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BelleWood in Bloom

BelleWood in Bloom 2024




Tuesday, 30 April 2024

The dogwoods, Cornus florida, are superb this year, as fine as I've seen them in the time
we've lived here at what is now BelleWood Gardens. Wild ones, planted by nature, not me.

Rhododendron yakushimanum came to me from my friend and mentor John Osborne's garden
in Connecticut after he died. I think of him each spring as deep pink buds open apple blossom pale.

Like tiny pantaloons hung on a line to dry, flowers of Dutchman's breeches, Dicentra cucullaria

Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectablis, is their non-native Asian counterpart,.

Friday, 19 April 2024

No idea of the name but this elegant daffodil with crisp white petals and
wide, apricot pink cup is a reliable performer in the woods each spring.

I am amused each year when summer snowflake, Leucojum aestivum,
comes into flower. Yes, yes, this is later than the early March flowers of
spring snowflake, L. vernum. But summer? Come now, summer? Really?

I do love this Japanese woodland primrose, Primula kisoana.

The flower of Trillium sessile, like a dark maroon candle flame over mottle leaves.

An accidental pairing with the rather invasive Ranunculus ficaria 'Brazen Hussy'
(a gift from Pamela Harper) whose dark leaves echoes and enhances the trillium's flower.

Wednesday, 11 April 2023

Pieris, lily of the valley shrub, is a popular shade tolerant deer resistant evergreen shrub with panicles of small white flowers in early spring.There is Pieris floribunda which is a native to southeastern United States, for some reason it is the Japanese P. japonica that is widely available. Why so? I have no idea.

Of course there is always something different. This is P. japonica 'Valley Valentine' which has

the trailing racemes of flowers but rather than white the cultivar has rich rosy pink flowers.

It is, I think, most attractive when viewed close to, rather than at a distance. Do you agree?

I planted these Narcissus poeticus daffodils a couple of decades ago. Several cultivars. They

all have glistening white petals and a brief ribbon of a cup banded green to yellow,
and edged with red. Over time, labels have been lost. No idea which look-alike is which.


It has been a typical season, which is to say it seems confused. First we had some pleasantly mild weather. Then, according to the calendar spring arrived on 19 March. Whereupon the weather turned chilly and very windy. Ah well.

The neighbor's sheep are lambing.

Finns usually birth twins. Or better. Definitely "better" this year, as one ewe had triplets and another had quadruplets! At least the precipitation on 23 March arrived as 2.73 inches of rain and not better than two feet of snow.

Friday, 22 March 2023

Not a crocus. This is Bulbocodium vernum, the spring flowering relative of
the autumn colchicums. Not that they are as well known as they should be either.

The hellebores are thriving, as may be seen from this sizable Helleborus ×orientalis plant.

Daffodils are emerging. Here is the early blooming Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'.

Narcissus 'Ice Follies' is straightening up, after a night in the 20s Fahrenheit laid then down.

Japanese butterbur, Petasites japonicus is an escape artist. It was planted in a cast iron bathtub
with three layers of screening over the drain opening. Took it a while, but it got out. It is edible.

Sunday, 3 March 2023

I am very appreciative of hellebores. What's not to like - they grow in shade, are evergreen

and the deer don't eat them. Here's a Christmas rose (yes, I know, it's well after Christmas
and not a rose) Helleborus niger, well budded and ready to open. Such a great perennial.

And this is Helleborus orientalis subsp. abchasicus in the Early Purple Group. It flowers
somewhat earlier than the straight species, closer to the time of the Christmas rose, H. niger.

Of course, what we anticipate as the first flowers are not perennials, but bulbs.

They've store food underground, ready to hurl themselves into flower, even the littlest ones

such as snowdrops. Look closer, enjoying these harbingers of spring, there are differences.

For example, Galanthus nivalis 'Viridi-apice' has elegant green markings on its outer petals

while Galanthus woronowii has bright green leaves rather than the grayish green of G. nivalis.

And this is not a snowdrop but rather a snowflake, Leucojum vernum with flowers like a
bell, or a starched petticoat. But again with dainty green markings as embellishment.

Deer tend to leave both galanthus and leucojum alone. Crocus are a different matter.

And, while crocus usually want to grow in full sun with well drained soil, here's one for the woods.
Crocus tommasinianus not only grows in some shade, deer do not seem to include it in their diet.

Last among the little bulbs I want to share with you today - yes, I know, not a true bulb.
Winter aconite, Eranthis hiemalis, is a tuber. Quite small tubers. That resent the drying
that occurs in preparation for shipment. Plant a couple of dozen (they're inexpensive) and
rejoice in the few that do appear in spring. Because, you see, they'll reseed very well, so
soon you'll have carpets of their bright yellow flowers cheerfully spreading in the garden.

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