"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something to look forward to...

Is it spring yet?  Just kidding... sort of.  After the freeze we had last week the garden doesn't have much blooming besides some cheerful Pansies and Violas.  I see lots of buds have formed on Hellebores, rhododendrons, Sarcococcas and Camellias but it will be awhile before I get to see them blooming.  It's been very rainy and the ground is too wet to do much in so I've already been going through my garden photos to remind myself of what the first blooms will be.  These spring bloomers have always been very reliable in my zone 8 garden, I would plant all of them again and if I have room I'll gladly add them to other places.
Here are some of the first flowers that will be blooming in early spring:

 Hellebores (H. orientalis) are usually the first to bloom and can be blooming as early as January.  Last year I added a double and am very excited to see how it looks this spring.  I've already made room for another double in the entry garden.  Hellebores can get very pricey, but the good thing about them is that they reseed freely and will give you lots of babies to move or share, they don't usually look like the parent plant though.  The flower buds come up from the ground in late winter and seeing those buds are one of my favorite discoveries in the winter.

 Corsican Hellebore (H. argutifolius) blooms a little later than the ones above.  They also bloom on the end of the flower stems, they already have set quite a few buds.  This was a seedling from a friend and has already started reseeding in my garden.  This type can handle quite a bit more sun and gets to be about 2 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide.

 Tete-a-tete daffodils seem to be much easier for me than the larger daffodils.  These have been multiplying like crazy over the last few years.  I love how they look popping up from the snow, the yellow seems extra bright then.

 Pulmonaria is another favorite.  It starts blooming very late in winter and then continues to bloom for several months.  This is another that will reseed which is great because they tend to be a little expensive too at most nurseries.

 Winter Hazel (Corylopsis) 'Buttercup' has the sweetest flowers.  They are hard to photograph with my camera because of how light they are.  The whole shrub is covered in the dainty yellow flowers, then it leafs out after.  It's very slow growing, which is good since it probably doesn't have much growing space where it is.

 Old Fashioned Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) is another flower I look forward to seeing.  It seems to start showing signs of life in late winter and once it starts coming up it grows quickly.  These remind me of my mom because when I was living in an apartment and didn't have a garden I asked her to plant one in her garden so I could see what they looked like.  I had only seen the name and was dying to know what the flower would look like.  Of course under my mom's green thumb it grew larger than any of mine have ever dreamed of growing.  I also grow the 'Alba' variety which is pure white and just beautiful.

 Camellia japonicas are early spring bloomers in my yard.  I see them blooming a month or so earlier in other gardens, I think it must have to do with the amount of sun mine get.  I know not everyone is a fan of Camellias, but they do well in my garden and I appreciate their evergreen leaves as well as the pretty flowers.

Pink Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) is not only my favorite spring blooming shrub but also the hummingbirds who fight over it.  It took a few years to really get settled in under the pine tree, but now it is loaded in flowers every March.

A few other late winter/early spring blooms are Sarcococcas, Water Hawthorn (which grows in the pond), Tulips and Crocuses. 
What are some of your favorite early spring bloomers?
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  1. The blooms are gorgeous. Especially the bleeding heart.

  2. My hellebores are such a gift...but it will be awhile...
    ice and snow for awhile...
    the hummingbird feeder is brought in at dark and out at first light...4 are depending on us.
    Hope that yours are coping in the cold weather.

  3. Beautiful photos!!!

  4. Lovely, lovely blooms and stunning photos Catherine! I would have to say looking forward to and longing for those Hellebores!

  5. I'm familiar with everything but the Pulmonaria - that's so pretty! It is fun to daydream about Spring on these dreary, rainy days.

  6. Catherine, your photographs are absolutely gorgeous! You have so much to look forward to come spring and what a great way to keep yourself motivated throughout the cold winter months, going back through your archives to enjoy all the glorious colour you'll be having all over again.

    You have such a wealth of plants growing in your garden, some I haven't heard of, or seen, before. I bought my first ever hellebore this year, so I'm really looking forward to watching what it will do in my garden - I'm glad to hear from you that they are self-seeding, too. I didn't know that.

    I can't wait to enjoy the first stirings of your garden in the next month or so...everything seems to be so much brighter and more dramatic where you live. I guess those icy winters do serve a purpose.

  7. Lovely to be reminded of what is to come, not so many months away. And I do love the W.E.John quote by your header, and it reminds me of my son, aged about 7, helping me plant some bulbs saying, "Mum what I love about this is that we are making something we can't see yet" - from the mouth of babes! It has always stuck in my memory, because it does somehow encapsulate one of the central joys of gardening doesn't it?

    My favourite late winter plants are snowdrops, such a bringer of hope at the coldest time of the year. I also have masses of white narcissi in my garden and I get pretty excited when they appear in Spring.

  8. Hi Catherine,

    Oh, how great to see those beauties! I love Tete-A-Tete also but I planted a new smaller daffodil last year that out-performed Tete-A-Tete (same size, lasts longer) called Itzim.

    I agree the Hellebores and Pulmonarias are very expersive. I only bought one Hellebore last year, $22. I left many at my last home. The Pulmonarias I bought were a little less expensive, but not much. Thanks for the trip through spring!


  9. Catherine,

    Enjoyed the photos and do look forward to spring. We have hellebore niger with buds about 1 1/2 inches off the ground, maybe Christmas?

  10. Your January blooms will be here before you know it Catherine. Time is speeding by!

  11. Oh my Catherine, what lovelies you have to look forward to. Those pictures are fantastic.


  12. Not everyone is a fan of camellias? Gosh I love them so for their year round beauty. I had forgotten you have some too. Spring is near for sure though it doesn't seem like it we'll soon be enjoying all these blooms.

  13. I don't remember Pulmonaria blooming in later winter. Pretty bloom.

  14. Dear Catherine, What a cheery reminder of things to come. How welcome it was to view this today!!

  15. I really need reminded of what blooms will be coming.We have a little covering of snow this morning. LOL! My Hellebores are growing so slowly and I so hope I get some blooms this year. Maybe my old clay soil is too much for them. I love Pulmonaria in the spring. Yours with the spotted leaves is so pretty. Have you ever had a white blooming one? I have saw some in catalogs. But your Camellia blooms are so gorgeous Catherine. I so wish we could grow them here. I am so tempted to try to grow one that survives to zone 6 to see if it will survive here. It would be a stretch.

  16. Lovely, lovely pictures. I love seeing green and vibrant colors. My garden is in the California desert--you might enjoy some of the pictures. http://www.mysisterdalesgarden.com

    Happy Holidays,

  17. Yikes, for a second there I thought your Hellebores were blooming. That's a relief ;) I just planted the first 100 daff bulbs this afternoon (yes, I'm late). We're planting tete-a-tetes for the first time here this year, as I wanted some variety in height. The tall daffs are prone to tipping over in heavy rains. I'm encouraged yours are multiplying so well. These short daffs remind me of the wild ones all over the northern English countryside in spring. I love them...and your optimistic view...staring far past winter, headlong into spring!

  18. Hi Catherine, You have much to anticipate this coming Spring! Otherwise... our Winter has JUST begun. Settle back - find a nice warm corner, a good book and a cup of tea! (And a few good catalogs for those early Spring orders.) :-)

  19. What a beautiful taste of spring!! If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be the snow crocus, but all of the spring bulbs are great. Oh, and there's the lilac of course with it's heavenly scent. 6 months to go...

  20. Oh my gosh, the Corylopsis, the Winter Hazel, the dicentra, the, the, the...I LOVE THEM ALL. Good grief. Jeff and I are going to have to move.

    Love dropping by,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    P.S. Too many nurseries just don't have a selection of things. I miss my own nursery where I would order whatever I loved and inevitably someone else would love them too.

  21. Oh I so love hellebores! One of the great joys of gardening is looking forward to the spring, isn't it! Always anticipating the coming beauty. Daffodils! Bliss.

  22. Pulmonarias would probably be my favourites Catherine. I think it is going to feel like ages before spring now that we're under 18 inches of snow.

  23. You seem to always have so much going on in your garden during all seasons. I can't wiat to see your spring blooms....especially the dicentra :-)

  24. Your zone 8 garden is going to give you a lot longer bloom season than mine here in zone 5b/6a. How lucky you are! I wonder what will bloom here first, crocus or hellebores? Either way, I can't wait! A lot of people have said that they didn't know Michigan was such a beach/lake/lighthouse state, and it makes me wonder why they are not marketing themselves better. It's fabulous, you really should visit some day!

  25. Your post made me think of my visit to Hobby Lobby today ~ they were already clearing out the Christmas stuff and putting out garden/spring items! I am SO ready (even tho I really love Christmas and want to experience it first).
    You have a lot of nice spring bloomers to look forward to. One of my favorites are the primulas. I'm not sure why I love them so but I do. They are one of those plants I can never get enough of.
    I hope my hellebores will start reseeding soon. I splurged on a beautiful double two years ago ~ that's one I'd love to have spread around.

  26. If I survive the next three months of winter I will be so glad to see these views again. Great photos. I was tempted the other day to pretend that it was summer again and just post July photos.

  27. I enjoyed seeing your gorgeous flowers that will be blooming again in the spring. Right now, hellebores and bleeding hearts are my favorite spring blooms.


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