Entries in hepatica nobilis (4)


The Passionate Gardener

Lou and I spent the last couple of days pruning shrubs and trimming trees.I do not commit crape murder! I prune this crape myrtle so that it is allowed to grow into its naturally beautiful tree form. Unfortunately, I still see crape myrtles that have been chopped back to large stubs, a practice that promotes ugly knots and lots of weak sprouts.I felt a rush of satisfaction as  I removed dead branches, shaped and cut wayward shoots from crape myrtles and apple trees. They look great now and are ready for a new season of growth. There is much to do as spring approaches, and as I worked I was happily making a list of projects. The world is wakening! Leaf and flower buds are beginning to appear and bulbs are pushing up out of the earth.Hepatica blooms

Variegated Winter Daphne is loaded with buds that are not quite open.

Flowering quince

The young man we hired to help us yesterday was a kindred spirit. He glowed when he talked of his plans to study horticulture and his love of plants and nature. Is this sort of thing genetic? Are we born gardeners? Lou once worked with a man who was a successful businessman, who also happened to be a body-builder. But this tough guy's real love was growing roses. Then there are a couple of former head football coaches, Pat Dye of Auburn and Vince Dooley of the University of Georgia, who have both become passionate gardeners in their retirement years. Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Pat Dye's marvelous garden. He talked to our group and said, while football was the job he was known for, gardening was who he was. Hellebores are now blooming.

Another lovely hellebore

What makes us love gardening so much? What pulls us to the soil, no matter what other responsibilities and professions we may have? Is it the joy of creativity and watching things grow, the exercise, the fresh air, or the challenge of conquering difficult climate and soil conditions? Forsythia is one of the earliest spring bloomers.

Camellia 'Red Candles'What draws you to gardening?

You may also enjoy these posts:

Confessions of a Perfectionist

About Garden Chores

Five Rules To Prune By

Pruning is fun and other basics you need to know

Happy Gardening!   Deb


Early Spring, 2015

It happens every year, but I greet the arrival of spring with the delight of an infant who has never seen a blossom before. The garden is awakening. I wander along damp mossy paths, smiling at each swelling flower bud and each lime-green leaf that unfurls. The light is gentle, the breeze is energizing, and the air is filled with chirps and chatters and trills and calls. There is a mockingbird in a tree, and his incessant happy song declares the wonders of season. 

Many limbs and branches are still bare, and on a rainy day the land looks as cheerless as any winter day; but not for long, as every morning adds new color to the landscape. Forsythia was late blooming this year, put off by freezes, but at last it opened its cheery yellow bells:

Chaenomeles, or flowering quince, bloomed through the hard freezes and continues to be beautiful:

Corylopsis spicata, called winterhazel, is a plant in the witch hazel family, or Hamamelidaceae. Its clusters of yellow flowers hang on bare branches and glow like little lanterns:Fothergilla is one of my favorite native shrubs. I recently planted several new ones near the base of some river birch trees. This variety is called 'Redneck Nation,' after Fred Nation, the botanist who found it growing in south Alabama. My new shrubs look sparse now, but they will soon grow and be filled with foliage. The fragrant, white bottlebrush blooms are just beginning to open:

My daffodils were a bit disappointing this year. They bloomed just in time to be hit by severe frost, then weeks of rain. They lay low to the ground during most of this time, but bravely stood tall when the sun was shining:

These trilliums grow wild in my woodland garden. The deep maroon petals in the center have not yet opened:

Hepatica nobilis, also called liverwort, is a beautiful woodland wildflower. I planted these next to a path, so I can appreciate its small, delicate blooms:

Another spring wildflower in my woodland garden is Sanguinaria, also called bloodroot. It has taken a long time to become established; the first couple of years I thought it had died! I am glad to see several blooms this year. It is shown on the upper right in this collage of spring bloomers:Clockwise from upper left: Sanguinaria, also called bloodroot; Grape Hyacinths; Pieris japonica, also called andromeda; Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'; Leucojum aestivum, also called summer snowflake, although it blooms in spring; Magnolia 'Jane.'I am just as pleased with beautiful foliage as I am with flowers. Strawberry begonia and Heucerella 'Alabama Sunrise' are two new additions to my woodland garden: Strawberry begonia is a vigorous ground cover.

Heucerella 'Alabama Sunrise' is a cross between Heuchera and Tierella. Throughout the year, life continues in the decaying crevices of Stump World:

On a fallen log I find a surprisingly beautiful arrangement of lichens, which have flourished in abundant rain:

As day's end approaches, I find these blooms silhouetted against the sky:

The woods still look bare in evening's glow, but tomorrow more buds will open and more color will show. Spring is here!