look at some early blooms. Daffodils and forsythia:

Flowering quince (chaemoneles) with forsythia in the background:

Forsythia is an old-fashioned, common shrub, but who can resist its cheerful burst of blooms on a gray February day?

Daphne odora 'Marginata' has a pleasing fragrance and waxy blooms that contrast beautifully with its variegated foliage:

My pale pink camellia by the mailbox has smaller blooms than usual this year. I am amazed it has any blooms at all. We were 3 months into our drought last fall before I noticed its leaves wilting and finally gave it some supplemental water:This camellia began as a volunteer seedling. Its parent has red blooms.

Magnolia 'Jane' began blooming this weekend. It is often called a tulip tree because of its tulip-like blooms:

Hellebores are reliable late-winter bloomers:

Anise (Illicium parviflorum) 'Florida Sunshine' is not known for its inconspicuous blooms, but its chartreuse foliage and red stems light up the winter garden. The leaves have a wonderful licorice fragrance::

Finally, I came across these colorful little mushrooms while walking in the woodland garden. They were a nice surprise that came from all the rain we have been having:

Happy pre-spring!

You may also enjoy my previous post:  Are You a Plant Snob?


A Good Day In January

I remember seeing the sun. It was warm and glowing and lit the morning like blessings from Heaven. But that seems a long time ago. January has been sodden to the core with day after endless days of rain and more on the way. All normal for my part of the country.A typical January skySomewhere to the north, this moisture translates to idylic drifts of snow and winter wonderlands. (I can call it idyllic because I don't have to live with it.) Here we get mush.

Today between rain showers I went for a walk with Autumn the cat. An over exposed photo gives Autumn an angelic look. Talk to the ground squirrels about that!While I admired spots of color in the landscape, Autumn frolicked amidst the wet shrubs and rolled in clumps of moss and batted fallen twigs. She pretended to stalk hidden beasts until she was tired, then finally curled up in my lap as I sat on the arbor swing. It was a good day in January.

The old camellia bush at the top of the hydrangea walk is covered with buds and blooms. The air was warm today, but I fear for the shrub as freezing temperatures are predicited by next week, and I don't know how the flowers will do. For now the camellia is beautiful. I like how the bright red flowers contrast with the persistent dried blooms of the hydrangea 'Limelight'.

The hellebores are also beginning to bloom. These fabulous flowers will persist for months, beginning in purple, pink, and creamy colors, eventually all shading to pale green. For more information about hellebores, see my post, The Underworld of Hellebores.

Pieris japonica 'Cavatine' is growing well down from the patio. This dwarf andromeda grows to about two feet tall by four feet wide. It has lily of the valley type buds which swell over the winter, and they are nearly as pretty as the flowers.

Here are some more colorful accents to the gray January day:Clockwise from top left: I am amazed at this two year old decorative cabbage. It has grown atop a narrow stalk and is nearly two feet tall; Daphne odora 'Aureo marginata' is begiinning to bud; Nandina 'Firepower' is an evergreen shrub with lovely color year round; The first daffodil to bloom in my garden.

I really enjoyed all of these sights, but I was most thrilled when a Cardinal landed in a shrub about five feet from me.

I already had my camera in hand, focused in the direction of the shrub when this redbird arrived and posed for me, for just a few seconds — until he caught sight of Autumn! Could I have appreciated his scarlet vestments so much, if not for the gray background?