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.

March 20, 2010

March Madness

This past Wednesday I filmed my TV segments at the Norfolk Botanical Garden with the two topics being Narcissus and Camellias. The segment on Narcissus was to air Thursday evening, but the news was pre-empted by a late running college basketball game. I was not upset as I was still on my own basketball high due to Old Dominion's win over Notre Dame by 1 point. They play Baylor at 5:30 today in New Orleans and many people in this town will be sending them major mental mojo. Anyway, my time was short during Wednesday's shoot as I had to get back to an exponentially increasing, busy work place, and I made a mental appointment to return to the gardens on Friday. The weather this week has been ideal with overnight lows in the 40's, daytime highs in the 60's and low 70's. It has been wonderful for the chilled and sun-starved. Most of the blooms in the garden were of the late winter type, as like most areas, we are a bit behind schedule. However, the Narcissus, Magnolias and of course the Camellias were stunning, but there were many other things blooming as well.

Cornus officinalis - Japanese Cornelian Dogwood
This particular tree is the Virginia state champion.

Cornus officinalis 5

Corylopsis spicata - Spiked Winterhazel

Corylopsis spicata with Spider

I loved the shadows cast by the Edgeworthia chrysantha - Rice Paper Plant.

Edgeworthia chrysantha 1

Hermodactylus tuberosus - Snake's Head Iris
I was not familiar with this member of the Iris family and will have to get one for my own garden.

Hermodactylus tuberosus 2

The front entrance of Baker Hall was planted with a beyond cheerful mix of Pansies, Hyacinth and Parsley.

Hyacinth and Pansies 1

I preferred the color combination from Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' and purple Crocus and will be stealing the idea.

Sedum 'Angelina' and Crocus

Flowers on deciduous Magnolias are so fleeting, and around here we do not always have a good year for them, but so far, this year looks to be a good one.
Magnolia denudata - Yulan Magnolia

Magnolia denudata 6

Magnolia stellata - Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata 4

Magnolia x soulangiana - Saucer Magnolia

Magnolia x soulangiana  5

Prunus x incamp 'Okame' - Okame Cherry
This tree was abuzz and vibrating from the hundreds of honey bees on it.

Prunus x incamp ‘Okame’ 4

Here are a couple of Camellias, but there may be more in a later post.
Camellia x williamsii 'Pink Dahlia'

Camellia x williamsii 'Pink Dahlia' 2

Camellia japonica 'Betty Shefield Supreme'

Camellia japonica 'Betty Shefield Supreme'

Camellia japonica 'K. O. Hester'

Camellia japonica 'K. O. Hester'

You can see the rest of the set, minus Camellias, here.


  1. Les, I want to dive into the monitor and be in the garden with all those beautiful flowers! Gorgeous photos and the angelina and crocus combo is an idea worth stealing! Gail

  2. Hi, your blog is great! I love your pictures! I read about the conservatory in ODU, back in January, and went to visit it. I really enjoyed to see some color in the middle of the Winter. I do a little of gardening in the Peninsula.

  3. Beautiful lighting in these pictures. I know Yulan is supposed to be bad about being caught by frosts, but the JC Raulston Arb has a mature Yulan that managed to bloom all of one cold January one year when I was taking classes at NCSU. It was both beautiful and divinely fragrant.

    Your picture of Camellia japonica 'Betty Shefield Supreme' is saying to me that she *really* wants to come live in my garden. What a beauty.

  4. I love the sedum with the purple crocus as well. I just realized that most of my crocus are gone. Since I need re-plant them anyway, I should put some sedum in the mix:) Thanks for showing this!

  5. Sorry about the loss last night with ODU, we were cheering them on.
    Love your Magnolia photos. Seems like in the last two or three days they have popped.
    I was going to go the Botanical Garden on Friday afternoon then get Charlie at the airport ---but the recaulking of the bathroom called out to me. Maybe next week.

  6. Outstanding photos of all the pretties in bloom. I just noticed the star magnolias are blooming here. They look to be having a really good year. I have two camellias in bloom. Seemed like it happened overnight. I've never seen a dahlia camellia. Looks neat! The snake's head iris is unique too. Before I began blogging I only thought irises came in the bearded kind. Boy was I wrong. Rainy here, I hope it's nice in your neck of the woods.

  7. I miss that explosion of bloom that comes after a cold winter, but we learn to appreciate the more subtle change of seasons here in San Diego. The payback is no shoveling driveways and driving on icy highways and not being able to open your front door because the snow drifted over the room of your house..

  8. Oh, Les, congrats on your team winning! Thanks for showing the Corylopsis. Ours is new from last year and will be blooming for the first time very soon. It is still small but has buds showing color. Angelina is one of those plants that goes with everything.

  9. Gail,
    It was such a nice day that I abandoned all my plans to work around the house and in my own garden, in favor of an outing.

    Welcome! Please come back again.

    Sweet Bay,
    I read a story by Bailey White called Quite A Year For Plums. In the characters spoke quite a bit about plants, camellias in particulary and Betty Shefield Supreme was considered required in any decent garden.

    My crocus have disappeared as well. Oh well, an excuse to plant more.

    Thank you for your condolences. I am better today.

    It looks as if this will be a good year here for the magnolias as well.

    I think I could learn to appreciate the weather in San Diego.

    They had 3 species of Corylopsis in the gardens. My favorite has alwasy been C. spicata.

    Thank you!


  10. Lots of upsets in the college bball world.

  11. Les, you should be jealous. The High Line was incredible. Too bad it was such a short walk; we need more of this kind of public space... NYC is fabulous. If I was rich this is exactly where I would live...for about 3 months, then I would be ready to come back home.

    Nice fotos. Are these native to the region? They are beautiful. I see from your profile you are a nursery manager. What is your background? Thanks for visiting my blog. Talk again sometime.

  12. Georgia,
    I love when the mighty fall and the underdog rises. Unfortunately ODU did not win on Sat.

    Most of the plants are not native, but do well here. The nursery business in my second career. I was in hotel/resort management where there was never a dull moment, however, there was never a dull moment.


  13. I was about to reply that I'd love to see your sedum/crocus combo photo, then I thought DUH! and here it is. That is an idea ripe for stealing, perfect complementary colors with those two.
    I too love those shadows of the rice paper plant; that's a gorgeous photo.

    I notice you've got Arcade Fire over there getting play. I recently discovered them when my Slacker online radio played them. I know I saved at least one song as a favorite.