The 2013 gardening season has now officially started, ready or not.
I was out today doing 'better late than never' burlapping of my marginally hardy plants.
But I took a little time out to do a quick check on some of my stalwart winter blooming plants.
It's so nice in the dead of winter to see things blooming outside!
#1 is hellebore foetidus. In about 4 years it has spread out to form a beautiful fine-textured foliage plant.
Fortunately (as you'll agree when you see the picture), it flowers in winter (now) so you don't have to see the flowers.
#2 is daphne odora Zuiko Nishiki, supposedly the hardiest of a not-very-hardy species.
The 'odora' in it's species name is apt - a wonderful heady fragrance when in bloom.
As you can see, it's just getting ready.
#4 is winter-blooming jasmine (jasminum nudiflorum). Flowers through the winter.
Individual flowers only last a day or so, but new ones form constantly.
So deep freezes only temporarily set it back and reblooms readily in warm snaps.
#3 is one of my japanese apricots (prunus mume).
It reliably blooms in Jan or Feb, but whether the blooms last before getting refrozen is always up to mother nature!
OK, so I guess it's not a perennial - come to think of it, the daphne & jasmine aren't perennials either...!
Oops - I guess I posted to the wrong forum... sorry.
But maybe it will get you perennial folks to broaden your gardening horizons!
Thanks for the show! I have looked at Jasmines and Daphnes for years. I am further south of you so maybe I will get those. I have Lenten Rose. It stays in bloom for many months-no blooms yet. My L. Rose is under snow right now.
I am most familiar with Daphne burkwoodii Carol Mackie.
Oh no, you don't like the flower of H Foetidus?! I love them! Your pic isn't fair, it only shows the emerging stalks. The flowers are the freshest pale green, with a delicate edge of burgundy, they come in bunches and last a long time. Especially at that time of year, when there is so little else, I think they are a delight. Sadly, I don't have a spot where they can be appreciated where I am now. At another house and zone, I used to have them by the front door. The first January they bloomed, a Brit friend who fancied himself a gardener demanded, 'What have you got blooming NOW?!' LOL
As for the rest, if I could have them here I'd be thrilled. Lucky you!
The daphne and prunus are breathtaking - never mind that they aren't perennials per se (although of course, they bloom every year). I have to go to conservatories here to see such beauties at this time of year!
Polly, we've been downgraded to 6b recently (upgraded?).
But you may be surprised that I wish we got more snow around here.
My plants would enjoy a blanket of snow for to help protect them during the winter.
Pam, I have really tried to find something to love in my h. foetidus flowers (more pix below)...
just doesn't do it for me!
Yea! 2013 flowers! Thanks for posting those inspiring photos! Knew we could count on your for some early inspiration! I'd be happy with green leaves this time of year. I ventured out back yesterday and noticed my H. f. was in blooms as well. I was holding my breath after the wretched summer we had. Waay too early for the other hellebores.
Pam, I LOVE the foliage. And the fact that's it's so green and alive in the dead of winter.
But those flowers ...
P.S. And for Polly, I figured out how to update my zone, so now you're colder than I am!
Hmm, Birder, I'm not really sure. So many websites I look at show a clickable hardiness zone map,
and they sure looked to me like St Louis is carved out of 6a into 6b, I presume by the warmth of the river.
But when I went to the USDA Hardiness Zone official site and punch in my zip, it says 6a.
So I don't know which it is. I even read an article in the local paper saying we're now 7a ...
So I'll pretend I'm 6b and be content with being warmer than you!
I don't put a lot of faith into the fine tuning of these maps. I'm supposedly in 6 now, but my microclimate is colder. In our area 1/2 mile away daffodils are out when mine are just coming up. I think we're a little higher. I think you have to just get to know your own particulars and take the rest with a grain of salt, go by what lives or dies on your own gardens. I do experiment with zone pushing, but not with anything expensive or any kind of mass planting until I've had success with less investment..
Wow, I've never had a dahlia survive outdoors.
I'm posting update on my japanese apricots, because they're about to be blasted by cold weather tomorrow.
Here they are this morning - two varieties, a pink and a darker red.
It's supposed to be 17 tomorrow, so I suspect it might be curtains for the apricot blooms this year.
When I stepped out onto the porch to take the photo, the fragrance is obvious - pretty nice for this time of year.
Note the honeybee in the last pic - in January?? The whole tree was buzzing with them!
And I just discovered a white japanese apricot hidden at margin of my yard is blooming also.
It's a newer plant, just reached blooming size last year. I forgot all about it!
I'll enjoy them while they last; cold front coming thru tonight.
While I love your gorgeous pics, it's torture! :) So glad though that you're getting such beautiful blooms after the watering restrictions of last summer.
Getting ready for the cold air coming again later today. Sigh. Was beautiful to walk outside this morning without a jacket.
I have several now, but I started with just one & I recalled it blooming beautifully,
which is why I got the others. So I'm not sure if the bloom is enhanced with a pollinator or not.
I'm not much of a botonist.
I love the winter bloom well enough to take the gamble with the weather.
These pics are from a couple years ago.
It's supposed to snow today, so I presume it'll look the same tomorrow.
I'll enjoy it for today.
dmac: "a couple or five"!! Chuckle. Now, don't get greedy!! :)
I have been thinking about the 15 year dahlia and glads. I also have a yellow calla lily that's come back about four years now. I think sometimes you get lucky and get a plant that has more hardiness than the normal species.
I've got a 10 yr 4 o'clock that I started from a mixed pack of seeds--one of the fuchsia ones formed rhizomes and comes back each year. Also have some decendents of a bag of mixed glads from about 12 yrs ago still pops their heads up from time to time. Those aren't as consistant but I usually get 3-8 full grown stalks and a bunch of babies that look like thick blades of grass for a season or two. I've dug them up a couple of times when I divide the iris but there were so many itty bitty bulbils I knew I would never win that battle:lol:
Dmac, Camellia Forest nursery in Chapel Hill has a huge variety of japanese apricots.
Not too far a drive for you. Or of course you can check them out on line too.
They're very nice people. Their apricots are probably blooming right now.
You might check them out and grab a couple beauties!
I agree with you about the 6b zone of St. Louis. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) identifies zone 6a as having an average annual minimum temperature of -10 to -5 degrees. Zone 6b is -5 to zero degrees and zone 7a is 0 to +5 degrees.
I also live in the St. Louis area and I can't remember the last time we had temperatures of 5 or 10 degrees below zero. Wind chill maybe (and that would be rare) but not true temperatures. So I think we can safely consider our zone as 6b.
Well, I can't remember when we had temps. below the two digit numbers: teens. The USDA (or someone ?) re-numbered the zones to a warmer zone, however, my area did not change. I can't figure out why. I am supposedly 15 miles north of zone 7a.
This winter has been a little cooler than last winter but still, lows in the teens. My Iberis and Helebores are both blooming, and I have buds on my daffodils.
Sweet William, Digitalis, Dianthus chinensis, Dianthus Bath's Pinks, Perennial Snapdragon and some of the Annual Snapdragons, Homestead Verbena, Lambs Ear, Sedum, Phlox sublata, Poppies: Annuals & Orientals, Penstemon, Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion), Iris and Larkspur are all green.
Keep in mind that those hardiness zone maps are supposed to be drawn based on average annual minimum temperatures. I suppose the maps might come close but they can't possibly be dead accurate for all areas. Typing in your zip code is no more accurate than going by the colors on the map. In reality, only you know how cold it actually gets where you live. If I lived in Jackson, MO I'd certainly plant according to zone 7a. That may not be perfectly accurate either but I'll bet it's closer than using 6b.
Yes, I am starting to think that way too. I have seriously adhered to the hardiness zone of 6b. I have a few things in my yard that aren't suppose to make it in zone 6b: calla lilies, dahlia, glads. but those were plants I forgot to dig up and voila! they came back!
On the other hand, years ago I tried a couple of times to grow Confederate Jasmine against a brick south facing wall, and it died both times. But, that was years ago, and climates have changed somewhat.
OK, now the spring progression has started for real.
First snowdrop today.
And if you get on your hands and knees and look under the winter leaf tatter,
here come the hellebores. Everywhere in my woods.
I have two purplish hellebores (one lighter, one darker) which reseed avidly -
could even become a nuisance, but so far not to that point.
They're putting up blooms all over the place - before they bother with fresh foliage.
Still not particularly enjoyable weather out there (27 degrees this morning),
but these early bloomers sure help to put a little hop in your step this time of year.
We had a pretty dense snow cover (which was heavy and icy) which set back some of my spring bloomers.
But snow is finally gone and the woodland is coming back to life.
The hellebores are remarkably sturdy. Here is my NOID dark purple one, which seems to reseed freely,
which so far has been a good thing. I also have a double pink Party Dress hellebore - a soft pink now,
but fades to a pale yellowish green. Doesn't sound very pretty, but it is.
I enjoy crawling around looking for the emerging spring ephemerals.
Corydalis is coming up. I love the fresh feathery foliage.
Cardamine heptaphylla is coming up also; you can even see buds - should be blooming in a couple days.
Finally eranthis - I planted it a few years ago, but has never bloomed. Just puts up an early green leaf,
then back to sleep for another year. It's a good thing I'm easily amused.
Ahhh - a treat to see your pics. I do like the colorful emerging foliage. Most of the snow has melted here but the ground still frozen in places resulting in small standing pools of rain water. The crocuses are pushed forward under our 5" of snow and are in bud so thinking I might have some blooms by the end of the week. I would make a big deal about seeing 5 robins in my backyard this morning but I understand that it's not uncommon for them to winter over here as opposed to flying somewhere south. Tempted to get out there and start doing spring cleanup but it's supposed to get slightly colder this week again. Sigh.
What fun you must have. It's like buried treasure, but you don't have to dig it up!
My crocus and chionodoxa have peeked above the ground and my tulip turkestanica have unfurled their leaves, but it's nothing like your glorious display. The turks are actually several years old - they are a species tulip that can handle some watering and actually multiplies.
Cindy, what you say about the glads and callas makes me go hum... I've always taken them to the basement and forced them into dormancy. I used to put them in the ground at my old house and certain of the them would produce bulblets on the north side of my house.
I am restraining myself from going into the yard because the ground is so wet. We had two feet of snow and almost all of it melted in two days.
Donna - ditto here with the soggy half-frozen yard. I certainly can't step in the beds right now although I'm wearing a path in the lawn to my rain barrel, catching some snow melt or rain as an alternative to city water if it's above freezing for plants and seedlings in the house.
It's so strange to read posts talking about frozen ground and snow. I did a new bed this year that I actually started in January (putting in shrubs) because the ground wasn't frozen. Still hasn't frozen, I've continued putting different things in that bed for the last two months. Kind of pathetic, really. We just didn't have much of a winter this year, no snow to speak of really except one short couple of inch burst that was gone in a day or so. My kids haven't had a real snow in 3 years, according to them :) I guess there are good things and bad about a mild winter. Let's us continue to "garden", but the insects will carry us away come summer time. Can't wait for that.
We were waaaay below on snowfall until Feb and winter's been making up for lost time. Lake effect snow yesterday gave us another inch but nighttime temps will be right under the freeze temp so ground won't be thawing this week at least. Last year on St. Pat's Day, we were around 80 degrees but sadly won't see that this year.
We've been in 40's most of the week, but shot up to 70 yest, but back down to 40's today.
Supposed to be nasty tomorrow, drizzly, cold, windy. But spring is coming regardless...
My cardamine heptaphylla is beginning to bloom. Woodland groundcover which is spreading nicely for me.
Each flower is little, but purplish haze from a distance.
Snowdrops are still hanging around.
And my daphne odora is just starting to open. It has wonderful fragrance.
And of course my hellebores are in full throttle.
I'm not sure where I got it - I just flipped through a number of the nurseries I often order from & I don't see it listed.
I think it was Arrowhead Alpines, but not sure.
In fact, I didn't see very many other cardamine species either.
Cardamine heptaphylla has been the best grower for me (first 2 pics).
Others are cardamine trifolia, c. concatenata (reputation of being a little weedy), c. pratense.
All are spring blooming woodland perennials which go dormant in summer.
I swear Wee has the most gorgeous plants I've never heard of. It's probably because they may just be out of my zone, and possibly because they go dormant. In my old sun baled yard I found a place for common things like bloodroot (north side of the house) and mertensia (under ornamental trees) and of course oakleaf hydrangeas. I got the deutzia Codsall Pinks because of you.
I just got my new Connoisseur Plants from Raulston Arboretum. They are generally hybrids of native plants. I realize that these are really small shrubs but I wanted to tell you about them.The first is Abelia 'Lynn' Pinky Bells large flowered dwarf abelia that won't be available to commerce for a bit. It's a hybrid between the large, pink flowered A. schumannii 'Bumblebee' and the N.C. found 'Little Richard'. They describe it as a new selection. I will have to place it carefully once I plant it.
The I got a Deutzia gracilis 'Nikko Dawn', which is a variegated slender deutzia form of the Nikko deutzia forming a low mound to 3feet and slightly wider. It's said to be best in light shade, but will take full sun with adequate moisture. I have several places to put it. It has creamy edged foliage and bright white spring flowers, and it's in my zone.
The last is a mountain hydrangea (a serrata) from Japan that was once used to make tea. I am nuts for serratas because of their delicacy. They are usually zone 6 so I have to keep them in pots to facilitate overwintering.
They lean toward plants that aren't in commerce yet and they use them to gain financial support so they tend to have an "edge". The good part is that they introduce me to plant groups I never would have had (I now have four deutzias!) Right now variegated and yellow plants are popular, and I generally don't care for those, but the japanese variegated kerria they sent me a while back knocked my socks off.
I have been going to Munchkin Nurseries to look around. I bought some natives from them years ago. They are a bit pricey but their plants are huge. I remember buying ferns, bloodroot and a red baneberry that I botched. I love to go on his website. All of those plants had to be in one are of my old house but now I can put them in more places. I am working on creating privacy in my yard so that I feel comfortable going up to small plants and admiring them.
I had a creepy experience at Platt Hill Nursery. I went for a seminar and was told that they couldn't sell the epimediums and thalictrums because no one was interested. They want KO roses and the kind of sun loving supposedly low maintanance prairie plants that are everywhere. So she said that they are having trouble stocking the lesser known plants that I like. There are a lot of places that used to have old garden roses that don't have them anymore. The catalogs are full of hideous new hydrangeas in weird colors with "eye popping" blooms. It makes me long for the restfulness of Wee's garden. I never see gardens like that here. The last one I saw in a similar setting was loaded with mayapples gone nuts.
Mentioning KO roses - I sometimes listen to a podcast out of D/FW area and, because of the current preferences for KO roses, they're experiencing quite an abundance of rosette disease. At least, that's the correlation mentioned. And the preferred method of control is to pull out the roses. It's more fun experimenting with more uncommon plants.
Oh yes. On other forums here they mention the prevalence of rose rosette disease. I think that PART of the problem is that they are sold in masses to garden centers, and show up by the dozens on corporate sites, so the mites can hop from one to another and party like drunken sailors. I despair because I grow mostly old garden roses, some as old as 1832. Some of them are becoming unavailable, or are sold by one vendor. I used to be able to find the old roses in garden centers. Now they have mostly hybrid teas (aka blackspot on a stick). I have roses I have never seen in anyone's yard. Why grow KO's when you can grow a rose hybridized in 1832 and named for the hybridizers beloved wife (Madame Hardy, pictured below?) It even takes some shade. It's completely disease resistant. OK, it only blooms once, but for almost two months. Did I mention the intoxicating scent?
I love to have some of everything. Why not? Roses, grasses, peonies, ornamental trees, bulbs, some native, some from around the world. Suitability of soil and climate is important.
My additions now tend to be shade loving or tolerant plants, and it opens another world.
"black spot on a stick" - funny. I bought some roses once from a place in Maine (mail order) and they were on their own roots rather than grafted. Thought at the time that they might be more forgiving of my ineptitude. The Roseraie. Not sure if they're still around since I don't have the sun and space for more.
Donna, I have deutzia gracilis variegata which is one of my favorite variegated plants.
It's variegation looks like it's sprinkled on the leaf (see below).
The blooms almost are a distraction, since the foliage alone is so pretty.
But you have to watch out for occasional reverting branches, which have to be pruned away.
The 2nd picture is a non-variegated reversion on the same shrub.
And I recall mine was only supposed to be a couple feet tall and it's probably at least 4ft now.
Might be even taller if it weren't having to duke it out for space in a too crowded border.
The other 3 pix are some of my hydrangea serrata's.
You must have excellent taste, since they are one of my favorite plants also.
The delicacy & variety of blooms is really unbeatable - much better than the blaring blue pom poms of Nikko Blue!
Here are 3 of my favorites: first is miyama mae murasaki, 2nd is shirafugi, 3rd is beni gaku.
But unfortunately, the deer are also too fond of all my hydrangeas.
I haven't had a single hydrangea bloom in the past several summers.
The shrubs are chewed to the stems. It's really disheartening. The deer don't bother my deutzias.
Wee, how wonderful. And how funny! I must ave excellent taste - made me laugh. I absolutely agree with you about some of the horrible screaming macrophyllas crowing onto the market. Nikko Blue - no. Have you seen Wayside's catalogue? They send it to me every year even though my first and last order was in 1998.The monstrosities coming out - all by the big companies, all patented, all expensive, are unbelievable. I was given a large Endless Summer by the contractor who finished my hardscaping three weeks lat, and I do like it.
My hydrangea serrata shishiva was one of my favorite plants. I received it when it was quite small. In my zone, serratas must be kept in pots. And I had to acidify its soil. Ah, worth it! I rolled it into the garage every year until I botch it one year, pulling it out too soon and leaving for work. But the gentleman at Raulston has offered to propagate another one for me. Yes!
You'd enjoy visiting Raulston arboretum. I've been there a dozen or more times, most recently just a couple weeks ago. For a plant nerd, it's fascinating even though hardly anything was leafed out or blooming yet. Fortunately, my wife indulges me and at least pretended to be as fascinated as I was. We spent about 4 hrs there with nothing in bloom! They have some beautiful and weird plant material there - an opportunity to see 'full size' samples of things I had previously just seen in pots. A funny example is ulmus parviflora Frosty, which is advertised in catalogs as a cute dwarf elm with white-outlined leaves. At the arboretum, I ran headlong into a monstrously big Frosty (trunk diameter at least 6ft, 50ft tall or so - truly enormous). It was hilarious, since my Frosty is about 6in tall in a pot.
We lived in the Triangle area a long, long time ago, so we occasionally are in the area for various reasons and always make a point of stopping by the arboretum. Always interesting. You'd love it.
I'm a sponsor member, and have been since 2004. You are right - I do love it. I attended the Gala in the Garden two years ago, and am probably going this year. I was on a business trip and had an hour to get to the airport, so I popped into a place I had only seen on the web. They were great! They are a little puzzled by me since I live so far away and can't get some of the goodies, but last year I was entitled to 2 plants and got five. It's wonderful that it's free.
I also pop into the Sarah Duke Gardens, another marvelous place, and not far away.
When I was there two years ago I took a bunch of pictures. They don't have the funding they need to take a ton of photos, so they used some of mine. I created an entry for Raulston and uploaded some photos. I can't find the botanical gardens informational section, but here are some of the pics.