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Posts Tagged ‘hellebore’

flowers

Hellebores

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yellow

Daffodil Yellow

blue

Forget-Me-Not Blue

white

Magnolia White

green

Hellebore Green

red

Tulip Red

purple

Viiola Purple

pink

Darmera Pink

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At last the snow has all been washed away and the grass pathways of my garden walk are greening up nicely. The April showers have carried over into May, but when the sun came out in the afternoon, I took a walk around the yard to check out the action. It doesn’t look like a lot is happening, but on closer examination, there is plenty to see.

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The spring bulbs are well underway. My favorites are the little scilla, such a gorgeous shade of blue.

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The crocuses have nearly finished blooming, while the daffodils are just starting.

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The Pasque flowers didn’t quite make it for Easter, but are blooming now. That’s Pulsatilla vulgaris, above, and the hybrid Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Pearl Bells’ below.

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Last summer, I added half a dozen new peonies to the garden, so have been watching anxiously for their shoots. They’re all present and accounted for now, but most just have little red tips poking through the soil. A couple are way ahead of the other peonies. This is Paeonia lactiflora ‘Starlight’ (A.P. Saunders 1949, Herbaceous Hybrid, Single, Cream, 26″ Early). You can see the flower buds forming.

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Another early peony is the Fernleaf Peony (Paeonia tenuifolia), which features a display of charming mopheads.

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The hellebores are all blooming. This is Helleborus niger. Many hellebore flowers face downward, and you have to lift the blooms to see their pretty faces. Some of the newer hybrids have upward-facing flowers.

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And here is Helleborus ‘Peppermint Ruffles’. At least, that’s according to its tag, but the flowers don’t have as much burgundy as I was expecting, thus casting doubt on this attribution. Still pretty, though.

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The shoots of spring-blooming Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis) are well started.

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Here’s Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense). It always amazes me that seemingly-fragile leaves can push through a thick layer of leaves and mulch.

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This Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans ‘Stairway to Heaven) is so attractive, it doesn’t need flowers to show off. It’s a selection of Bill Cullina of The New England Wild Flower Society.

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All of the geraniums are looking lush, though they won’t flower for a while yet. This one is Geranium macrorhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’.

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The bergenias are also early starters. This one is Bergenia ‘Eden’s Dark Margin’. You can see the cluster of purple-pink flowers forming at the heart of the leaves.

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And finally, here are some daylily (Hemerocallis) clumps. Although they won’t bloom until July, dayliles get off to a gratifyingly early start, in contrast to hostas, which make you wait for their first shoots. We had a pleasant, sunny day earlier in the week and I spent quite a bit of it resettling these daylilies. Over the years, their roots had been invaded by grass, and lupins and even a few hollyhocks had self-seeded themselves in the middle of clumps. The only way to effectively remove the invaders is to lift the whole clump and dig them out. Fortunately, dayliles are hardy plants,and not offended by this rough handling.

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flower1

The first flowers to bloom in many northern gardens are the spring bulbs that were planted last fall and slept beneath the snow until warming weather woke them. I’ve had a few snowdrops and scilla bloom and now the crocuses are putting on their show.

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After more than a week of unseasonably mild weather earlier in the month, the temperature has been hovering closer to the seasonal norm, with near-freezing nights. The first perennials to bloom here are the hellebores and the first flower opened this weekend. The hellebores are sometimes called Lenten Roses or Christmas Roses because of their early blooming habit. Native to Europe, they’re not related to roses at all. Hellebores have become popular in the last few years, and are now quite readily available at nurseries in various shades of pink and cream.

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It was a busy weekend here at Willow House. With Fiddlegirl and her beau travelling to Nova Scotia over Easter, we enjoyed our turkey dinner a week early, and also celebrated Ponygirl’s birthday. Seabrooke made her sister this special birthday cheesecake. It was as delicious as it was cute and imaginative.

cake
Today, with all the family departed for their own abodes, the house felt quiet after the busy weekend. However, it was bright and sunny, and the cool breeze didn’t stop me from getting out and doing a bit of weeding. Now that April is here, I’m ready to start some garden cleaning and trimming back of old growth, ready for the new growing season.

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pond

We’ve had some nice, sunny days lately, but it’s sure been cold. The temperature has rarely made it above 0°C during the day and has been dropping down to -10°C or colder at night. But today, finally, we are being treated to some warmth. The temperature has crept up to 8°C and even though the pond is still dressed in a straight-jacket of ice, for the rest of us, it’s sweater weather! What a treat, to leave the winter coat hanging in the closet.

mousie

I took Mousie’s blanket off before she went out this morning. When I checked on her in the afternoon, she was relaxing in the sun, delighted, no doubt, with the warmth.

pussywillow

The trees don’t wait for warm weather. They know it’s spring. The pussywillows have been out for a while. For the garden, though, it is a different story. It is still too early to expect much. However, I took a walk around the yard to see what was showing signs of life.

hazel

I was pleased to see that the little Corkscrew Hazel has lots of buds. I set a sheet of paper behind a branch so that the buds would be visible in this photo. I purchased the plant at the end of the garden season last year. The poor thing had been passed over again and again while all it’s buddies were carried off to new homes. It looked pretty sad before I finally bought it, marked down to less than half price. I wasn’t sure it would make it through the winter, but apparently it took heart in its new home and is looking great.

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A few bulbs are just beginning to poke through the soil. These are daffodils.

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Among the first plants to bloom here are the hellebores. They’re sometimes called Christmas Roses. They don’t bloom in the middle of winter this far north, but they are still commendably early. Sure enough, I found a sturdy shoot when I removed a covering of dead leaves.

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Here’s another hellebore. This one is even further along.

primula

Primulas are pretty early too. This plant already has a whorl of leaves coming along. One of the best finds of the day was the catnip plants! They already have little heads of leaves and it won’t be too long before the cat army can enjoy a fresh spring treat!

catnip

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The last day of March was dull and gray. At least it wasn’t actually raining, as it was over the weekend. The river level is quite swollen from the recent downpour. But no ice! March left as it came in, like a lamb. The month seemed to go by quickly, carrying us ever closer to warm weather.

goldfinches

The last redpoll was spotted on Saturday. They have headed back to their northern breeding grounds. A few pine siskins linger, but the niger feeder has mostly been taken over by American goldfinches (Carduelis tristis). No doubt the goldfinches were happy to see the last of their pushy, querulous cousins. The goldfinches are getting ready for the breeding season too. The males at the feeder look decidedly ratty as their new bright yellow summer feathercoats grow in.

sedum

The garden will be a surprise this year, as I wait to see what previous owners have planted. There are no bulbs showing their heads, but a sedum (maybe Autumn Joy), above, is pushing up shoots.

iris

The blades of iris leaves are growing.

hellebore

A hellebore is struggling to flower. It appears that someone dumped sand over it last fall, thus retarding its growth this spring.

March brought no more than a sprinkling of snow. As we begin April, hopefully I am done with the snow shovel for another year (the new, blue, Christmas snow shovel). Still, I though twice about putting it away. I’ve left it at the ready, just in case Winter isn’t done with us yet. Just in case Winter has one more last-minute snow storm up his sleeve. Why tempt him?

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