Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2016

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, has come again. Spring has definitely arrived in the Pacific Northwest. Buds are breaking everywhere. The dullness of winter is over. It's one of my favorite times of the year, despite the mercurial weather. Yesterday, while taking pictures for this post, I had to duck inside when a surprise thunderstorm dumped hail on me. After that storm passed, I had another brief window of sunshine during which I finished photographing blooms.

The last of the crocus blooms faded about a week ago, but here they were in full bloom at the beginning of March. I planted several beds like this with the hundreds of corms I dug from the Driveway Island.

Crocus tomassinianus 'Lilac Beauty' surround one Crocus 'Twilight'.

Lonicera fragrantissima continues to produce small but fragrant blooms.

My Thanksgiving cacti were delayed this year when I moved them from the greenhouse to the house. I guess this year they'll be St. Patrick's Day cacti.

Hoya multiflora has been open for about a week now. I brought it out on the deck so I could get a better photo of the blooms.

Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky' is in the middle of one of its better displays. No matter how many pictures I take, I'm never satisfied that I'm doing justice to this beautiful, tiny orchid. Lighting is definitely an issue. I need a better set up than shifting grow lights around only to wash it out.

Dozens of crystalline, amethyst stars form a nebula around the plant.

Echeveria purpusorum started blooming last month. Now the oldest flower has closed.

I picked up this Iris japonica small form from Kelly and Sue of Far Reaches on Friday when they came to Portland to give a talk about their latest trip to China. The flowers are delicate and lovely, but I actually bought it for the foliage, which you'll see tomorrow.

Daphne x transatlantica 'Blafra' (AKA Eternal Fragrance) only had one or two blooms open the last couple months. Now it has about four, but hundreds of buds are swelling all over the plant.

The catkins of this Corylus avellana 'Contorta' have been putting on a show for over a month now. I finally put it in a permanent spot (for now at least, you know how gardening goes) last weekend. Now I just need to cover all that bare soil behind it. I always seem to forget this bed when I'm at a nursery.

Most people don't even think of sedges and grasses as flowering plants, but I kind of like the inflorescence of Luzula sylvatica 'Marginata Variegata'.

I got this Stachyurus praecox 'Sterling Silver' from the Cistus Tough Love sale last fall. It looked really rough when I planted it, so I wasn't expecting blooms or even that many leaves this spring, but it's actually leafing out all along the branches. And it even has one, single flower! Usually these flowers are born in long, pendant racemes, but I love this one little flower for the shear unexpectedness of it.
Pieris japonica 'Variegata'

I recently purchased several gallon-sized pieris from Means Nursery for $6 each. This is 'Valley Rose'.
One of two Pieris 'Valley Valentine' from Means.
This pieris came from Anna at Flutter&Hum. I think it's 'Mountain Fire'. Something involving fire, anyway, for the red new growth. Right now, though, the blooms are lovely and fragrant.

I'm sure PNW readers are tired of pieris after four pictures, but I had to include this one. I don't even remember what this one was supposed to be. We planted it years ago and it turned into this odd, almost groundcover-like shrub. It usually doesn't bloom well (I'm pretty sure the spot it's in has some sort of toxic waste. It killed a monkey puzzle before the pieris went in.) but it managed a decent show this year. I'm including it in this post because the blooms are half again as big as the rest of the the pieris I have. The little insect in the upper right seems to like them.

Andromeda polifolia 'Blue Ice' is covered in little pink buds that contrast with the blue foliage, somewhat greener than normal in this photo because of the heavy rain shower that had just passed by.
The Magnolia stellata is bursting into bloom.
Common as it is, this plant has so many things going for it. Deer-resistant, requires no summer water where it grows in my garden, nice yellow fall color, fuzzy flower buds all winter, and fragrant, white flowers in early spring.

The Oemleria cerasiformis, or Indian plum, that I got from Alison at Bonney Lassie, finally opened the few flower buds they had. No doubt they were delayed by the stress of being divided into 5 separate plants last fall. Though, the other blooming-sized Indian plum in the woods was almost as late, 2-3 weeks after I saw Indian plums blooming elsewhere just a mile or two down the road. Just one of those little quirks of microclimates.

I saw the first Viola semperflorens bloom open last weekend. Yesterday, they were all closed up to protect themselves from the rain.

This mahonia, which I think might be a hybrid between repens and aquifolium, also came from Alison and surprised me with flowers. I forget if it came to me looking chewed up or if the local weevils did that after I planted it. Darn things.

The earliest of my epimediums is this E. sagittatum.

Epimedium wushanense still has a ways to go. Epimedium davidii, not pictured, is at about the same stage.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' puts forth it's frothy, forget-me-not blue flowers.

The hellebores are still going full bore (See what I did there?) but rather than catalog every last one, here's a representative shot with four different plants. After all, I don't want to bore you, just torture you with painful puns.

After the heavy rain and hail this past week, these are my best-looking primroses. Sad, aren't they?

Last month, these Petasites blooms were bizarre little stubs. They're still bizarre, but they've grown to about three feet tall.

This white Erica has two stems of pinkish purple flowers in the middle of it. How'd that happen?
This Erica started out white and gradually aged to pink. I preferred the white, but I'm choosing to accept the pink. There are two of these plants, and they are both 3-4 feet wide and difficult to move.

Miniature yellow daffodils randomly popped up in the driveway island, having moved around during various shiftings of the bed. This one still looks fresh, but others are beginning to fade.
At one point, I tried to eradicate grape hyacinths from the garden. The deer always tore up the long, floppy foliage, making an already messy, structureless plant look downright ugly. Then of course the deer would eat the flowers just before they opened, too. Now I can actually enjoy the flowers. I still don't particularly care for the floppy leaves, but I think I'll try to move them to other areas where the leaves don't stick out as much, rather than trying to eliminate them entirely.

Euphorbia rigida continues to please.

I've been watching the buds on my Erysimum swell for several weeks now. They started opening last week. Here are the first few flowers, fully open just in time for bloom day. They smell wonderful, too, at least if you stick your nose right in them. Maybe the fragrance will be detectable a bit further away when the weather warms up later this week.

Hutchinsia alpina is looking great this year! No odd frosts or deer trampling frozen stems to mar the beautiful carpet of foliage and flowers..

'Bob's Blue' is the first of the rhododendrons to bloom in my garden. This one could be attacked by deer on occasion, too.
'P.J.M.' is a little behind 'Bob's Blue'.

And finally, in the greenhouse, both my green-leaved and variegated clivia are sending up flower spikes.


  1. I'm so glad to see some of the plants I gave you are thriving! Indian plum is one of my favorite natives. I have a contorted filbert that is not thriving where I've planted it, I don't think it gets enough water in the summer. Maybe I'll dig it up and try growing it in a pot. Happy GBBD!

    1. The vine maple buds are starting to swell, too! Thank you again for the plants!

  2. I love Erysimum. Can't wait for mine to bloom.

    1. Me, too. I planted seedlings of this plant and its 2 siblings all over in fall. Here's hoping they take off as the weather warms.

  3. Beautiful Bloom Day selections from start to finish. Crocus don't last long here but they certainly are pretty when planted en masse. Despite your apologies for your photos, that Lepanthopsis is now on my wish list. My own Hoya multiflora has been blooming almost continuously since last year despite haphazard watering on my part - when petals start to drop, I give it a drink.

    1. It seems like the crocus were a bit short-lived here this year. Pummeling rains cut their bloom time by several weeks. The Lepanthopsis is a fantastic little orchid, but I do mean little. The entire plant fits in the palm of my hand. But it has handled several moves across country with various growing conditions. Its only need is relatively frequent waterings, which can be done by misting it like a Tillandsia. I try not to let mine go more than 3 days without water.

  4. Spring is putting on quite a show for you.


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