Peak bloom season is still a long way away here at Hayefield, and at first glance, there’s not much going on.
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.
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.
And then there are the seed-grown H. x hybridus clumps.
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.
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.
Many others are much prettier, and it’s hard to pick a favorite. The flower forms of these are rather nice, I think.
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.
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.
Besides the hellebores, there are early bulbs coming along, of course.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
These little gems are even more lovely when you get down and admire them at ground level.
Blues, and purples, and violets – oh my!
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).
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.
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] …
… and the sturdy little white blooms of ‘Golden Starlet’ winter heath (Erica carnea) [below], which have been flowering since October.
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].
And for fuzziness, there’s Japanese fantail willow (Salix udensis ‘Sekka’) [above] and black pussy willow (Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’) [below].
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…
…and winter-reddened Sedum stefco [below].
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.