Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pining for Spring #2

Nothing much prettier than Prunus avium  'plena' against the blue spring sky

I'm continuing on a theme I established a couple days ago... put simply, I'm suffering from spring fever! As noted earlier, it's much too early for this malady to be taking place. Certainly all that snow we were supposed to get today through tomorrow should help get things in order, but it went south of us. Then there is the big blast and snow due on Sunday... looks like it's going north of us. The creatures of the earth and the foul of the air aren't helping much either. Flocks of geese flying north and robins about simply add to the ailment. I even have the beginnings of color in the gardens. Two varieties of witch hazels (Hamamelis selections) are now showing color in the rockery. It's definitely a bit on the early side for them despite the fact that it's not at all uncommon for them to bloom in late winter. There are actually about 100 cultivars of witch hazel, but based on my research, the two varieties I chose are considered among the best. The first is 'Arnold Promise' which was introduced by Arnold Arboretum forty years ago. This is considered a later bloomer and it's definitely a bit behind my second cultivar 'Jelena'.

Witch hazels are considered difficult in this area because of a preference for acid soil and they don't care for harsh winters... no problem there this year! The second cultivar that I'm growing is 'Jelena'. This comes out of Belgium and carries a slight fragrance in the blooms. It is also known for excellent fall color which is orange-red. The following two photos of Jelena are from today and unless we get hit with severe weather, the copper-orange blooms should extend to about an inch. These plants can achieve a height and width of 15 feet. I planted them in the rockery to provide shade for the area in the future. Because they are somewhat 'contained' root-wise, it will be interesting to see how they develop. I have noted that Song Sparrow Nursery is carrying three varieties with rose, lavender-purple, and lavender-rose  colored blooms as described in their catalog. These might be worth a try, although I have to be particularly careful where I site these plants as the rabbits are very fond of them.

I'll close with a few photos from springs past... Larry

A favorite early bloomer... Chionadoxa

Fair daffodils...

Anemone pulsatilla in the rockery

Magnolia 'Betty'

Spring view from the gazebo

Picea glauca 'Pendula' is a favorite conifer with a very narrow footprint

I do love the tulips as well!


Beth said...

Your witch hazels are really neat, Larry. There is a beauty/health product known as witch hazel. I wonder what part of the plant it comes from. It is an astringent/toner type product. Those anemone are really pretty. Are there anemone cultivars that bloom in the spring, and others that bloom in the fall? We are supposed to get snow tonight. We've had great big flakes falling off and on today but they hit the ground and melted.

Andrea said...

All the plants and flowers here are lovely, although of course they are not grown in the tropics. The prunus flowers in whatever colors are always beautiful. The first time i saw them in Sweden I can't take my eyes on them, and when time allows, i always go out to look at them. It is so sad that I still dont have big memory cards for photos those times.

ann said...

Aren't we all chompin' at the bit for Spring to arrive. We still have brown, brown, and more brown. Soon. Very soon.

Larry said...

Hi Beth... there are a great number of anemones including many choices for spring and the august-sept blooming varieties... the various 'Japanese anemones' and cultivars that are double, etc. My patch of single Japanese anemones has expanded a lot and I want them in less shade so will divide them this spring. I also really enjoy anemone sylvestris. I'll contact you via e-mail... perhaps I can drop a few off for you when we're in Iowa. Larry

Larry said...

Hi Andrea... I was just looking at your blog... absolutely beautiful pictures of things I'll never get to see... I'm glad you are sharing them with so many through your site!

Hi Ann... it really does get the blood flowing... so much to look forward to!


Tootsie said...

I have never seen a witch hazel plant before...thanks for sharing that today!!!
I have to there ever a season in your garden that doesn't look beautiful??? I am always so impressed to see what you share!
How are things??? You have been in my thoughts!
Thanks so much for linking into my little party this week...I hope you will again soon!!! I just love seeing the things everyone shares each week!
Hugs from Alberta Canada!
I shared your post on Tootsie Time's facebook page!
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Larry said...

Hi Tootsie... it's great hearing from you! It's been a bizarre winter thus far and as I said, I'm being possessed by spring fever which in turn leads to ordering way too many plants from the catalogs and internet. I requested delivery the week of April 16th which means that's when I'll start heating the greenhouse... those few weeks that the greenhouse is full up to the brim, are among my favorite of the entire year!! Take care, Larry

Dragonfly Treasure said...

WOW! For witch hazels to be difficult in your area yours are gorgous and healthy! Of course, I don't think theres anything you can't grow!
Strange weather this year huh? We have not had any rain...gonna be a tough Summer.
Take care and have a great weekend!

Larry said...

Hi Deb... we actually have been getting a fair amount of moisture... generally an inch or two of snow at a time which soon slowly melts into the soil rather than running off... hopefully this 'moist' pattern will continue as I don't look forward to hauling hoses and I haven't had to in the past couple of years. Larry

spurge said...

Your garden is absolutely stunning Larry. So glad I found your blog. I'm in Madison, and have been considering planting a witch hazel but worried that it might too marginal winter-wise. We do have gigantic marauding rabbits so maybe that's more of a danger.

TheGardeningBlog said...

I had decided not to grow Tulips this year and now I see this photo on your blog and I've realised ... I have to get some again :)

Your garden is an inspiration Larry! In every season.

Larry said...

Thanks for faving me on Blotanical Spurge. I was just about to message you. I think my blogging buddy Alistair in Scotland may have sent you my way. Yes, I did have the witch hazels out into the gardens and the rabbits were a problem as apparently the witch hazels are quite sweet and delicious as spring approaches... they really did away with the buds. By the way, we are located about 70 miles NE of you... I'm off to check out your site! Larry

Larry said...

Hi Gardening Blog... I know what you mean... I go through the' no more tulips' phase every so often and then miss them so badly that I replant. I actually prefer them to daffodils since the foliage ripens so much quicker and I've had good luck with many perennializing, especially the Darwin hybrids. Larry

Shady Gardener said...

You are making me "pine" also, Larry. Beautiful photos of your beautiful garden areas and flowers!! Best wishes! :-) said...

I love witch hazels, but I have been discouraged of late. 'Arnold's Promise' witch hazel is highly susceptible to a witch hazel disease (can't remember the name) and my very large plant died of it. I wouldn't recommend planting this cultivar. I need to move on and research which cultivars are disease resistant and don't hold their old leaves.

Larry said...

Hi Carolyn... this is the first that I've heard any mention of this disease... I know I've seen an article in Fine Gardening that mentions Arnold Promise as a recommended variety. You mentioned 'holding leaves'... I'll need to research that aspect... are you referring to late in the season? So far, mine drops foliage along with
Jelena in the fall. Larry

Larry said...

I found the above link on a Garden Web shrub forum which I expect is a photo of the condition Carolyn is referring to. I wonder if a preventative treatment of a biological fungicide such as Actinovate would be a wise preventative as often as the product recommends?


lisa said...

Your gardens are truly so amazing Larry, and your photographs are always so beautiful.
I love those little white flowers, and of course that magnolia!!
Cannot wait for them to start blooming here.
You have a wonderful day!