Now in Bloom: March, 2012

March 22, 2012

IT’S ONLY MID-MARCH, but thanks to a freakish heatwave (as in temperatures 30 degrees warmer than usual), my garden is suddenly teeming with color.  I went out with my camera last Tuesday and recorded the purple crocuses (above), and other spring flowers which are frankly so beautiful they make my head spin. Would you like to see them?

Blooming on the top terrace of the Serpentine Garden are fragrant white hyacinths. Since white flowers tend to get “lost” in the garden, I surrounded them with yellow  tete a tete daffodils. Based on comments from visitors, the effect seems to be working.

In the same garden, dozens of Dutch ‘Delft Blue’ hyacinths have emerged beneath a budded  quince. The quince will open its ‘Crimson and Gold’ blossoms just as the hyacinths begin to fade.

Meanwhile, in the Woodland Garden, a collection of hellebores are strutting their stuff. The nodding flowers might seem rather insignificant at first. But just hold one up, and look inside!  The white one pictured here is flecked with maroon and splashed with green. If you know the name of this variety, by all means let me know. (Hat tip to Amy Olmsted, who, in the comments below,  identified this variety as Helleborus x hyb. ‘White Spotted Lady’.)

Hellebores are in bloom beneath my kitchen window, too. This group has burgundy petals, olive-green sepals, and snow-white anthers. What a sight!

Sunning itself beneath a crab apple tree in the Serpentine Garden is the adorable Puschkinia.  The blue-striped, milky-white bells emit a soft, mignonette scent.   See my profile of this tiny treasure. 

Also small in scale but big in pleasure is Chiondoxa, or  “Glory of the Snow.” I have it in the narrow strip between the path and fence of my Herb Garden. The flowers look like tiny blue stars which fell from heaven.

In my front yard, a giant forsythia has announced the arrival of spring.  I don’t “shape” the shrub  like some gardeners do, but let it go about its merry, fountainous way. Sparrows, finches and other small birds rely on the shrub not only for winter shelter, but for secure spring nesting-quarters, too. For these reasons alone, I’d say an over-grown forsythia is a good forsythia.

What’s blooming for you these early days of spring? Or is it still winter where you are?

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Related Posts:
Now in Bloom, February 2012
Eranthis Hyemalis — the Winter Aconite
Winter-Blooming Witch Hazel

Comments

  1. Donna B. says:

    Everything looks so great! I am quite interested in the Puschkinia! [well, any spring blooming diminutive bulb...]
    I love to grow little fragrant things… don’t have a large collection, mainly Daffodil’s [some medium orange-cup and yellow-frill, some are the tete a tete variety], Scilla, and I have ONE Hyacinth. Oh! there are some Muscari too… the crocus are all faded away along with the Galanthus. I like to take cuttings here and there to keep in vases in the house – just the smallest hint of fragrance brightens my day!
    Hellebores… I only have one [an 'Ivory Prince', apparently a hybrid so I won't get seedlings. So sad.] but oh my goodness, that maroon one makes me swoon…
    Also happy about the Lysimachia ‘Aurea’ coming back healthy and happy. Nice contrast to the strappy foliage of the crocus~ ♥
    I love a big gnarly Forsythia mass! Thankfully my neighbour has one between our properties, so I can enjoy it as well… she wants to tear it down though, no clue WHY. But she’s not really a gardener… so she might be seeing it as prime real estate for ‘grass’… ugh.
    Can’t wait to see the herb garden once it get’s going, Kevin! I know my herbs are starting to grow headstrong… :D

  2. badger gardener says:

    Lovely! Your early Spring display is beautiful. I love the smell of hyacinth. Mine are in bloom right now too.
    I am trying my hand at propagating my rhododendron this year via your instructions on layering.

  3. Tina M Comroe says:

    We are in WA State and nothing is blooming yet, but my chives are finally coming in. But due to the freakish hail storms my lovely purple sage is almost dead…Do you have a way to revive it? Or do you think I will need to just start over with seeds?

  4. Donna B. – This spring I plan to obtain Lysimachia ‘Aurea.’ In what exposure does yours grow — sun or shade?

    badger gardener – You are right about hyacinths — what a heavenly scent! Let me know how your rhody layering works out.

    Tina – Nice to meet you. If it’s any consolation, we had weird hail storms here for two Junes in a row. The hail was devastating for the veggie crops. My sage survived the storms, however, just as I suspect yours will. Sage is a very strong perennial.

  5. Grazyna Kirsch says:

    Not much blooming yet in Down East Maine. Some crocuses have opened up (in very sunny spots). I can see the beginnings of flowers on my forsythia. It’s still young and small. I also like them just growing the way they like. Never was in favor of trimming them into any shapes. Just doesn’t appeal to me. The chives are starting in my herb garden. and garlic is up in the veggie patch. But I have to wait a little longer for the rest.

  6. Erica says:

    Hi Kevin, I planted crocus and hyacinths on a hill on the east side of my house last year. I don’t know what I was thinking because I can’t really see them from my windows, which all face south. Now that the crocus flowers have faded, could I move them to a bed where I will be able to see them next year? Can I do the same when the hyacinths are done flowering?

  7. Grazyna – It’s fun to see the “great rebirth”, yes?

    Erica – Feed the bulbs now, but wait until the foliage (not just the flowers) has completely faded before you move them. Bulbs need the foliage in order to turn sunlight into sugar, and then produce the embryo flower for next spring’s show. If the bulbs are moved too soon, they will concentrate on making roots instead of embryo flowers.

  8. KimH says:

    beautiful photos…

    I’ve got the very last of the crocus passing on right now… and many diffrent narcissus showing their gorgeous heads. Tulips started opening day before yesterday & a few snowdrops are blooming now.. Thought that funny..
    My hellebores have been nodding their sweet blooms for quite a long while but they’re really standing up now & showing off their stuff. Muscari & wood hyacinth are just starting to bloom here as well.
    I have one other beautiful blue flower but I dont know what it is.. not a bulb.. but a water loving low growing nice little plant that lives in front of my water fountain..

  9. prairiecactus says:

    Everything looks so beautiful!…. how on earth do you find the time!
    We are blooming here also…lots of work in the yard this year…moving things, making way for new fences and removing some wild trees that are a threat to the foundation.
    I have a master list of things that need to be done and another list of things I would like to have done…will see how the spring and summer go as far as finishing both list.

  10. Amy Olmsted says:

    Hi Kevin…..Lovely post and I’ve got quite a few things in bloom here in Vermont! First to color up are the Cyclamen coum in bright magenta, next are the Snowdrops…still blooming! then there are lots of Hellebores that I havw been adding over the last few years. And I think yours is ‘White Spotted Lady’, I’ve got that one too as well as deep purples, a green one, ‘Yellow Finch’ and some double whites. There’s one Iris histrioides ‘Katherine Hodgeson’ blooming, a few snow crocus and some daffs are budded!
    I’m going to try your yoghurt recipe today! Thanks for the colorful photos to brighten this pretty dreary day.

  11. caren says:

    In Idaho we have not had much snow or rain and everything is so dry. My tulips and daffodils are coming outb of the ground but I am worried they will be too dry to blossom. Should I water them or leave them be?

  12. Daphne Steele says:

    Your site brightens my days and your window garden is an on-going inspiration. Thank you.

    I live in Northern MN but close to Lake Superior so I get a bit of a temperature break via the “lake effect.” Do you have any tips on hellebore varieties (especially the colored ones) that are reasonably hardy in zone 4A?

  13. Kay says:

    Kevin, this is such an amazing spring! Here in St. Louis, irises and lilacs are already blooming! My crape myrtle is already leafed out! I’m so nervous (along with the farmers!) about that potential late frost/Easter snowstorm. My winter sowed plants (cilantro, two kinds of peas, batchelors buttons, and others, are busting out of the milk jugs. I think I’m going to plant them this week, and cover the raised bed in case of cold weather. My garlic scapes are already beginning to turn brown ~ I think I’ll be harvesting garlic within the next week or two. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your website and all I have learned from you.

  14. Patt Reid says:

    A person after my own heart, beautiful

  15. Deborah Philippi says:

    Wonderful pictures! Love seeing the bulbs and plants/scrubs you’ve planted.

    The $60 worth of trilliums that I planted yesterday 6″ deep were all dug out of their new homes, enjoyed by something, with nary a trace left behind. Some of the beds barely looked like they had been disturbed. Any suggestions about what critter enjoyed this feast and how I can plant things in the future and have them actually grow?

  16. Linda says:

    It’s a pleasure to see what is blooming there. I know spring will get here soon, we’ve still got piles of snow in the yard up here in Alberta.

  17. Anne-Marie says:

    Beautiful .. love the bee in the first photo and the forsythia, I’m with you! Natural graceful branches with loads of blooms!

  18. Jenn S says:

    We just had an amazing weekend here in Seattle with temps in the 60s! All the plum trees are blooming, as well as forsythias, pieris, and some rhododendrons. I went for a walk in the Cascade foothills with some friends yesterday and we spotted a trillium blooming in the forest.

    In my yard the first daffodils are blooming, as well as some tiny bulbs (I wish I could remember the names – I know one that is already spent is snowdrops, but there is a little one with blue flowers that started a few days ago, and a new one today with drooping white 3 leafed flowers and spotted, fleshy leaves). I have 6 hellebores in bloom. My favorites is a red so dark it’s almost black and a white one with red spots similar to yours, but it’s a double! Most of the perennials in the ground are coming up and I spotted my first lily poking out of the ground today. Oh, and yesterday I discovered lettuce and mustard sprouting in my WS jugs!

    This spring is going to be messed up thanks to the crazy weather, though. I’ve caught 3 orchard mason bees in the house (and released them outside), but the buds on my pear trees haven’t even broken. My black currant is in bloom so they will have something to eat, but I’d really like pears this year. Hopefully they’ll stick around and the weather will stay warm.

  19. Robin Chapman Tucker says:

    Here in the deep south, roses are already in bud, Asiatic Lilies have popped out of the ground and Wisteria is in full bloom. I cut back my roses, since they are totally confused from all of the crazy blooming they did on past Christmas–they really worked hard! So, I cut those buds back and gave them some good food. Many of my perennials were just out and out leggy, straggly and had to be shaped and cut, SEVERAL times, because they had been cut back for winter, then we had the “false” warm ups, cold snaps and then it would warm again and coax them to start growing! I think the thing they need most is good food! As you might imagine, the weeds are just horrific. I have been using Vinegar with the addition of some salt (I think that helps a wee bit) and getting my beds back into shape. Caterpillers, butterflies, all sorts of insects out and about..should be an interesting summer, to say the least.

  20. Beverly says:

    I am a big fan of Chionodoxa. I began with a variety very closely resembling yours and added to it with a very petite rich blue one, and paler blue one and a pink one. Clumps are spread out near larger shrubs and trees in a long half-shady border in the front yard, facing the street. They are all blooming now in southeast PA but fading fast after the freakishly warm temps of last week. Tonight we are due to go down to 26 degrees overnight, and that is what they’d prefer. Their blooms are very reliable and very cheerful as an early bulb. My oldest patch has spread laterally several inches and is packed with blossoms.

    Also blooming for me now, its first time, is the Bearsfoot Hellebore (H. foetidus), given to me by a friend, making it even more precious. It’s a statuesque fountain of blossoms nearly 2 feet tall. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Hellebores in general. This one is an eye-popper. I am hoping to get seeds from it…

    I greatly look forward to seeing your articles every week, Kevin. Thanks for throwing this constant garden party.

  21. Sheila says:

    Gorgeous. I wish I would have done the same. My hyacinths and daffodils are all up with the crazywarm march we have been having here in michigan but they freaked out last night when it finally got cold again and are all wilted now. I’m panicking a little as my perennials are growing way ahead of schedule. Tried to cover up many from last nights frost esp the clematis, delphinium and a few others but not sure of it is even worth it with a normal april in the forecast. The daylillies look pretty shocked today now that march summer is over but they are so huge I didn’t have enough sheets to cover them! Love your blog and advice. I’ve been discovering a new passion in gardening and still have a LOT to learn.

  22. Oriane says:

    Kevin,
    What a beautiful garden you have.

    Amy is correct, your hellebore is a White Spotted Lady Lenten Rose-Helleborus orientalis ‘White Spotted Lady’.

    Here in Arizona I’ve been harvesting broccoli, spinach, various lettuces, radishes, carrots, green onions, peas, arugula, parsley.

    My Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) Indian Summer is over 9 ft tall and in full bloom. Last year I harvested over 5 pounds of seeds that I shared with my Maine and North Carolina gardener friends, if you want seeds when they are ready(June), let me know and I’ll send you some.

    Sunflowers are already 2ft tall; poppies, calendulas, gazanias, verbena, marigolds are in full bloom as are some of our cacti.

    The citrus trees are covered with fragrant flowers and humming with bees.

    Beans, potatoes, summer squash, charentais melons, new carrots are coming up.

    Basil, mint and rosemary are thriving and last but not least, my Black Prince tomatoes are already golf ball size, can’t wait to see how they do.

    It is possible to garden in the desert after all!

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