I was going to subtitle this post “we now return you to your regularly scheduled spring,” since, after March’s May/June-like warmth, we’ve been plunged back into several weeks of frosts and freezes, drastically slowing the bloom season. So, things are emerging a bit closer to the time they normally would, though the trees are still about three weeks ahead of schedule. We usually don’t have lilacs in bloom by mid-April…
…and the flowering dogwoods and redbud (below is Cercis yunnanensis) normally aren’t out until early May.
The multi-variety Asian pear has been loaded with bloom, but I have a bad feeling that the flowers have been too damaged by the cold to set much, if any, fruit.
Both the regular and alpine strawberries started flowering in early April. It’s easy to tell which blooms got frost-damaged by the dark centers. There are lots of fresh new flowers coming along, though.
The honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea var. edulis) have been blooming well, fortunately, and they don’t seem to have been bothered by the cold, so maybe I’ll get to harvest some of them, at least. Above is ‘Blue Moon’; below is the much fuzzier ‘Blue Velvet’.
Besides the frosty nights, we’ve also had days and days of strong wind. Considering that we’ve gotten barely 1 inch of rain in the last 6 weeks, that makes for some really dry conditions.
Still, there are some pretty – and pretty tough – flowers around. Among the shrubs, there’s contorted flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Contorta’):
Contorted ‘Flying Dragon’ hardy orange (Poncirus trifoliata):
‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana):
And the perfectly normal (non-contorted) compact Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’):
The bulbs have been lovely over the past few weeks, even if their bloom times have been rather weird. Below, naturalized glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa forbesii).
Above and below, ‘Gravetye Giant’ summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum). These have been fantastic this year, in bloom for nearly a month now.
A couple of fritillaries: above, fox’s grape (Fritillaria uva-vulpis) and below, checkered lily or guinea hen lily (F. meleagris).
Some grape hyacinths: above, Muscari botryoides ‘Album’; below, M. armeniacum ‘Valerie Finnis’
A few tulips are finally coming along, too. Above, the elegant Tulipa whittallii. Below, the super-gaudy, variegated ‘Fire of Love’.
And one long-lasting daffodil, Narcissus ‘Pipit’.
Some early perennials are also gracing the garden and grassy areas.
Above, one of many lingering Lenten roses (Helleborus x hybridus); below, self-sown lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata) mingling with glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa forbesii).
Above, Allegheny pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens); below, ‘Freckles’ violet (Viola sororia).
Above, Mukdenia (formerly Aceriphyllum) rossii; below, a closeup of its starry flowers.
Buds in the beds: above, ‘Purple Smoke’ false indigo (Baptisia australis) and below, fern-leaved peony (Paeonia tenuifolia).
Above, dwarf comfrey (Symphytum grandiflorum); below, early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis).
Above, spring beauty (Claytonia virginica); below, Chocolate Chip ajuga (Ajuga reptans ‘Valfredda’) mingling with golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’).
Above, Viola ‘Etain’ with ‘Blue Ridge’ creeping phlox (Phlox stolonifera).
Below, one of my new favorite silly things, grown from seed (from Plant World Seeds) and finally flowering this year: a sort-of-pink dandelion (Taraxacum pseudoroseum).
I also started seeds of the variegated dandelion ‘White Flash’ (T. officinale), also from Plant World Seeds [below]. It’s kind of amusing but neither white nor especially flashy.
Speaking of foliage, here’s a gallery of some lovely leaves as an early entry for tomorrow’s Foliage Follow-Up at Digging.
Above, looking quite like a forsythia, is the emerging new growth of ‘Dart’s Gold’ ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius).
Below, ‘Sem’ Ural false spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia). It’s having some trouble getting established here, but the spring foliage of this shrub is outstanding even when the plant is small.
Above, ‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta); below, variegated lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis ‘Variegata’; it used to be ‘Striata’ or ‘Aureostriata’, I think).
Above, winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) after bloom; below, ‘Espresso’ wild cranesbill (Geranium maculatum), not flowering yet.
Above, golden Hakone grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) against ‘Ravenswing’ wild chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris).
Below, bloody dock (Rumex sanguineus).
Above, a seedling from ‘Dark Towers’ beardtongue (Penstemon). ‘Dark Towers’ is supposedly sterile but has somehow managed to produce dozens of seedlings anyway.
Below, the crazy-amazing spring foliage of ‘Mostly Ghostly’ hosta. (Yes, that’s also the “bloom” pictured at the top of this post.)
Above, ‘Sacajawea’ camassia (Camassia leichtlinii); below, shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia).
Above, ‘Latifolia Maculata’ boxwood (Buxus sempervirens); below, golden mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’).
This is also the time of year Mom and I make a special trip into her woods to harvest ramps (Allium tricoccum).
And, ok, these are neither flowers nor foliage, but some shots of beautiful bark. Above and below are from a paperbark maple (Acer griseum). It was one of the first trees I planted at my parents’ farm (I think that’s about 26 years ago now).
These two are the bark of a seven-sons tree (Heptacodium miconioides). This tree’s about 24 years old.
And to finish, a few general garden shots from the past few weeks:
Now, to see what’s up in other gardens around the world, check out the links in Carol’s main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.