Posted on 24 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2008

Galanthus nivalis

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Woo hoo! Things sure have changed here in southeastern Pennsylvania since last month. It won’t do to get too complacent about the milder weather, because we’ve gotten some serious snows even after mid-March in the past. It’s not looking very likely that that will happen this year, however. On the plus side, I have two reasons to be thankful for the rain today: 1) It should get the seeds off to a good start before the starlings eat them, and 2) I’m too tired to do any more outside work anyway. And on that note, I’ll show my offerings for Bloom Day, and then I’m off to visit the rest of you.

First, a few bulbs: snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis, above), and crocuses and winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis), below.


Eranthis hyemalis

Then there are a few early shrubs. No forsythia is currently open here at Hayefield, though I’ve seen it in bloom a bit just a few miles south of here. The winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is just starting to flower outdoors, but it’s totally unphotogenic, so I spared you that. But the ‘Arnold Promise’ witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) at the farm is in full glory…

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'

…as is the black pussy willow (Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’).

Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys'

The Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) is just about open, too.

Cornus mas buds

Next, a few miscellaneous hellebores: Helleborus foetidus…

Helleborus foetidus

Below, hybrid ‘Ivory Prince’…

Helleborus 'Ivory Prince'

And below, H. dumetorum.

Helleborus dumetorum

And finally, some of the earliest Helleborus x hybridus. I’m absolutely gaga over this one at the top left, because of its dark nectaries and contrasting inside and outside colors.

Helleborus x hybridus

This pink is very nice too, with an excellent bud count.

Helleborus x hybridus

And then there’s the demure bell-like bloom of the yellow…

Helleborus x hybridus

…the bold, up-facing bloom of this deep maroon…

Helleborus x hybridus

…and the extra-large, starry, black-and-white blooms of the bottom one. Oh, who am I kidding? I love them all.

Helleborus x hybridus

To see more Bloom Day photos from around the world, visit the main GBBD post at May Dreams Gardens.

Posted on 24 Comments

24 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2008

  1. At first I thought perhaps our gardens were at about the same stage when I saw your crocuses and tree buds. Then you showed all those beautiful hellebores. I have just two and they are on the northside of my house so I think they are slow to bloom. I need more shade so I can plant more hellebores! And, oh yes, I need a witch hazel, too.

    Thanks for joining us for bloom day today. I am going to try to plant my peas tomorrow, by the way.

    Wow, Carol – you found me before I even posted over at May Dreams! All of the hellebores currently in bloom are on the south side of my house, close to a stone wall. Those elsewhere in the garden are just barely above ground.

  2. Great post! I love all your bulbs and hellebores. The black pussy willow was a nolvelty, I had never seen it before. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Welcome, gintoino! And thank *you* for visiting!The pussy willow is a favorite with my alpacas, too, but to eat, not to look at. I was lucky to find any buds left.

  3. Wow, Nan, those hellebores!!! The maroon one really is making me drool. I have lots of foetidus in bloom, but haven’t yet seen blooms on the nigers (usually next for me), much less any of the others. I’m going out as soon as I get offline and take a closer look! I don’t have forsythia in bloom here yet, either, but the stems have taken on that gorgeous goldfinch yellow and I love to look at it even in its bloomless state. I feel that way about the red twigs of the maples, too! Ah, spring.

    I think we need to plan a lunch, Elly: I’m now keeping a running list of plants and seeds to give you. I hope you found some sprouts outside. It’s turned out to be a pretty nice day after all!

  4. Lots of variety in your garden! I can’t wait to see your Cornelian cherry bloom. The witch hazel looks great and the hellebores will need to be added to my planting list. So many things to do! Do the Cornelian cherries suffer from anthracnose like other members of the cornus genus?

    The Cornelian cherry has been here (well, at the farm) for about 15 years now, and it hasn’t shown any problems with anthracnose, though I know the disease is around. So, I can’t say it won’t ever get infected, but so far, so good! Now, I just wish I could learn to appreciate the taste of the fruits.

  5. Really beautiful…and again those lovely snowdrops…Do you have a local source for your hellebores? Hellebores are pretty close to perfect, evergreen, interesting flowers and pretty carefree.

    The Aconites are also delightful.


    Thanks, Gail! Back when I had a nursery (in the ’90s), I’d imported hellebore seeds from Phedar Nursery in Britain, and I dabbled in a little breeding. When I moved, I brought what I considered my best seedlings with me. And now, I’m finally ready to start doing some breeding again, though really, I find it hard to discard any of them, so it’s not likely I’ll make much more progress!

  6. Nan, you have really got the hang of the picture collage thing now. The pictures with the matching border look lovely on your blog, especially the hellebores.

    I send a silent thank-you to Shirl every time I put a post together now, Robin. Before she shared the collage trick, I found placing photos a nightmare. But now, placing one image instead of three or five is a snap!

  7. Lunch would be great–anytime after next week, when I’m down in North Carolina for spring break. And now that I look at them, don’t those black pussy willow buds strike you as somewhat… alpaca-like?! No wonder the boys enjoy them!

    Spring break, huh? I don’t need to tell you to behave yourself, do I?

    The pussy willows do look a little like Duncan’s forelock on a bad hair day!

  8. Nan .. the pictures are beautiful .. Black Pussywillow is a wow ! .. the Hellebores are gorgeous .. I have my one and only, Orientalis, I think is the name and it has great green foliage even when the flowers are done.
    There is no other feeling of satisfaction when it rains after we have done garden work .. I love it !

    Well, the weather didn’t work out quite as I’d hoped, Joy, but since the day turned out so nice, I’ve been outside planting seeds and transplanting perennials and shrubs. I really hope it does rain tonight and tomorrow as promised; that really would be perfect!

  9. Those Hellebores are all so beautiful! I can’t wait til my Witchhazel matures, yours is quite a sight.

    Thanks, MMD! I planted that witch hazel at my parents, in one of the first gardens I made there, probably 15 years ago. I sure wish I had it here, but at least I get to visit it twice a day. I do hope to get an ‘Arnold Promise’ of my own soon, though.

  10. Just gorgeous shots of all of the flowers. Thanks for posting.

    I appreciate the visit, Bonnie. I ended up spending a lot of time outside yesterday, so I’m behind on my own visiting, but I’ll be by to check out your blooms today!

  11. Wow, I can see why you are gaga over the Hellebores which by the way I never even heard of until I started blogging. Now I get to drool over everyone else’s… just like all the other wonderful bulbs budding & blooming all over the north. Oh and then there’s the witchhazel, the pussy willow, and the snow drops I keep seeing everywhere. Very lovely… all of them.
    I’m sure your boys would tell you how much they appreciate you if only they could. I can just picture them cheering you on as you worked so hard for them. Happy GBBD.
    meems @ HoeandShovel

    Gee, Meems, I guess I’ve been taking our hellebores for granted; they’re always just *here.* It never occurred to me that those of you with those gorgeous warm-climate gardens would envy us anything!

  12. Nan, I have Hellebore envy! Such lovely blooms and wonderful photos too. Right now your garden is just a bit ahead of mine, hope we catch up after the small snow shower we’re expecting over night.

    I’m sure your envy will be short-lived, Melanie! The way things change so quickly at this time of year, we almost need a weekly Bloom Day, except that then we’d never have time to do any actual gardening!

  13. Nan, that black catkin on the willow is really eye catching, must look for it. Your grouping of the pictures is great also. And your hellebores are wonderful. It seems you have a lot going on even though you are in the northern part of the country. Good job!

    Frances at Faire Garden

    The black catkins are cute, but you’d hardly believe how ugly the plant is. To be fair, I don’t know if they all look like that; this one has been so deer-chewed and -rubbed and alpaca-nibbled over the years that it’s quite a fright. Fortunately, it’s at the farm, so it’s not in my direct view. Last spring, I took some cuttings so I could have some younger plants here for the boys to enjoy in a few years, and hopefully I’ll be able to train them a bit better (er…the willows, not the boys).

  14. Can’t believe you can have snow in mid-March!I wish that your assessment proves right and your blooms continue to enthrall you and us throughout the good weather.

    Oh yes, we can have snow until late April, actually, but usually not of any significance after early April. And for the sake of the plants and animals, I’d rather have snow than bitter cold. But hopefully, we’ll just keep our 50-degree days and gentle rains for a few more weeks. I hope all is well in your own garden. I’ll be over for a visit later!

  15. So much in bloom! The black pussy willow is really stunning isn’t it! Must get more hellebores! Thanks for that reminder!

    Hey there, Layanee! Thanks for stopping by. I hope spring arrives soon for you too.

  16. Beautiful hellebores! but I especially like the Ivory Prince. What an elegant looking flower. The black pussy willow is quite something too. At first I thought the cornelian cherry dogwood was a spicebush, Lindera benzoin until I read what it was. They look so similar to my myopic eyes. Wonderful photos of the flowering bulbs too. Great quality of light on the crocus.

    You’re right, Ki: the buds do look somewhat similar, and they both bloom about now. Thanks for visiting!

  17. Beautiful photos from your garden!

    Thanks for stopping by for Bloom Day, Marie!

  18. I don’t have many hellebores yet, but seeing yours makes me want more. Where did you get your eranthis from? I am having trouble getting some started.

    Mine were pass-alongs from someone in our local historical society, who got them from the mom of another long-time local resident. She brought them to me just as they were finishing bloom. They went dormant right after planting, but they were glorious the next spring, and now they are seeding around.

  19. Lovely photos Nan. I can only imagine how beautiful your wall looks with a “skirt” of hellebores! Let’s hear it for micro climates! In hort school, one of my profs called cornus mas the ‘wet dog” shrub because of its smell – he didn’t think much of its smell. I have never minded it. I would love to see a picture of the whole shrub sometime.

    Question: How do you insert your copyright into the photos. What program do you use?


    Now I’ll have to make a point of sniffing it, Kathryn! It’s in a spot where I see it from some distance but seldom get that close. I don’t mind eau de wet dog very much, so maybe it’s not so bad.

    It’s easy to add the copyright to photos using Microsoft Paint. Open the photo, then use the text tool to create a text box.

  20. Nan, you have so many lovely flowers! It must be easy to think Spring while wandering your garden. I left my one thriving Hellebore in Illinois and have followed local advice that they won’t do well here. However, after seeing so many beautiful photos this Blooming Day, I may decide to risk another loss and see if one will like to live in Texas.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Go for it, Annie! I understand that they grow in Dallas, and I’ve heard reports of them growing even in Zone 9, so I’d say it’s worth a try.

  21. I love your hellebores. 150 of seed? Thats alot of walking.

    It sure was, Curtis. While walking, I ponder the irony of spreading that much grass seed in one area while I’m trying valiantly to get rid of the grass elsewhere. But, the critters have to have their pasture!

  22. Hello Nan! We’re so glad that you found us and left a comment on our blog. We are most excited to have found your blog as Wing Nut grew up in the next county over from yours–Berks! We still have family & friends in the area. We love your boys. They are very handsome. The black pussy willow is amazing! We’ll be sure to visit again very soon.

    Welcome to you both! Isn’t Bloom Day a great event? We get to go garden-visiting all over the world and make new friends along the way. The boys say thanks, too!

  23. Hi again Nan, I am loving your montages they look great :-)

    I am methodically working my way down the list of GBBD posts so apologies for not getting here sooner. Oh, what a lovely selection of blooms you have in your garden – so hard to pick a favourite especially as I love the hellebores too!

    However it was the black pussy willow that really caught my eye – I have never seen it before! I am looking at planting deep colours this year. Ah… but I am still enjoying the spring bulbs too :-D

    Thanks to you for the montages, Shirl! I hope you can find the pussy willow for your garden. It started opening here just after mid-February, and I’d guess it would start even earlier for you.

  24. How nice to see the winter aconites in flower in your garden, Nan. For some unknown reason not many garden bloggers have aconites in their garden. Your black pussy willow made me smile as I recently got a cutting when I visited the Hellebore nursery in Belgium. Speaking of Hellebores; am I right in thinking all those Helleborus X hybridus were born in your garden? They all look gorgeous but then I’m very partial to a nice Hellebore.

    It appears that eranthis are best acquired as passalong plants (directly from someone else’s garden); perhaps that’s why they’re not as common as we might expect from their easy-care nature. Yep, the hellebores were born here (well, some of them were born in my previous garden), though they’re originally from good British stock. Best of luck with your black pussy willow, Yolanda Elizabet!

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