I first noticed some blooms at the end of January. I still remember (or think I do) when seeing winter aconites in February was unusual…
January 25: yellow crocuses under the oak tree
January 29: winter aconite (in bloom for a week or more by this point) and crocuses
February 6: white crocuses (and notice how dry the soil is)
And today, February 19: Tête-à-tête dafodils in the front garden, hellebores front and back (in bloom for some time), and more of the delightful Tommy crocuses.
These crocuses, opening up in sunshine, always make me think of Sara Teasdale’s poem “Barter,” invoked by a long-ago children’s librarian about storytime: “children’s faces looking up/ holding wonder like a cup.”
A drizzly morning is good for the garden and good for garden photos. In bloom today, after a very warm week last week and just a bit of welcome rain this week, are:
grape hyacinths – modest little bulbs but I want to add more for a sea of blue. I like the contrast with the red blossoms from the maple.
hellebore – one of the most satisfying of perennials, these come in several colors and postures
daffodils – the cutting garden is doing well (I’ve already cut several dozen in the last few days), and more are in bloom under the oak tree and outside the shed. I need some in the front garden.
chionodoxa – my plan for a sea of blue under the hydrangeas is slow to mature, but I’ll keep adding bulbs each year
speaking of blue, the blue anemones seem to be the only ones to survive. They do well in sun and are not showing at their best on this cloudy morning. They would look great under the maple tree. Next year?
and finally, leucojum ‘Snowflake’ – this one is in the bed with Bishops weed, so I rooted out both the weed and some of the leucojum a year or two back. It seems to be thriving again. It makes a very sweet tiny bouquet that allows you to see the delicate green lines on each petal.
And, of course, dandelions, myrtle and forsythia, all appreciated but too common to record. Otherwise, plenty of buds are swelling – not just the maple but also the bottlebrush buckeye and the hydrangeas.
I have astilbe ‘Deutschland’ in the front garden and in the erstwhile white garden. My mother grew astilbes, they are the backbone of the garden, a classic perennial, and so on. Not in Virginia! The summer droughts tend to parch it so much that it barely hangs on. I’ve dismissed it but never gotten rid of it either.
This year, it’s perfect: airy white wands wave in the breeze, lighting up the dark green corners of the garden. I’m sure Henry Mitchell had something pointed to say about it. Adrian Higgins just says to give it a pass in Virginia. But here are two more reasons to grow it.