What beautiful weather we’ve had the past few days. I went for a walk today and right off the bat smelled the heady aroma of Sarcococca (Sweet box). Golly I love that stuff. I don’t have a photo, because though I whiffed it off and on during my walk, I never saw it close enough to photograph it. So you will have to look that one up yourself. It is one of the earliest blooming and most fragrant of all evergreen shrubs. It prefers shade, and is a real workhorse for the shade garden.
But let’s take a look at the other stuff I found on my walk.
Above is Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’ (Variegated Winter Daphne). See that is is JUST breaking bud. But it was still marvelously fragrant. I was delighted to note that I saw amazingly few defoliated daphne shrubs on my walk. Some years when we have a more harsh winter, most of them lose their leaves even though they are supposed to be evergreen in our planting zone. And for that reason, in my designs I almost always spec either d. transatlantica or d. burkwoodii. In my experience, they are more predictably hardy here (for the most part; some cultivars may defy my experience.)
Above is Camellia japonica (Camellia). I have no idea the cultivar. This smaller, pink flowered specimen was the only one blooming of all I saw today. Anyone know what cultivar this might be?
Above is Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree). I noted 2 different cultivars along my route. The larger one is likely ‘Marina’, and this smaller one could be ‘Elfin King’. It’s interesting that before my vacation in January, both of these trees were full of colorful fruit. And just a month later, there was no fruit to be seen. I guess the birds had a feast!
Above is Viburnun tinus (Laurustinus or Laurestine). I would guess the cultivar to be ‘Spring Bouquet’ only because that is the only cultivar I’ve EVER seen in this area. It is a nice shrub. Nice free standing or as a hedge. But please don’t shear this plant if you are doing a hedge. The leaves are too large for shearing pruning. Not only will your shrub look all tattered and ugly after pruning, it is not great for the plant’s health.
Above is a rhodie! I was really surprised to find one blooming so early. It was the ONLY one blooming along my route today. It has small flowers and medium-sized leaves. The shrub was small in stature. Not sure if was that way due to pruning. Anyone know what this cultivar is?
Above… DAFFODIL! I know this is a horrible photo. I didn’t want to trespass so I zoomed way in with my cell phone camera. It was the only daffodil I saw today, but I noted there were plenty of others with their nodding buds ready to pop!
Above is some variety of Crocus. I saw some darker purple ones, some white ones and some yellow ones on my walk. They are cute, but bloom for too short a time for my liking.
Above is Erica carnea (Winter Heath). This is so prevalent in our area; both pink and white. It’s nice, but there are SO many other heaths that come in a range of other shades of pinks and whites, and there is also Calluna spp (Heather) of which many cultivars have their evergreen foliage turn some bright shade of orange or red or yellow for the winter only to turn back to green, then bloom in summer or fall. Explore those heathers and heaths. There are most literally hundreds of cultivars that do very nicely here if you will give them a bit of water to keep them going over our dry summer. And they need very well-drained soil, so not good for soggy areas.
Above is Pieris japonica ‘Variegata’ (Variegated Andromeda). I am not sure this cultivar name. There are a few popular around here like ‘Fire and Ice’ and ‘Flaming Silver’. Nice plants that do well in most conditions, but appreciate protection from the hottest west sun. Also, every part of this plant is poisonous to dogs, so if your doggie might like the dangling flowers and buds, I’d remove this from your garden.
Above is Iris reticulata (Netted Iris). I’ve seen these in white and more of a blue purple, and even some oddly wonderful alternate color combinations. They are very short as iris go, only about 4″ tall. I love the way they are poking up through the leaf mulch. And… YAY for this gardener using their fall leaves as mulch!
Above is Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft). This plant is also just beginning its bloom. Soon the entire plant will be covered with white flowers. And again, I’m delighted to see fall leaves used as mulch in this garden. Yippee! The message is getting out about using your fall leaves as mulch. It’s so good for the soil and for most ornamental gardens in our area. Ordinarily, we pay to remove our leaves, then we pay again to get mulch for our gardens. Stop throwing your money away and use your own leaves on your own garden!
Above is Anemone. I am not sure if it’s a. blanda or a. coronaria. Can anyone tell at this stage for sure? I think it’s a. blanda. The foliage is only about 1″ tall, and the flowers are maybe 3″ tall. This is a creeping plant that will soon carpet the garden if you let it spread. It comes in other colors, too.
Well, that is what I found blooming today. Have you seen any interesting flowers blooming lately?