Mark Gawron, Senior Gardener on the Island Garden, samples the aroma of our most uniquely scented magnolia blossom: 'Miss Jack' Anise Magnolia (Magnolia salicifolia). I would describe the scent as wintergreen with a touch of anise and a flutter of cayenne! Many of the precocious magnolias are in bloom around the grounds so remember to sample the aroma of each.
The Hellebores or Lenten Roses (Helleborus spp.) are in full bloom. This plant is at the entrance to the Island Garden and is being pollinated by a honeybee. We have noticed very good numbers of wild honeybees this spring at various flowers. Our best displays of Hellebores are in the Rock & Waterfall and Perennial Gardens.
I am still in shock at how many Daffodils (Narcissus) are already in bloom. This is the cultivar 'Ceylon' (in the Large Cup division) blooming on the Island Garden. You will really notice its orange rimmed corona upon close inspection.
One of my favorite Daffodils is 'Cum Laude' in the Split Corona Division. Look for this beauty at the entrance to the Island Garden where it fits beautifully into the color scheme of burgundy, orange and pink.
Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis) are already in full bloom too, along with their delicious aroma. This is the cultivar 'Splendid Cornelia' around the Island Garden's upper pool.
In the shady section of the Island Garden's living wall (under the arbor) is the beautiful Corydalis cheilanthifolia (no common name) but is named for having foliage like a lipfern: cheilanthes=lipfern, folia=foliage. It does indeed look like a fern until its yellow flowers emerge, then you know it is a relative of bleeding hearts!
The Missouri native Sand or Cleft Phlox (Phlox bifida) is in full bloom on the Island Garden's living wall. This wildflower is found solely on sandy open woods and prairies but is a great garden plant. It has bloomed for us EVERY month of the year in the living wall--an occasional set of flowers even during mild spells in January or extreme heat of July.
The rare and local Biscuitroot (Lomatium foeniculaceum) is in bloom above the wall. Our plants above the Island Garden's living wall were grown from seed off the wild plants on our Byron Shutz Nature Trail. Look for them on the high, rocky hilltops along the trail. They hug the ground for protection against spring cold snaps and sweeping winds. Smart plant! Yes, Native Americans made a sort of biscuit from the roots.
Henbit, to weed or not to weed? Henbit is quite beautiful in bloom in the buffalograss on the Island Garden. It contrasts nicely with the dormant blond buffalograss, blue Grape Hyacinths and yellow Jetfire Daffodils! So far we will let it be a part of the floral display on the Island Garden. Come see for yourself as the grounds are decked out in spring attire in every nook.
All photographs were taken by Alan Branhagen on March 25, 2009, at Powell Gardens.