An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

February 15, 2009

Bloom Day - Paper Anniversary

This month marks one year of my participation in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and last month marked one year since I began my blog. One of the great things about blogging and keeping digital photo records is the ability to look back and see where the garden was in previous seasons. In 2008's February GBBD post the Hellebores were at peak bloom and were the only photos I wanted to show. They are also well represented in this year's post, but have only just started blooming. In fact, things seem to be about 2 weeks behind last year, but last year's mild winter was unusual. We have had several days here this week in the 60's and low 70's, which was a great relief from the cold temperatures we have had. We are also fortunate to have missed most of the violent and damaging weather that has been the story in other parts of the country (but winter has not left yet).

These are Hellborus orientalis, and my population now produces lots of seedlings, some of which are old enough to bloom.

Below are Helleborus foetidus which showed up during the last month's feast and are still going strong.

Also still going strong, but still unidentified is my Quince (Chaenomeles).
Another unknown species or cultivar is this Galanthus. I am bad about not recording what I plant and it is particularly easy for me to forget bulbs.
All of my Camellia japonica are heavily, but tightly budded, except for one. 'Magnoliaflora' has opened herself to the world. Because of its color, it is probably my least favorite. While I was still forming my own garden voice, I got it on the recommendation of my former boss who said it was one of her favorites, plus I was intrigued by the name. I wish now that I had not planted it, but it is what it is, and it will stay. What we choose to grow is such a personal choice and if we all liked the same things it would be a poorer world. You can see how Pam feels about this variety on her recent post here.

The blooms of Edgeworthia chrysantha are still hanging their heads down in a forlorn manner. Perhaps they are still sad at how I had to prune them after the plant thief mangled the shrub. If you click to enlarge the first Edgeworthia picture, you can see the fur coat they wear to stay warm (please do not tell PETA).

The Paperwhites have already bloomed, but this is my first true Daffodil to bloom this year, and it opened on one of this week's warmest days. Quite a few others are up, showing swollen buds and will not take much to nudge them into bloom.
The Lilac Daphne (Daphne genkwa) just started this week as well.
In one year of blogging, I have gotten to know a little bit about many people through their blogs, and have learned a lot as well. I would like to thank you for so many visits to my site, your comments and your information too. It has become a delightful compulsion trying to keep up with everyone, and to come up with my own material to publish. According to my hits counter, over 11,000 views of my blog have occurred (it is really only about 10,000, the rest were me just checking). I also would like to thank Carol at May Dreams Garden who has been hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for three years now. Please pay her a visit and see what other gardeners are up to.


  1. Hi Les, *delightful compulsion* is a great way to put it! Happy belated blogaversary! I am only one month older than you, like an older sister. It is exciting to see the edgeworthia growing and blooming, even with severe pruning in your area. I have two, new last year, no blooms yet, that I was worried if we were pushing the zone too much here in se TN. Your daphne is so lovely too, as is everything you show. Love the Helleborus foet!

  2. That pale pink shrub is the one I covet.
    Such a lot out. Hellebores are wonderful in photographs, but I am not keen on them as plants. Somehow they droop when at their best and the flowers soon turn green if they are white. Maybe they just like it better where you are.

  3. Here in Belgium, everything is a few weeks behind compared to last year too, not because last year's winter was mild, but because this year winter was (is) longer and colder than usual.
    Last year I was already keeping a bloom-record on my blog, on the first day of the month (I only learned about GBBD a month ago). Last year I counted 20 blooming plant species on February 1st, and today I can only find 15, and we're two weeks later.

    But I'm sure that, sooner or later, spring will eventually come...

  4. Hi, Les, I knew I'd find some blooms here in your garden, and I wasn't disappointed. We also seem to be running a few weeks later around here due to cold weather, I guess.

    By the way, we've done bloom day for two years, so we are just starting the third year!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  5. Good morning Les,
    I guess I am going to have to add Hellebores and Camelias to my list of plants. They are both wonderful. We have a Lilac Daphne in the Learning Garden but I didn't see any blooming this week, I will have to go and look again.
    Yours was one of the first blogs I started reading, before I began my blogging. Thanks for being the example.

  6. Hey Les,
    No surprise here, we have similar plantings and garden loves. Aren't we lucky to have so much going in the winter. Better yet, aren't we smart to take advantage of it! Why doesn't everyone in our zones garden for winter? A trip to an garden center in are areas will fix that right away. Happy winger gardening.

  7. Hi Les, congratulations on your 1 year milestone!!! I've enjoyed getting to know all the other bloggers too and finding other local VA bloggers has been a bonus. Your garden is very pretty now filled with all your treasures from the Camelias to the Hellebores. I'm adding both of those to my garden this year to extend my season of bloom. I know what you mean about losing tags and forgetting names. I've been gardening for so long and in the beginning the cultivar names weren't a priority to me. Blogging has encouraged me to document the names of new additions and id the older ones. Happy GBBD to you!

  8. Les, Love the hellebores...they really add a punch of color and life to my mid south browns! I have folliage on the H foetidus, but not a bud in sight. I came late to appreciating them, but love is i the air! Also my first ever cameliia came to the garden and is budded. Another iffy plant that will live in a container! Happy blogaversary...Les !


  9. Happy blogaversary! That Edgeworthia is stunning. A plant I am completely unfamiliar with, but I'm betting that's because it's not hardy here. And that snowdrop is a wonderful variety. If you figure out what it is let me know!

  10. So February isn't so bad, is it? :)

  11. Happy blog and GBBD anniversary!

    I love your blooms!

  12. Hi, Les--I've been away from Blogland for awhile, but I'm so glad I came back in time for your anniversary. I think my blooms are 2-3 weeks late, too--but they're also 2-3 weeks behind yours! I've never heard of Edgeworthia, but it's gorgeous and I'll look for it. By the way, I don't know how long Loretta's been singing at the bottom of your blog, but it's a great addition (and what a beautiful voice . . .)

  13. Love the fur coat and glad you had us enlarge it for the close view or I would not haved seen the coat! Shh, I will not tell PETA. tee hee...

    Congrats on your one year anniversary! I do believe we each learn something new by blogging. It is a wonderful thing for garden and nature lovers!

  14. Congrats on your blogiversary, Les. "A delightful compulsion" it is indeed, to try to keep up with all the bloggers. You have a lot blooming in your garden right now. I especially admire your hellebores and camellias, which don't like Austin very much.

  15. Ooh, what an interesting plant that Edgeworthia is; I'd like to examine that one up close! Congratulations on your 1-year (plus one month) blogiversary!

  16. Great pics and prose, as always, Les, but I have to say that I really like C. magnoliaflora, more for the shape of the blooms than for the color. I totally agree, though, that life's too short, and garden space too precious, to waste either on plants you don't like. So give that sucker away (or sell it!). I'm on a quest for the elusive Edgeworthia "Red Dragon" - I ordered one last fall (for way too much money) and thought at the time that it was DOA. I'm now totally convinced, so need to begin the process of letting the company know and keeping my fingers crossed that the company (a reputable one with whom I've dealt before) will make good on their promise to replace it this spring. Just as you're not a "white" person, the yellow of Edgeworthias, Forsythias, Kerrias, etc., is unappealing to me, so I've resisted planting the straight species. Aren't humans a bizarre lot?

  17. I agree with a previous commenter - my favorite part of Magnoliaeflora is the shape of the flowers, but I also don't mind a quiet pink (but the truth be told: I've become a camellia 'whore'. As my obsessive camellia-growing friend says, his favorite is 'the one in bloom'). Camellias have also become my purchase of choice when someone in my life passes away (I do draw the line at fish, mind you) - this particular camellia was planted after a sweet old beagle, Magnolia, died. It seemed the obvious choice indeed.

    Edgeworthia is on my list because of your recommendation - I saw a large one at Hamptom Park in downtown Charleston a few weeks ago. When I come here I always learn something new...lilac daphne? I'm going to have to look that one up!

    Congrats on the anniversary - I love the ritual of Bloom Day myself (and it's really interesting to be able to start looking back and observe how seasons and gardens change). I haven't posted for this one, but hope to be able to later in the week.

  18. Great to hear that this year is better than last at your haven. Beautiful hellebores, Les!

  19. Happy birthday to your blog! I love your bloom day pics - all the stuff I can't grow here in suburban San Diego.
    You're always such fun to visit, even if I can't have your garden, I can see it from here.

  20. Those are some of the prettiest hellebores I've seen. I just purchased a big lot from Sunshine Farms but they are tiny. Edgeworthia has been on my wishlist for some time now. I rarely see it in nurseries. I have a new Magnoliaflora (my previous one died on me) but it hasn't bloomed yet. I love the look and shape of the blooms on it. I think they are unique and different from most other camellias. My camellias are not blooming yet. They seem to be slow this year.

  21. Frances,
    Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you find the compulsion delightful as well.

    I kind of like the green ones, but I like anything, any color that blooms at this time of year so easily.

    I have heard that a good portion of Europe has had an unusually bad winter. I hope you have not suffered too much. Thanks for coming so far to see my garden.

    Thanks for the correction, and thanks again for hosting this party.

    I can't see how any garden in southeastern Virginia could be without a camellia. I grew up in Richmond unaware that there was such a plant. Thank you for the kind comment too.

    We are fortunate indeed to be able to have winter gardens and not snow covered ones.

    Even though I am supposed to be a professional, I still can't keep track of my plants. I am much better with the trees and shrubs and less so with everything else.

    Congrats on your first Camellia bud, I hope the bloom does not disappoint.

    Ms. Wis.,
    Yes the Edgeworthia probably will not grow for you, but you have things that would suffer varying degrees of death in our summer climate.

    Chuck B.,
    I expect you are right, but I still prefer months without Rs.

    Thank you for stopping by!

    Welcome back! I hope you brought some more pictures from the sunny warm southwest. Yes, I decided to make Loretta a fixture.

    I knew that the Edgeworthia had a fuzzy bloom, but I did not expect to see the "fur" until I happened to enlarge the photo. Thanks for stopping by.

    I would have thought that Camellias would grow for you at least temperature wise. If I had thought about it longer I would have realized that it is probably too dry.

    Thank you for stopping by, you are welcome anytime.

    I have looked for Red Dragon to sell at the store and the only place I have ever seen it available will not or can not sell it. We might be talking about the same place in Oregon. They have one company that sells retail mail order and one that sells wholesale.
    I do like yellow, but it is such an easy color to get in the garden so one must be selective.

    I do admit to liking the shape of Maggie. I another one blooming at work today in my preferred dark red, formal double flower - but the blossom was so flattened I did not like it. You should try to find the Lilac Daphne, it is much easier to grow than Daphne odora, but it is not evergreen or fragrant, though very showy.

    I suspect that if I lived in your climate I would find it difficult to decide what to grow. Thanks for stopping by.

    Weeping Sore,
    I hope you have been enjoying the rain I have heard is falling. At least your garden should appreciate it.

    I have heard of Sunshine Farms, but you should also check out Pine Knot Farms here in Virginia. They are nothing but Hellebores and have an interesting web site.


  22. Your Hellebores are lovely! I have orientalis hybrids, but not foetidus. It has such a simple charm. How fun that your Daffodils are blooming. That looks a lot like my 'Ice Follies,' which have yet to sprout.

  23. Congratulations on your one year of blogging! I've enjoyed reading your blog since I came across it a couple months back. Last month marked my one year of blogging as well. Wasn't sure if I would stick to it but it's been a lot of fun.

    Looks as if you have a nice variety of blooms this month. I was sick over the weekend and didn't get a chance to go out and take photos for this months bloom day post. I never have been good about planning ahead. I also missed out on the Mid-Atlantic garden show this weekend - I was really bummed about that!

  24. Ah, I've seen Daphne genkwa at the local Arboretum (NCSU) and I've been wanting to order one ever since. It's so lovely.

  25. You are the best Les! I laugh or smile every time I visit. More importantly, I admire and respect your opinion. Your bloomers are beautiful. I don't have a helleborus but would like one.

  26. Hi Les, Can you believe I am still working my way around to visit GBBD posts from the 15th? It will be time for March's before I get around to the rest:-)

    My favorites have to be the hellebores...the colors are outstanding. I have just one plant, and it's not looking too great this year. I'm not sure if it'll bloom or not, but it does have shoots up, just not flowers yet.

    The quince flower is gorgeous as is the camelia. I have neither of those.

    Being in northern VA, our climate isn't the same as yours, unfortunately:( I miss my days of living down that way. From '77-'81 we were in N.News and in '90 we were in Norfolk until we moved up here later that same year. (My daughter is in school down your way).

    I would imagine if I come to visit her soon there would be gardens and nurseries open with stuff not available or at least, not YET available, up this way. Wow, that's a tempting thought:)

    Sorry to see your edgeworthia took a beating but it's nice to see some blooms just the same.

  27. I love the Hellborus orientalis...we dont have this flowers in Portugal.I especially admire the hellebores...