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Winter Blooms and Promises of Spring: GBBD, February 2012

February 15, 2012

Cyclamen blooming on bedroom window ledge (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Today, the last of the flowers on my amaryllis (Hippeastrum) plants has faded; so I have not succeeded this year in having a series of Hippeastrum blooms throughout the winter months. I did manage, however, to get six consecutive weeks of flowers from four different plants. Two additional varieties did not bloom this year. I am faithfully fertilizing my bulbs each week until their leaves ripen to increase the chances of blooms next year. My plan is to bring the plants out of dormancy at different times in the fall and early winter to try to space out bloom times more through the season.

Mix of pink and white cyclamen blooming on window ledge in living room (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Despite the end of my Hippeastrum flower season, however, I am not without blooms. My faithful potted Cyclamen are blooming profusely. The lavender pink blooms on the window ledge in my bedroom (above) greet me each morning when I open my eyes, and the pot of mixed pink and white flowers blooms beside my favorite chair in the living room.

Although I have no blooms outdoors at this time of year, this year’s mild winter promises an early spring. Yesterday, I noticed blooms on the witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) behind the building where my office is located. And on my dining room table, this cheerful vase of forced forsythia branches promises spring blooms to come.

Vase of forced forsythia (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see more February blooms from around the world.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2012 9:08 pm

    Jean, your forsythia are so cheery. What a treat for you to have them gracing your table. I’m lucky to still have amaryllis blooming away. Good thing … it’s one of the few blooms in my collection of house plants.

    • February 23, 2012 8:17 pm

      Joene, I do love the forsythia at this time of year. They’re starting to fade, so I may go out and cut some more branches. They are so far along that they’d probably bloom indoors in less than a week. My cyclamen are still going strong; but next year at this time, I hope to have amaryllis blooming too.

  2. February 15, 2012 10:35 pm

    On the contrary. I think you did have success. The blooms are bright and beautiful, and I was excited to see the cyclamen, since I’m going to attempt to grow some from seed. Your passion and dedication are admirable. Beautiful blooms.

    • February 23, 2012 8:19 pm

      Kevin, It’s not that I feel like a failure. I’m particularly thrilled with how well the cyclamen are doing after being repotted this fall. But I still want to work toward that goal of amaryllis blooms throughout the winter season.

  3. February 15, 2012 10:39 pm

    At times, I am a bit disappointed that we have not had a proper winter, but, then I see a bud forming or a new bloom, and I am elated. It is hard not to become excited when the garden begins to come alive. Your forsythia blooms are so lovely. When my forsythia shrubs grow larger, I look forward to forcing them.

    • February 23, 2012 8:20 pm

      Michelle, I know what you mean about winter. I’m a winter-lover; but at this point, I’m ready for spring. I would definitely not welcome a big snowstorm here at this point in the season.

  4. February 15, 2012 11:14 pm

    Ah, yes, I remember how my mother always brought Hamamelis inside in February. Promise of spring not so far away. Happy bloom day!

    • February 23, 2012 8:22 pm

      I’ve never thought about Hamemelis as another plant that could be forced — probably very early since they bloom so early outdoors. I’ve never grown Hamamelis, but it’s on my wishlist. There are two currently blooming outside the building where my office is located, and I stop to take a look at them every day.

  5. Nell Jean permalink
    February 15, 2012 11:15 pm

    One of my amaryllis formed a seed pod. I’m deciding whether to float some of them in a clear glass bowl and pot them up when they form roots. Always a fun project to take us through winter.

    Is either of your cyclamen fragrant?

    • February 23, 2012 8:24 pm

      Nell, It would be very exciting to see an amaryllis bulb grow from seed; I’m not sure I’m that patient, though. Thanks so much for asking about whether the cyclamen are fragrant. I had never noticed any fragrance from them; but after you asked, I discovered there is a subtle scent — but only noticeable if you stick your nose right into the flowers.

  6. February 16, 2012 6:00 am

    Oh oh, an early spring. My ticket is booked for April 15th, same as last year, sooo hoping I do not miss my snowdrops.

    • February 23, 2012 8:25 pm

      Deborah, Spring never comes as soon as we think it’s going to. If I remember correctly, you were worried about missing your snowdrops last year, but instead you arrived to find them buried under snow.

  7. February 16, 2012 6:33 am

    Jean I have no blooms outside either. I have christmas cactus still blooming and a couple amaryllis just getting going…hoping we see an early spring perhaps blooms in Feb. We have a half a month left :)

    • February 23, 2012 8:27 pm

      Donna, I have some greenery from bulbs poking up in my Gettysburg garden, but no sign of flowers yet. Soon, I’ll have to get out and clear up all the detritus left over from last year so that I’ll actually be able to see those crocus, hyacinth and daffodil flowers when they come up.

  8. February 16, 2012 11:04 am

    I’m going to prune my forsythia right now! Keep those branches for a beautiful forced bouquet like yours!

    • February 23, 2012 8:29 pm

      Kathy, I’ve never known forcing forsythia branches to fail. This year, mine were so far along when I cut them the last week in January that they bloomed in a little over a week after I brought them inside.

  9. February 17, 2012 12:26 am

    Love those Forsythia branches! What a ray of sunshine inside your home. Such pretty Cyclamens too. We don’t get to see those around here.

    • February 23, 2012 8:30 pm

      Bernie, That’s exactly the way I think about the Forsythia blooms — as sunshine in a vase. I find them so cheering at this time of year.

  10. February 17, 2012 3:35 am

    Jean, The forsythia is beautiful.

    I just want to thank you again for the Versatile Blogger award and to let you know that I have finally followed all the rules in today’s post at http://enclosuretakerefuge.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/having-many-aspects-uses-or-abilities/
    Best regards, Cindy

    • February 23, 2012 8:31 pm

      Thanks for participating, Cindy; I very much enjoyed your post (and especially your favorite garden writers honorees).

  11. February 17, 2012 3:39 am

    They are lovely Jean! But what are the reasons why the amaryllis didn’t bloom now? Yours are dormant in winter, ours are dormant in the dry season, so when it rained they suddenly bloom profusely. We don’t get them out of the soil anytime.

    • February 23, 2012 8:36 pm

      Andrea, it’s too cold here for amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs to survive outside; so instead people grow them as houseplants and we try to trick them into blooming at a time of year they normally would not by giving them a period of forced dormancy (6-8 weeks in a dark space without water) followed by light, warmth and water. The bulbs can get pretty depleted in their pots unless they are fertilized (which I have not been very good about doing). Some years, the bulbs only have enough “juice” to produce foliage, but no flowers. That’s been true of two of mine this year. One has not even put up foliage year, but I’m not sure why. It doesn’t seem dead, so I’m just keeping it in a relatively warm sunny spot and hoping to see some growth on it soon.

  12. February 17, 2012 9:50 am

    That last photograph reminds me how much I miss having a Forsythia around in the spring. I grew up with one in our garden, and it was always such an early, and cheery splash of yellow. Before the era of sunblock, in the summer I used to sit under its shade, as I sunburn so easily. I don’t see those pretty little trees here as much.

    • February 23, 2012 8:44 pm

      Clare, Most of the year, I don’t care much about Forsythia; and then in early spring, I remember why I can’t live without it! (Although I must admit that I never thought of it as a shade tree. :-))

  13. February 17, 2012 1:24 pm

    Oh yes, spring is just around the corner…all the signs are here :-)

    • February 23, 2012 8:45 pm

      Scott, all the signs are here. We’re going to be in for a big shock if winter decides to put in an appearance at this late date!

  14. February 18, 2012 11:36 am

    I have my fingers crossed for an early spring this year Jean. I have so many garden chores I would like to get to that an extra month of spring would be just the ticket to getting me well on my way.

    • February 23, 2012 8:50 pm

      Marguerite, I have two trips to Maine planned in the next couple of months, and I’m wondering if I might be able to get to some of my plants and do some early spring pruning during the March trip (it depends on how much snow cover there is). That would be great, since there’s never enough time to get it all done when I’m there in April.

  15. February 19, 2012 3:31 am

    At the forum I saw that you are having trouble reading WordPress when the letters are too small.
    Do you know there is a place at the top of your screen where you can make them bigger? Up there, where it says “View”, click.
    It opens and shows five or six things, and one of them is “Zoom”.
    That’s it. “Zoom in” makes them bigger, whereas “Zoom out” makes them smaller (which is also useful when e.g. you want to make a screen shot and would like to get more text or pictures onto the screen).
    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    That cyclamen is very, very pretty. I have never had one, but I do have Begonia that are similar in colour and even in the splendour of their foliage.

    • February 23, 2012 8:53 pm

      Thanks for visiting and for the tip on “Zoom in.” I do use it to set my browser at a little bit larger print than the default. The problem was that I usually have several tabs open simultaneously, and ‘Zoom In’ affects all of them equally. The new WordPress stats page was so much smaller than everything else, that zooming in enough to make it legible made everything on the other tabs too big to fit on the screen. Happily, the folks at WordPress have now increased the size of the stats page.

  16. February 21, 2012 9:53 am

    Ah, Jean, swings and roundabouts we do have a good few blooms, have to look closely though. But then in Summer whilst you are basking in the warmth of the sunshine we can still have four seasons in one day. Am I complaining, naw, just like a moan now and then.

    • February 23, 2012 8:55 pm

      Alistair, No blooms yet even in my Pennsylvania garden — but we have been having weather that is unseasonably warm. So much so that when we get a day that has temperatures more typical for this time of year, we complain about the cold. Do you think there’s a climate where complaining about the weather is not a favorite sport?

  17. February 24, 2012 2:38 am

    Off-topic, talking to myself:

    Strange to see so many comments and no spelling mistakes. Illiteracy everywhere except among the flower people.

    • February 24, 2012 10:32 am

      LOL, I had never noticed that before, but you’re right; garden bloggers are generally good spellers. Maybe it’s the influence of all that botanical Latin, or maybe it’s because this tends to be a somewhat older crowd than the blogosphere more generally. Or maybe it’s that so many of us seem to be teachers or former teachers.

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