Out With The Old

Let me start with getting one thing off my chest.  The daffodils are still unplanted.  There, that was easy.

The weather was beautiful last weekend so we decorated for Christmas, we hung a ridiculous number of lights, and we (and I’m leaning more towards the less plural I on this one) cleaned up most of the basement of all the nonsense and clutter that kids can accumulate.  Then in the midst of a pandemic we drove to Longwood to enjoy the Christmas display.  Of course there will be judgements on safety but for now we’re all still healthy and it’s the weather which has taken a turn towards the worse.   On a miserable afternoon I’d rather rush out and capture a few last joys of the 2020 garden season rather than actually do something productive.  Maybe tomorrow will be different…

hardy fall camellia ashtons supreme

‘Ashton’s Supreme’ is growing in a pot and has already moved into the garage for the next few nights.  It may be hardy, and someday I may put it to the test, but for now I’d rather he avoid the frosts and snow.

I’m excited to see my only fall blooming camellia opening up a few flowers before it gets too cold.  It’s one thing enjoying them for a few hours in another garden, but to have one of your own to really drown in for as long as you want… and then to make excuses to go out and see every few hours… well that’s a whole different story.  Currently the plan has ‘Ashton’s Supreme’ spending the coldest months in the winter garden, staying potted, and then some day moving to the open garden when either (1)he gets too big or (2)global warming shifts me just one more zone South.  Obviously there’s also a good chance that (3)the gardener kills Ashton,  but for just $30 from Camellia Forest Nursery I’m already thrilled with how far I’ve come.

container bog garden

The question of the bog garden.  Shelter in place or quarantine elsewhere?

I’m also somewhat thrilled over how the bog garden’s pitcher plants have recovered from some questionable overwinering techniques from last year.  Someone just picked up an old saucepan from the sandbox, lifted the pitchers from the bog and put them in the pan, and then placed the whole embarrassment next to the compost pile under a few sheltering branches.   They lived, but this year I’m not sure if I shouldn’t try something different.  Or just do nothing.  Nothing is pretty easy, and it’s been working for the daffodils so far.

jack and the beanstalk bean

The sword beans (Canavalia gladiata) have been picked and brought into the garage to hopefully ripen the seeds.  Maybe I’ll get lucky, but maybe I won’t since they’re still mighty green.

Last year seemed much more full of November projects and plenty which bridged over into December, but this year I’m quite fine with calling a time, nailing a lid on 2020, and announcing the start of the 2021 gardening season.  Hello snowdrops is what I’m going to say next, and of course I’m excited!

elwesii monostictus hiemalis motrose

Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus ‘Hiemalis Group’ ex. Montrose.  An appropriately big name for what is commonly referred to as the giant snowdrop (in this case a fall blooming version).

Mani over at the Miserable Gardener has observed that the guy he lives with takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in rattling off the name of this first snowdrop of my new year.  I’ve begun to enjoy it now as well, and although I may still need to tweek quotes and capitalizations to be completely proper I’m not going to let ignorance stand in my way.  Ignorance seems to be very ‘in’ these days so I might as well call it what I want, right? -who am I kidding… I can’t stand ignorance, so please correct me if you can.

galanthus three ships

Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ is leaving port earlier than ever and holding the possibility of an open bloom by Christmas.  That would be a first, and of course I would be thrilled.

Let me close by saying this last photo has me most excited.  I keep thinking this snowdrop phase will pass but as of yet not luck.  Once in the summer of 2019 there was a point when I almost said I wasn’t thinking about snowdrops, and then just a few months ago I turned down the offer of a bulb or two because “I had too many other plants needing attention”, but now I’m back to obsessed.  ‘Three Ships’ looks healthier than ever and honestly for a flower which blooms here in January, anything better than dead is quite an achievement in my opinion.

Let the season begin!

Wow, winter was quick!

I got to sleep in an extra hour this morning, so the sun was already coming up as I left for work.  Strange things happen when your routine gets a little off.  Apparently while I slept, winter came and went and now we’re looking at the first snowdrop of the year!  Surely this picture must be right out of late march?

Fall blooming snowdrop

Fall blooming snowdrop

Wishful thinking aside, it’s not March and this isn’t the last snowfall.  It’s the first in fact and the snowdrop is my little fall blooming galanthus elwesii (monosticus?) which I thought had died of spite over the summer.  This is the fall blooming variant of the regular spring blooming giant snowdrop (giant being a relative term with drops) and I just love it.  When I saw it sprouting earlier in the week I did a little skip around the yard and then ran to tell my housemate…. She was much less impressed.  Maybe the kids will appreciate it, I’ll just have to remind them it shouldn’t be picked 🙂

Someone thinks it’s winter

I feel like I hit the jackpot!  It’s not often that I get all excited over a plant, but this one has me visiting it as often as I can (ok, so maybe I do get a little too excited about many plants, hence the creation of this blog, and the insulation it provides my friends and family from too much plant talk)

I think this snowdrop is a fall blooming version of one of my springtime favorites.  I bought the bulbs a few weeks ago at my favorite local PA nursery, Perennial Point, and since they were lose bulbs I (of course) poked around in there to pick out the 10 absolute best (they were all in good shape).  One bulb was already sprouting in the box and I knew I had to have that one.  Even though the bulbs were labeled galanthus woronowii I had a suspicion they may be incorrectly labeled as are many snowdrops in cultivation.  I’m sure more photos will follow once my camera returns from Florida, but for now this one off my phone will have to do in showing what I think is galanthus elwesii var. monostictus.  That’s quite a mouthful, but it’s basically the regular giant snowdrop with just one green spot rather than the typical two.  Also it’s a fall/early winter bloomer as opposed to the normal late winter g. elwesii.fall snowdrop

Nothing is guaranteed, but if you look at the label you’ll see I potted the bulbs up Nov 3, and while its potmates are barely breaking the surface this one is already in full bloom.  I wonder what next year (assuming I don’t kill it) will bring 🙂 ! also I wonder what the other bulbs in the pot will turn out to be…

btw, the cyclamen coum is also way out of season, but I bet it’s more due to relief for having survived my neglect this summer than it is to any new and unusual genetic quirk.  In any case my winter garden appears to be off to a great start!