Monday, March 31, 2014

Yoshinos are blooming

The Yoshino Cherry trees are blooming and buzzing with bees.
Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lone Hyacinth

I have a confession to make. I have never really cared for hyacinths. I think they look artificial. When I first started gardening here , I planted everything and I did plant a few hyacinths. This is one of them, I think the only one left, still blooming after 22 years! I came across it today and I was touched to see this dutiful little plant, in a less than ideal spot - almost overrun by a holly tree and surrounded by ivy - standing proudly and emanating a powerful fragrance.

I never studied mythology and was surprised to learn that the myth of Hyacinth deals with same-sex love. Hyacinth was loved by both the gods Apollo and Zephyr. One day Apollo and Hyacinth are playing discus. As Zephyr watches from afar, he goes into a jealous rage and blows the discus causing it to strike Hyacinth in the head, killing him. Apollo causes a flower to spring forth from Hyacinth's blood that falls to the ground. Some studies claim that the flower in question is actually the iris.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Signs of Life

The garden seems to be coming alive again after a cold winter. The daffodils have been spectacular and the hellebores are looking great as well. I began growing hellebores a few years ago - very late in the game. I think the expense of them was probably what kept me from buying them in the past. They are really wonderful plants and so welcome this time of year. There is a good article in the latest Alabama Gardener by Troy Marden, who gardens in Tennessee, on varieties that do well for him. I have made a note of those!

An interesting hellebore that was given to me by Margie Anderton is Hellebore foetidus, commonly known as "Stinking Hellebore" or "Bear's Claw Hellebore". It looks a bit different from the hellebores pictured above but nevertheless quite striking. It grows in an upright manner and has leaves that are long and narrow (elliptical). The drooping, bell-shaped greenish-white flowers begin to appear in February.

As I was taking the photo, I noticed a visitor.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Star Magnolia - before the freeze gets it

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata), very beautiful at the moment, very hard to get a decent photo of it. It always blooms early and usually gets nipped by the cold. We have temperatures predicted to be in the 20s tonight so it might not look like this tomorrow. :(
Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March coming in like a lamb

Saturday was such a beautiful day and one that made the promise of Spring a reality. The morning started off chilly as we headed out for our usual Saturday morning breakfast and errands (usually either Panerra or Bojangles, Panerra won out this week). By the time we got back home, the sun was out and the temperature was rising.

It eventually climbed to 70, a nice balmy day with some wind but a warm wind. It felt so good to outside! I cut back the monkey grass and picked a bouquet of daffodils. We have two large clumps of daffodils blooming in the side garden, on the south side of the house. I noticed that the daffodils on the north and west side had not opened yet.

Unfortunately another blast of cold air arrived on Sunday night and plunged us back down in the 20s. This is supposed to be short-lived though and it will eventually get warmer during the week.


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy