Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Early bloomers


Bear's Foot Hellebore (Helleborus foetidus)

Okay, I don't think we are getting any snow this year so I'm ready for Spring. Bring it on! I'm tired of the cold weather and the cold wind. Today was sunny and it looked nice and warm outside but that was a teaser. The wind was blowing from all directions and it was downright cold!

The daffodils have been blooming for ages but there are other blooms of interest. The above photo is of a plant given to me by Margie Anderton (she is on the garden tour and I highly recommend that you see her garden). She called it "Bear's Claw" hellebore but most descriptions I have come across refer to it as "Bear's Foot". It is also called "Stinking Hellebore" but what an awful name for a plant. I think I'll ignore that. (And for good measure, I didn't smell anything while photographing it although I didn't stick my nose in it). This hellebore grows in an upright position and the flowers appear on stalks. It is evergreen and has been blooming for weeks now. I have three of them planted together and they really catch your eye from a distance.

The plant I'm most excited about at the moment is Pieris japonica or Lily of the Valley Shrub. I have never grown this plant before and I cannot remember what prompted me to buy it last year. I think I wanted a tall plant to fill in a empty spot and bought this on impulse. Imagine my surprise when I saw all these blooms on it this week! And, most incredibly, this is a very small plant, not even a foot tall. 





I leave you with this lovely forsythia which is blooming at my mother's house.



Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

16 comments:

  1. Wow, This forsythia is screaming SPRING!! Love all the blooms. I am with you come on spring. Winter, take the cold wind with you.

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  2. With the cold and snow we still have here, it's hard to believe it's spring somewhere.
    And I have what looks like that exact hellebore, and mine is called a stinky hellebore. :-)
    And yes, they do smell icky!

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  3. I have quite a few pieris - planted 6 in 2 groups of 3 in the front gardens. Four died, from drought, probably. I didn't realize at the time that they don't like the dry. The other 4 are about 5 ft tall now and beautiful in spring, but 1-2 branches dry up and die every summer, it seems. In the back gardens I have a couple with rosy pink flowers, and they are stunning. I also have a dwarf which won't get more than a few feet tall. They're pretty shrubs when they're happy!

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  4. C.C., I was thinking that they were temperamental. I guess that is why I had never tried them. I'll keep the drought in mind!

    Wayne, I will have to smell it.

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  5. Phillip, Sure your pieris will thrive - and they are lovely plants. We keep ours low but they bloom prolifically and the new growth at stems end is often stunning year round. Yes, like C.C. said, branches might die off if they are unhappy, but they continue to thrive after pruning, and I doubt dryness is a problem you have anyway. They love light shade in my geography.

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  6. The location for it is shady. I do have some areas of dry shade but this area isn't that bad.

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  7. That is a very impressive hellebore! Unfortunately we are still quite far from flowering Pieris around here.

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  8. I love your hellebore. It makes me miss my old garden in Atlanta, which was full of hellebores of all kinds. They are such great plants because they're small and evergreen and they bloom in winter. I wish I could grow them here in Florida!

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  9. Really pretty Phillips. I think they call it stinking hellebore because of a skunk smell when you crush the leaves. Now, why would anyone want to crush those pretty leaves do you think?~~Dee

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  10. How cool to have the forsytia growing out of the tree stump! Beautiful.

    What would your mother think of your showing pictures of your bloomers to the whole world?:)

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  11. Your pieris is lovely. I have a couple but since the deer like them I have never seen them bloom.

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  12. Count yourself lucky you didn't get any snow! I'm so tired of the cold, especially compared to that mild winter we had last year. Bring it on, spring!

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  13. I love that forsythia and the lily of the valley shrub! Good luck with the garden tour! Jeannine

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  14. I just love your garden! Patience really pays off. Lovely Lily of the Valley Shrub.

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  15. Thank you for the photo of the forsythia. The ones that bloomed on the side of our house were my mother's favorites, and just looking at the picture of yours makes me think of her and smile.

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