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BelleWood in Bloom

BelleWood in Bloom 2020

January February March
April


April


Wednesday, 29 April 2020


An old fashioned shrub, perhaps not as showy as popular today.
But I like jet bead, Rhodotypos scandens, for its simple grace.
And the memories of the friend from whose garden they came.


Trillium grandiflorum is making a nice display outdoors in the woodland garden.


Not quite yet open, Arisaema thunbergii variety urashima is
an exotic Japanese Jack-in-the-pulpit. Funky, fanciful, amusing.


Saturday, 25 April 2020


and in just a week to open flower - Hippeastrum 'Charisma'


and an anonymous red hippeastrum whose label
has been lost. Delicate thin edges to petals. Lovely.


Wednesday, 22 April 2020


Just a few days later and the buds are showing color.


Sunday, 19 April 2020


The hippeastrum in my greenhouse have decided it is time to flower.


Thursday, 16 April 2020

Technically, my zone 6 region is not frost free until about Mother's Day, in May.
It is only mid-April so frost may be expected. It has been so mild that I assumed
last night's frost warning would be for the upper 20s Fahrenheit. Wrong. Up on
the roof, where my weather station is located, went down to 22.5° Fahrenheit.


It was more than the pink star magnolia can deal with. It has been in bloom
so well, and for so long, that I really should not complain. Ah well. Farewell.


The tall flower stalks of bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis, were damaged,
no longer able to hold up their flowers. The foliage looks alright though.


Tuesday, 14 April 2020

A walk in my woods after yesterday's deluge was very rewarding.


All of the various different cultivars of Narcissus poeticus that line the path up to
the Forest Deck are well into bloom. Some are nodding, somewhat leaning over but
still in flower, crisp white petals, little ruffle of a cup banded red, yellow, green heart.

.


Not quite sure who this daffodil is, or where I got it. But
every year it again rewards me with its ruffled apricot cup.


Small is beautiful. Just admire 'Polar Star'. Flower newly open,
its cool yellow cup will soon fade to white, matching the petals.


Sturdy grape hyacinth, its intense dark blue flowers packing
more punch that you would think its small size could provide.


It's the middle of April, not the middle of June. So don't ask me why this
bulb is named summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum. Perhaps because
it has a smaller, earlier relative, the spring snowflake, L. vernum, in March.

.


Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis, has a lovely folk tale about its heart-shaped flowers.


There are two native dicentra. This is squirrel corn, Dicentra canadensis,
named for the golden scales of its bulb. Flower has a family resemblance.


Wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa, has a twiggy sort of underground rhizome.


Anemone blanda 'White Splendour' (yes, the "u" belongs. It was
named in England and they spell some things funnily over there)
has flowers that resemble a daisy but it is convergent evolution.


Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, loves dampish soil. Seeds about and multiplies
for me, but difficult to dig, what with its deep roots. Up, flowers, then soon dormant.


Hylomecon japonicum is one of the Japanese woodlanders that delights
with its home in my woods. So many plants from that island nation either
have relatives among our native plants, have become important popular
garden plants (hosta, for one), or thrive so well they are invasive weeds.

Not this pretty golden spring woodlander, neither weedy nor well known.


Sex sells. No, no, I'm referring to flowers, the showy part of a plant that lures the bees
and butterflies to come and pollinate. But for a gardener, foliage may be what makes
a plant worthy of space in the garden. Big leaves splashily marked with yellow gives
Petasites japonicus variegatus a welcome home here in damp soil by the brook.

.


Third of this trio of Japanese plants I want to show you today is Primula kisoana.

It is different from the primroses you might be familiar with because it has
underground runners that spread the colony, making new plants, nearby.

.


Another lovely foliage plant is Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' with leaves
covered with silver, like hoarfrost. Macrophylla means big leaf, and these do
expand to the size of my outspread hand. It's not just foliage though. It once

had a different name, the second part of which was mysotidiflora, meaning
the flowers were like a forget-me-not. Which this plant certainly does have.


Native plants. Japanese plants. Deliberately planted plants from other parts
of the world. And those that move in on their own. Which we call weeds. Now,
tell me, if I call it by its Latin name of Taraxicum officinale, and if it were
more difficult to grow, tell me, wouldn't you think dandelion a fine plant to have?


Monday, 13 April 2020

Weather is the game changer when it comes to plants and gardens. The 2019/2020 winter was a mild one with little snow. Growth started early. The continuing steady temperatures - somewhat warm but not dipping bitterly cold made this one of the finest magnolia seasons I can recall. Heavy rain, torrential rain, more than 2 inches in less than 24 hours from midnight last night and on through a good part of Monday, was more than the culverts could handle. Water flowed over the driveway, poured down the driveway, spilled over the downhill side and soured its own tracks down.


The plants appear fine, their roots firm in the ground. The leaf litter that belongs
as ground cover in woodland should be moved back into place where it belongs.


Wednesday, 8 April 2020


To be pollinated a flower needs pollen. The wind blows for free, so plants such as
conifers need not expend resources on pretty petals that lure pollinators. This is
Japanese plum yew, Cephalotaxus harringtonii, ready for the next puff of wind.


The sessile trilliums have made themselves very much at home in my woods.
They even self sow, little single spade like spotted leaves that in a few years
will reach flowering size. Colonies such as this one multiply with clonal offsets.


Spring beauty, fairy spuds - Claytonia virginica does appear in the springtime and
tiny tubers are edible. I'd need to dig so many . . . no, I'll just enjoy their flowers.


Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, are quite happy in my woods.
They multiply, flower, and vanish - summer dormancy, aestivation.


Jeffersonia diphylla is a native, but not locally. The paired leaves will
expand, wing-like, and justify the common name of twin leaf.


The hellebores are still flowering away. Some, especially the H. niger, are setting seed.


Corydalis solida multiplies prolifically but its lacy foliage quickly fades away.


Notice the curlicue tendrils on Fritillaria thunbergii. If they were
growing amidst some other plants stuff they would cling and climb.


Another spring favorite, Hyacinthus 'Carnegie' with clean white flowers.


Narcissus 'Dove Wings' is another of the cyclamineus hybrids with
reflexed petals. The cup opens yellow, fades to ivory, then white.


Tuesday, 7 April 2020



As the star magnolia's flowers open the color softens to paler pink.


Wednesday, 1 April 2020


In my greenhouse. Freesia 'Mercurius', deliciously fragrant.


March


Tuesday, 31 March 2020


Magnolia stellata, like ballerinas, pink tutus spread as they twirl.


Friday, 27 March 2020


A blue hyacinth, a survivor that returns year after year. Not so club-like
and massive as newly planted bulbs. Still fragrant, still very welcome.


Anemone blanda may resemble a daisy. But in fact, it has nothing to do
with Compositae. It's in the Ranunculus family. Look alike, no relation.


Saturday, 21 March 2020


Magnolia stellata now spreading open furry calyces, white petals ready to unfurl.


In a sunnier site my pink Magnolia stellata has a couple
so well open that I shall count them as flowers.


The flowers of Petasites japonicus look like a neat little tussie-mussie.


Narcissus cyclamineus is one of my favorite species daffodils,
with swept back petals indeed reminiscent of a cyclamen's bloom.


Narcissus 'Ice Follies' is a reliable, popular daffodil.


Where there was one or a few flowers of Helleborus niger now there are
groups, as sunny warm weather draws up buds and they open into full flower.


Like dapples of fallen sky, a charming group of Scilla bifolia.


Monday, 16 March 2020

.
Shrubs are starting to flower also, such as this lovely Pieris japonicus. It amuses me
that this exotic Japanese "cousin" of our native species is easily obtained and widely
grown. But finding P. floribunda with its upright flower trusses is a difficult thing to do.


There are some interesting cultivars too, such as
P. japonica 'Valley Valentine' with red flowers.


Sunday, 15 March 2020


I am very fond of all the mahonia., for both their leathery, holly-like leaves and
clusters of early bright golden flowers that bees also enjoy. This is Mahonia bealii.


Perennials are waking up too. Lungwort, Pulmonaria saccharata
with its spotted leaves, pink buds that open up into blue flowers.


Hellebores continue to improve their displays as more and more buds mature into flowers.
Colors range from white to greenish white, pale to deep pink and even oxblood red, as here.


Christmas rose. We're well beyond Christmas. Whatever.
Helleborus niger, always white flowered, always welcome.


The clusters of dainty Scilla bifolia flowers may be small
but their starry sky blue hue offers a charming appeal.


Scilla tubergeniana is significantly larger but more subtle
look, the pale color of skim milk with a thin turquoise stripe.


Names, they are a'changing. I learned this as a Chionodoxa
but it has now been lumped into Scilla, becoming S. forbesii.


Most of the snowdrops have now finished flowering. I did spot this
trio of Galanthus nivalis 'Magnet' with their long drooping petals.


Not sure when or where I planted these hybrid, deep purple crocus. Bulbs do
move around here at BelleWood gardens. Squirrels? Crocus vernus cultivar.


Thursday, 5 March 2020


The furry buds of Magnolia stellata, fattening up, promise of flowers to come.


Masses of Eranthis hyemalis will soon vanish back underground until next spring.


Snowdrops are multiplying quite nicely, making large colonies with pristine white flowers.


February


Sunday, 23 February 2020


Another snowdrop, Galanthus ikariae latifolius. Easily distinguishable
by its glossy bright green leaves, rather than familiar gray green of others.


Monday, 17 February 2020

another Day and See! there are more Flowers!


Eranthis pinnatifida, a scarce, reluctantly increasing Japanese relative of
the exuberantly spreading, familiar yellow, E. hyemalis. Oh do hurry up!


Here is Crocus tommasinianus, a crocus that thrives in the shade. And how odd, this one
has eight petals rather than the typical six. I shall have to make a note to watch next year.


Saturday, 15 February 2020

Tho it still be Winter there are Flowers in my Garden


It was 7.7 degrees Fahrenheit the other night. Unharmed,
even more, so many more Eranthis hyemalis now appear.


Small differences distinguish galanthus cultivars.
This little beauty is Galanthus nivalis 'Virid Apice'


Lenten rose, Helleborus Early Purple Group opens its oxblood red flowers revealing ivory stamens.


Monday, 10 February 2020

Food stored in their underground "pantries" enables the little bulbs to spring into early growth and bloom, well before roots can access nutrients in the cold soil. Eager growth before trees leaf out and block the sunlight means woodlands awaken, quicken, before open meadows.


Snowdrops hurry, scurry, pushing up in groups, their paired, emerging leaves
protecting tender, membrane wrapped flower buds as they pierce the soil.


Even daintier, golden winter aconites, Eranthis hyemalis, each blossom perched
on a frilly green Toby ruff-like leaf, spread far and wide by means of light tan seeds.

Closed in overcast conditions to keep their pollen dry, they'll open wide in sunlight.


The early Lenten roses, Helleborous Early Purple Group, shoves its buds
up from under fallen leaves. I need to clean up, but Friday will be colder.


January


Wednesday, 29 January 2020

The calendar still says it is winter. I went into the woods this afternoon and found flowers.
Does this mean it is spring? Probably not. But it is a hopeful sign.


This lovely trio is Galanthus nivalis 'Atkinsii'
Common names are schneetropfen, snow-drop in German, percé neige, snow piercer in French,
and in the UK, variously fair maid of February, or February fair maid in Somerset and Wiltshire

The Snowdrop
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid,
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

Bulbs have an edge, able to draw on stored food reserves underground
while the soil is still frozen and cold. Even so,


an early perennial, Helleborus ×ericsmithii, has buds and first flowers.


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