Posted on 24 Comments

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2020

Leucojum 'Gravetye Giant' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Leucojum ‘Gravetye Giant’
After many years of focusing on big, sun-loving, late-season plants, I have gradually been working on adding spring interest to the gardens here at Hayefield, and my efforts are starting to pay off. There are still many more opportunities to explore, but it’s a good start! It sure helps that we had a lovely spell of gradually milder temperatures and gentle rains this year. That blissful period ended in the last week, with wicked winds, small hail, pounding rain, and a return to flirting with freezing temperatures. But hey, it wouldn’t be real-life gardening if it were too easy, right? Despite the difficulties, I still have some highlights to share for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day today. Since I started with one of my favorite bulbs, ‘Gravetye Giant’ summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum), let’s continue with some other bulbs.

Narcissus 'Tete a Tete' at Hayefield [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Out front, ‘Tete a Tete’ daffodils (Narcissus) created a spectacle that lasted nearly a month. They will now give way to white ‘Thalia’.
Hyacinthus 'Yellow Queen' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
‘Yellow Queen’ hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) with a golden-leaved sport of ‘Stella de Oro’ daylily (Hemerocallis)
Muscari armeniacum 'Blue Spike' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
‘Blue Spike’ grape hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum)
Muscari botryoides 'Album' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
White grape hyacinth (Muscari botryoides ‘Album’)
Ok, so, bulbs are easy, because all you have to do is buy and plant them. Getting spring color from perennials has been a much slower process, as I’ve been growing most of them from seed.

Primula elatior [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Now that it has settled in, oxlip (Primula elatior) is filling out nicely.
Primula polyanthus Winter White Group [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
A few years ago, I received several seed strains of the prized Barnhaven primroses, and the offspring have started flowering this year. This is one of two open so far: Primula polyanthus Winter White Group.
Primula polyanthus Chartreuse Group [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Another beautiful Barnhaven polyanthus primrose: Primula polyanthus Chartreuse Group
Corydalis solida [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Spring fumewort (Corydalis solida)
Packera aurea [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
The buds of golden ragwort (Packera aurea)

Narrow-leaved spring vetchling (Lathyrus vernus ‘Filifolius’): already flowering from seed started in March 2019

Helleborus foetidus and H. x hybridus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Spring is for hellebores too, and they now self-sow all over the place. Helleborus foetidus isn’t as happy here as the H. x hybridus kinds, but it does pretty well in a few spots.
Helleborus x hybridus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Hybrid Lenten roses (Helleborus x hybridus) get a lot of attention for their flower colors, but some have particularly interesting seedpods too.
Arugula (Eruca sativa) [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Arugula (Eruca sativa) is technically an annual, but I let it seed around, so it kind of acts like a perennial here. It doesn’t often get credit for its flowers, which can be exquisitely elegant when you look at them up close.
There’s foliage interest from emerging perennials too.

Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
White-variegated Dalmatian iris (Iris pallida ‘Argentea Variegata’)
Iris x robusta 'Gerald Darby' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
‘Gerald Darby’ iris (Iris x robusta)
Syneilesis aconitifolia [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Shredded umbrella plant (Syneilesis aconitifolia) with golden lemon balm (Melissa officinalis ‘All Gold)
Allium tricoccum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Ramps (Allium tricoccum) in the garden, grown from seed!
Typhonium venosum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
It still amazes me that voodoo lily (Typhonium venosum, formerly Sauromatum guttatum) is hardy here.
Rumex flexuosus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Maori dock (Rumex flexuosus) can be hardy here too, but I keep some in a pot as well, just in case. It’s pretty easy to replace from seed too, if you can find it.
Back to some flowers, from the shrub and tree layer.

Lonicera fragrantissima [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)
Corylus americana [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
A female flower of American hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Corylus avellana 'Red Majestic' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Male flowers of ‘Red Majestic’ contorted hazel (Corylus avellana)
Chaenomeles speciosa [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Hamamelis 'Gingerbread' [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
‘Gingerbread’ witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia)
Xanthorrhiza simplicissima [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Yellowroot (Xanthorrhiza simplicissima)
Prunus persica red leaf form[©Nancy J. Ondra/]
A red-leaved peach (Prunus persica) seedling in glorious bloom this year
Not that I mind staying at home these days (or ever), but I’ve been getting out for walks around the neighborhood too, and I’ve spotted some lovely things on my rambles, including these:

Lindera benzoin [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Sassafras albidum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Tussilago farfara [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
Podophyllum peltatum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)
Erythronium americanum [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum)
Claytonia virginica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Virginia spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)
Symphocarpus foetidus [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
An abundance of skunk cabbage (Symphocarpus foetidus)
Sanguinaria canadensis [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Cardamine concatenata [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Cut-leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenata, formerly Dentaria laciniata)
And my most exciting find, because I didn’t know what it was and had to do a bit of research to discover its identity:

Obolaria virginica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Pennywort gentian (Obolaria virginica) in bud
Obolaria virginica [©Nancy J. Ondra/]
Pennywort gentian (Obolaria virginica) in bloom
It’s amazing how much there is to see without even having to step off the roads around here.

So, that’s it for this month. I’d better get back to packing seed orders; sales have been nearly overwhelming this spring. It’s almost like people have nothing better to do than think about seeds! It’s a great chance to get more seeds to new homes, at least. Stay well, all, and let’s hope the world is looking as bright as the garden by this time next month.

Posted on 24 Comments

24 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2020

  1. Hi Nancy

    I enjoyed reading your latest blog post. Thank you.

    The golden sport of H. Stella d’Oro, is that one which has arisen with you, or us it commercially available?



    Hi there, Ian. Thanks so much for reading. That sport is one I found many years ago. It does go green by summer, but it is very pretty in spring, and it is as vigorous as one would expect from ‘Stella de Oro’.

  2. You certainly got some goods there.
    My old Iris pallida from my great grandmother’s garden is my all time favorite iris. I missed an opportunity recently to get it a white companion. Until recently, I was not aware that white was even an option. I had seen it with variegated foliage, but this is the first that I have seen of a white bloomer with variegated foliage!
    ‘Album’ grape hyacinth is probably the only cultivar that I want besides the common weedy sort that naturalizes here. Although I like all of them in other people’s gardens, some of the fancier types are too fancy for my taste. I know ‘Album’ is fancy too, but I so dig the white!
    Are winter honesuckle, hazelnut and sassafras native there?

    Ooh, Tony, really–a white-flowered one with variegated foliage? That sounds like a must-find. I hope you’re able to acquire one (or more). And yes, I agree that the white grape hyacinth is so nice. American hazelnut and sassafras are indeed native around here; winter honeysuckle is not.

  3. Delightful, as always. Thank you, Nan!

    Thanks so much for checking in, Sandy. Happy Bloom Day to you!

  4. A question off topic. My black cotton seeds from you germinated quickly and plants look great. Do you ever pinch out the top? Last year I picked out the top of some Glorisa Lillies and it virtually put a brake on their growth. And is the Gingerbread witch hazel fragrant?

    Thank you!

    Good morning, Rebecca. I’m so happy to hear that the cotton seeds behaved well for you. Yes, you *could* pinch the tops, but when I’ve tried that, my plants turned out sort of awkward-looking, not full and bushy like I expected. You could maybe try it with one or two and see what you think; maybe yours would turn out better. I’m not surprised that happened with the Gloriosa lily; I think that pinching would remove the growing point, as it would on other lilies. I’ve found some scent on ‘Gingerbread’ witch hazel, but it is elusive–not as noticeable as on many others.

  5. Everything is looking lovely, Nan! Do the Gerald Darby iris leaves keep their color all season? And isn’t that gentian the sweetest little wildflower – a new one to me also. We got the wild wind and thrashing rain from that wicked storm, but lucked out with no hail! Stay safe! Thank goodness for our gardens, huh?

    Hi Ginny! The purple color on the leaves is mostly gone by the end of May, unfortunately. Here’s hoping that we’ll luck out with gentle weather and no more freezes this spring; we have enough other worries to deal with. Seeing the plants come along really has been a blessing.

  6. Thanks for the walk about. It’s all just beautiful but the bloodroot and trout lily is spectacular.

    I appreciate you taking the time to visit, Carol. Yes, I was particularly impressed with that clump of trout lily–as lush as it can be in a garden, yet it was nestled next to a boulder on a rough creekside slope.

  7. Such beauty and such variety! Thank you for sharing these beautiful blooms. Gives me hope that all will be well.

    I am so happy to hear from you today! It’s comforting to know that friends are well. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the blooms. We’re so lucky to have the spring flowers to bring joy in this difficult time. Take care!

  8. WOW, you have lots of lovelies in bloom, I only have crocus, snowdrops, ericas, pulmonaria and scilla! I have Jelena witchhazel just finishing her blooms, it’s still scented after a month, amazing shrub. And a common daphne just starting. I could almost smell it yesterday! I do have tete a tete in bud so loving those promises and I have petasities about to bloom, don’t worry, I have a huge pond just needed the huge leaves. The guy that sold them to me told me they don’t grow up a slope so I put them 1/2 way down a slope, so far so good after 3 years. Wish I could grow Gunnera! I am trying to get skunk cabbage to take but still only one plant. Loving that little toothwort, nice leaves! We had such a mild winter I might get the foetidus to bloom for me for a change, if only they wouldn’t set their blooms in the fall. I have a few lathyrus vernus seed around, they have been in the garden for years and only just having babies now. I have two different colours so it will be interesting to see if they crossed. Just loving all this spring finally, winters are so long, hope you have a great day, TTFN…Sue

    Good morning, Sue! I was almost afraid that you’d still be under snow now; I think it is not unusual for you to get snow even this month, or at least to be far behind us down here. May your gently warming trend continue. Enjoy your spring!

  9. Good to see all those spring ephemerals. I love the little lilies. Spring beauties are so sweet and make a big statement when they are allowed to grow in a lawn. :)
    Happy Spring Nan.

    Happy spring back to you, Lisa! Yes, the spring beauties seem as happy in grass as they do in woodlands. Seeing them makes me remember how much the alpacas used to enjoy eating them, despite my efforts to discourage that.

  10. Great photos. So nice to see those ephemeral woodland species. Cut-leaved toothwort is a new one to me.

    This year is the first time I saw the toothwort in person, Liz. It was in just one area on my 4-mile circuit, but it was absolutely thriving and obviously multiplying there.

  11. Love seeing all your spring bloomers! The mass of daffodils was especially inspiring. Mid-Michigan woke up to a very substantial snow covering this morning, which means even more patience!

    Oh noooo–snow? I’m sorry, Ann. You didn’t deserve that. May it melt soon so your spring can proceed properly and you can get back out in your garden.

  12. Hi Nan, loved all the beautiful and unusual findings in your Spring garden. The little grey bunny has a twin living in my garden in Salisbury. Keep well and safe in these troubled times. Sandy

    How fun, Sandy! Knowing how bunnies can multiply, I suspect there may be other mates to ours elsewhere. Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  13. Lovely post, Nan. Has this been a most beautiful spring, or are we loving it more than ever? Take care.

    I was wondering that too, Jean. Either way, it has been a memorable one. May you stay well and get much joy from your garden as the growing season proceeds.

  14. Absolutely love seeing the closeups of familiar blooms – yellow root is so hard to photograph!!!! And the sassafas – wonderful. Happy spring!!!

    Hi Tiiu! Yes, the yellowroot is tricky to shoot, with those tiny, dark blooms. It’s easy to overlook it in bloom, but it is definitely worth close inspection, as are the developing sassafras buds (usually closer to eye level, at least). Happy Bloom Day to you!

  15. Arugula flowers are extraordinarily beautiful. Though I prefer the yellow-flowered wild arugula for eating–it reseeds generously–I always grow E. sativa for the flowers. A good garnish for salads and sauteed green beans.

    I’m glad to see the spike in seed sales due to the virus. Even Johnny’s is limiting sales to commercial buyers only. Gardeners have always known the physical, mental and spiritual advantages of being outdoors and growing your own food. The more people that learn this, the better, whatever the motivation.

    I have many flats of Hayefield seeds germinating on the back porch. Thanks for inspiring and supplying so many gardener, Nan. Take good care.

    Hello, Tom! Thanks for checking in. I like the idea of using the arugula flowers as a garnish; I’ll have to try that with a few. I didn’t know that about Johnny’s Seeds. I did see that Chiltern has occasionally stopped taking orders, so they can catch up. It’s been a full-time job for me this past month. Most of the orders are just one packet, and those are almost all new customers. It’s great to see a lot of familiar names as well, and many multiple orders. Every bit helps! I’m so pleased to hear that you’re having luck with the seeds. I wish you a delightful spring in your garden.

  16. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous series of photos! Thanks sooooooooo much!!! In the high, dry desert of NW New Mexico, we don’t have nearly the spring abundance that y’all enjoy ~ or rather, it’s more understated, much of the time. Also… I forgot how much I needed the ‘Gerald Darby’ iris in my life. I have just the right spot for it now and it’s back on my list for fall 2020 planting. Be well and many blessings to all. 🌈 🌞 🌱 🌸

    Good to hear from you, Carole! I hope your growing season is going really well. Let me know if you can’t find ‘Gerald Darby’ when you are ready. My plants are beasts and I have run out of garden space for them, so I have started adding the extras to my meadow.

  17. What a lovely post. This is my favorite time of year, and it’s so fun to see what is happening in other yards, even when we are limited to exploring our own in person.

    Thank you, Gabriella. Yes, virtual garden visiting has become even more of a treat now, hasn’t it? I wish the best to you and your companions!

  18. Dear Nancy, I ALWAYS look forward to, and excited to read your latest garden blogs and see your stunning photos! What a wonderful collection of spring bloomers. Thank you for reminding me about the beauty of annual arugula flowers, and I’m now excited about growing a WINTER honeysuckle! And one day I hope to include a spice bush. I have also added your suggestion to grow Thermopsis caroliniana for next year’s spring garden. All the BEST and thank you for your post, Esme

    Hi Esme! You are so kind to say that. The winter honeysuckle is such a treat in March and early April here. It has a wonderful lemony scent. Happy spring to you and your garden!

  19. Your garden looks to be off to a beautiful start, Nan. I hope the vicious cold snap doesn’t set it back much. I felt compelled to look into the ‘Gerald Darby’ Iris again even through I was fairly sure I’d done so before – sadly, moist soil isn’t something I can offer here. I’m glad your seed offers are selling well. As my local garden center is closed except to a restricted supply of online orders for pickup, I expect I’ll be doing more with seeds and mail order plants this year. Best wishes!

    Hey there, Kris. If we get through the next two nights without damage, then we might be ok for the rest of the spring; we’re not so far along as you are. It will be interesting to see if the interest in seeds continues. I keep thinking orders will tail off, but they haven’t yet. Happy Bloom Day!

  20. Long-time reader, first-time commenter! Mine was one of the seed orders you packed up and sent out last week, and I wanted to thank you for those. It’s always a pleasure to see what’s happening at Hayefield each Bloom Day!

    A double welcome, Diana! I really appreciate that you ordered, and that you took the time to leave good reviews too; that means a lot to me. I’m so happy to know that the seeds went to a good home. Happy April Bloom Day to ya!

  21. Nancy, Spring in all it’s many beauties, is so good for a renewal of one’s spirit. I so love seeing all of the wonderful varieties you are so fortunate to have and the beautiful photos you take of each is always such a gift.
    We are blessed in times like these to be able to escape to the natural beauty that surrounds us outside.
    Such a pleasure to receive your posting.
    All the best wishes for a happy productive growing season.

    I appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment, Jean. I wanted you to know that I am having great fun with the seeds you so generously shared with me. I’m particularly interested to see how the ‘Kumato’ seeds turned out. Some of the seedlings had dark stems and some were green. I plan to keep them separate and make of note of how they turn out. Thanks again for sharing!

  22. Beautiful, Nan! Just what I needed on this cold, gray day!

    Thanks, Kem! Yes, not very springy here today. I wonder what damage we will wake up to tomorrow. :(

  23. Lovely. All of it! You’ve made me feel accomplished as I have Mayapple and Bloodroot growing in my gardens too. You’ve shown me more to love too, but then you always do!

    You are even more accomplished than I, Lynda, as I don’t have bloodroot growing in my garden. Good for you! May you enjoy a lovely spring season with your flowers.

  24. Hi Nan,
    I recently purchased seeds from you. They arrived quickly and the ones I was able to plant have germinated.
    I just wanted to let you know how much you have helped me with your suggestions and ideas.
    I have the Perennial Matchmaker and the book which you co-authored with Stephanie Cohen, which is on loan to a friend who is starting a perennial sun garden.
    I live nearby in Buckingham. Thanks for all your good ideas and lovely photos.
    I recently inserted green golf tees around all of my daffodils. That’s a 5 star idea ⭐️

    Hi Stephanie! It’s fantastic to hear that the seeds are doing well for you. I really appreciate the feedback about the books too. Here’s looking forward to a good gardening season, once we get past this wild night. With luck, we have seen our last frost!

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