Monday, March 8, 2010

Resurrection of Spring in Tiny Flowers

I love it when the weathermen are wrong and the weekend turns out nicer than predicted! Spring-like temperatures in the 60's have finally made their appearance following a slow warm up and Mother Nature has burst forth with life. Spring birds and two frogs: the Spring Peeper and Boreal Chorus Frog are singing; and finally the colorful, but tiny, early spring bulbs are making their appearance at Powell Gardens. The first butterflies are out and about too!

The spidery flowers of the Ozark native Vernal Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis) have unfurled and released their pleasant aroma to attract moths for pollination. We have moths to thank for the wonderful aroma of most flowers!

The purple-flowering cultivar 'Purpurea' of the Vernal Witchhazel has dark purplish-maroon flowers. It is difficult to site this interesting shrub in the landscape to show off these dark flowers at their best.


The flowers of the hybrid witchhazels are 3 times the size of the native Vernal Witchhazel but are not as intensely fragrant. This is a closeup of our Jelena Witchhazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) which is a hybrid between Japanese and Chinese Witchhazel species.

Witchhazel flowers are still fairly subtle but at this time of year we cherish any bloom! Arnold Promise Witchhazel (Hamamelis x intermedia) is the yellow-flowering cultivar in this picture while the previously depicted Jelena Witchhazel is the coppery orange-flowered one as a backdrop. Look for these two witchhazels in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are in peak bloom, very slow this year though a few have been blooming through the snow all winter. The best naturalized clumps of this bulb are also in the Rock & Waterfall Garden.

I captured this snowdrop being pollinated by a honeybee! Its head is deep inside the center of the flower gathering nectar but you can see the bright orange pollen sack on her leg where she stores pollen to take back to the hive. Both snowdrops and honeybees are not native and emerge earlier than native wildflowers and bees.

I took this backlit patch of snowdrops in the Rock & Waterfall Garden, it gives one a better side view of these exquisite, green-centered flowers.
This is another species of Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) which has larger flowers with wider petals. Most of this species of Snowdrop are on the east side of the Island Garden, most already past peak of bloom.

The first Lenten Roses (Helleborus x hybridus) have emerged in the Rock & Waterfall Garden. The flowers of some Lenten Roses change colors from lime to white, often darkening again as they age. The flowers also last a long time and the plant thrives in dry shade, making them a favorite of perennial gardeners.

The colors and patterns of Lenten Rose flowers are astounding -- I recommend you to go to your favorite nursery this spring and buy them in bloom so you know what color and pattern the flowers will have. They range from purest white to green, and various shades of purple, some so dark they almost look black.

Fresh "Tommy" Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus) add hues of purple and are the only crocus that squirrels and deer seem to leave alone for us. This is probably the cultivar 'Barr's Purple' but they have naturalized beyond where they were planted.
This is a darker flowering Tommy Crocus cultivar called 'Whitewell Purple' on the Island Garden.

A honeybee leaves his crocus flower larder: honeybees have been out in full force gathering nectar and pollen form these early bulbs.

Bright as sunshine, Gipsy Girl Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus) opens its sunny flowers toward the sunshine. On cloudy days when the flowers stay closed, the purple-striped undersides of the sepals add some detail to this colorful flower.

This Crocus chrysanthus with lavender-blushed sepals and nice yellow flowers the cultivar 'Advance'.

The aptly named Golden Girl Crocus (Crocus flavus) really is golden yellow and not the least bit pale!

This early squill with palest blue flowers (almost white) with aqua blue stamens has no common name and a botanical name that is really a mouthful: Scilla mischtschenkoana!

Yep, there are even some iris that are among the earliest of our garden flowers. This is the elaborately marked Katharine Hodgkin Iris (Iris hybrid). Look for nice masses of this flower emerging on the Island Garden.

The rich blue flowers of Harmony Reticulate Iris (Iris reticulata) are of finest blue at this season. Look for beautiful masses of this flower on the Island Garden.
The tiny flowers of spring bulbs are out in full force at Powell Gardens. Come see their exquisite colors and details along with the other sights and sounds of spring resurrected.
All photographs taken on Monday, March 8, 2010 at Powell Gardens

3 comments:

Janet said...

Hm-m-m How welcome the first signs of spring flowers

Joseph Mark Jarvis said...

The unknown crocus looks like Crocus chrysanthus 'Advance'.

Which Crocus chrysanthus cultivars naturalized best for you? Which bloom earliest and latest?

I'm interested in naturalizing them in a lawn before mowing and also stretching the bloom period by planting early and late cultivars. I've read 'Gypsy Girl' is very early.

Also, do your Iris reticulata naturalize?

Mothers Day Flowers said...

I love the spring! Those purple flowers are gorgeous!