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, 2012

Bloom Day: Ahead of the Front

I am bending the rules for this month's Bloom Day by posting pictures that were taken last week. Knowing a cold front was going to roll through this past weekend, I got the camera out before the flowers were frozen.  We actually had a little snow with overnight temperatures into the low 20's, not bad enough for any lasting damage, but a few of the blooms from last week now look like mush, which you will be spared from viewing.

This was my first Snowdrop (Galanthus), though I don't know exactly which species. The foliage in the background comes from Asarum splendens, which is a lovely almost-thug.


Narcissus 'Ice Follies' has been the first of my larger Daffodils to bloom. The small-blossomed Paperwhites are about done. This one was shy and opened up under the cover of a Cypress whose days are likely numbered, as the gardener and the Cypress have grown apart.

Narcissus 'Ice Follies'

Also just beginning to bloom is Edgeworthia chrysantha.  If your zone will allow it, GROW THIS PLANT!

Edgeworthia chrysantha

The first flashes of blue from Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue' are starting to appear. More will follow as I have added a couple more patches of this fantastic evergreen perennial.

Veronica umbrosa 'Georgia Blue'

Now blooming for over 3 months and showing no signs of quiting, Hime Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles 'Hime').

Chaenomeles 'Hime'

Because of this year's mild winter, my Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon' never lost all of its leaves.  Who knew, evergreen Spirea?

Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon'

Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis) are popping up everywhere and are likely about a week away from peak bloom.

Helleborus orientalis 2

In my previous post on Brassicas, I mentioned combining Giant Red Mustard (Brassica juncea var. rugosa) with Pansies that have some of the same colors as the Mustard foliage. This is Delta Tapestry and you can see by the ragged petals that some of my garden's insects have been enjoying the mild winter too.

Viola x 'Delta Tapestry'

We will end with a flotilla of Camellia blossoms starting with Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Gem'.

Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Gem'

Camellia japonica 'Magnoliaeflora'

Camellia japonica 'Magnoliaeflora'

Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles'

Camellia japonica 'Crimson Candles'

Thanks to our gracious hostess, Carol of May Dreams Garden for another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

(Stay tuned for my second annual Winter Walk-Off challenge.)


  1. Wow, wow, wow. I really enjoyed your GBBD post. Beautiful images and beautiful blooms. Loved the koi, especially. Watch the GBBD police for posting earlier photos!!! lol.

  2. Les,

    Really good post lots of early goodies! That Camellia japonica 'Magnoliaeflora'I have never seen before it is precious! We have Crimson Candles less buds than last year, it is not even close to opening. Your flower in the pond is an extraordinary striking image, kudos!

  3. Simply wonderful, Les, and we always think of bloom day as showcasing what has bloomed that month, not the exact day of the 15th anyway. No stress! What a great capture of the Edgeworthia, it is difficult to get down under it for the shot, I know, but then you get the sweet scent. Lovely!

  4. Such yummy flowers. I think even with the new zonal map I am still too far north for the Edgeworthia, otherwise I would give it a go.

  5. I was going to ask if you were going to do the walk posting! So glad you are planning on it.
    I like the pansies in front of the Kale, good color echo.
    Think I need to add some Snowdrops. Sweet little bloom.

  6. Your gorgeous Edgeworthia chrysantha is way ahead of mine, it's blooms seem frozen in time.

  7. What a joy to visit your blog today and see your beautiful garden flowering! Just lovely!

  8. Oh, these are beautiful! I love the cypress foliage in the daffodil picture. Too bad you've had a falling out. I don't know Edgeworthia, but you seemed so insistent about growing it, I'll have to look it up! Your camellias are my favorite. Happy GBBD!

  9. Things were prettier here last week, too. I managed to scrape together something for the day without resorting to your method only because I didn't think of it.fficeyo

  10. Les,
    I am very jealous of the garden and the photography. Perfect.

  11. Camelias, camelias....oh if only they would grow in zone 5. Edgeworthia, not here. We've had a mild winter in upstate, NY too. Lovely photos. I'm starved for spring despite our lack of snow. Send spring our way, please?

  12. Amazing...just a half-zone warmer than I, plus more moisture and a mild winter. Nice!

  13. C. 'Magnoliaeflora' is great!
    A little further down the coast, Osmanthus fragrens has been blooming away, as it has since October

  14. Even with our non-winter this year we have a ways to go before we see any blooms. I talked to mom yesterday and was surprised to hear that Virginia Beach has us beat on the snowfall total and even some of the overnight low temps this year.

  15. Great tour. In much better blooming shape than my zone 6 garden.

  16. Well I for one am delighted that you "cheated" and took photos before the snow came. Though tempting me with Edgeworthia chrysantha was a little unfair, apparently it is only frost hardy, so not a good bet for me. Humph.

  17. Beautiful flowers!
    I especially like the colors of the pansy! Lovely!
    Have a great day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  18. Love the color of the Veronica...stunning. Also...that last shot with the goldfish is awesome!

  19. I couldn't agree more about edgeworthia--beautiful every month of the year.

  20. So beautiful. Love that last one with the reflection. Gorgeous!

  21. Donna,
    So far no knock at the door in the middle of the night.

    Crimson Candles is not my favorite color or camellia form, but I ignore that for sheer number of flowers and reliability.

    When I first planted the Edgeworthia, I deliberately planted it at the stop of a small slope next to the sidewalk. That way you could see up into the flowers. For once a plant that worked.

    I am sorry you can't grow this gem.

    The Walk-Off is up and running and I look forward to your entry. That color echo is another delibrate effort that worked.

    They were indeed frozen two night later, but seem sort of OK.

    Thanks for dropping by, you are welcome to return at any time.

    The cypress was purchased thinking it was Gold Mop, but it rarely gets any gold to it, more of a dirty yellow. I have to keep it pruned so that cars can see around it and it takes up too much space for something that doesn't live up to my expectations. Oh well.

    For once I was planning ahead and not picking up the pieces.

    Please don't be jealous.

    I will see what I can do about spring. I just need to convince the jet stream to make an adjustment.

    Desert Dweller,
    Yes it is amazing what a slight zone shift and moisture level will do. I am zone 8 here and often fall in love with things more Mediterranean, the temps work, but the plants fail when they meet our humidity and rainfall.

    Osmanthus has been blooming here all winter too, most unusual!

    That is pathetic that VB has beat you on snowfall. When has that ever happened?

    Your time will come, I am sure.

    Edgeworthia may be more hardy than you think. I have found it to be very freeze hardy, not just frost hardy. It is listed as being able to withstand -12°C.

    We are so fortunate to have pansies carry color through the winter around here.

    I really liked the last shot too. It took forever to get that fish in the frame.

    Great minds...

    I am always looking in water for different shots.


  22. I didn't see the edgeworthia chrysantha before, I love the shape of this flower, very special! Wonderful!

    I love the way the camellia japonica 'Magnoliaeflora' looks, it is like there is a small light inside that illuminates the heart of the flower, very nice!