February 2007

Funny how there really isn't a lot new to show as yet for the month of February. Yeah, the expected Snowdrops, and the Helleborus we first saw in bloom at Christmas is still going strong, BUT, the Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' for example still hasn't shown its face, whereas it had started to by this time last year. Oh well, they'll come around soon enough.

Talking about 'Ivory Prince', here it is on the 10th and while there are plenty of flower buds, even the largest ones are not giving any hint they are about to open.

Galanthus elwesii or Giant SnowdropIt wasn't until I looked at this close-up shot of these Giant Snowdrop flowers that I realized they are NOT all white. Amazing the things you discover when using your camera's macro capabilities.

While with a quick glance it might initially have looked like a Crocus bud about to open to Waita in the early morning, by the middle of the afternoon it became clear that we're dealing with the first of the Iris reticulata we have in various spots in our garden beds.

Like so many other things in the yard, these also are later than last year. In this case about 10 days.

The weekend of the 17th/18th were just bonus. There was precip in the forecast for the Sunday but it never materialized. It was a rather sunny day with some clouds, a day just made for yardwork. There was some cleaning up left to do from a couple of weeks earlier when we'd dug up all the lily bulbs out of a planter and it was time to pot those back up again. The pot we cleaned out had a massive number of 'Lollypop' bulblets, it's just unbelievable how rapidly we have gone from 3 bulbs to well in excess of a hundred. We potted up a number of pots last year already with blooming size bulbs and sold all of them in our spring plant sale. We have plenty more to work with though.

With all of the moving around of pots I noticed there was a #1 pot with a Hosta 'Golden Tiara' that was starting to show signs of poking up its noses, a sure sign spring is not far off.

We also divided some 'Licorice Fern', seeing as they did very well in our plant sale last year, and we dug up our main root of Dicentra spectabilis and made several divisions from it before re-planting about half of it. Some were big enough to warrant a #2 pot, others were the right size for #1's. In addition to the nominate form you see here, we also have some D. spectabilis 'Alba', some eeking out an existence in a planter with a Camelia, the other is a year-end clearence buy from last year that went into a #2 pot and is just now sending up the first hints of new growth.

Last year my brother Chris gave me a cute little plant called 'Mouse plant', or Arisarum proboscideum and when it blooms it is rather reminiscent of said small rodent. I'd kinda lost track of where it was until I noticed it behind the planter with the Licorice Fern. It's done just fine for itself, hasn't it? It'll be late April/early May before we can expect to see it in bloom.

A couple of weeks ago Waita erected our little zip-up greenhouse again. It was high time I got around to sowing the Hosta seeds collected last year, this time around a mixture of open pollinated and deliberate crosses. Here are six containers with Hosta seed collected from some crosses I did last year -doesn't every Hostaholic want to be a hybridizer-, and one with some seed from Iris siberica 'Sparkling Rose'. Can't wait for them to start popping up....

After having them for I don't know how many years, we were told by my youngest brother that we have 2 different species of Snowdrops in the yard. There is the obvious difference in size between the common snowdrop: Galanthus nivalis and the giant snowdrop: Galanthus elwesii but there are also some noticeable differences between their respective flowers. Just look at the big one on the left-hand side and the ones on the right-hand side. While their blooming period overlaps, the giant snowdrop is about 10 days ahead of the common one here in our yard. They appeared in our yard as volunteers many years ago and have gone on to become so plentyful that we've been known to do some very hard pruning of clumps to keep them from taking over in the spring.

Well, here it is February 27th and, if nothing else, things are peculiar in the yard to say the least. There finally are a couple of the 'Ivory Prince' buds that are open - they started to show about 3 days ago - which puts the progress of this Hellebore 3 weeks behind last year. Hard to figure out why. By the same token, as you see below, there are the first signs of Hostas breaking ground.

Not far from the Helleborus you can see these Hosta 'Golden Tiara' breaking ground. And these aren't the first ones to do so either. So, the Hostas are pretty much where they were this time last year, as are the Violets and Peonies...yet, the lilies are slower than last year, so there really is no rhyme or reason it would seem. I do wonder though if that cold spell we had late November had more of an impact on some than on others.....

With any luck these 'Bowl of Beauty' shoots are big enough to give us flowers this first year after division last fall. Here's hoping there'll be evidence of buds when the April/May plant sales roll around, let's keep our fingers crossed. Given the size of this root I'd say odds are in our favour.