Saturday, February 18, 2017

I Saw a Bumblebee Today!

Funny how when your a gardener, little things like a bumble bee flyover can raise the ole endorphins. 

Although those of us gardening here in the mid-Willamette Valley fared better than points north and south of us, the garden is still an abysmal mess and it's causing me consternation. I am just not my typical pre-spring gung-ho self.

Wait. I figured it out just now by going back to look at last year's mid-February photos. Interestingly, many plants that are still sleeping this year were already breaking dormancy. And the Pulmonarias were actually blooming already. 

And just to further that ah-ha insight, Matt Z., a Portland weather guy just commented that last year at this time we had already had six, sixty-degree days! Six! I don't think we've had one this year. He went on to say that this is the difference between an El Nino winter, last year and a LaNina winter this year. 

So, it's not all in my head. Whew. 

Now on to plants. My Sarcococca has been blooming since early February. The fragrance is intoxicating and here's a hint: if you leave the cut flower stems in water, they'll root so you can have more plants. 

Sarcococca ruscifolia

The first winter bloomer for me was Winter Sweet or Chimonanthus praecox. It too is a feast for the nose with a delicious scent.  

Chimonanthus praecox

I found this Daphne last year at Bauman's in Woodburn while my sister and I were plant shopping. It's done really well so far. The buds are just beginning to pop. And the fragrance is lemony-sweet.

Daphne odora 'Marianni' 

Daphne odora 'Marianni' 

Despite the torrential rain last week, my early Crocuses seem unscathed and happy to see a reprieve.

Crocus

Crocus

Crocus

A very humble clump of Crocus

Yellow Crocus

Ditto the snow drops...

Galanthus or Snow drops

Galanthus sp. or Snow drops

This might sound sacrilegious to fellow gardeners but I am not a huge hellebore fan. If I buy one, it's because I like the foliage. Last spring, Lowe's had this eye-catching variegated hybrid on clearance so I bought three of them. Who can resist those leaves? 

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Now I'm seeing the flowers for the first time.
Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Here are the flowers. Despite not being passionately in love with them, I find the inner circle really fun. Observe how they fan out as they mature.

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

Helleborus x ericsmithii 'Ruby Glow'

I'm so impressed with how Gardenia 'Frostproof' handled the winter cold. There are a few tips that were frostbitten but for the most part, all is well.  

Gardenia jasminoides 'Frostproof'

After losing my Podophyllum pleianthum during the second half of that horrid 2013-2014 winter cold, I found a baby plant for cheap last year. See it here, starting to take on the world. It's way ahead of my in-ground P. 'Spotty Dotty.' 

Podophyllum pleianthum

My yellow-flowered Polygala has been blooming since December-ish and there are still lots of buds. Unfortunately though, the leaves took a hit from Old Man Winter and look like crap.  

Polygala chamaebuxus

My purple and yellow spring-flowering Polygala 'Kaminiski' seems to have handled the winter better. And it has buds. 

Polygala chamaebuxus var. grandiflora 'Kaminski'

Another plant that I'm really impressed with is evergreen maidenhair fern. I had to have it after seeing it growing in several gardens last summer. My plant is still small so I put it in a pot for now. It sailed through winter on my covered patio.  

 Evergreen Maidenhair Fern or Adiantum venustum

Moonglow Sedum also stayed on my covered patio and looks like perfection.

Sedum confusum 'Moonglow'

Ever so slowly a few plants are starting to wake up. I love the swishes of pink on my baby Sobaria leaves.

Sobaria sobarifolia

Sobaria sobarifolia

And an illustration of last year versus this year: 

Pulmonaria 'Reginald Kaye'  2016

Pulmonaria 'Reginald Kaye' 2017

Finally, on warmer evenings, the frogs are croaking which is a sure sign of spring. And, look what I spotted in the pond the other day. 
 
Tadpole eggs!

Are you seeing signs of spring?