A bit of spring

christinmk z5b eastern WAMarch 15, 2014

My beloved Iris x histroides 'Katherine Hodgkin' bloomed the other day. These are from one bulb planted a number of years ago. I have some in the backyard, but it is warmer in the front (where these are), so this clump tends to pop a few weeks ahead of the others ;-)

I am in love with these Iris. They have an "orchid" look to them and the foliage dies down awhile after blooming. I'm thinking I may need to order a bunch more this fall...

ps. if you have any spring bloomers to show off feel free to do it here ;-)

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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)


    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 5:35PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Beautiful iris but here in my garden.... nothing yet.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 5:53PM
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Ooooh! I do love those iris--thanks for sharing those stunning photos. I'm in the same boat as mjc_molie--a large percentage of snow cover has finally melted here but it hasn't warmed up enough for anything to poke up through the frozen ground. No sign of anything so far, not even snowdrops.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:03PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Lovely iris. Look forward to seeing mine in a few weeks. Snow still covering all the beds here.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 7:08PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I took this picture last week, but didn't get around to posting it. The pussy willows are doing their thing even if there is feet of snow on the ground. The bulbs are going to have to wait for bare ground to show up, and that may take another week or two.

I've had early iris in the past, and always really liked them. However, none of them have settled in, and few survive past the first year.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:37AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Beautiful!!! I think I need to get me some of those! :)


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 4:27PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Nice blooms Christin, and nice job with the camera too! My mother would love the subtlety of them, I on the other hand didn't inherit good taste, I'm more of a double bloom dahlia kind of guy!
I do have my first winter aconite in a spot near the house and a snowdrop that opened last Sunday, anything that points towards spring is a good thing :)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:02PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Christin, those are beauties! I'll have to get some of those. Found them at Brent and Becky's.

I got nothin' in the garden. Still lots of snow. In some protected areas the snow has melted but there's nothing but lots of ratty looking hellebore!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:18PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-mad_gallica, nice PW! The one weeping form we have left at work is starting to bud too. That is too bad you didn't have much luck with these Iris. Someone I traded with (also from NY) said she had trouble with them being short lived as well.

-kato, thanks ;-) Although in all honesty, those pics were more a result of my ineptness with my camera's auto-focus than any talent with photography, LOL.
I love your winter aconite. I've long thought about trying some out. Do you find them pretty easy?

-Susan, you definitely NEED some of these beauties! You might also check out John Scheepers Bulbs. They sell bulk and tend to be a bit cheaper per bulb. More is always better when it comes to plants imo ;-) Lol
Hope you post pics of your Hellebores! I know you must have a fab collection of them after your last shopping spree in NC!!!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:22PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I love all the Iris reticulata but they never seem to come back reliably for me. They just disintegrate into little cormlets and disappear eventually. You are lucky they bulk up and settle in happily. Maybe it's summer heat they need?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 7:17AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-floral, I just checked on The Pacific Bulb Society's website and they said that the reticulatas (etc) do indeed like soil that dries out in summer. Plus good drainage.

So are your summers mild/cool/damp then?

I have different "pockets" of soil around the garden. When I planted the Iris I had this feeling that they would prefer the sandy, free-draining soil to the tougher areas. My theory was they might bulk up faster in this "loose" soil. So far so good, lol.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:12AM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

CMK... love your Iris x histroides 'Katherine Hodgkin' ... my DH saw your picture and said, "Let's get that for next year." (Great when he's enthusiastic about plants because that means it's a 'buy.') I also appreciate your info about best planting placement... sandy soil, a bit high and dry? We did plant a load of bulbs from John Scheepers last fall and I know we'll see them .... eventually. That's a great company.

Kato, your wee flowers are lovely. I'm so anxious to see some of my early bulbs peek out. Like many others who have posted, my ground is still frozen here on St. Patty's Day.

Mad_G, do you cut and bring any of your pussy willows indoors? Our neighbor usually brings armfuls of them to me and I find that they'll last all year in a dry arrangement. She hasn't come around yet this year.

T2D, yep! Sad hellebores this year. Mine are pretty ratty. During 'normal winters' I go out in late Feb to cut back the dead leaves. That's when I'll find new shoots and buds emerging from my Pine Knots. But this year they're all flat and crunchy.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Christin, they're out of stock on all rock garden iris. I'll get them somewhere. Thanks for the high and dry info.

Thought of you yesterday as I started seeds. Started more Geum 'Cooky' and Dracocephalum. I have great plants from the seeds you originally shared with me and now can harvest a whole bunch. I really love both and am looking forward to loading up the gardens with them. Thank you!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 6:17PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Mollie, glad to hear you give a thumbs up to Scheepers. What did you order from them? Lol. It sound like you've got a good partner in crime with your hubby! Does he garden too?

-Susan, lol. Oops! They should have them available in their fall catalog (at least they usually do). I probably would have ordered them right now if they had them in stock. That way I wouldn't 1) forget 2) make it to fall and then loose momentum. If they suddenly showed up on my doorstep in October then I would HAVE to get them planted, whether I felt like it or not, LOL. Guess I will have to make a reminder sticky...and hope not to loose it!!

Didn't you and your mom plant up a whole bunch of bulbs last year? That should be lovely. Did your resident varmints seem to have done much damage to them this year?

You are very welcome ;-) I'm glad to hear 'Cooky' has been a good plant for you. I was wondering if it would loose its vigor 2nd generation or not...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 9:23PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I don't do a lot with cut flowers. The current record for flower-being-in-vase-before-ending-up-on-floor is about 5 seconds. One of the cats is convinced he is a vegetarian, at least until after he has killed the vegetables.

Hellebores are still buried under snow, which means the deer aren't eating them this year.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Just checked the backyard. About half the back is still covered with snow, but it's only about 3 inches left with some icy patches and a lot more bare ground. The front yard is still covered with the same 3 inches with a couple of small bare spots.

I was happy to see some daffodil foliage up along the house foundation that faces West. So there is life! I don't see any crocus yet or even crocus foliage. I am surprised to see daff foliage before the crocus foliage. Aside from that though, pretty dreary looking out there, but the sun was nice.

Edit: Ohâ¦forgot, I see one Hellbore that isn't covered with snow that has some new red growth coming up in the middle but it's not as clean as usual, there looks like there's a couple of frost bites on it. But so far, looks like they'll be coming back!

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 14:06

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:04PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

CMK, we ordered quite a few early spring bulbs from Scheepers... Chinodoxa, several kinds of Crocus, Miniature Iris, Muscari Armeniarcum, and tulips.... Oratorio, Toronto and Tsar Peter. We're anxiously awaiting their arrival. And yes, my DH does garden with me. He actually loves it and has his own opinions about what we should grow where.... so we compromise. One of our favorite activities is to find new/different garden centers.

I do have some narcissus that are showing a tiny bit of foliage along our east-facing foundation. Last fall we split some clumps and spread them around. But my hellebores are still flat. Still crispy. It's been too cold and windy to go out and cut them back or even check them out.

But Spring is coming!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 7:40PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Mollie, I love Chionodoxa! My patch out front should bloom any day now. The clump (also in sandy soil) is fairly old- I've divided it many times to spread the joy around. Gotta' appreciate bulbs that naturalize so eagerly!

All this Hellebore talk made me look at mine the other day. My 'Blue Lady' has two flowers. It made me laugh, since up until now the darn thing has always bloomed in the fall, lol! I am hoping the 'Peppermint Ice' & 'Golden Lotus' Hellebores I bought at Lowes last year (Clearance rack!) put out at least a couple flowers.

I'm also eagerly anticipating my Anemone blanda's appearance. They are sure cute. I noticed they seeded around quite a bit last year (2nd)- hopefully they won't become a nuisance...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:34AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

CMK, I just added Chionodoxa to the lawn a couple of years ago and haven't seen it spread at all yet. When it's in the lawn, I wonder if it has time to set and drop seed before the first mowing. And I tried Anemone once, but I think I managed to choose a variety that wasn't as hardy because it never came back after the first season. Which one did you order?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:19AM
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Campanula UK Z8

mmm, I planted 500 wood anemone roots in autumn but, as of 2 weeks ago, there was not much sign (apart from a few leaves). Have never grown anemone nemorosa before and wondered if they needed a season to settle in. Advice?
We planted 2,000 narcissi in the woods....which sounds a lot but actually isn't.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:47AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-PM2, I'm not sure my Chio's spread from seed so much as they do clumping, baby bulbs around the "mother" bulb. The plants do set seed capsules, but have never found seedlings.

Three thoughts come to mind...

1) It could be that the lawn is competing with the bulbs.

2) Do you mow the foliage down before it yellows? If so it might be the bulbs are only storing enough energy to come up/flower the next year but not enough extra energy to put into spreading.

3) The type of your Chionodoxa? Mine are heirloom and I am unsure of the variety. If I were to guess I would say 'Pink Giant'. A few years ago I planted some C. forbesii, which have been painfully slow. They haven't spread at all and are doing good to put out one or two small flowers. Lol. Perhaps some cultivars are stronger growers than certain species...

The Anemone blanda came from Wal-Mart a few years ago. I planted a number of them in the shade garden under the front tree. Last year I dismantled that garden and re-seeded with lawn (along with clover & violets!). I ended up moving a few of the Anemones, but kept majority of them (and their seedlings) there. I'm excited to see if they do well planted in the lawn. So far I don't see any, but then again I haven't done any 'down in the dirt' looking, lol. Will let you know... ;-)


-Campanula, Ha! You posted just as I submitted my answer to PM2 ;-) I've got a couple plants of A. nemorosa. I adore them (and need more naturally, athough 500 might be a bit much for me, lol!).

Humm... I've never planted them bare-root, only as growing starts in soil. They were planted in spring/early summer and flowered the following spring. I am not sure if BR plants take longer to establish/flower or not. Sorry! Although if memory serves me right, the nemorosa's send out foliage before flowers. Your plants still might flower...give it a bit more time. ;-)
Ps. make sure to remember/mark where you plant them. Mine go dormant in summer. Can't tell you how many times I have been about ready to plant something on top of them before I remembered, lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anemone blanda

This post was edited by christinmk on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 11:39

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:24AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

CMK, I just looked it up and the Anemone I bought was Anemone coronaria 'Mount Everest' from Brent & Becky's. I don't know why I did that because it does say zone 7. And I see that they do have Anemone Blanda. [the spell check on GW won't let me write Blanda without a capital, it keeps changing it to bland (g)] I'm going to have to get those next fall.

I think I planted Chionodoxa forbesii in the lawn. So I guess that might be the reason. I think I will try either the Pink Giant/Blue Giant/ or 'Violet Beauty' this fall. I am going to plant a few under a Maple tree next to the lawn too and that should give it more chances to spread.

Thanks CMK.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 3:18PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

This has been such a strange March here in Washington DC. On Saturday March 8, it was pretty, about 60 degrees, the snow drops and crocuses were blooming and the daffs were ready to pop. By midnight Sunday, the snow was falling and the temperature was in the teens. This past weekend the pattern repeated except we got 10 inches of snow.

No one really knows what shape the flowers will be in this year. The camellias have taken it badly, the magnolias are holding their breath, and the cherry blossoms are hoping to wait it out.

We are really just hoping for no more snow in Washington DC this winter or spring.

This post was edited by kimka on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 16:10

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 4:09PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

Nice to see a crocus, always so bright and cheery.
Kimka, do you remember when the cherries bloomed last year? Wasn't it some obscenely early date such as February? What a difference a year makes, it really reminds you of what an average is with all it's highs and lows. I wouldn't mind an average spring right now :)

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:28PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

This where we've got to in the season. Daffodils beginning to go over and tulips on the up and up.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Very nice, Floral.

Such a pleasant contrast with the current snow and ice covering of our flowerbeds this year.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:51PM
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