Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2012

Side garden at Hayefield March 2012

Peak bloom season is still a long way away here at Hayefield, and at first glance, there’s not much going on.

TDF border at Hayefield March 2012

Arc borders at Hayefield March 2012

Front garden at Hayefield March 2012

Shrubbery bed at Hayefield March 2012

But on closer inspection, there are a few spots of color – enough to make it possible to once again join in with Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Yay!

The hellebores are looking especially good this year. Helleborus dumetorum is, admittedly, very subtle, but it’s the first to open here, and it’s been flowering for about three weeks now.

Helleborus dumetorum at Hayefield March 2012

The evergreen foliage of H. foetidus usually turns crispy brown here by bloom time, but the winter has been so mild that the whole plant looks pretty good this spring.

Helleborus foetidus at Hayefield March 2012

And then there are the seed-grown H. x hybridus clumps.

Helleborus x hybridus (white) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (pink) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (double white) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (deep purple-red) at Hayefield March 2012

Mmm…I really like the dark ones, like those above, but the lighter colors are nice too. So far, I have only one yellow, but I’m hoping that will change when I grow out the bunch of seedlings it has produced.

Helleborus x hybridus (yellow) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (spotted pink) at Hayefield March 2012

For some reason, I also have very few nicely spotted ones, but the one above is pretty good. Not many doubles here, either; this one usually looks much nicer but is a little tired-looking this spring.

Helleborus x hybridus (double purple-red) at Hayefield March 2012

Many others are much prettier, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The flower forms of these are rather nice, I think.

Helleborus x hybridus (purple-red) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (pink) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (veined pink) at Hayefield March 2012

The veining on the one above makes the buds as pretty as the open flowers. Another feature I particularly like is dark nectaries (the ring of modified petals in the center of the bloom), like those below.

Helleborus x hybridus (shaded pink with dark nectaries) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (deep purple-red with dark nectaries) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (pink with bronze nectaries) at Hayefield March 2012

Helleborus x hybridus (veined pink with dark nectaries) at Hayefield March 2012

Oh, wait – I think I may be able to commit to a favorite after all: the one below has a great substance, beautiful form, nice color, gorgeous shading, and dark nectaries.

Helleborus x hybridus (picotee with dark nectaries) at Hayefield March 2012

Besides the hellebores, there are early bulbs coming along, of course.

Galanthus nivalis at Hayefield March 2012

The common snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) [above] are just about done; the first opened about a month ago, though, so that’s only fair.

The flowers of spring meadow saffron (Bulbocodium vernum) [below], on the other hand, seem to look good for barely a week before getting rather tattered and tired. They’re cute while they last, though.

Bulbocodium vernum at Hayefield March 2012

Crocus tommasinianus at Hayefield March 2012

I started looking for the Crocus tommasinianus [above] a few weeks ago, and when they didn’t appear, I figured they’d gotten eaten. But just yesterday, they popped open, in time to join the show of larger Dutch crocus – go figure.

Yellow crocus at Hayefield March 2012

Above is a pretty yellow from Colorblends’ “Crocreation” crocus mix; below is their “Hokus Crocus” mix. (I don’t name them, people, I just grow them.)

Purple crocus at Hayefield March 2012

Path to barn at Hayefield March 2012

Snowdrops are elegant and crocuses are cheerful, but I think my favorite spring bulb has to be the little reticulated irises (Iris reticulata). I planted the “Rock Garden Mixture” from Van Engelen two years ago, and they’ve been a delight for over three weeks now. I have them planted along the path to the barn, which I also see from my office window, so I get to enjoy them frequently.

Iris reticulata with Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' at Hayefield March 2012

These little gems are even more lovely when you get down and admire them at ground level.

Iris reticulata at Hayefield March 2012

Blues, and purples, and violets – oh my!

Iris reticulata at Hayefield March 2012

Iris reticulata at Hayefield March 2012

Iris reticulata with Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' at Hayefield March 2012

It’s especially interesting when they come up through winter-colored “evergreen” groundcovers, such as Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ above or creeping bramble (Rubus rolfei, a.k.a. R. calycinoides).

Iris reticulata with Rubus rolfei at Hayefield March 2012

Narcissus 'February Gold' with Helleborus x hybridus at Hayefield March 2012

We’re just now coming into the main show of spring bulbs: the ‘February Gold’ narcissus [above] and the ‘Yellow Queen’ hyacinth [Hyacinthus] started to open yesterday. There will be lots more to share by the next Bloom Day.

Hyacinthus 'Yellow Queen' at Hayefield March 2012

Well, that’s the best of the blooms, though there are a few more subtle additions, such as the catkins of ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana) [below] …

Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' at Hayefield March 2012

… and the sturdy little white blooms of ‘Golden Starlet’ winter heath (Erica carnea) [below], which have been flowering since October.

Erica carnea 'Golden Starlet' at Hayefield March 2012

Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis at Hayefield March 2012

For fragrance, there are the small flowers of sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) [above] and the lemon-scented blooms of winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) [below].

Lonicera fragrantissima at Hayefield March 2012

Salix udensis [S. sachalinensis] 'Sekka' at Hayefield March 2012

And for fuzziness, there’s Japanese fantail willow (Salix udensis ‘Sekka’) [above] and black pussy willow (Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’) [below].

Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’ at Hayefield March 2012

Thymus pseudolanuginosus in winter color with Crocus sativus at Hayefield March 2012

There’s not enough leafy interest yet to justify a separate post for Foliage Follow-Up, but there are a few bits here and there, such as the winter-purpled woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) [above] with the leaves of saffron crocus (Crocus sativus).

Below, some intermingled creeping bramble and ‘Angelina’ sedum…

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' with Rubus rolfei at Hayefield March 2012

…and winter-reddened Sedum stefco [below].

Sedum stefco in winter color at Hayefield March 2012

Well, that’s a pretty good haul for a March Bloom Day here. To see what’s springing up in other gardens around the world, visit the main Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post at May Dreams Gardens.

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brenda Rose on March 15, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Spring has indeed sprung! you’re just a little ahead of us, but I’m enjoying crocus and snowdrops. But your post did make me wonder, what ever happened to my iris reticulata? Love yours, guess mine must have died.

    You have a lovely collection of hellebores, do you buy them online or are you lucky enough to have a good nursery nearby?

    It’s a crazy spring, isn’t it – some things a little late and others a month or more early! So sorry that your irises disappeared; maybe they’ll still come along?

    I’ve been growing hellebores from seed for about 20 years now and was lucky to have imported some excellent seeds from Will McLewin of Phedar Nursery way back when. Now, I mostly just let them seed around on their own.
    -Nan

  2. Posted by Lisa at Greenbow on March 15, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Happy GBBD. Your hellebore collection is nice. I have a few too and they are blooming like mad. My little irises aren’t even up yet though. I wonder what that is all about?? Makes me wonder about them. It seems everyone is having blooms already. I hope mine haven’t died.

    Maybe your and Brenda’s irises are just a little slow this year? So many things seem a bit confused this spring. At least you have other blooms to enjoy today!
    -Nan

  3. You have a sensational haul for for GBBD! The hellebores are simply divine. I love the path to the barn with the touches of colour from the crocuses and reticulated irises, especially that luscious dark purple.

    The range of colors in the reticulated irises is really nice, isn’t it? From violet all the way to baby blue. It’s much easier to tell blues and purples apart when they’re right next to each other.
    -Nan

  4. Wow there certainly is a lot going on there. Your first pics remind me of my native country, the U.K. Also the snowdrops and other little bulbs so sweet! But the hellebores – whenever I see them I just long to have some, but I haven’t done anything about that yet. Don’t even know if they’ll grow here!

    I’m not sure how the hybridus types would do, but maybe you’d have luck with some of the species I can’t overwinter outside here, like H. lividus, H. argutifolius, and H. x sternii?
    -Nan

  5. Posted by Tim Vojt on March 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Beautiful! It is great to see the underlying structure of your garden as well as the great spring flowers, and you have a beautiful home. Now I have to add Iris reticulata to my “acquire” list. Do they go dormant in Summer? Is the foliage a tatty-mess like the daffs and crocus? Thanks for sharing!

    I don’t remember exactly when the reticulated irises went dormant, but yes, they were gone by summer. I don’t recall being bothered by the declining foliage, so they couldn’t have been too obnoxious!
    -Nan

  6. Your garden looks a lot like mine when seen from the long view, but when viewed up close there are signs of life and blooms. I really like how your blooms align the edges of that lovely pathway…very nice! Happy Bloom Day!

    Happy Bloom Day to you too, Sage! It’s amazing how quickly things are coming along here, just in the last two days: there’s loads more color already.
    -Nan

  7. Wow Nan, that is quite a collection of beautiful things! I always enjoy all your detailed photos and keep adding to my plant “wish lists!”

    Always glad to enable a fellow plant nut, Brooke!
    -Nan

  8. Thanks Nancy for those fabulous images of spring! Everything, from the hellebores to the irises, and even that little Sedum ‘Angelina’, is delicate, yet joyful!

    I simply love this season and I can’t wait for my spring to emerge too!

    Take care.

    Hello Jasmine! I hope spring comes soon for you. You have a lot to look forward to!
    -Nan

  9. That’s definitely a good Bloom Day haul! I never knew that there was such a pretty red/purple edge to the stinking hellebore blooms… and I can see why you picked your favorite of the other hellebores, but I really fell hard for the one right above it.

    My favorite, though, is that luscious, deep violet iris. I’m not much a fan of the lighter-colored members of the iris reticulata clan (even though I grow one) but that guy could change my mind! *swoon*

    Happy GBBD!

    Not all Helleborus foetidus plants have the red edge on the blooms; those that do are usually identified as ‘Wester Flisk’ or Wester Flisk Group. I wish I knew the name of that violet iris; Ven Engelen doesn’t seem to carry anything similar as a named cultivar, and it’s really hard to tell just by looking at other images.
    -Nan

  10. Posted by Jeannie Olson on March 19, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Greetings from eastern Canada Nan – my hellebores are juuuuuuust poking out of the ground………spring is early here. Is your spring down there early this year too? Buds on the native trees are just beginning to swell. Hope you take some of the same picture shots throughout the gardening season so I can delight in your garden’s transformation! Cheers and thank you again for your seeds – it was very kind of you to share them. Jeannie O

    Hi Jeannie! I hope the seeds do well for you. Yes, spring here has been bizarre: days and nights that are consistently 15 to 20 degrees above normal are making it feel more like the first day of summer than the first day of spring!
    -Nan

  11. I have been overwhelmed with work and not reading blogs, but I am glad I didn’t miss your parade of hellebores and other early spring delights. Your favorite would be my favorite too–I love veins and shading. Right now I am obsessing on anemone-flowered hellebores.

    Thanks for checking in, Carolyn. Come to think of it, I don’t have *any* of the anemone-flowered hellebores; I need to fix that!
    -Nan

  12. Posted by Babs on April 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    You might try Brent & Becky’s Bulbs for deep-colored reticulated irises as they have quite a selection. Not sure which you mean by the deep violet one, but the deep red-purple looks like Iris histrioides ‘George’ to me.

    I only discovered your blog last fall and am enjoying it! I really appreciate the combination of excellent photography and clear writing.

    Thanks so much for the lead on the ID, Babs, and for being a returning reader.
    -Nan

  13. Your first few pics reminds me of my theory that the changing of the seasons is what makes people in temperate climes appreciate gardens and flowers so much more than most people in the lush tropics, most of latter take what they have for granted.

    I know I’d miss the changing seasons, Nicole. I could maybe do without summer, but spring and fall are both fun, and winter provides a much-needed recovery period.
    -Nan

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