Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 2017 Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

Bloom Day has come again, and this month, the outdoor blooms finally outnumber the indoor blooms again, though the indoor garden is putting on an even bigger show than last month. I'm joining Carol at May Dreams Gardens for this floriferous March Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Be sure to follow the link to see what's blooming in other gardens this month.

Starting out inside with the houseplants, my Clivia miniata with plain green leaves got to come in from the greenhouse so we could enjoy the blooms. Actually, it hasn't been very happy in the greenhouse, the leaves becoming too yellow, so it's going to start spending winters in the house again. I've never had trouble getting clivia to bloom as a houseplant. It just means the timing is a little more random, rather than occurring reliably in late winter/early spring.

Various Phalaenopsis are blooming. First up is Phalaenopsis schilleriana var. purpurea.

This is another Phalaenopsis schilleriana, labelled as a dark form. It's neither as dark nor as well-formed as the previous flower, but still nice. This one also has more silver leaves, but I have another species with similar leaves. I have six of these mottled-leaf moth orchids, and the plan was always to reduce that number as I saw their blooms. Time to start culling. Actually, the flower shape on this one could improve as the plant gets older, since this is its first bloom. I'm sure the leaves alone will be enough for it to find a home at the next plant swap.


Phalaenopsis 'Philishill' is a hybrid of Phal. schilleriana and Phal. philippinensis.

Phalaenopsis stuartiana 'Sogo' is a select form of the species. My favorite feature is the brown spots on the lower sepals, sort of like the spots on a giraffe. I have a second Phal. stuartiana that I'm still waiting to see bloom before I decide which to keep. This species has been a little more finicky for me than the ones in the photos above.

Renanetia Sunrise is an intergeneric hybrid between Neofinetia falcata and Renanthera imschootiana. After it failed to bloom last year, forming new leafy shoots, instead, I threatened to discard it if it didn't bloom this year. It's a well-known motivational tactic among orchid growers. I'm glad it worked. Those flowers are spectacularly vibrant. Some seedlings of this cross are more orange. I'm really happy with the range of shades and spots on mine.

Porphyrocoma pohliana is a plant I'm keeping around to fill in at the base of my Dracaena 'Lemon Lime'. I love the deep green leaves with silver markings. If I gave it more light, it would also have more of these charming tubular purple flowers emerging from red cone-like bracts, from whence the common names Brazilian fireworks and rose pine cone arise. Even when I gave it its own pot and fairly bright light (in the dark PNW winters, that is) I never managed a display like what you see in plant catalogs. So I take what I can get and let it hitchhike with another plant because I'm a plant hoarder.

Vriesea ospinae-gruberi has been blooming for several weeks now, beginning not long after bloom day last month. It's interesting, though not especially showy. As I've said before, I'm more excited by the prospect of pups, so I can start this massive monster over. I noticed the first pup forming yesterday. I wonder if I can expect more. With such a massive plant, it seems like it should produce several pups. The plant is about twice as big as what you can see in the photo below.

Zooming in a bit on the little yellow flowers emerging from the bracts. Like most bromeliads, the individual flowers are short-lived.

Tillandsia flabellata is nearing the end (literally) in terms of flowers. It will be interesting to see how long the spike of red bracts lasts after the actual flowers are finished.

My Paphiopedilum Macabre is still blooming, but since it hasn't changed since last month, I won't include another photo in this post. My big white Phalaenopsis is still in bud, probably another month from blooming. Hoya multiflora is preparing for another flush of blooms, and there are a couple more Tillansia blooming that I didn't include, but there's so much more to show, so we'll move on.

Out in the greenhouse, Agapetes 'Ludgvan Cross' has a few flowers hiding under the tangle of stems.

And this unidentified Agapetes (or possibly Vaccinium) from the Rhododendron Species Botanic Garden is still blooming.

I came home from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the end of February to this wonderful surprise: a blooming Rhododendron acrophilum. One of my tropical vireyas, this rhododendron spends winters in the greenhouse. I wasn't sure if any of its buds would produce blooms, as several others had opened to reveal leaves. Last year, it bloomed yellow, but I read it sometimes did that the first year in a new home before going back to orange the next. I'm so happy that proved true. Those orange flowers are why I bought this plant.

I started moving a few of the hardier plants out of the greenhouse, like Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' (below). But now I see a low of 34F in the forecast which, at my higher elevation, is close enough to freezing that I may shove them back in for that night.

We're finally getting to the outdoor garden blooms. What's blooming outside right now? Crocus! Crocus EVERYWHERE! Masses of them! Oodles and oodles.

Most of them are Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'. You can see a couple Crocus 'Twilight' in the photo below. They're the darker purple ones with the more cupped petals. The Galanthus are on the downhill slope of their bloom season.

They're coming up through the heathers...

And the thyme.

They're here.

And even here. How'd you get there?

And here.

I like these ones popping up through native Penstemon serrulatus.

Swaths of purple.

So. Much. Purple. After this long winter, such saturated color is almost comedic and overwhelming.

The hellebores are going full bore. See what I did there? Helleborus x sternii in my garden seems a quite a bit later than in others, coming out about the same time as the x hybridus types.

A smattering of the Helleborus x hybridus blooming in my garden now.



Penny's Pink hellebore started blooming before any of the others, and is the most floriferous by far.

Hutchinsia alpina has had a scatter of blooms basically since the temperature rose above freezing, but it's starting to ramp up for its main bloom, where the foliage will be smothered in white.

The first of the pieris flowers opened on this variegated cultivar. The others are all newer to the garden and still settling in, which I think is why they're blooms are a bit delayed. While I'm a little tired of all this rain, at least it should help those plants get established better and grow lots this year to bloom next year.

Grevillea 'Leane' has one golden cluster of buds. I'm impressed that this plant, added last summer, didn't even whimper at the cold of its first winter. It should take off this year and produce more blooms.

I rescued this sad Arctostaphylos 'John Dourley' last year and was impressed with how well it came back. It still looks a bit thin, but it even managed a few clusters of pink flowers this month.

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis flowers are finishing up, but I can still detect their scent, so I'll say their still flowering this month.

This is the season for Corylus avellana 'Contorta' to briefly have its moment of true glory, dripping with golden yellow catkins. You can even see a few of the tiny pink female flowers in this photo.

Pulmonaria are sending up flower stems.

The other major group in bloom or close to blooming in my garden is the euphorbias. This dwarf form of Euphorbia characias (or was it a x martinii? Where's that label...) is open a bit before the full-size E. characias.

I love the developing inflorescence on Euphorbia characias.

I'm cheating a bit with this Euphorbia 'Ascott Rainbow'. I just purchased nine of these and added them to the garden, so they're a little ahead of the one I planted last year.

The one I planted last year still has a ways to go. It's really all about the foliage with this plant, anyway.

Most of my Euphorbia rigida turned to mush, but the ones on the slope along the ramp to the front door came through fine and are blooming. I'm not quite sure why these made it while the ones in the driveway island just a few yards away turned to mush. The soil in the island is better-draining, but flat. That bed seems to create odd cold pockets, while also making many plants grow more lushly, decreasing hardiness. The harsher conditions on the slope, in addition to the better air drainage, kept these ones from turning to mush.


 I've been combining my GBBD and Foliage Follow-up posts for the last few months, but neglected to take foliage photos for this post. Probably for the best, as we're getting into the time of year where there are really too many flowers to put anything in the same post with them. And soon it will be the same for foliage, as new shoots are emerging everywhere. Tomorrow is supposed to be slightly drier, so I'll see what I can find for foliage then.

30 comments:

  1. Oh, I have got to plant crocus again! (I think voles ate all of mine over several years). Yours are so beautiful!
    How do you get a Clivia to bloom? Mine has bloomed in the past, but not for the last two years. Any suggestions will be very welcome.
    Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!

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    1. A mouse spent the winter eating bulbs in the last crocus photo I showed. I'm glad it wasn't voles. To get Clivia to bloom, make sure you're growing it in a bright window. A summer vacation outside, protected from afternoon sun, helps, too. Give them a cool (about 40-60F), dry rest starting about October until late January. Water them just enough to keep them from shriveling. Mine spends winter in a room that stays between 60 and 65F and I just water it once the top inch or two of soil is dry. In those conditions, it usually blooms sometime in summer. The last couple years, I've kept them in my cool greenhouse (heated just enough to stay above 38F in winter) and didn't water them at all until we got some sunny days in March. They bloom like clockwork with that treatment, but the foliage didn't look as good when I did that, so I'm going back to keeping them inside and being satisfied with random flower times.

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    2. Thank you!
      I do move my pot of Clivia outside to the east side of the house in the Summer (no afternoon sun), and I move it inside to a sunny window in the Winter. I guess the problem is that I water it as I water my other houseplants. I will remember to keep it cooler and water it less for a couple of months when it is inside.
      Have a great day!

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    3. Best of luck! The cooler temperatures are the biggest key, I think. They're especially important to make sure the flower stalk isn't stunted. Clivias also bloom best when they're root-bound.

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  2. Wow! Your collection of houseplants is simply fabulous! Outdoors, you also have a lovely show going on. So much color in your spring garden :)

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  3. I've been thinking about trying out one of the vireyas. I'll have to ask you about them at the swap?

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    1. I'll be happy to discuss vireyas with you. I even have a good starter plant for indoor growing if you want to give it a try. It's a cultivar called 'Periwinkle'.

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  4. Love your selections !You reminded me that one of my Phaels opened up in the last couple days and I never even considered it for Bloomday.

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    1. Thanks! My indoor garden helps keep me sane in winter, so I give my houseplants due credit.

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  5. You have a masterful touch with orchids, Evan! Is it greedy of me to want crocus? I planted something on the order of 100 crocus bulbs my first year here and got fewer and fewer until this year there was not a single one.

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    1. They reward my bumbling efforts. We have a tendency to want things we can't have, don't we? I want your Grevilleas, Agonis, and lots of other plants that aren't hardy here. You want peonies, crocus, and other things that generally need more chill than your climate provides.

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  6. Oh you remind me of the three Grevillea 'Ivanhoe' I lost. I knew I would eventually but they were such cool plants while they lasted. Love those crocus!

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    1. I almost planted mine out last summer, knowing that I'd probably lose it this winter even if it didn't turn out as cold as it did. I think it may end up at the plant swap now. I want to clear out the greenhouse a bit.

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    2. If you do decide to get rid of it I would love to give it a home.

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  7. A sea of purple - love it!!! I have a few crocus, and can't wait for them to multiply... So glad my contorted hazel went to live with you - it looks so much happier! I miss both the contortionist presence and its catkins, but found something just today that I'm lusting over - a contorted Quince! It only gets about 3' x 3'. I'm soooo tempted!

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    1. I think I'll have to bring some crocus to the fall swap. I didn't realize how many big clumps I had left in the driveway island that need divided. I really love having the contorted hazel in that spot. Thank you! That quince would fit your garden better, size-wise.

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  8. The crocus are wonderful--lots of purple is a good thing. The Hellebores are wonderful also--many blogs featuring them this month and I enjoy them all.

    Your orchids are so perfectly grown, I can only envy. I can rarely get mine to rebloom.

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    1. I agree. Lots of purple is a good thing. It's just a little overwhelming after winter. I don't do anything special with my orchids. I water them once a week and fertilize when I think about it.

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  9. Penny's Pink does amazingly well here too, a really strong grower.

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    1. It's a really impressive plant. I just planted mine last year, too.

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  10. I'm very happy with my Penny's Pink Hellebores too, that I got last year, they're the most robust Hellebore I have. I need to plant more Crocus too, I have two patches that get wider every year, that need to be dug and spread about.

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    1. I think my crocus need to spread out a bit more. They're just a bit too concentrated for my taste.

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  11. Your non-whimpering Grevillea's is exciting. Anything that survives and thrive after the winter you just had deserves admiration. The Euphorbia rainbow in my garden turned to toast; I replaced it with Calluna vulgaris Wickwar and Calluna Vulgaris firefly. I'm tired of playing the winter guessing game. Now I have to sneak in a few purple crocus in their midst: I adore that vignette.

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    1. Indeed. I'm also impressed with Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Valley Queen' and G. victoriae UBC form. Weird that you lost 'Ascott Rainbow', but then it's weird that most of my Euphorbia rigida turned to mush.

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  12. Very colorful post....it's uplifting for us in the northeast who are only seeing snow outside right now.
    Thanks.

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    1. Many parts of the country east of the Rockies have been hit be winter weather after an early spring. I'm so sorry. I hope your garden recovers.

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  13. Oh, those purple puddles of crocus are swell! Your hellebores (groan for your play on words. That's the correct response, right?) are a delight and I'm impressed with your success with orchids.

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    1. Yes, groaning is at the top of the list of acceptable responses.

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