BelleWood in Bloom 2015

March April
May June July August
September October December

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Monday, 21 December 2015

Solstice flowers at BelleWood Gardens

One of my winter blooming snowdrops

and Helleborus xericsmithii

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas cactus in the greenhouse.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Here we are, just a smidgeon more than three weeks beyond the first mention of Colchicum speciosum 'Album Plenum' on October 4th and there are still some flowers to be enjoyed.

A new appearance has been made by Crocus speciosus 'Albus', smaller, daintier, and only 3 stamens.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Our native witch hazel, Hamamelis virginiana.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A daring little ornamental onion, arising from a grasslike tussock of leave, Allium thunbergii.

We've had a frost, can you tell? Musa basjoo certainly noticed.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Colchicum autumnale, like a crocus on steroids. Not just size, you can count the stamens to tell them apart - colchicum with 6 stamens, crocus have only 3.

I really do like Colchicum autumnale 'Album Plenum' with its tousled, raggedy mophead flowers.

Would you believe a hardy begonia? Yes indeed, Begonia grandis. Tuberous, fall flowering, tolerant of light shade. What's not to like.

Another stunning autumn flower, monkhood with its intense blue-violet flowers in artistic contrast to fall's yellow leaves.

More purple, the clustered violet berries of beautyberry, Callicarpa.


Wednesday, 9 September 2015

End of summer, and here's a large shrub now flowering at BelleWood Gardens. This is Seven Sons, Heptacodium miconioides. Discovered by Ernest Wilson while collecting for the Arnold Arboretum in central China in 1907 it was considered rare even back then. Skip forward more than seven decades to 1980, when the Sino-American Botanical Expedition rediscovered the plant. Viable seed was collected, sent to the Arnold Arboretum, and it was discovered that Heptacodium can easily be cultivated. Hardy, fast growing, and tolerant of sun or shade, the clusters of small, fragrant white flowers in September are attractive to butterflies.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Some of the greenhouse plants are beginning to awaken, such as this Arum pictum with its velvety black spathe and spadix. Native to Israel and the western Mediterranean, I assume it is enjoying the summer heat under glass. It is the only autumn flowering species in this genus.

Don't ask me why I keep pots of Cyclamen hederifolium in the greenhouse when they'd be perfectly hardy in the garden. There must be a reason, since the greenhouse has limited space and the garden is larger than it should be. Perhaps it is the beauty of the cyclamen flowers, so easily enjoyed under glass.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The first crinum I remember seeing was a football size bulb erupting from the ground at Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. Even though it was not in bloom it was still impressive. Of course my crinum would not survive the winter outdoors here in New Jersey. They seem happy enough in oversize pots in my cool greenhouse, making the move under cover when temperatures start to drop in autumn. In fact, they're doing so well that they either need a larger pot (and me, a larger greenhouse!) or I'll have to find someone to share with. Must be local - postage could be a serious issue.

UPDATE: The more I think about this - time of year of bloom etc - the more I have come to believe that this is not a crinum but is instead XAmercrinum, a bigeneric hybrid of Amaryllis belladonna and a crinum. Sorry for any confusion. This is what happens when labels disappear. At least my mind is still here.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Magic lily, rain lily, surprise lily. The names all refer to the way Lycoris squamigera erupts into bloom in late summer. No leaves, the bulbs are clever enough to wait for Spring to do that. There are other species of lycoris but the winter-foliage ones become terminally discouraged after freezing their leaves off a time or two.


Then there is this peacock lily, Acidanthera, a gladiola relative. Corms are inexpensively available every Spring. Stuff them in the ground, wait for the sword-like leaves to come up (deer apparently don't like them as they have not been nibbled on) and then flowers in late summer. The corms will not survive winter in the ground here, but they are easy enough to dig up and store in a paper bag in the basement over winter.

Fortunately this is not Amorphophallus titanum, corpse flower. Oh, its flower stinks like dead rotting flesh alright. But this devil's tongue, A. rivieri, is much more modest in size. It is the lush, tropical foliage that I enjoy in the garden. I dig the tubers when frosts arrive, and just keep them in a cardboard box in the basement. Are we seeing a theme here?

A different rain lily from the lycoris shown above. This crocus-like dainty flower is Zephyranthes candida. Look at the pollen dusted over the base of the petals. A pretty, frost-tender corm that flowers in response to rain. Easy enough to keep the pots under a greenhouse bench in winter.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

A pleasant shrub for woodland shade, Hydrangea 'Annabelle' has grceful clusters of white flowers to add light to a shadowy place.

Peruvian daffodil. That's one of the problems with common names. This tender summer blooming bulb from South America has nothing to do with daffodils. Of course the Latin name of Ismene doesn't tell us much either. Its older name of Hymenocallis (which means "beautiful membrane") at least refers to the delicate cup at the flower's base.

A pretty species lily, Lilium martagon has dainty flowers with deeply recurved petals, grouped at the top of the stem. The slightly darker freckles add to its appeal for me.


Not everything in BelleWood Gardens is a bulb - though it may sometimes seem that way. Here's Stewartia pseudocamellia, an understory tree that adds elegance with its summer flowers.


Monday, 15 June 2015

I don't recall when I planted the first few Digitalis lutea. It was a while ago, that's for sure. The color is not truly yellow. It is more the rich shade of clotted cream. They seed themselves across the hillside, untouched by the deer who are smart enough to avoid the resultant heart palpatations that would result. I've dg a few and relocated them but think this fall I'll scatter some saved seed across the drainage creek.


I'm sure the Dutch and South Africans have some clever technique for coaxing hippeastrum into winter bloom. But I'm unaware of what it might be. So I just haul all the pots indoors at the approach of frost, shove them in the basement, and leave them down there until Spring. When some of the more enthusiastic among them start to grow, bone dry and in the dark or not. Once frost is over the bulbs are repotted, watered well, and brought outdoors. Here's what then happens. Nice!

This charming soft yellow species daylily is Hemerocallis lilio-asphodelus. Cultivars are much easier to obtain than are the species. I found this tangled with weeds and poison ivy near the edge of Route 7, for those of you who are familiar with that Connecticut road, by an abandoned house. And brought it with me when we moved to New Jersey.

'Black Gamecock' is one of the beautiful, moisture-loving iris.

Flowers are wonderful, and after all, this IS BelleWood in Bloom. But as I said in Consider the Leaf, flowers last for just a few weeks, foliage embellishes the garden for several months. As you can see here with the bold leaves of a lovely glaucous hosta paired with the lacy texture of a fern.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The incipient drought ended on the last day of May and first of June with better than four inches of rain. Guess my web site entry on Coping with Drought worked better than a rain dance. Regardless, something did the trick, the landscape is verdant and flowers are blooming.

Wisteria frutescens, our native American wisteria, is flowering now,
charming as it sprawls over the gazebo roofed with a satellite dish.

Leopard's bane, a doronicum, must be very well named.
Have never seen a leopard here at BelleWood Gardens.

It combines beautifully with Baptisia australis, rattlebush, the old standby
we all used to grow before the elegant new cultivars were developed.

It is also lovely with this big purple onion, Allium giganteum.

Peonies are beginning to draw to a close. Here's a yellow intersectional,
a cross between a herbaceous and a tree peony that I planted last year.

A beautiful blush pink anemone flowered herbacous peony.

And a fully double pale pink herbacous peony, nodding down with collected raindrops.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Rhododendron yakusimanum moved with us from Connecticut. It was two
decades ago, in one of the first wardrobe cartons off the moving truck.

Paeonia 'Early Scout' is a charming small early peony with deeply incised leaves and a corona of golden stamens surrounded by a single array of vivid red, satiny petals. A hybrid descended from P. tenuifolia, the thread-leaved peony. Which I have also grown. But I only had the double flowered form which to my eye looked too clumsy / top heavy for the delicate foliage. I find 'Early Scout' more attractive.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

A favorite narcissus of mine, 'Polar Ice', a late flowering small cup with pristine white flowers.

Paeonia obovata 'Alba' A species peony, happy in woodland and early in bloom before the more familiar garden types.


Wildflowers such as this Trillium luteum are also welcome here at BelleWood Gardens.

Another handsome sessile trillium withdeep oxblood red flowers.

Stylophorum diphyllum is in the Poppy Family, and a broken stem oozes orange sap.

One of my favorite primroses, Primula kisoana from Japan.


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Have started uncovering Musa basjoo, my hardy banana. Some culms have slimy, mushy trunks. They may / might not produce new growth. But it is clear that at least one came through the severe winter in good condition.

Fitillaria imperialis, crown imperial, are in wonderful (if stinky) bloom.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

These are still "lefties." However I have found a way to use the Canon Rebel xTi left-handed. There is a shutter release button option on the external dual battery pack. Of course for my one-handed, left-handed use it requires that for horizontal / landscape orientation images the camera is held upside down. But I can edit images on the computer with flip, then flip again so they appear right side up. Have not figured out zoom. But quite happy with auto focus.

Hyacinths are beautifully in bloom.

These may look like two different daffodil cultivars but they're all 'DoveWings'. Flowers have a yellow cup when they first open, which fades to cream as it ages.

Narcissus poeticus cultivar. Perhaps 'Felindre', or maybe 'Cantabile'.
Could even be 'Old Pheasant Eye'. Name doesn't matter. Still beautiful.

Trillium in bloom. These are classed as sessile - no peduncle (small stem) between flower and leaf, mottled leaves, flowers upright and never open widely. Only found in North America.

And this is a pedunculate trillium, Trillium grandiflorum to be exact. Note the small stem between flower and foliage, plain green leaves, slightly nodding and open flower. In addition to the North American species of pedunculate trillium there are also a few Asian species.

This next set of images are not selfies. They're lefties. Coming out of the woodland garden on March 17 I must have stepped on some icy snow while crossing one of the small bridges. Fell, really hard. Have what I believe is termed a distal fracture of my right wrist (and I'm right handed. Of course.) Fractured my right cheek bone. Totally destroyed the external battery pack for the camera. Battery pack has been replaced. Cheek bone will heal on its own. Closed repair - actually it is called a reduction - for my wrist, which is in a cast with several more weeks to go.

But on Thursday, April 2 I went back into the woods with my cell phone tucked into the sling and a point-and-shoot camera. Here are the results. Enjoy.

Judy, the grumpy, left-handed, one-fingered typist.

A golden patch of winter aconites, Eranthis hiemalis, as seen from the driveway.

And close up, once I got down there.

Snowdrops, no longer tightly in bud but beautifully in bloom.

Not snowdrops, but spring snowflakes, Leucojum vernum,
their little bells chiming music for the fairies to enjoy.

Even the hellebores are making an appearance. Here, some of the deep plum Early Purple Group.


Tuesday, 17 March

Finally! There's been some sun. There's been milder (not so frigid) temperatures. And so, just a few weeks late, once again there are flowers at BelleWood Gardens. Just emerging where the snow is fading, somewhat yellowed from the lack of sunlight. Brave little bulbs emerging into Spring.

Winter aconites, Eranthis hiemalis, with the first few golden coins of flowers about to open above the frill of their Toby ruff of not-quite-green leaves.

Snowdrops, not quite yet in flower, pushing up through icy snow. Perce-neige indeed!

And the melting snow has the drainage creek rushing and chuckling
and making music as it tumbles over its rocky base.

Saturday, 7 March

Flowers in the Greenhouse

I had a small pot of freesias that got completely overlooked in 2012. No water at all, all year. Rediscovered it in late summer 2013 when I was repotting. Sh*t oh dear! About half the corms (of 6) had vanished. Breathed heavily on the others (CO2 helps, right?), repotted, gave extra attention.

And today I have a flower! One corm of three has a substantial peachy yellow flower open, lowest on the spike of 8 buds, and there is even a small secondary flower spike partway down the primary flower stem. Don't have a name, but it is lovely just the same. (Not much, if any fragrance though.) The other two corms are still teeny tiny but hope springs eternal for next year. Hope also springs that Spring will, eventually, arrive in the garden.

So sometimes our errors of omission with the watering can are forgiven.

Also in flower in the greenhouse are some Cyclamen purpurascens

and a pot of Lachenalia pustulata, so named for its lumpy, bumpy, pustulated leaves.

This is the winter that never ends. On March 5 we got 6 more inches of snow. Thursday night the temperature dipped down to 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Friday was sunny and bright but only 27 degrees Fahrenheit for the high temperature. And last night, last night got all the way down to 1 degree Fahrenheit. Today is "normal" at 42 degrees Fahrenheit but completely overcast so it doesn't seem as nice. Yes, the days are longer, sufficiently so the daylight savings time begins tomorrow. I'd rather have saved some warmer weather! But Spring? Spring seems a long time off.

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