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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

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda Belcher permalink
    February 15, 2014 9:07 pm

    Was just talking to a friend about the need to see spring flowers blooming. My African Violets keep me happy during the winter and there are early daffodils ready to bloom this week as the weather warms here in SC. Enjoy your blogs.

    • February 23, 2014 10:35 am

      Linda, Enjoy your spring bulbs. I can remember at least one year when daffodils bloomed here in early March — but not this year. I’m hoping for crocus blooms before March is over and daffodils in April.

  2. bushbernie permalink
    February 16, 2014 5:18 am

    That is a ‘mountain of snow’! The Cyclamen certainly add some lovely splashes of colour indoors. The Forsythia flowers are wonderful too. I do so hope that Spring is not too far off for you.

    • February 23, 2014 10:36 am

      Bernie, We’ve had several days of mild weather and my mountain of snow has shrunk by about 2 feet in height. The mild weather was just a tease, though; winter will return tonight and spring is still several weeks away.

  3. February 16, 2014 6:46 am

    How smart to gather the forsythia in January! Wish I had your foresight. Hope that snow is gone soon.

    • February 23, 2014 10:42 am

      Marian, We’ve had quite a bit of snow melt in the past week and I think the worst is over. Spring usually arrives here in mid-March; we’ll see if that holds true after this exceptionally cold winter.

  4. February 16, 2014 11:21 am

    Wow you did get a lot of snow Jean…and you always amaze me with the blooms you have all winter. I do have to work on that.

    • February 23, 2014 10:50 am

      Donna, We didn’t really have 6 feet of snow 😉 — more like 14″ (which is a lot in a place that cancels school for 2-3″!) My snow mountain is the result of piling up what I shoveled from the parking area in front of my townhouse.
      I think the trick to winter blooms is finding the plants that are happy with your conditions. Amaryllis bulbs are a source of my frustration for me, because my house just isn’t warm enough to keep them happy. But the cyclamen love those cool conditions.

  5. February 16, 2014 12:02 pm

    It is a great idea to force the forsythia. One appreciates it so much more than later when there are lots of things out. It works with Ribes: flowering currant too. But it

  6. February 16, 2014 12:41 pm

    Sorry I didn’t finish the previous comment. I meant to sat that the Ribes flowers open white instead of pink when forced.

    • February 23, 2014 10:51 am

      Chloris, I’ve never tried to force anything except forsythia. I should try to branch out 🙂 .

  7. February 16, 2014 11:26 pm

    The indoor flowering plants must be a welcome respite from that white landscape. I never think of growing cyclamen indoors but your pots make me think I must give it a try.

    • February 23, 2014 10:54 am

      Kris, In my experience, what the cyclamen need is cool temperatures. I have always taken mine to Maine with me for the summer, where it typically gets down into the 50s (or even 40s!) overnight in summer.

  8. February 17, 2014 7:00 pm

    Hi, Jean! Your pile of snow puts our little snow events to shame! And your beautiful indoor blooms are a bright reminder of what I should be seeing outdoors, but winter has put a snag in spring’s usual timeline here. Nevertheless, I should be seeing some spring blooms before your pile of snow melts. I hope!

    • February 23, 2014 10:58 am

      Deb, Snowfall is one of those relative things. Gettysburg typically cancels school for amounts of snow (2-4″) that wouldn’t even count as a snowstorm in Maine. And the foot of snow we got here last week was a major event, where in Maine it would just be a typical winter storm. I hope you are finally getting to enjoy your delayed spring. We’ve been having a spring tease here for the past few days, but the meteorologists are forecasting more cold and snow for the week to come.

  9. February 18, 2014 9:53 pm

    I love your way of describing your “ghost of plants”! But you are now getting some colors there with the cyclamen and that lovely yellow leafless flowers. lovely. Keep warm and stay safe!

    • February 23, 2014 11:01 am

      Andrea, The forsythia growing in my Pennsylvania garden has particularly pretty soft yellow flowers; most forsythia flowers are a much bolder, brassier gold color. I’m going to take some cuttings of this plant and try to get it to grow in my Maine garden.

  10. February 19, 2014 1:06 pm

    That is a serious pile of snow Jean. Like your cyclamen, I am seeing them bloom profusely in gardens nearby which makes them a must for our new garden.

    • February 23, 2014 11:32 am

      Alistair, I’ve never tried to grow cyclamen outdoors. There’s at least one species, maybe two, that might be cold-hardy in my Maine garden. I hope to try adding them to the woodland serenity garden.

  11. February 20, 2014 1:46 pm

    Jean what a pile of snow! though it always seems to take longer to melt when it’s piled up like that. I can remember here in Scotland a few years ago we had piles like that still in March but I suppose your temps increase much more than ours do during spring so it might melt quicker than ours did. I have a window sill full of little blooms – all forced from the garden but I never thought of cutting a forsythia so that will be on my to do list for the weekend.

    • February 23, 2014 11:35 am

      Rosie, You are absolutely right that the big piles of snow take longer to melt. As one of our local television meteorologists put it recently, “Cold begets cold.” And this pile is on the north side of the house, where it gets very little sunshine. I’m thinking this pile might not disappear until late March or even early April. It will, as you say, depend on how warm the temps get. So far this year, they’ve mostly been below normal, but the past few days have been mild with lots of welcome melting.

  12. February 21, 2014 6:59 am

    Hi Jean, that’s a massive pile of snow, I’ve never seen anything of the like. I don’t think we’ve seen a single snowflake fall in the garden this winter, it’s incredible. I don’t think the US/UK winter could have been any more different, it’s February and I’m expecting it to get up to double-figures today (deg C). Our daffodils are blooming while yours are currently under five feet of snow, just wow.

    • February 23, 2014 2:01 pm

      Sunil, We had an almost snowless winter in southern Pennsylvania last year, and we seem to be making up for it this year. I can remember years with much higher snowfall here, but I can only remember one previous year in which it didn’t get warm enough for the snow to melt between storms. For the past few days, we have had the same mild temperatures you have been experiencing, and my snow mountain has shrunk to a hill.

  13. February 21, 2014 9:51 pm

    I’m sending you very warm thoughts — but I see the cyclamen and forsythia are already doing that. Beautiful blooms for a cold winter’s day. Stay warm!

    • February 23, 2014 2:04 pm

      Kevin, Keep sending those warm thoughts north! We have had some melting in the past three days. I know it’s just a tease of spring, but it’s a welcome promise of what will really get here in another few weeks. My forsythia are already fading, and I’ve been wishing I cut more a week or two after the first cutting. Fortunately, one of my reluctant amaryllis bulbs is just about to bloom, and that should keep me going for a bit longer.

  14. February 21, 2014 11:13 pm

    Forcing forsythia already? I should look at mine and see how far it has to go.

    • February 23, 2014 2:07 pm

      Jason, I cut the forsythia and brought them in at the same time this year as last (end of January). Since this has been a colder winter and the plants were much less far along than last year, I thought it would take them longer to bloom indoors. But it didn’t; both years the flowers bloomed about 2 weeks after I brought them in. From what I’ve read, the buds form the previous year and just wait for the right combination of daylight and warmth to develop. I usually don’t force them in Maine until March; it would be interesting to see if I could get them blooming in the house in February there, too.

  15. February 24, 2014 7:13 pm

    Jean, I know I’ve said this before, but I always enjoy your cyclamen. Now I finally have one of my own that I hope will survive as happily as yours.

    • February 26, 2014 10:51 pm

      Joene, I enjoy them, too — especially in winter. And my success growing them provides some compensation for my lack of success getting Hippeastrum to bloom. 😐

  16. February 26, 2014 6:51 am

    Jean, the cyclamen are a sure remedy for the cabin fever we all seem to have this long winter. The colors are so vibrant. Can’t wait to clip some forsythia for my kitchen. Thanks so much for the inspiration! Sandi

    • February 26, 2014 10:53 pm

      Sandi, Enjoy the forsythia. Mine are just about faded, dropping their blossoms and opening their leaves. Fortunately, I have a couple of amaryllis bulbs about to bloom, which I hope will carry me through to the appearance of crocus blooms in the garden.

  17. March 3, 2014 8:22 pm

    Nice to see your indoor plants. I see you have as much snow as we do! Spring is coming.

  18. March 7, 2014 7:34 pm

    I think there is now some hope in sight!!!

  19. March 11, 2014 12:27 pm

    I’m glad your indoor plants are blooming nicely. Now that the warm up and thaw is showing her head, maybe we can get outdoors and get spring planting in high gear. Good luck, Jean!

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