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Spring Has Sprung! GBBD, April 2014

April 16, 2014

forsythia & daffodils2After months of below average temperatures and a winter that sometimes seemed like it would never end, spring has sprung in my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden. Temperatures shot up into the 70s at the end of last week and stayed there for four days, and suddenly flowers and trees popped into bloom. Spring in southern Pennsylvania usually unfolds slowly and sweetly, but this feels more like spring in Maine, where you wait and wait and wait and then – Wow!

Forsythia and daffodils are now fully in bloom.

daffodil portrait tete-a-tete 2014
And hyacinths are beginning to open. hyacinths opening
pulmonaria buds In the front flower bed, the Pulmonaria (lungwort) flowers are just about to bloom. (And, in fact, were blooming a few hours after I took this photo.)
In the back flower bed, Viburnum x burkwoodii has flower buds that are close to blooming and new leaves. viburnum with leaves

All around my neighborhood, pink magnolia trees have also burst into bloom.

neighborhood pink magnolia

After days of warm temperatures and open windows, a powerful cold front swept through here last night, and temperatures plummeted down into the 20s. When I left for work this morning, the daffodil flowers were hanging limply and I feared that frosted magnolia flowers would turn to brown mush.

But the magnolia blooms survived the low temperatures, and by the time I returned home this evening, the daffodils had perked back up. On my walk home, I also saw cherry, pear, and apple trees blooming and even some eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) beginning to bloom. Spring is here!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming this month in gardens around the world.

April Flowers!

April 7, 2014

Gburg crocuses1Spring finally arrived in my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden a few days ago when the crocuses bloomed. I was beginning to doubt it would ever happen, so it was good to have my faith renewed.

I had hoped to be able to have forsythia flowers to show today, too; but not yet. They are so close! I think they will pop into bloom on the next reasonably warm, sunny day (maybe tomorrow).

Gburg forsythia buds Gburg daffodlil buds

Among the other flowers not quite happening yet are daffodils. Although I pass many blooming daffodils on my walk to work, mine  are just now beginning to show lots of visible flower buds.

Thank goodness for spring bulbs. They are an especially welcome sight after this long winter.

Gburg crocuses2

Promises, Promises

March 23, 2014

forsythia swelling budsSpring did not arrive in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with the spring equinox this week, but the equinox did bring promises of spring.

Last year at this time, I had crocuses in bloom; and two years ago in the record-breaking warmth of March 2012, forsythia were blooming by this time. This year in late March, forsythia are covered with swelling buds rather than blooms, and my crocuses have not yet emerged from the ground.

But in a month that has continued this winter’s pattern of below-normal temperatures, the spring equinox ushered in a period of gradually warming temperatures and hints of spring. As I walked around Gettysburg, I saw snowdrops, winter aconites, and even some crocuses in bloom. Looking up, I could see trees budding.

trees budding

By Saturday, temperatures had risen into the 60s (F), and sunshine and mild southwest breezes convinced me that it was time to get out into the garden. I spent about an hour raking fallen leaves and pine needles and removing spent stems and foliage to see what was emerging underneath.

sedum spring rosettesEspecially in the small south-facing flower bed by the patio, I found several promises of spring blooms to come, including rosettes of new growth on sedum, emerging new foliage and buds of daffodils and hyacinths,
daffodil new growth hyacinths emerging
daylily new growth … and even some new green shoots of daylilies.
snow remains mid-afternoonA final promise of spring is the disappearance of this winter’s snow. By mid-afternoon on Saturday, all that was left of February’s mountain of shoveled snow were a few porous patches.Three hours later, basking in warm temperatures and late afternoon sun, those patches had dwindled to this. By the end of the day today, I think they will be entirely gone.

snow remains late afternoon

When Will It Be Spring? GBBD, March 2014

March 15, 2014

March garden 2014I am at home in Maine for my “spring break,” but it feels more like January than March. Temperatures have been well below normal, and snow is still piled high in the garden.

But there are some promises of spring. The days are getting noticeably longer; and even when the temperature is below freezing, the sun is strong enough to melt snow from the roof.  At the front of the house, the forsythia is covered with fat buds. But spring blooms are  probably still at least a month away.

forsythia buds in snow1

gburg snow hillI have higher hopes of seeing spring soon in my Gettysburg garden. When I left there a week ago, the mountain of shoveled  snow  in front of my townhouse had melted down to a hill, and the buds on the Viburnum were getting plump. Temperatures in Gettysburg have been in the 50s and 60s while I’ve been away, so I hope to see bare ground when I return in a few days. Maybe there will even be signs of new growth from the crocus bulbs.

viburnum bud 2014

CharismaMeanwhile, I’m continuing to make do with indoor blooms. Although the forsythia branches that were blooming on my dining room table a month ago have faded and dropped their blossoms, my reluctant Hippeastrum bulbs have finally begun to flower. This is ‘Charisma.’ I love its tissue-paper thin translucent petals.

And, of course, my faithful potted cyclamen continue to bloom enthusiastically.

cyclamen march 2014

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s in bloom this month at gardens from many locations (including some where spring has already arrived).

February Flowers: GBBD, February 2014

February 15, 2014
snow mountain gburgGiven the mountain of snow piled on top of the front garden at my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania townhouse, I don’t expect to see spring flowers anytime soon. There are some ghosts of flowers past sticking out of the snow in the form of this Sedum spectabile seedhead and the berries on Nandina domestica.
sedum in snow nandina in snow
pink cyclamen febFor February flowers, however, I need to turn my attention indoors. There, my potted cyclamen are loving this cold, snowy winter and continue to bloom enthusiastically. The oldest of these plants boasts a profusion of delicate pink flowers. The other two pots hold varieties that produce larger, but fewer flowers.
red cyclamen feb white and pink cyclamen feb

My potted amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs are much less enthusiastic about this winter’s cold; they tend to sulk in a cool house. I have set up a heating pad arrangement on top of a bookcase in the guest room where I can give them some bottom heat. The two pots given this treatment have both put up flower stalks, and I think one of them will begin to bloom in another week or so. Once these begin to open their flowers, I’ll move them to a room where I can enjoy them and give their space on the heating pad to another pot.

dining room forsythiaAlthough I always enjoy these flowering houseplants in winter, the real joy right now comes from the two vases of forsythia branches that I cut and brought in for forcing during a day of warm weather at the end of January. Two weeks later, these are providing a bright promise of spring.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming this month in gardens, pots and vases around the world.



forsythia flowers forced

Updated Garden Tour Page

February 2, 2014

imageFor more than a year now, I have been intending to update my Garden Tour page to reflect changes in the garden since it was last updated (in 2011), but somehow this task kept falling off the bottom of my to-do list. Finally the updates have been done!

Because I am about to have a new addition built on the front of my house and am in the process of planning a new front garden, this page will become outdated very quickly. I hope to update it at the end of each garden season to reflect the changes that have happened during that year.

Winter Blooms: GBBD, January 2014

January 16, 2014
winter garden 2014It is mid-winter in my Maine garden; and most plants are in dormancy, slumbering under their blanket of white while building energy for spring. Even after several days of our annual January thaw, there are still several inches of snow cover.
amsonia foliage in snowSome “winter interest” is provided by spent perennial foliage. I like the gold color of these Amsonia hubrichtii remains against the snow.

In the Serenity Garden, the ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood provides a welcome green presence. And some tattered hellebore foliage has emerged from beneath the snow.

winter boxwood winter hellebore foliage

rhody sprungOn the back slope, I’m amazed at how quickly this rhododendron has sprung upright in the thaw after weeks of being weighted down by ice.

red cyclamen 2014But none of these signs of life in the winter garden are blooms. For flowers, we need to go indoors, where my faithful cyclamen bloom in the living room window.  I love the fiery glow of the red flowers as the light shines through them.

pink & white cyclamen

The pink and white flowers have a softer look.

pink cyclamen 2014I know that potted cyclamen have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive, but that has not been my experience at all. All of mine were holiday plants and all are now more than a decade old. My first cyclamen was a holiday gift from a friend 20 years ago and is blooming profusely. In those 20 years, this plant has been watered once a week, repotted once a decade,  and fertilized very occasionally. I think the main thing these plants require to thrive is cool. This bright, drafty window ledge in a house that is usually kept at about 60F in the winter and seldom gets very hot, even in summer, is perfect for them. I think many people discard cyclamen prematurely when they stop blooming and go into dormancy. At this point, a new plant will drop all its leaves and look pretty dead. But if you’re a procrastinator and don’t get around to throwing it out, it will reward you with new growth after a few weeks. Over time, as mine reproduced by multiplying their corms, the various corms developed staggered bloom times so that now the plants pretty much have leaves and flowers all year round (although they bloom most exuberantly in the cool months of winter).

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of every month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what blooms gardeners from many climates have to share this month.


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