Blossom XXXVI: Crocus

~

“There is something infinitely healing
in the repeated refrains of nature –
the assurance that dawn comes after night,
and spring after winter”
.
Rachel Carson

~

~

“Many children… delight in the small and inconspicuous.”
.
Rachel Carson

~

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2018
Another March Story

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Signs Of Spring

Iris histrioides

Iris histrioides

~

Signs of spring draw us outside, and lead us step by step, path by path, through the garden today.

~

Daffodils

Daffodils

~

There is a newness to the greens emerging now from the warming, moist soil.  Can you smell the smell of green on the breeze? 

~

Vinca minor

Vinca minor

~

We won’t bother with labels like leaf or weed, grass, shoot, stem or bud.  It is all welcome on a day such as this.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-024

~

Another warm day, that is; with bright sunshine and blue sky and soft breezes setting the Daffodils dancing to some unheard ( by us) spring jig.  But the birds flitting from shrub to shrub surely hear it.  Their chirps and bits of tune harmonize with the wind song in the still bare branches high above the garden.

~

february-20-2017-miniature-daffies-002

~

We went out to admire the bits of clearing and pruning we’ve completed already, and take stock of what is still needed to welcome spring.

The Vinca has already given soft lavender flowers; new leaves emerge still tightly wound in their buds.  This is the one time of year when I actually like the Vinca vines which threaten to take over every bed we start.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-006~

The one Iris we discovered Saturday afternoon has multiplied, and now stands in company with its sisters.  Their petals almost startling blue, gauche perhaps against winter’s neutrals, but so welcome.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-001

~

Blue Iris and soft purple Crocus stand low against the soil, timid almost, to have shown their faces so early in the season.

~

Crocus

Crocus

~

But cheeky Daffodils open bravely, budding and unfolding  with such speed that we delight in finding new ones each day.  The first of the miniatures appeared yesterday.

~

february-20-2017-miniature-daffies-026

~

And today I noticed a divided Daffodil bulb exposed to the afternoon sun.  It lay on a steep bank below a shrub, a few of its roots determinedly reaching down into the soil even as leaves and a flower bud emerged from each bulb’s tip.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-021

~

How did it get here?  Did it wash out of its bed in heavy rain, or can we thank some curious squirrel for its plight?

~

Rep-planted, and ready to grow!

Re-planted, and ready to grow!

~

I was simply glad to notice it, and moved it to a more accommodating spot where it can ‘live long and prosper…”… I hope.

We can never have too many Daffodils brightening a February day!

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-017

~

The seedling  Hellebores I transplanted last spring are blooming now, too.  They hybridize themselves promiscuously, and I’m endlessly fascinated to see the first of their flowers open.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-019

~

No named beauty in a catalog is quite as lovely as these debutantes, bred in our own garden.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-038

~

I find it deeply satisfying to see their  leaves and buds stretching for the sun, appearing in places I had forgotten I’d planted them.   And today I made mental notes of where to plant a few more seedlings later this week.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-015

~

Forsythia flowers are opening, and even the Hydrangea buds have begun to burst and show a hint of green.  Tender new leaves have emerged now on the roses and from woody vines on the trellis.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-013

~

What do you think?  Do we trust this early spring?

We moved our Olive and Pomegranate trees back outside this weekend to let them enjoy a bit of fresh air and real sunshine.  I hope, for my back’s sake, that they can stay!

All of the hanging baskets had a holiday on Sunday, out of the garage, and a good deep drink with a bit of  Neptune’s Harvest mixed in.  We opened the garage door to let air and light in to the pot-bound Begonias and Bougainvillea sheltering there.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-035

~

A Virginia spring is never a settled thing.  It teases and promises, but never can be trusted until early May, at least.  I’ve spent too many Easter Sunday mornings huddled in a winter coat and shivered through too many April snows, to fully trust an 80 degree February day.

~

Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny

~

We happily use these sweet warm days, opening windows and doors and starting new projects.  But the furnace kicks in again by dusk.  There is no long-term contract signed, yet. 

Still, we will marvel at each emerging bud and fiddlehead, and keep our fingers crossed that March will be gentle with our garden.

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-002

~

Woodland Gnome 2017

.

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is.

And when you’ve got it, you want—

oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want,

but it just fairly makes your heart ache,

you want it so!”

.

Mark Twain

~

february-21-2017-bulbs-005

 

Sunday Dinner: Imagine

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 023

~

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.

You imagine what you desire,

you will what you imagine

and at last create what you will.”


.

George Bernard Shaw

~

February 28, 2016 Camellia 004

~

“Imagination is everything.

It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

.

Albert Einstein

~

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 022

~

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

~

February 28, 2016 Camellia 003

WPC: State of Mind

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 007

~

“Every photo we take says something

about our emotions at the moment of taking it.

So this week, share an image

where you see a particularly strong connection

between what we see

and what you felt

as you pressed that shutter button on your camera.”

 

The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

~

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 011

~

The wind was biting and insistent.  But the sun was bright, and we made a quick circuit of the garden together admiring the few early flowers bravely opening this afternoon.

After days of rain, dull skies, wind and storms; such clear skies and sunshine lifted our spirits.  We knew from the first rays of sun slipping in around the bedroom curtains this morning that this would prove a beautiful day.

~

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 019

~

And it has.  Winter still blankets the garden, but we feel the possibility of spring.

We found tiny signs of renewal in the garden, causes for hope, reasons to celebrate; the spark we needed transform our wintery state of mind.

~

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 017

~

Woodland Gnome 2016

 

~

February 26, 2016 sun and sky 021

~

“One day spent with someone you love can change everything.”


.

Mitch Albom

Sunday Dinner: Emergence

February 21, 2016 spring 008

~

“Only keep still, wait, and hear, and the world will open.”

.

Richard Powers

~

February 21, 2016 spring 009

~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

~

February 21, 2016 spring 001

~

“And suddenly you know:

It’s time to start something new

and trust the magic of beginnings.”

.

Meister Eckhart

 

Looking Good On Friday

 

October 30, 2015 flowers 003

~

A lot of satisfaction comes from re-freshing parts of the gardens fallen to neglect.  So it is with this little bed beneath a Camellia shrub.  The bed and shrub have grown here since 2011.  The shrub has at least quadrupled in size on those years, and the bed has gone through many transformations.

~

Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.

Camellia sasanqua blooming in late December of 2011.

~

At first, it was planted in Violas and covered in a mosaic of shells picked up by family on the North Carolina beaches.   When the shrub was new, I wanted to protect its root ball from digging squirrels and burrowing voles.  The shells were there to thwart the squirrels.  I planted a few Daffodil bulbs around the shrub to ward off the voles.

~

Mid-March, 2015

Mid-March, 2015

~

As one season melted into the other, Violas were yanked out or planted new.  A variety of summer annuals were planted and lots of grass and wild strawberry overtook the bed from time to time.  I’ve had to dig out the shells and place them again at least a half dozen times.  I’ve added compost and coffee grounds, Espona and Neptune’s Harvest.

~

October 30, 2015 flowers 005

~

And bulbs…. I tuck a few more bulbs into this bed each year, it seems.

This spring, I decided to transplant some Hellebore seedlings up to this spot.  Maybe I’m reaching the age when simplifying the workload feels right.  Maybe I expect the Hellebores to last longer and look better than the various annuals I’ve tried.

But the Hellebores grew on all summer, slowly, despite the grass creeping into the bed through the hot summer when I didn’t take time to weed.  And one day in early fall, I decided it was way past time to get this bed looking good yet again!

~

September 2015

September 2015

~

After a thorough weeding, I added a few more Hellebores, two Autumn Brilliance ferns, some nearly black Ajuga, vines, and of course, more bulbs.

But this time I added a new flower to our garden:  autumn blooming Crocus speciosus ‘Conqueror.’  We picked these bulbs from the Heath’s Bulb Shop in Gloucester on one of our visits along with several other fall and winter blooming bulbs we are trialing for the first time this year.

~

October 30, 2015 flowers 004

~

These Crocus are as welcome as the early spring ones, but look how much larger and lush they grow!  I love the markings on their petals and the delicate stamens in the center.  These opened for the first time yesterday, and I was glad to have a moment for taking photos this afternoon.

Last week I added a few more Daffodils to the bed, and some additional Muscari.  There are bulbs for spring Crocus buried in the bed now, too, and a frosting of white Violas.

~

October 30, 2015 flowers 007

~

This little flower bed, which we pass each day, finally is looking good again!  It looks fresh and clean, even with its dusting of fallen leaves.  The Camellia is sporting a few buds, which will open red in December.

Taking time to notice what is Looking Good each week keeps my focus on the positive.  Many thanks to Gillian at Country Gardens UK for hosting this theme each Friday.  Please visit her site to enjoy gardens from around the world, which are looking good today!

 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

~

October 30, 2015 flowers 006

Awakening

Columbine begins its annual growth in our garden.

Columbine begins its annual growth in our garden.

~

Warmer days this week drew us outside to begin cutting back the dead branches of perennials, pull mouldering leaves out of planting beds, and look for the many tiny signs of spring.  Autumn leaves have found lodging everywhere, it seems.  Too wet to shred, we will leave them to mulch the soil a bit longer.

~

Catmint has reappeared in the stump garden.

Catmint has reappeared in the stump garden.

~

I was a little surprised to see abundant growth of new leaves on the catmint once last summer’s stems were cleared away.  Tiny green shoots of Comphrey poke a few inches above the moist soil.  New daffodil leaves emerge each day.

~

Tete-a-Tete daffodils bloom in a pot with a budding Clematis vine.

Tete-a-Tete daffodils bloom in a pot with a budding Clematis vine.

~

A single bright yellow daffodil blossom magically appeared over night on Tuesday in a pot near the drive, and a spray of tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils opened the following day in the pot where a Clematis vine has already budded out.  Their cheerful golden trumpets brighten up this soggy Saturday.  Mid-March is muddy here in Williamsburg.

We are happy for the mud, however, as it shows us the ground has thawed.  Our last snow-pile finally melted by Thursday morning.

~

March 14, 2015 spring flowers 011

~

Now little bits of fresh growth have begun to emerge in the oddest places.  Bright moss shines along the front walk.  Deep rosy red buds appeared this week on the roses, beckoning me to finally trust that the worst of winter has passed and cut them back.

~

March 14, 2015 spring flowers 006

~

We’re walking around, taking stock; cleaning up what winter left behind.

Somehow a box of bare root Siberian Iris came home with us from Sam’s Club, and I scooped out moist holes for their roots yesterday.  I love their deep purple flowers waving in the warm May breeze.  They spread and multiply rapidly, making thick stands of saturated color as the Azaleas fade each year.  A bare root white Clematis from the same package now grows along a fence.

~

March 14, 2015 spring flowers 004

~

A fitting surprise waited for me in the old bag of potting soil which has lingered beneath the wheelbarrow these last frozen months.  I opened it to fill a pot for the second Clematis yesterday, and found little shoots of green already growing in the mix.  Apparently, this was soil I had scooped out of a pot at the end of the season to save, forgetting there were tiny bulbs mixed in from another spring.  The bulbs sprouted anyway, and their leaves were poking out of the moist soil.  I rescued them from the bag and tucked them into pots where they can prosper in the sun.

~

Crocus emerge beneath a woody web of Lantana stems.  We want to wait until the weather settles a bit more before cutting the Lantana back for spring.

Crocus emerge beneath a woody web of Lantana stems. We want to wait until the weather settles a bit more before cutting the Lantana back for spring.

~

Always filled with interesting surprises, spring cheers me like no other season.  As each perennial emerges from its winter rest, as each bulb breaks the Earth with its brilliant green leaves and each fruit tree bursts into flowers; I am reminded again that life is full of beautiful surprises.

Our gardens, like our own lives, remain perennially capable of new growth.  Although we don’t find it in every season, the potential remains.

~

March 14, 2015 spring flowers 019

~

When the soil is warm  and moist, things always grow.  Whether that growth is what we planned or whether it ends up a straggler which blew in from elsewhere; the soil covers itself with interesting leaves, spreading stems, and sometimes a delicate flower.

~

I've transplanted Hellebores seedlings to grow beneath this Camellia shrub.  They will make a lovely ground cover in a few years.

I’ve transplanted Hellebores seedlings to grow beneath this Camellia shrub. They will make a lovely ground cover in a few years.

~

The sun beckons, even as rain clouds mute its life giving rays.

March: the month when our garden awakens to spring.  May all of its verdant possibilities inspire you.

~

March 12, 2015 watershed 004

~

 

Woodland Gnome 2015

~

March 14, 2015 creek 041

One Word Photo Challenge: Beaver (Brown)

March 10, 2015 brown 005

~

Some might call it ‘mole-skin’ or ‘cafe au lait,’ but Jenny calls it ‘beaver.’

~

March 10, 2015 brown 006

~

By whatever moniker, it proves a dull and washed out shade of brown.  Or perhaps a dark faded khaki?

~

March 10, 2015 brown 008

~

This color looks to me as though it has been through the washer a time or ten too many.

It is the color still most prominent in our garden: the color of winter bleached leaves and long dead stems; spores, and cold scorched foliage.

~

March 10, 2015 brown 007

~

But from such as this is the newness of spring nurtured.  It holds life, potential, promise.

~

March 10, 2015 brown 010

~

And so as always, I want to thank Jenny for choosing the perfect color again this week.

In searching for ‘beaver brown’ I was able to look beyond it and find more signs of change; more promises of  spring’s return.

~

March 10, 2015 brown 012

~

owpc-logo-21One Word Photo Challenge:  Beaver

94715B

Woodland Gnome 2015

 

“There are times to stay put,

and what you want will come to you,

and there are times to go out into the world

and find such a thing for yourself.”
.

Lemony Snicket

~

March 10, 2015 brown 002

One Word Photo Challenge: Saffron

Daffodils blooming at the end of March 2014

Daffodils blooming at the end of March 2014

~

Saffron may also be described as “pollen yellow.”  Saffron, the spice, comes from the stamens of a particular cultivar of Crocus.

One of the most expensive of all of the spices, it has been cultivated and treasured for many centuries.  Such a rich warm color!

~

Crocus in bloom, with their "saffron" stamens covered in golden pollen.  This photo from February 16, 2014

Crocus in bloom, with their “saffron” stamens covered in golden pollen. This photo from February 16, 2014

~

How nice it would be if I were posting more photos of our own early saffron yellow Crocuses today, but that will have to wait.  Ours are resting under 6 inches of fresh snow.

The yard is beautiful, but there will be no ‘saffron’ photos taken in the garden today!  This winter has been so long and cold that no part of me want to show you photos of the snow.  I’ll stick with photos of flowers, if you don’t mind.

~

Our front border last March 22.  We had a cold, late spring last year.  I wonder when we'll see these appear again?

Our front border last March 22. We had a cold, late spring last year. I wonder when we’ll see these appear again?

~

I’ve looked back into the photo files from last spring to find a bit of golden yellow saffron for Jenny’s challenge today.  Have you ever noticed that the very first flowers each spring are usually golden yellow?  Yellow Crocus, Forsythia, Witch Hazel, Dandelions, and Daffodils usher in each spring.

~

March 23, 2014 parkway and flowers 055~

I hope you enjoy them, and know that this year’s saffron yellow flowers will emerge from the thawing ground any time now.

~

Our yellow crocuses are currently under the snow.  This photo of them was taken March 2, 2014.

Our yellow crocuses are currently under the snow. This photo of them was taken March 2, 2014.

~

F4C430

One Word Photo Challenge:  Saffron

See more photos of Saffron here.

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014 

~

Forsythia

Forsythia

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 677 other followers

Follow Forest Garden on WordPress.com
Order Classic Caladiums

This Month’s Posts

Topics of Interest