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Moving Schipka Laurel for Rhododendron 'Loderi King George'

Picture it - a 6 ft. tall Schipka Laurel used to stand here (I forgot to take a "before" shot and don't feel like searching for one).  I knew when I planted it that it was probably a bad idea but thought it would be good for a fast-growing screen along the back fence-row. I'm sure all gardeners do this, especially if you have a new garden and are eager for greenery. In all fairness to the laurel, it is a useful plant and I would argue even a beautiful one when nicely maintained. Before I dug this one up, I stood back and admired it and felt the guilt pangs stabbing at my heart.  I removed a much larger laurel than this a few years ago and they are not the easiest plant to dig out. I was determined to save this one and I believe I was successful.  Here is a thought and you can take this to the bank - the pot you choose to hold a plant that you dig up will ALWAYS be too small. Always!  So, after finding the largest pot I could, here it is, after being cut back pretty dr

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day March 2021


Camellia 'Black Magic'

It is exciting to get back in the swing of things with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, a monthly practice on the 15th of each month, hosted by May Dreams Gardens for bloggers to show what is blooming in their gardens. I find that is also a great way for me to keep up with what is going on in my garden and for future reference.

The garden is quickly waking up with warmer temperatures although the mornings are still very cold. I've learned that it is best to wait until around noon to get out in the garden to avoid the cold. It has been close to 60 this week in the afternoons and the sun has been out for weeks now with very little rain (actually that is probably not a good thing but let us not linger on it).


My favorite at the moment is the anenome in the above photo. According to my records, it should be Anenome nemerosa 'Royal Blue' which came from Far Reaches Farm. However, when looking at photos of it online, the flower petals look different. They are much more rounded in other photos I see. So perhaps it is Anenome blanda? I don't know but it is lovely. 

The Bloom Day posts also give you an indication of plants that are blooming early or late. Looking at last year's post, it looks like things were ahead with Spirea 'Ogon' and Camellia 'Bella Rossa' already flowering. There is a spattering of blooms on the spirea but that specific camellia has not opened yet.

Other camellias in the garden that do have blooms include the first ever bloom on 'Black Magic' (top photo). This camellia was just planted last year.

Camellia 'Magnoliaflora'

Camellia "Mathotiana'

Boxleaf Azara (Azara Microphylla)

It was a thrill to finally get blooms on the boxleaf azara (Azara microphylla). It does indeed smell like chocolate. It also sometimes reminds me of a pipe. Anyway, the tiny blossoms are covering the plant. I thought I had planted it four or five years ago but after consulting my records, I see that it went in the ground in 2018. So this is the third year and it is already at least seven feet tall.


Crocus - of course!


Daffodils (probably Tete-a-Tete)




And finally, some primroses. They look a bit ragged but the blooms are always amazing and a surprise.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Love those camellias! And everything else. Happy Bloom Day.

  2. What lovely anemone flowers, I love the color. It does look like my anemone blanda, but more mature, so many more flowers.

  3. I'm tempted by Azara every time I see it but its mature height scares me off every time. Seeing your Camellias already has me missing mine, mostly done now. I hope you continue to get warmer weather with perhaps a bit of rain thrown in now and then. We're still woefully low on rain down this way but we did get some last week at last and a tiny bit more this morning.

  4. Such gorgeous Camellias. I miss being able to grow them. The bulbs are all beautiful too. Happy Spring, Phillip!

  5. So many happy flowers! The garden is really greening up quickly. We've had warmer than usual days so it is moving quickly. I can't keep up with all the spring chores fast enough!

  6. Beautiful! I especially like the Hellebores!

  7. Your hellebores look about like mine but your Anemones are way ahead of mine. We need a shot of sunshine here. It did seem that the grass turned green overnight yesterday. ha... That camellia in the first picture looks unreal. Such a beautiful bloom. Almost looking like a wax flower to me. Happy GBBD.

  8. Your spring blooms are a delight and I love the Camellia! Happy almost spring!

  9. Oh, that 'Black Magic' Camellia is something! I agree that your Anemone look like a blanda. One of those plants I always forget about and wish I had planted.

  10. Stunning camellias and primroses. It would be my pleasure if you join my link up party related to gardening here

  11. Your Black Magic bloom makes me want to get a camellia. I cannot seem to keep anemone - it moves around a lot here - sometimes after a certain gardener slices a trowel through it in the fall while planting and transplanting other things.

  12. I also enjoy Anenome blanda this time of year. I took my time flipping through all the plant tags I save in the shed to verify it's indeed 'blanda'.
    I really like the look of Azara Microphylla. A towering variegated Azara Microphylla caught my eye on the last visit to the South Seattle Arboretum; it was pruned with a single trunk although from pictures online it saw it can be grown as a shrub too. I have to go back and see if its blooming.

    1. Oh gosh, I appreciate you doing that. Now the question is if I just got a mislabeled plant or lost track of planting this one? And if that is the case, where is the one from Far Reaches Farm? Ha! We sometimes carry the variegated azara at Yard N Garden Land. It is really nice.

  13. I love primroses and these are beautiful. And your camellias are gorgeous. I cannot wait for the weather to get really going here in MN. We are having temperatures between 35-60F, but our weather is so unpredictable.

  14. Hi Phillip, I discovered your blog shortly after you moved into your house in Vancouver, and it's been amazing to watch the development of the garden. Just absolutely fantastic! I don't usually comment on blogs but the discussion on the identity of your anemone has me thinking that I may be able to help you definitively identify your plant. I grow both in my own garden, and by the picture I would say that it is anemone blanda but to positively id it, you need to look at at the tuber/rhizome when it's dormant. Anemone nemerosa has long thin smooth rhizomes about the size of a pencil, that can range from light to mid brown, anemone blanda has much shorter, flattened, rough and knobby looking rhizomes, and are usually a very dark brown. Secondly, my blanda are currently all in bloom, and my nemerosa have just broken dormancy. I garden up in the south Sound, just north of Olympia. I hope this helps.. keep on blogging !! Erik

    1. Thank you Erik! That is very helpful info. It sounds like this one is indeed anemone blanda!


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