BelleWood in Bloom 2012

January February March
May June August
September October December

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Just one day with some sunshine and yesterdays tightly furled flowers have opened wide.

Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude' has beautifully shaped flowers
with petals as rounded and gently cupped as cream tea spoons.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

We're edging closer and closer to winter, having reached the opening days of December.
Here's another unexpected snowdrop in pristine white bloom. Galanthus 'Potter's Prelude'.
Which, you might notice, appears together with its leaves, unlike Queen Olga's snowdrop.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

No, no. It's not Spring. Really. It's still October. And here is Queen Olga's snowdrop,
doing what it is supposed to do. Notice that like a number of other autumn blooming bulbs

Galanthus reginae-olgae has flowers but no leaves. They'll wait until next Spring to make an appeance.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Another autumn version of something more familiar in Spring. Fall blooming
Crocus speciosus 'Albus' its clean white goblet bedecked with dewdrops.

I love this little autumn onion, Allium thunbergii. All summer it is a quiet green
grassy little tuffet. Then it autumn is smothers itself with these nifty little purple bells.
Look, it is sticking out its golden pollen tipped anthers. Chiming, I mean charming.



Here's another monkshood. This cultivar is named 'Cloudy', for ots off white flowers stained with light purple.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

One of my favorite flowers of autumn, monkshood, Aconitum carmichaelii.
Such a rich color on a stately plant. Easy to grow and the, deer don't eat it.

It is now offically Indian summer. Warm weather again after a frost,
one sufficient to convince the banana cannas that winter is coming.


Friday, 28 September 2012

Many, let me even say most of the knotweeds are thugs of the first water. Drive along New Jersey highways
and the verges are lined with massive colonies of this plant. This cultivar, Polygonum 'Rose Queen' is less
aggressive. Here, with Aconitum carmichaelii about to flower it lends a shrub-size presence to the garden.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Arum italicum 'Pictum'. Another of those silly plants than think autumn is the time to spring into growth.

Call it autumn crocus (which it is not), Colchicum bournmuelleri flowers in fall but not its leaves.
Sensibly enough it waits until Spring for that. Admittedly looking like crocus on steroids, it make a great cut flower.

Oxalis regnellii looks like a fuchsia-splotched purple clover. It grows from an odd little tuber, resembling
a pink sort of pinecone except sometimes there are translucent pinkish gray radish-y sort of structures. Whatever.
I dig in autumn and either keep them dry and dormant until Spring, or pot a few to keep growing for winter color.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Banana canna, Canna musaefolia, It's never flowered for me but so what,
I don't care since I grow it for foliage effect. Very vigorous, spreads with masses
of rhizomes. Overall, similar to Musa sumatrana, red spot banana with its lovely leaves.

This is the banana that used to live in a pot and winter in my bedroom. Year by year it has become more and more of a chore to haul it up a flight of stairs, turn 180 degrees at the landing, and up another flight of stairs. Last winter it stayed in the great room. But Domino cat thought it was sufficiently tree-like that he could climb it. Shred it is more accurate. So this summer I unpotted it, carted it down the driveway and planted it directly in the soil in the tropical summer garden at the bottom. Very happy! Of course I'll need to figure out what happens when the frosts come.

Castor bean, Ricinus communis, is a stately annual. Annual in New Jersey, that is, perennial
in milder climates. Joan was kind enough to start the seeds indoors whilst I was off enjoying
Holland in Tulip Time. Barely 5 months ago, and how bold and stately they have grown.

In addition to the lush palmate foliage castor beans have
these spikes of, well, spike-y seed pods with speckled beans.

I had an overgrown cane stem begnia in the greenhouse. Planted it out in the
tropical garden where the deer propmpty ate all the leaves off of it. Sprinkled
Milorganite around and look how nicely it has recovered, foliage and flowers.

Something the deer do not eat - caladiums. They are in the Family Aracea,
Aroid family. And all members have unpalatable crystals of calcium oxalate
that are unpleasant when nibbled on. Their beautiful leaves are great for
shady places, and make an excellent companion with lacy fern fronds.

If I'd bought the tubers from a specialty nursery rather than
a big box store I'd name this 'June Bride' I didn't, so I can't.
Just call it aff June Bride. Nameless or not, it is most attractive.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Two weeks later and the Crinum powellii is going from strength to strength, just flowering away.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

"Bulb" to many people means tulips and daffodils, hyacinths and the little bulbs of Spring. There are,
however, bulbs that find summer a pleasant time of year in which to flower. Like this Crinum powellii
At BelleWood gardens, it has to live in a pot, a sizeable one, and winter in the greenhouse. Fragrant too.

Saturday,18 August 2012

Rain lilies, flowers of the West Wind. Little bulbs that hide away underground while waiting for a drenching
rain. Upon which occurrence they hurl themselves into bloom within a few days. Habranthus martinez, very sweet.


This rain lily is Zephyranthes candida, so profuse along the Argentinian River that is named
Rio de la Plata, River of Silver. Could that be for the masses of the rain lilies white flowers?

Another of my numerous favorite bulbs, Eucomis autumnalis with its dainty spike
of white flowers, topped with a leafy crown. Hence common name of pineapple lily.


South American, from Argentina and Uruguay, oxblood lily, Rhodophiala bifida finds parts of Texas
very much to its liking, each season pulling its bulbs ever deeper into the ground and refusing to be moved.
Another rain lily / surprise lily that leaps forth after a rain, naked flowers on a bare stalk, leaves come later.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Lettuce leaf, bread seed, sleepytime poppy, Papaver somniferum. An attractive annual with several uses:
the seeds may be sprinkled over rolls before baking, or made into a filling for hamentashen or cakes. And
the white sap that oozes from scarified green seed pods is the source for opium, useful but too often abused.

A dainty little hippeastrum. Don't have a label for it, cannot recall its name.
It offsets freely, flowers reliably. Did I somehow, sometime, somewhere
get a Sonatini hybrid? Sure looks like one. Regardless, it knows who it is.

The better known foxglove is the tall, pink or white biennial, Digitalis purpurea.
This is Digitalis lutea, smaller, and perennial. It is establishing a nice little
colony up on the slope. Deer resistant. I'll have to collect and scatter seed.

One of my favorite species lilies, Lilium martagon. Relatively small flowers
on 5- to 6-foot tall stems, the substantial petals reflexed back in Turk's cap fashion.


Thursday, 31May 2012

Blue flag, Iris versicolor, is a beardless iris because it hasn't any fuzz on the flower's lower three
petals called "falls." Bees are guided in for pollen and nectar by the smooth yellow markings.

A Louisiana iris also has just a bright yellow flare. Pollination's equivalent of McDonald's golden arches.

Then there are plants that go for something completely different in the quest for pollination. Consider
dragon arum, Dracunculus vulgaris. When I came down the driveway this morning there was a puzzled
black vulture standing around. I experienced an Aha! moment and looked to my right. Sure enough the
dragon arum was in bloom. Seeking to attract carrion beetles, the aroma is that of a dead groundhog
on a hot day. Works for carrion beetles (spathe color helps too) and also, apparently, young vultures.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Daylilies. Nothing to do with true lilies but yes, each flower lasts for but a single day.
Every gardener is familiar with the orange ditch lily, Hemerocallis fulva, that fires up
the roadsides in June. This lemon lily, H. lilio-asphodelus blooms a couple of weeks
earlier, and has a sweet fragrance. A plant of old gardens, I dug mine from an abandoned
Connecticut roadside yard, tangled with briars, poison ivy, stray cans & trash. So worth it!

Karl Foerster thought that there should be two Springs, a first and a second part. (Like hobbits, I suppose,
with first breakfast and second breakfast.) Too much happening to think of it all in one, as winter slowly
slackens. So first Spring's shrubs are over, second Spring beginning. One of my favorites is shade tolerant,
deer resistant Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' with its strongly layered habit of growth and lacy white flowers.


'Purple Sensation' Fireworks shooting off, a purple balloon tethered to the earth by a slender stalk of a stem.

These days I scatter Milorganite around as if I were flouring a pastry board. Sure works well
at keeping deer away from my hosta, like this Hosta 'Krossa Regal'. Doesn't smell that bad to me.

Wild sweet William, Phlox divaricata, really likes it here at BelleWood Gardens. It seeds about - especially
in the paths, wouldn't you know. Colors range from deeper to paler near to white, with a faint sweet fragrance.

Something completely different that I found hopping just off the driveway, a lumpy bumpy golden eyed toad.

We had a mild winter. More zone 7 than zone 6. That means plants that like softer conditions are
happy, happy. Just look at this Pinellia cordata. Silver laced leaves above, but you can't see the
rosy red flush underneath. Little Jack-in-the-pulpit sort of flowers with a surprisingly sweet scent.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Everything is in proper sequence, just that flowers are popping into bloom anywhere up to a month earlier than usual.

. . . . . .

Hyacinths are adding fragrance as well as beauty to BelleWood Gardens. They repeat nicely, year to year, but do not seem to multiply.

Narcissus 'Ice Follies' is popular, and with good reason - attractive and reliable.

I swear I bought this dainty little daffodil as 'Mustard Seed'.
That was so long ago, when we lived in Connecticut, I cannot find
the purchase order. No matter, the dainty little yellow trumpets
are charming. It is a good doer, and increases at a modest rate.

Other bulbs are also coming into bloom. Well O.K., Anemone blanda
is in fact a tuber. It's still one of those lumpy underground geophytes
whose plain brown wrappers conceal flowers in a rainbow of colors.

Dog tooth violet. Looks more like a miniature lily than a violet. If
you have X-ray vision then yes, the bulb looks like a dog's canine
tooth. Erythronium japonicum's flower nods above a slender
stem that does a nice job of supporting it above a pair of leaves.

"Bulb" is most often associated with Spring flowering geophytes imported
from abroad. The term, however, has nothing to do with place of origin. So
geophytes may also be native, as is the case with Sanguinaria canadensis
whose common name of bloodroot also references the orange red oozy sap.

And trilliums are up. The sessile ones always come up earlier than the pedunculate kind, the ones with a little stem between flower and foliage.
I like the leaf patterning on these too. Think a deer may have sampled one - see where there's a bare stem towards center, bottom of the image?
I went around scattering Milorganite in case they intend to sample more. Doesn't smell horrid to me, plus it's a mild fertilizer. And easy to scatter.

. . .

Named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, Jeffersonia dubia is a Manchurian species, while the American version, J. diphylleia has white ones. Self-sown seedlings emerge here and there around the parent plant but I've never had much luck collecting and sowing the seed in a pot. And only young plants transplant with any ease and success.

The pulmonaria are likewise bursting into bloom with, self-sown plants nicely arranging themselves
hither and thither around the garden. I'll have to transplant some from where there are many to where
they're sparse. Fuzzy silver-spotted evergreen leaves that deer don't eat add to their undeniable appeal.

All of the Helleborus niger plants are sending up more flowers as
buds push up from the crown and open wide in white perfection.


. . . .

I really do battle with Ranunculus ficaria, the lesser celandine. Elsewhere it's carpeting huge areas. Here at BelleWood Gardens I dig it where I find it and dump the plants and tubers, soil and all, into plastic grocery bags. Then discard in the trash. These two are something different, something I enjoy. On the left, R. ' Brazen Hussy' which spreads but not as excessively as its attractive but obnoxious relative. And on the right, 'Bowles Double' with its green at heart flowers and mottled leaves.

In the last week forsythia has burst into fountains of yellow flowers. And will then spend the remaining
weeks and months of the growing season as green mounds. Which is why its growing at the bottom of
the garden where I can enjoy it in bloom, even cut branches to force, but need not allocate a prime site.

. . .

There's a native species, Pieris floribunda, which has stiff and upright clusters of white, bell-like flowers. That's not the one you see in gardens. Instead, it's P. japonica, the Japanese species and its cultivars, easily distinguished by its trailing racemes of white flowers. Easily pleased, it likes some shade, a soil with good levels of organic matter that never dries out. Attractive flowers, evergreen leaves, and deer ignore it. Nice!

The magnolias are magnificently in flower, even if a few weeks early. Magnolia stellata is superb.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I wish there was a way to photograph fragrance. Then you'd understand why I am so fond of this
somewhat straggly shrub. Lonicera fragrantissima truly lives up to its name. Even in coler weather.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The hellebores are still in flowers, coping quite well with the absurdly mild weather unlike snowdrops
and snowflakes and winter aconites that have finished flowering, alas, before I finished admiring them.


Helleborus niger is now in flower. Christmas rose? I don't think so. Unless I have the rare late-flowering form.

Also in bloom is the charming pink in bud / blue in flower lungwort, Pulmonaria saccharata

Scilla bifolia may not be as electric blue as its more familiar cousin, S. sibirica. Love
the starry little spray of soft blue flowers. It spreads itself about, charming under still bare shrubs.

A crocus perfectly happy in the woods? You bet. Little purple Crocus tommasinianus thrives here.


And with all the absurdly warm weather we've been having - I mean, really, 73 Fahrenheit in mid-March?
forsythia is in bloom. Along with magnolias and cherries. If fruit trees blossom and then we get a frost . . .


Thursday, 2 February 2012

One of my favorite broad leaved evergreen shrubs. Mahonia has buds ready to open, and soon.

Cyclamen coum requires a closer inspection to find its tightly furled, fuchsia colored buds. Almost ready.

The flowerbuds of Helleborus Early Purple Group are also just waiting for a few days of sunshine to open.

Other plants are not so hesitant. There are flowers in the open garden, so it must be Spring, right!?

Surprisingly early, a couple of Helleborus orientalis are in bloom. This attractively freckled apple green

and another with flowers speckled all over in pink.

But of course it wouldn't be Spring if there were not snowdrops in bloom. Galanthus woronowii
with bright green leaves (and flowers furled on this overcast day) has emerged from frozen ground.


Friday, 27 January 2012

This early in the year it is my greenhouse that produces flowers for BelleWood in bloom.
Cyclamen persicum produces its numerous dancing pink butterfly flowers. I have had this
tuber since 1973. An easy keeper, it has performed under grow-lights, in a spare room's window,
and in my cool greenhouse where it seems happiest of all. Most years it receives a top-dressing
of fresh potting soil, and only infrequently a complete repotting. Clearly it's happy. And so am I.

A pity it is not possible to photograph fragrance, or I could share with you
the delightful lemony perfume of Freesia alba, noticeable as soon as I
enter the greenhouse. The corms of this South African geophyte were
sent by a friend in California who has it in her garden. It needs repotting
every year, so vigorously do the corms grow and multiply. Just elegant.

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