Friday, March 25

A VERY Out Of Season Flower

Imagine my surprise today as I lugged an overfilled basket of laundry down the stairs and was greeted by the scent of... this:

My silly, basement-banished brugmansia has just a few leaves that are only as long as my fingers... and yet it somehow mustered up the energy to kick out TWO blooms that are as long as my forearm!

Needless to say, I plucked them both very gently and will be on the lookout for any more that decide to appear before the brug makes its way back outside for the summer, in order to nip them at the bud stage.

Right now, though, I am enjoying their sweet, delicious smell as they sit perched among the houseplants in my dining room. Their perfume is no small tease on a very cold weekend in late March!

Wednesday, March 16

March Reveal (This Month's Foliage Follow-Up)

On the big design shows, it's all about the reveal. So, too, for my garden in March.  The snow has FINALLY melted, revealing a mix of old, bleached-out foliage (because I'm a spring cleaner, not a fall cleaner in the garden) and new spring growth. 

Some old foliage knows how to mix in artfully, like the fine-textured Japanese maple leaves that seem to flow through the garden in delicate streams. Others, including the cane-like hollow flower stems in the pictures above and below, just seem to plop down in ugly places and look like litter.

A few plants mix old and new foliage on their own, like these red-stemmed 'Ivory Prince' hellebores:

And others, like the sage below, mix so well that it's hard to tell at first glance which branches of the sage are dead and which are not.

Last, but not least, a photo that shows three distinctly different spring foliage looks. The bergenia, top, is showing off a dark red (and a little flower stalk--do you see it?) hue that will gradually turn a deep green by summer.  'Chubby Fingers' groundhugging sedum looks as fresh and green now as it will in June.  'Toffee Twist' carex will keep its look for the rest of the year, too... but it's anything but fresh and green!

This last photo shows one more very important thing in my garden:  The little blue cap belongs to my soil thermometer.  I admit that I cheat, and put it there near to the sidewalk because I know that the soil warms up there soonest!  And although I do factor my "cheating" into my decision-making when I get around to planting seeds... it makes me happy to see progress in ground warming at this time of the year.  That tells me that true spring can't be too far behind!

To check out some more great foliage from around the world--or let people know about your Foliage Follow-Up post--check out Pam's March Foliage Follow-Up on Digging.

Tuesday, March 15

A (Rainy, Wet) March Bloom Day

March has been in like a rollercoaster this year, with warm sunny days contrasted with snow so wet that I felt like I was shoveling sand or gravel as I cleared off my driveway. Today, Mother Nature brought us more rain--but this of the miserably cold variety, since it's 36 degrees outside. The hellebores are always shy about showing their faces, but today they look especially cowed by the weather:

The messiest hellebore (above) is the one with the most opened blooms. Several others are showing lots of buds, and most (like this light green, one of my favorites) have a tidy burst of new foliage coming up with the buds in the midst of the clump:

In addition to the hellebores, there is a cute but tiny cluster of snowdrops blooming under the peach tree... but getting a photo of it would have meant exposing my camera to the rain. (As far as snowdrops go, these are rather unremarkable, so it would definitely not have been worth the cost to get their photo.) Indoors, the jewel orchid continues to bloom, but the bright amaryllis flowers are darkened and wilting.

All in all, this is a rather "blah" Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day here... so make your way over to Carol's and see what others have blooming in their gardens this month.  I hope to have something more inspiring to post in April!

Saturday, March 5

A Sunny Corner in March

This first photo is not from the sunny corner referenced in my post title... but since this bright beauty demands as much attention as Charlie Sheen, I figured I might as well give her the top billing she requires:

That amaryllis, name unknown, was "rescued" from our office last year and then promptly thrown outside and forgotten for the summer. I figured that it was probably victim of my neglect, but I brought it inside anyway and tucked the pot with its bare-looking bulb amongst my other houseplants. I was surprised to notice a touch of green, and then leaves and a bloom stalk, several weeks ago... and have been enjoying the 6"-plus blooms now for more than a week!  Yay for plants that tolerate neglect!!!

More tolerant plants are stashed on my stair landing, just below a south-facing leaded-glass window. The banana plant that anchored this grouping has since succumbed to said neglect... but the agave, begonia, and rescued orchid cactus (epiphyllum) are still hanging in there. When the light hits just right, it causes the begonia leaves to glow ruby-red.  Lately, though, I've been just as enamored of the backlit epiphyllum leaves:

I'm not sure whether the epiphyllum is catching my green-starved eyes because of its color, or because I'm so amused that such thick, fleshy succulent leaves can be backlit so glowing and bright. But I'm completely fascinated by the variations in green here:

In just a few months, these plants will head back outside to summer on the porch.  Until then, I'll keep enjoying them inside--especially on our rare sunny days!