It's hard to believe it's already the middle of February and time for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol, at May Dreams Gardens. Then again, looking at the flowers and buds swelling out in the garden, it's almost hard to believe it's only February. A mild winter and a recent stint of temperatures in the high fifties has brought on an early spring show.
First off, a few houseplants. I'm still impatiently observing half a dozen orchids slowly developing flower buds. For most of them, it will be the first time I've seen their blooms. They're sooo very slow. Another plant that seems to take a long time to develop flower buds, and grows even more slowly in my conditions, is Hoya multiflora. I think once the temperatures are reliably in the sixties, with a bit more frequent sunshine, I'll stick this plant in the greenhouse to get the heat and humidity it loves.
It was hard to get a good photo of the blooms on Echeveria purpusorum, growing under lights as it is. When I took it out from under the lights, it was too dark for a good picture.
Vanda Lou Sneary 'Bluebird' put out a couple surprise blooms. This is the third or fourth spike it's produced since last spring. Granted, the previous blooms were much more impressive, but I'll take any number of these sweetly-scented blooms.
Billbergia nutans is finished, but I still find the dried, twisted petals with the flair of yellow anthers somehow compelling.
A new purchase from Dancing Oaks at the Portland Yard Garden and Patio Show on Friday, Polygala chamaebuxus, could open any day. It's easy to find the purplish-pink varieties, grandiflora and 'Kamniski', but for some reason, the white version is very hard to find except for a few mail-order nurseries. All of them have yellow-lipped flowers, but in the white version, the yellow ages to orange-red. Though quite drought-tolerant, this evergreen groundcover prefers cool, somewhat moist soil, so I think I'll put these two plants in a cool microclimate somewhere in the driveway island.
It's been awhile since I've been in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, but February still seems a month or two early for Pieris japonica blooms. This variegated cultivar is the first to bloom in my garden. The other three are close behind. I know some PNW gardeners look down on these shrubs as over-used, but I think I'll be adding more to the garden this year, especially the red/dark pink forms.
Bergenia flowers don't particularly like our winter/spring rains, but they manage.
It wasn't quite bright enough for the crocus flowers to open fully. I'm not sure which cultivar this is. I only ever remember having Crocus vernus 'Twilight', 'Prince Claus', and C. tommasinianus 'Lilac Beauty'. These are too small and light for 'Twilight', and they definitely aren't 'Prince Claus' (see below). They look more like C. tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'. Maybe that's what I planted those years ago, and I'm just mistaken in thinking I planted 'Lilac Beauty'.
I wasn't sure I had any 'Prince Claus' left. It was actually the first crocus that I planted in this garden, but various things happened and I thought they had disappeared. I'm very happy to see this patch. I'll have to mark it, and any others that show up, so I remember where they are and can divide them. I love these purple and white flowers.
My driveway island redo began with digging most of the crocus corms (and any other bulbs/corms I found/remembered). I ended up with a five-gallon bucket over two thirds full of crocus corms. I planted a veritable carpet of crocus in several beds, after putting a few back into the driveway island and along the west side of the house. I grew thoroughly sick of planting crocus. But I think the results will be worth it.
I still had about a quarter of a bucket left in January, so I planted a few more, and threw the rest out in the lawn. I didn't even bury them, just tossed them out in the grass. I pressed a few down so they were actually touching the ground and covered by the moss and grass. If I had done this a month or two earlier, they would have been covered naturally as the grass grew. If any make it, great. If not, no loss. They are at least blooming now, since the flower buds and energy to support them were already in the corms when I tossed them out.
Enough crocus. I love these little snowdrops. They're so delicate and graceful. I wasn't sure where these were in the driveway island. I'm glad to see all three main clumps are undamaged. I'm going to try to remember to mark them so I can divide them later.
The largest of my Cyclamen coum isn't very big. It will grow, though, as will the other plants I put in this year, and the seedlings this one has produced. I want cyclamen everywhere.
The heaths continue to bloom. I think they may be just about peaking now.
Two of them surprised me. The flowers started out white, but have aged to a warmish purple-pink. I don't want to like it, but I do. Who am I kidding. I'll take flowers of any color right now. I just had forgotten that these ones weren't white.
Now for the requisite hellebore parade. First up, Helleborus x sternii.
The rest are all nameless hybrids, most of which I got while working at Plant Delights Nursery. There are some definite rejects (hey, they were free) but some of them are quite nice.
Any hellebore that holds its flowers up instead of hanging straight down is a plus.
Though that's not to say the ones hanging down aren't worth growing.
It just takes a little more effort to fully appreciate them.
A nice burgundy hybrid that holds its flowers facing out.
Though they hang down, this one has huge flowers.
Fingers for size comparison, and to appreciate the inside of the flower.
I like spots and green-tinged flowers, too. There are more coming into bloom. Perhaps they'll last until March GBBD. I'm just excited to be seeing them finally. Some of them are blooming for the first time. Most of them are just firsts for me, since I haven't been around this time of year to see them.
The Erysimum continue creeping closer to blooming. If these were on the south end of the house, instead of the west side, they might even be blooming now. You can see one bud finally starting to pop open in the cluster below.
Euphorbia rigida is almost open. I like the bright bracts against the blue foliage.
The best-looking of my primroses. The other vulgaris types are more beat-up by rain or chewed up by slugs.
Sarcococca blooms attract early hoverflies. I'm looking forward to this plant growing, so I don't have to lie on the ground to appreciate the scented blooms.
Epimedium sagittatum is sending up bloom stalks. No sign on my other two epimediums yet.
This Petasites japonicus 'Giganteus' has been blessedly well-behaved, though I still dread the day when it suddenly decides to explode and take over. Thus far, it's merely creeped out from a starting point near the center of these flowers.
Such odd things.
Garrya elliptica 'James Roof''. I absolutely must plant more garryas this year. Not just here, along the fence line, but in more prominent locations.
Mahonia bealei blooms in the deep shade along one side of the fence. Luckily it was planted far enough form the property line that it ended up inside the deer fence. The new growth and flowers were always devoured by the deer. Hopefully it will grow and bloom a little better from now on, protected inside the fence. The flowers smell so good, it's a pity the plant is in such an obscure location.