Thursday, March 20, 2008

Welcome Spring's Earliest Flowers

Ah, spring arrived last night and the day has reflected a new beginning for the sunny half of the year. The Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) opened their flowers to the buzz of honeybees and other insects. Thousands of flowers are now in bloom in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

The Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are in full bloom in sparkling drifts throughout the Rock & Waterfall Garden's woodland floor. The water is now cascading through the Rock & Waterfall Garden's streams and adds a wonderful ambiance to the experience. The first Hellebores, Daffodil and Cornelian-cherry Dogwood flowers all came into bloom today as well (more on them later).

Danford Iris (Iris danfordae) sprinkle the Island Garden with delightful yellow flowers. All the dwarf iris are squirrel and deer proof! Remember to buy at least 100 for planting next fall.

Reticulate Iris (Iris reticulata) comes in many hybrid and select cultivar forms. This one with a touch of light aqua blue is a quite refreshing for spring. Look for masses of it east of the Island Garden's pools above the living wall.

The deep blue cultivars of Reticulate Iris (Iris reticulata) are still my favorites with their deep blue flowers. Look for masses of these east of the Island Garden's pools but below the walk (between the lake and the walk). Powell Gardens is amassing an amazing collection of the world's iris and will soon have its collections registered by the North American Plant Collections Consortium as the repository for all the hardy species and best cultivars of iris available. The iris is the official flower of Kansas City!

The first Turkey Vultures "buzzards" glided over the gardens today and a Mourning Cloak butterfly was also on the wing: more sure signs of spring!

These photographs were taken on the last day of winter at Powell Gardens by Alan Branhagen.

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