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BelleWood in Bloom

BelleWood in Bloom 2021

April May


Wednesday, 5 May 2021

A new month. The trees are green, tender vivid green, closing over the forest floor, concealing and screening away the neighbors' houses.

It's time. We took the plywood covers off, and the tubs over the bananas.
They have begun to grow, more enthusiastically now they are uncovered.

I raised this red buckeye from seed. Not quite sure whether it is
Aesculus pavia or A. ×briotti. Whichever, it's flowers are lovely.

Strange looking flowers on Carolina allspice, Calycanthus floridus.
Native to southeastern United States, it spreads by suckering habit.

Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' has neatly layered appearance, accented with
lacy white flowers at this time of year. Neat, tidy, and elegant, a good accent shrub.

Trillium erectum 'Album' or possibly forma albidum is the white form
of the typically ox-blood red native trillium. Various common names
are wake robin, wet dog trillium, stinking Benjamin, and birth root.

Wild sweet William, Phlox divaricata, is a clump forming deciduous, native
woodland perennial. In shade, a a companion for other plants, like trillium.

Sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis, is a vigorously spreading native with lush
tropical appearance. I potted some up when digging them out last year. And
discovered that they wintered over with no extra protection. I will again pair
them with bold foliage summer tropicals such as cannas and elephant ears.

Speaking of treasures, silver and pewter Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum' looks very
metallic. The common name for this is Japanese painted fern. Hardy, deciduous.
I provide them with silver leaved rex begonias as summer companions in shade.

Evergreen and spreading, Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple' is
a fine companion for other perennials. Native too, as are all phlox.

Arisaema thunbergii variety urashima is one of the Japanese arisaema, and I think my favorite of those I grow. The Latin name of the species is for Carl Peter Thunberg , a Swedish botanist who was employed as a surgeon by the Dutch East India Company in the latter part of the 18th century.

Notice the long flagellum on the spadix, looking similar to a fishing line. I suppose that is responsible for the charming folk tale a Japanese friend told to me,

Taro Urashima was a fisherman. One day he saw some children tormenting a sea turtle. Being a lad with a kind heart, he rescued the turtle. Well, you know this sort of story goes. It was a magic turtle who brought him to the kingdom under the sea where he had a wonderful time. But eventually he wanted to go home.

"Stay, do stay!" the lovely sea maidens begged him. "No, I really must go." he firmly replied. So they heaped him with treasure. And gave him a small box, together with a warning never to open the box. Always with these little gift boxes, never to be opened.

He came back to the harbor but everything had changed. He recognized not one of the people because so much time had passed. Opening the little box Taro Urashima suddenly became an old man and died. Because time passes differently in the kingdom under the sea - or in the fairies barrow under the hill, right?

Arisarum proboscideum is a sweet little aroid with the common name of
mouse tail arum. Winter hardy, summer dormant. Deer don't eat it - crystals
of oxalic acid in all aroids are protective. I really should grow some in a pot.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Quince, this shrub is called, flowering quince. But the trees whose fruit
I use for sweet quince preserves are Cydonia, or Pseudocydonia. The shrub
is Chaenomeles japonica. Vivid brick red-orange is the common color for its
flowers. I prefer the soft coral pink of 'Cameo'. And yes, if it fruits, use for jam.


Friday, 30 April 2021

The last day of April. A mere 30 days. Looking at what is in flower today and what was in flower at the start of the month makes it seem that it must have been longer. The only thread weaving through is the daffodils, narcissus early and late. As I drive around town I see that magnolias and early flowering cherries are over. Crab apples are in bloom. Fruit trees too, such as peaches. It's a wonderful time of year.

Jetbead, Rhodotypos scandens, is an old fashioned shrub. Likes shade, good doer,
deer ignore it. Spring's flowers are followed by jet black berries that stay through winter.

'Foundling' is another, a cross of 'Irish Rose' and 'Jenny'.
Has to have N. cyclamineus somewhere in there also.

Narcissus 'Mount Hood' has substantial, pale cream flowers when first open,
tipping slightly upward and maturing to pristine white. Bred in Holland in 1930.

The last narcissus are closing out the season of spring bulbs. This is the aptly named 'Polar Ice'.

Japanese woodland peony, Paeonia obovata 'Alba' is earliest peony to flower
here at BelleWood Gardens. It's happy here. Must be, because is seeds about.

Bright fuchsia Primula kisoana was just starting into flower a week ago.
They are now reaching their peak and I could not resist sharing again.

Friday, 23 April 2021

I think this is my favorite primrose. It is Primula kisoana, from Japan. It spreads
with barely subsurface runners, has fuzzy leaves shaped like a maple, and these
wonderfully vivid, fuchsia colored flowers. Loves the woodland, winter dormant.

Bleeding heart used to have the Latin name of Dicentra spectablis. It has now
been shifted to genus of its own, and referred to as Lamprocapnos spectabilis.

This picture is deceiving as the wildflower is only a few inches tall.
It is Anemonella thalictroides, sort of like an anemone flower
with leaves somewhat like those of a thalictrum. See, easy Latin.

Summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum. Yes, it is later than spring snowflake
which flowered in mid-March. Somewhat later April is not summer, now is it.

Introduced over 100 years ago, in 1916, Narcissus 'Thalia' is an
elegant triandrus cultivar with two or three nodding pure white
flowers. It is long lived in both casual woodland or formal border.

I had lost the label for this rather attractive pink trumpet daffodil. I asked,
and my friend Jim Waddick in chilly Kansas City, Missouri (zone 5) said that
if it is not especially new and is a good grower he think it is 'Pink Charm'.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Narcissus poeticus is prepotent, stamps all its offspring with tiny ruffled cup banded
green, yellow, red at the edge, showy against pristine white petals. But which one this
is - 'Old Pheasant Eye', 'Felindre', or award of garden merit 'Actaea' I cannot really say.
I planted them more than 20 years ago. Perhaps Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus will do.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Flowers appear in my garden overnight. They appear between morning and night. I think they appear as I turn around. After all, it's spring. Of course a mild sunny day speeds things up.

The earliest flowers are always the "foreign" bulbs - snowdrops, crocus.
Hyacinth 'Carnegie' displays pristine white flowers on an overcast day.

Daffodils are all mixed up with their appearances this spring. The typically early
'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' appeared late, on 2 April. These Narcissus poeticus
cultivars usually - in early May, not mid-April. Oh well, at least they are flowering.

Another little bulb, this is Fritillaria meleagris, Guinea hen flower,
checkered lily or leper lily - the last for bells that lepers had to carry.

Does Latin, which language is used for naming plants, intimidate you? Fret not. This spring flowering, silver spotted evergreen perennial is commonly named as lungwort. In Latin, Pulmonaria. See, it's easy Why was it given the matching names? Because, according to the Doctrine of Signatures, its spotted leaves resemble diseased lungs. Therefore, it should be suitable to treat conditions and diseases such as coughs, catarrh, pneumonia, tuberculosis. I would be cautious about using P. saccharata to treat anything and just enjoy it as a charming plant in the garden.

A different species from the spotted leaf kind mentioned above. Its leaves are
plain green, and its flowers a clear rosy red in bud and bloom. This is P. rubra.

Not a lungwort. The sky blue flowers belong to our native Virginia bluebells,
Mertensia virginica. Evenescent, it quietly fades away in late spring.
It is growing here with another native, Trillium cuneatum, which stays.

Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, drops its petals nearly as soon as
its flowers open. I like the leaflets that provide its common name.

Trillium grandiflorum has a peduncule between leaves and flower.
This differentiates it from the sessile species such as T. cuneatum.

Helleborus foetidus is a caulescent hellebore, a species with stems.
Apple green flowers form in fall, open to small bells early in the year.
Best to cut back flower stems to encourage new leaf growth. Here
I partnered it with Arum italicum 'Pictum', which is also winter green.

Originally planted in a round chimney liner section, I should have known
that Petasites japonicus 'Variegatus' would soon escape, and start to
spread along the seasonal brook's bank. Decided that's O.K., and enjoy it.

The flowers of false forget-me-not, Brunnera macrophylla, have not yet made their
appearance. No matter, green netted silver flushed leaves of 'Jack Frost' pays the rent
for space in my garden. Better yet, it seeds true from seed. Just transplant while small.

Pachysandra is not a boring plant. Just because it is rolled out like a green carpet
around office buildings - it's the use that's boring. As well as plain green there is a
glossy version. And also this pleasing cultivar, Pachysandra terminalis 'White Edge'.

In the Greenhouse

Things are rather quiet in my greenhouse. Winter growing bulbs such as freesia, lachenalia, oxalis, and rhodophiala are mostly dormant. I'm potting dormant-starting-to-awaken mirabilis and the pelargonium cuttings. And this rather oversize pot of Oxalis regnellii that was out of the way under a bench . . . nope, not any longer. It has happily hurled itself into lush growth and needed a move into the light.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Doretta Klaber wrote a lovely book with the title Primroses and Spring.
And indeed, what could be better to begin my April Saturday roundup of
BelleWood's flowers than this yellow eyed, sky blue Primula polyanthus.

Narcissus 'Dove Wings', one of the cyclamineus cultivars with swept back petals.
The cup opens yellow, then fades to a barely cream tinted white. Does well in my woods.


I learned this plant as Jeffersonia dubia. But perhaps it has the tongue twisting name of Plagiorhegma dubium. At least the plant knows who it is. I will try to learn more and will update here if and when I do find something. Plants resent root disturbance, do not transplant easily so I let the seed just fall where it may. They require 10 to 11 months from dispersal to germination.

UPDATE: JSTOR information: a specimen in The Gray Herbarium, GH00038833
Isosyntype of Plagiorhegma dubium Maximowicz [family BERBERIDACEAE] (stored under name); Verified by Maxim., 1859

More than a month on from their first appearance and Helleborus Early Purple Group
is still making a good show in the garden. Now that's what I call paying its rent, don't you!

I have a nice colony of our native, sessile flowered Trillium cuneatum. It self-seeds. That is, it does so with help from ants. This is called myrmechory. The ants eat the fleshy eliasome, rich in lipids and proteins to attract them to each seed. The seed is then discarded, to sprout and grow. A year or so later there is a single small spade shaped leaf, and several years after that the tuber has grown large enough to flower.

It would be even nicer if the deer, those wretched appetites on cloven hooves, didn't eat them. They eat not just the sessile flower squatting down on the three leaves. No, the deer eat the leaves too. Each trillium tuber grow just that one trio of leaves each growing season. Being eaten means nutrients depleted in their growth cannot be replaced until the next growing season. This weakens the tuber. Milorganite helps as a repellent. I scatter it with ehthusiasm.

Just a week on from my previous report and Fritillaria thunbergii is flowering
See the interesting curved hook on the upper leaves? If the plants were to grow
in brush they'd be used as tendrils, twining to take hold and scramble up. Nice!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Another one of the true blue flowers of spring, daisy-like Anemone blanda.

Siberian squill, Scilla sibirica, has blue flowers that dangle like little bells.

On the left, Fritillaria thunbergii as it is today. On the right, 3 weeks earlier on March 14.
Also known as F. verticillata, this bulb is native to Kazakhstan and in Xinjiang Province of
western China, naturalized in other parts of China and in Japan. Here it multiplies politely.

A little bulb which multiplies prolifically, flowers early in spring,
then disappears as trees leaf out. Name? Oh, it is Corydalis solida.

This time I'm certain of the name. It is Narcissus cyclamineus.

Another "perhaps" which I believe is Narcissus 'Mustard Seed'.

Not positively sure but I think this might be Narcissus 'Little Gem'.

More Christmas rose, Helleborus niger. Why niger or black
when it has such clean white flowers? The roots are black.

Virginia bluebells, Mertensia virginica, start to make its early appearance.
And afterwards it will fade away, disappear underground until next spring.

One of the sessile trilliums, with flower perched right on the three leaves.
Trillium cuneatum does well, seeds about. This year, deer are browsing.

An emerging shoot of Japanese woodland peony, Paeonia japonica.

Sunshine yellow forsythia. If it was difficult to grow we'd appreciate it more.

Star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, ready to open and live up to its name.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

In the Greenhouse

Unplanted, corpse flower, Amorphophallus, is pushing up a flower. I'll give it
another day or so, then chop it down before it opens and lives up to its name.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Across the seasonal brook enough flowers are open
on Magnolia stellata to offer a hint of what's to come.

Looks sort of like a dandelion but it's not. Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara.

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'. Other years it's been up
in January. Not this time. Cannot blame covid-19, just the weather.

No idea. Label has vanished. Haven't a clue who this wee charmer might be.

Better late than never. Christmas rose, Helleborus niger,
beautifully in bloom in the woods of BelleWood Gardens.


Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Dainty little alpine squill, Scilla bifolia adds a blue sky color to the early days of spring.

Narcissus 'Ice Follies' opens with a yellow cup which fades to white.

Butterbur, Petasites japonicus, looks like a small bouquet of green flowers.
Then come leaves, large enough to be suitable as substitutes for umbrellas.

Plants hastening on from spring's delayed start. Winter aconite have faded away,
just green leaves. A crowd of Early Purple Group hellebores display their flowers.

Sunshine coaxes open the first few buds of pink Magnolia stellata from furry calyces.

Friday, 26 March 2021

Lily of the valley shrub, Pieris japonica, is the Japanese "cousin" of an American species.
As well as its attractive appearance both in or out of flower, deer are unwilling to eat it.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

There's still a fair amount of snow left in the shaded places of BelleWood Gardens.

Down along the seasonal brook some still remains, with winter aconites in full flower.

Eranthis hyemalisoffers a splendid display for a flower only 3 to 4 inches high.

Looking like a buttercup, each golden yellow flower is subtended by a Toby-ruff of green.

Open in the sunshine, Crocus tommasinianus closes on cloudy days to keep its pollen dry.

Welcome earliest flowers, dainty snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, has variations
that require a keen eye and a closer look to distinguish one from another.

Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum's flowers resemble little starched petticoats.

Helleborus Early Purple group has dark liver purple flowers, set off by ivory white stamens.

Helleborus ×ericsmithii is a wonderful hybrid between H. ×sternii and
H. niger. The large pink tinged white flowers are carried on pink stems.
Saw toothed edged green leaves have white veins and a metallic sheen.

Leatherleaf mahonia, Mahonia bealei, has holly-like evergreen leaves and
terminal sprays of yellow flowers. The blue berries make excellent preserves.

In the Greenhouse

Flowers in the greenhouse. Clivia miniata shows off brick red-orange blooms.

This year I thought to check the various pots of dormant bulbs in the basement.
And found Eucomis pole-evansii before its new shoots became stretched and pale.
Oddly enough, none of the other eucomis awaken before given a drink of water.

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