Wednesday 15 February 2012

February bloomers

I can’t believe it’s 10 days since I last made a posting on my blog, but there you go, between days in bed with migraine and achy joints, and…let me see, no less than 6 hospital appointments – writing on my blog has not really come high enough on the priority list. But I thought I would make an effort today, as it is Garden Blogger Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens every 15th of the month, and as we already have 15th February I would like to participate this month too.

Last month was my first posting at the GBBD and even I was amazed at what was flowering in my garden at that point, although I have always plants in flower, all year round, no matter what weather we have. But January this year was a bit special and some plants were a bit early. However, one month on, I have less plants in flower than last month! The almost 3 weeks we have had with close to zero and quite a few nights with well below zero has effectively put things on hold in my garden. Mind you, not everything has stopped, it is just slowing down.

This is Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, with berries from last autumn and flowers just come out. Last month my other Sarcococca was in flower already, the Sarcococca confusa, but this one is a bit later. Both are highly scented and lovely additions to the winter garden. Sarcococca is also very easy to propagate, they send out suckers and when the suckers are grown to a height of 20-30 cm you can just cut them off the mother plant and pot them on. From my mother plant I have got two more plants and my neighbour garden have two large plants too!

This is my Ferrari! No, not really, it is called Viburnum Farreri, but I remember the plant as Ferrari :-) Last month the flowers were just about visible, but had not opened yet. Now they are properly open and the scent is just heavenly! It is typical for these winter flowering plants to have strong scents, so that the few insects around are able to find and pollinate the plants. I actually had a bumblebee in my garden last month, when we had much milder weather, but I haven’t seen any bees at all the last few weeks – I think they have gone back to hibernation, all of them. Smart move, I think perhaps I should do that too!

And what about this traffic light of the garden! OK, I know it isn’t strictly a flower, but I just had to include it. This is Skimmia japonica 'Bowle's Dwarf’ (female), and planted next to a male Skimmia, like for example Skimmia japonica 'Rubella', the 'Bowle's Dwarf’ produces these amazing red berries in the autumn. The flowers of Skimmia japonica 'Bowle's Dwarf’ are rather unassuming and not much to brag about, just tiny white flowers in the spring, and the buds are not as nice as on the Rubella. You definitely keep the Bowle's Dwarf for the berries! But being evergreen both of the Skimmias are greenery throughout the year, and I appreciate every green dot in my garden at this time of year.

I wrote about my Chaenomeles superba 'Crimson and Gold' last month, it was definitely looking better a month ago, but it is still flowering! When all the flowers have gone, the leaves will be out and the fruit will start to appear. The fruit can be eaten if cooked first, apparently it tastes nice in apple compote, but I haven’t tried it yet. The birds tend to leave the fruit alone, perhaps a sign of how tart they are.

The Hellebores are not completely out yet, they are taking their time in this cold weather! But we are getting there, last month these flowers were just spikes barely above ground.

This is my second Hellebore, a much smaller plant, but earlier to flower. My third Hellebore hasn’t even started to produce anything, I do wonder if it is sulking for being moved last autumn. But they were all moved, and it doesn’t seem to have affected the 2 maroon Hellebores so maybe it’s just a question of time. We’ll see, perhaps I’ll have some pictures for you next month!

My crocuses have started flowering, although quite sporadic so far, the cold weather has slowed them down more than I thought it would. Considering they were out of the ground in November last year I am a bit surprised that they still haven’t flowered, all 280 of them! This is one of my old crocuses, perhaps 4-5 years old.

And this is one of the new ones I bought last year. I’ve got loads of leaves coming up, but very few flowers yet to see – which is a bit strange, as most of the crocuses I have had in the past usually comes with a flower bud as soon as they have started emerging. I hope I haven’t bought bulbs so immature that it’s going to take years before they flower…

And finally, here’s a teaser for next GBBD, as I assume they will be in flower by then; some of my Hyacinths. I have white, pink and purple hyacinths and they smell so wonderful that I have planted them as close as I can to where I usually sit in the early spring, when the sun isn’t too strong so I still can sit in the sun.

That was my collection of flowering plants in my garden for February 2012. There are no plants from my front garden this month; between the snow, the frost and the squirrel, or squirrels – he brought a few friends around (!!), my front garden window boxes now look like a disaster zone and are not up for displaying. I am not sure how much I can rescue, but I will have a go. The main problem is that the squirrels are just digging up the small plants in my window boxes, and having large mature plants in window boxes aren’t really smart, they don’t thrive that well after a few years…..It’s only annuals what I’ve got now, but I wasn’t planning to buy anything new for the window boxes until May, so it would be great if what I got there now could last another 3 months. I doubt that, I might have to buy a few additions perhaps, or find some squirrel safe plants! Any suggestions??

That’s it for today, oh, just got to mention that I have been awarded with another ‘The Versatile Blogger’ award, this time by Astrid at Astrid's Garden Design. Thank you for the nomination, I really appreciate the recognition. I nominated 15 bloggers when I got the award the first time around so I won’t be doing it again, you can read my list of 15 HIGHLY DESERVING BLOGGERS HERE.

Well, time to wrap this up and move on to the next point on my to-do list for today. I am currently working on no less than 3 books; not the way I usually work, I usually do one thing at the time and make sure to finish before I start a new project, but this time it just happened to be this way. The book about roses in my garden has more or less been put on ice for now, but the other two books are competing for which one is going to be published first. I will keep you posted! See you soon, hopefully it won’t be such a long break as last time, take care :-)


  1. Hi Helene: I was just thinking about you today! I was glad to see your blog pop up in my Blotanical "faves" list. Thank you so much for the view of spring and the beautiful blooms in your garden. All my blooms are still under the snow! Cheers!

  2. Whoa your Viburnum blooming already. How lovely it looks. Your photos are great.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  3. I hope the aches and joints join the snowmelt, hope you get well soonest. Your flowers, although only familiar to me by name and not in person, they are very beautiful especially the hellebores and crocus. I only got familiar with them through the blogposts. This blogging craze even gave me my favorites, snowdrops, pansies and wisteria, which are all temperate plants.

  4. Well your garden seems to be doing just fine, but not so the gardener. I hope your ills are not getting you down too much. Hopefully those little signs of spring will lift your spirits. Best of luck with those books. It sounds like you're going to be very busy.

  5. I like that Viburnum with the classy car name, even if it is spelled differently. Easy to remember that way. Happy GBBD!

  6. Lovely photos. Your garden is a lot more advanced than ours up north. Hope your health improves as the warmer weather comes.

  7. aloha,

    what a great collection and photos, congrats on the viburnum blooming so early :)

  8. Your viburnum flowers are beautiful! I have two different viburnum, both with white flowers but I love the touch of pink. :o)

  9. Many thanks to all of you who have left messages, it means a lot to me! And thanks for all the well-wishes too, I will feel better and get more done, both indoors and outdoors as soon as the temperature creeps a bit higher – although it doesn’t seem to be in a hurry just yet!

    Beth at PlantPostings: thanks for thinking of me :-) I am around, just not as often as I have been.
    And to all of you who has commented on my Viburnum farreri flowering early, it’s actually not early for this plant to flower after Christmas, it often flowers throughout the winter when we have milder winters, starting in November and not ending until March. A true star, my Ferrari! This summer I am going to prune it a bit, as I do every 3-4 years, and this time I will make sure to save some for making cuttings. It is a slow grower, 15-20 years to maturity, but it flowers after 2-3 years.

    Back to my books, not much to go before the first one is off to the printers, probably end of this week, yay!

  10. I hope you're feeling better, sounds like you've had a rough month so far :-( I had to laugh, Sarcococca is one of those plants I walk by in our neighbors yard everyday and don't notice...but his past week, I stopped in my tracks and had to take a sniff!

  11. You've got some beautiful blooms at this time of year. Sarcococca is a favourite even if we don't have it in our present garden.

  12. You have a lot going on in your garden! I love the Viburnum - so pretty! And I love berries in the garden in winter.

    I hope warm weather comes soon and that you feel better!


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