Thursday, January 19, 2017

Iris cretensis : hard to believe that something this beautiful blooms now!

Iris cretensis

Winter has yet to take a deep bite out of the garden, but even so many plants which would ordinarily be pushing up against much stiffer weather are holding back this year. The first of the lawn snowdrops are up, and the clone selected here and called 'Christmas' is in full bloom - finally, because it was late for Christmas. The snowdrop I call 'Thanksgiving' was also late this year. Two different acquisitions of the one spot forms of Galanthus elwesii are now in full bloom. The first flowers of Jasminum nudiflorum opened today, and yesterday I saw flowers opening on Hamamelis 'Jelena' and Lonicera fragrantissima. Little Narcissus cantabricus has a tiny bloom mostly open and resting on the mulch surface. So things are happening. But we really have not had winter yet, so who's to say what's ahead?
When I checked the cold frames today there was a nice surprise waiting. That's Iris cretensis you see above. Its flowers are bigger than those of any reticulate iris, but they are smaller than those of Iris unguicularis. I had to wait for the generous flowering shown above: like Iris unguicularis, this one takes its time (as in a year or two)  to settle in and bloom freely. But it's worth the wait, isn't it? 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year from the garden

So little was in bloom in the garden this New Year's Day that I decided to build a New Year's Day display which emphasized foliage. Luckily I have plently to choose from in the foliage department.
But first the flowers: pink Camellia sasanqua is the brightest one in the garden today: these flowers are from a home-grown plant grown from seed planted in the mid 1970s.  The other blooms are the blue Algerian iris, Iris unguicularis, blooming this week for the first time this season (which is to say, late for this plant). There is a snowdrop, the Galanthus elwesii form I call 'Thanksgiving' because in most years it blooms on that day. This year it started a week or two after Thankgiving Day and has continued in good form until now. There are other snowdrops blooming now, too. There is a bud of Helleborus niger: they too are late this year.
Now for the foliage: see what you can pick out. Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Fastigiata', Hedera helix, Rhapidophyllum hystrix, Smilax pumila, Smilax walteri, Smilax laurifolia, Smilax smallii, Laurus nobilis, Rohdea japonica, Euonymus fortunei, Dryopteris goldiana, Vaccinium myrsinites, Buxus sempervirens, Fatsia japonica, Asarum maximum, Ruscus aculeatus, DanaĆ« racemosa, Arum italicum, and fruit of Nandina domestica.
The Smilax walteri and S. laurifolia were collected as seed in far southeastern Virginia during a birding trip Wayne and I took in the early 1990s.