10 March 2013

Spring Preview

We've had a cold, slow start to spring here in Michigan, which honestly, I'm trying not to complain, it is better than last year when we hit 80 in March and then everything froze and got destroyed. But, I still get impatient. Luckily, we have greenhouses. We keep the cool, but warm enough to get a few weeks jump start on spring, and OH is that ever nice! I love all the things flowering right now... sadly, because we're not open for retail this time of year, customers rarely get to see them. So, I'll share them with you now.

I'm currently NUTS about the allionii primrose group. They're gorgeous, TINY little primroses that bloom super early. Like their close kin (and another of my favorites), the xpubescens group, they like good drainage and full sun. The allioniis aren't quite as bullet proof as the xpubescens, but they're still very growable and insanely gorgeous.
Primula minima... frilled, lavender flowers, and a slight sweet scent. Adore.
Primula allionii 'Viscountess Byng' Does it GET any cuter?
Primula 'Lismore Yellow' Great color and a vigorous grower, eventually forming big clumps
Helleborus are, of course, a wonderful early-spring bloomer. I love the massive flowers and bright colors of the newest hybrids, but I'm also really enjoying the more delicate, refined beauty of the wild species helleborus. 
Helleborus odorus Green, almost yellow flowers. To me they are quite fragrant, but about half the people I've told that too don't detect a scent at all.
Helleborus purpurascens Perfectly refined, elegant flowers,  and a lovely shade of bright green on the inside.
 Corydalis solida is another favorite... It is a little bulb that should be as common as crocuses. It seeds around like wild, but who CARES when it gives you jaunty, delicate bright blooms about the same time as crocuses, and then goes dormant so fast it never competes with other plants?

The hoop petticoat group of daffodils is usually represented in catalogs by Narcissus bulbocodium. Which is a shame since it is just about the least beautiful of the group. Here, Narcissus romieuxii shows us how it is REALLY done. Stunning plant, and very vigorous for us, though it needs a sheltered spot to overwinter reliably in zone 5.

Hepatica is one of my favorite wildflowers... So early, so delicate looking and yet so tough! This is our selection of H. nobilis we just call 'Dark Magenta' For obvious reasons. Usually I'm not a fan of this color, but this one REALLY does it for me. Just gorgeous.

Finally what would spring be without the anticipation of more? SEEDLINGS!!! Pure happiness.


Unknown said...

Love love love. Thanks for the pick-me-up.

Rachelle said...

Do you find hepatica color dependent on pH or time in their bloom cycle?

Joseph said...

Rachelle, no, the bloom color seems to be very consistent in my experience.

Nic said...

Awesome flowers! Thank you for the little burst of spring

Barry Parker said...

Thanks for championing Narcissus romieuxii. Can't think why it's not more popular.

Duane McDowell said...

Joseph, thank you! I won't see ours until the end of April. I really like the color.

mulligan said...

Love! I'm a hellebore nut (can't grow enough), and based on your pix I am definitely seeking out both the hepatica and corydalis this year.

Please, keep 'em coming! These little reminders that we're *almost* to spring are the only thing keeping me going these dreary days.

Kylee Baumle said...

Those are the Narcissus I bought at the Winter Sucks! party last year! I sure hope they come up and bloom this year. I don't remember where I planted them. :-(

Oh my goodness, that hepatica!!! Another of my favorites! Remind me to tell you about the first time I ever saw them in the wild.

Hellebores...one of my absolute favorites. My 'Winter's Bliss' is absolutely LOADED with buds right now.

Mario said...

Always love to meet new plants. Think a shopping trip is in order this season! The primula are totally sweet.

Susan said...

Thanks Joseph! We just got back from the mountains in northern Alabama. Did a fantastic hike and saw a plethora of Hepatica growing on rock cliffs. Stunning! I have to say that's better than seeing them in a greenhouse! BTW I did pick up a copy of OG and will bring down for an autograph!

Lisa said...

This is wonderful flowers! I have them growing in the garden before, but now because of the hot, dry climate is not growing. Please advise whether it is possible to use something? I friend of mine advised instrument for grain moisture in the soil http://www.aquar-system.com/ I do not know him like you to clarify.

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