Fabulous Friday

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As the garden fills up with flowers, I am ready to begin celebrating ‘Fabulous Friday’ once again.   It’s been a month since we last celebrated Friday in the garden, and a cold, wet month it’s been!

Today dawned bright and sunny, yet still windy and deceptively cool.

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We headed out after lunch to see what we could see.  I carried my camera and my partner carried heavy pruners.  I was in search of beauty, but he intended to tackle some stubborn bamboo climbing up from the ravine into the garden.  Even in the relative shelter of the back garden, the cutting wind found us and made us wish we had grabbed more layers on the way out.

We have layered clumps of daffodils all the way down the slope, from the edge of the drive as far as we know the sun can reach them.  We plant more bulbs each fall.  Each spring, once the special ones have finished in their pots, I transplant them ‘in the green’ to still empty spots in the garden.

Seeing them shining in the bright sunshine today makes us very glad for the small effort to plant them.

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I convinced my partner that we should fill the garden with daffies by reminding him that every part of the Narcissus plant is poisonous, even its roots.  We began to plant them in areas once relentlessly dug up by voles.  Over the years that strategy has proven effective, and where there are daffies there are no vole tunnels.  Now we plant them generously around new shrubs and trees, working to create a ‘curtain’ of poisonous roots to protect our newly planted treasures.

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It’s elegant, in a somewhat warped and twisted way, to realize that while Narcissus and Hellebores look lovely together, they are equally effective in stopping voles ‘dead’ in their tunnels. This association continues as the tall Hellebores help to hide the daffodil foliage as  it gradually dies back, feeding the bulb for several weeks after the flowers finish.

We have an endless supply of seedling Hellebores to transplant each spring now, and I dutifully dig them up and move them to where we need them.  Hellebores are tough plants.  They will hold a bank.  They will ring a shrub.  They will fill a bed or a pot or crop up spontaneously where you most need one to grow!  Sold as shade plants, some of ours continue to thrive in nearly full sun through our long hot summers.

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I’m seduced to buy a new cultivar or two each winter when the garden centers offer little else.  Yes, oysters to Kilmarnock, I know.  But do you blame me?

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We admire their bright and ever changing faces during these last weeks of winter when spring can’t make up its mind whether or not to linger.  They fill the garden with flowers when little else beside the daffies and the Vinca dare to bloom.

I’ve been enrolled in a gardening class since early January, and yesterday we sat in rapt attention as a local landscape designer shared slide after slide of gorgeous gardens she has designed.   She shared with us her favorite annuals and perennials that grow well around Williamsburg.

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The shot that stole my heart was a bowl filled with Hellebore blossoms, snipped from a garden she designed.

When I noticed how many different Hellebores have come into bloom in our garden this week, I couldn’t resist clipping a collection of our flowers, too, to try to replicate that picture for you.

Hellebores bloom in waves, over four or five months here in coastal Virginia.  The earliest may open in late December.  We often still have a few Hellebores in bloom in mid-May.

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More are still on their way, including a particularly sassy dark purple cultivar that I just planted last week.  When it finally blooms, it may rate a Fabulous Friday post all on its own.

This fabulous sunny Friday offered us a respite to get outside and check on spring’s progress, as we wait for the rains to return here early next week.

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Pear blossoms have just begun to open in our garden.

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Forecasters shout the ‘S’ word, threatening us with another round of storms.  I don’t plan to give that much thought or worry, though.

Spring is well underway here with the annual progression of flowers.  And our gorgeous Hellebores highlight the beds, promising that the season is now mostly here  to stay.

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Woodland Gnome 2018
Fabulous Friday:  Happiness is contagious.  Let’s infect one another!

 

 

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

6 responses to “Fabulous Friday

  1. Ali

    I love the way of floating hellebores in water.

  2. I think I need to plant a trillion narcissi. 😉

    • 😉 Absolutely! Because the bulbs live so deep, it is easy to layer them under perennials, lawns, and around shrubs. You can enjoy them in early spring when the rest of the garden is still pretty much asleep, and then they finish as the beds fill up with growing perennials. It is an elegant solution and is working, thankfully, for us.

  3. Good tip about daffodils stopping mining beasties! I will have to plant more.

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