What's Blooming Now--TOW

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:55:45 PDT
My last update was on March 24, 2004; I would have posted sooner, but got
caught up in preparations for Easter. And then on  April 11 I came down
with a lower GI condition which kept me in bed for days and because of
which I quickly lost 15 pounds and endured nearly two weeks of fatigue.
It's over now, but what an ordeal! And that first big wave I alluded to in
the March 24 post came and went while I was hugging my pillow.

Here's where we are in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA,  zone 7. I've
included some non-geophytes to act as guideposts - 

Lilacs are just past their best; kurume azaleas are at their peak; Davidia
involucrata is blooming; I saw Daphne genkwa, Pterostyrax hispida and
Sinojackia in full bloom in an Alexandria, Virginia garden yesterday;
Wisteria floribunda is in full bloom; Illicium flordianum is in full bloom
- it stinks, just like Trillium erectum, and it yellows and drops its old
leaves when in full bloom. Not a great recommendation, right? Cornus
florida and Cercis canadensis are in full bloom. Darmera peltata is in bloom. 

The Fritillaria season is just about over; the last F. acmopetala are at
their best, all others are over : F. imperialis, F. meleagris, F.
uva-vulpis, F. bucharica (described in an earlier entry as F. ariana - I
wish!), F. pallidiflora, F. aurea, F. involucrata, F. mystery frit #1, F.
mystery frit #2 - photos of these "mystery" frits will be posted later.
There are others which did not bloom.

The Trillium season opened this year on April 1 with T. smallii - it's
about the homeliest Trillium I've ever seen.  Right now, T. flexipes, T.
cuneatum, T. erectum in various forms, T. luteum in several forms, and T.
recurvatum is about to open. A double-flowered Trillium grandiflorum once
again aborted its flower buds this year (it has yet to bloom successfully
here). Incidentally, T. cuneatum is very sweetly secented - it's one of
those fragrances which carries on the air well. There are lots of other
Trillium here which do not bloom regularly. 

We are at about the mid point of the tulip season. The earliest sorts are
long gone, and many others are past their best, but there still lots of
tulips in the garden. Triumph and Darwin Hybrid types are at their peak or
just past. The latest May-flowering sorts are still in bud. Among the
species, the later flowering sorts such as sylvestris, linifolia,
batalinii, orphanidea and whittallii are now blooming. A plant received as
Tulipa saxatilis is blooming: I'll try to post a photo later so the rest of
you can tell me what you think about the identity. A tulip new to me this
year which I like very much is T. polychroma. It is very sweetly scented.
Just before the first flowers opened, it looked so much like T.
turkestanica that I suspected yet another imposter. But it's distinct, and
I'm glad to have it. 

Here in the Washington D.C. area we have several large retail garden
centers which each year offer dozens of tulip varieties. Every five to
eight years I go out and buy one bulb of every variety on offer that year.
It's a good way to become familiar with the seasons, sorts and color range
of tulips. This year, for instance, there are over 250 nominally different
tulip varieties in the garden. During the next few years, many of these
will disappear; and then I'll go out and do it again.  

Cypripedium japonicum is about to bloom, as are various Calanthe. 

Veratrum nigrum is strong this year but apparently will not bloom. It gets
better yearly, but has not yet bloomed here. This is a real eye-catcher:
the huge foliage fortunately is not bothered by slugs here (so far). V.
album, in one of the bog trays, is also strong but again apparently not
blooming. I'll try to post photos of these later.  

Arisaema sikokianum is in full bloom  and strong this year. Lots of other
Arisaema grow here. 

Asarum maximun and lots of other Asarum are either in bloom or in active
growth. This makes the slugs very happy.

Lilium grayi has five stems up this year. I'm doing something right here!
Various other lilies in the bog trays are coming on well. Some of the
modern super lilies out in the garden have put up stupendous stems. 

Seed of Eranthis hyemalis was collected on April 22. E. cilicicus (a
botanical conference subjected anthis to a sex-change operation: it's now
masucline, after being feminine for generations) seems to set seed here but
it does not germinate easily. 

There are nice batches of germinating Jeffersonia diphylla and Sanguinaria
canadensis in the frames. 

Paris of several sorts grow here but it looks as if none is going to bloom
this year. 

Arisarum proboscideum in not blooming this year either: but a near look
alike, Pinellia ternata, is blooming all over. This is a seemingly
ineradicable weed here. 

Cardiocrinum cordatum will apparently bloom this year - for the second
time. The first flowering came four years ago from a newly received plant;
I was in India when it bloomed. This time I've earned it, and  I hope to be
here to see it. 

Various Asian Podophyllum make stunning foliage plants now.

Helonias bullata continues to bloom in the bog trays. The first Sarracenia
should open within a week or so. 

Paeonia mascula opened the peony season this year but by April 22, after
two days of near 90 degree F temperatures, had shattered. Some other sorts
seem to have aborted their buds in the heat (emodi, japonica,
whittmanniana). Tree peonies are starting to bloom today.  

Poppy anemones, Anemone coronaria, are blooming freely now. Turban
ranunculus should start to bloom very soon. Those of you who garden in
milder climates may take these for granted: we have to work for them here!
The poppy anemone will survive the winter in the open garden, but its
foliage is so badly damaged that the plants bloom poorly. Here they get a
cold frame, and that makes all the difference in the world. Ordinarily I'm
relatively indifferent to plants which lack scent, but I make a willing
exception for these. 

Anemone nemorosa is mostly over by now; a white-flowered single, "blue"
Robinsoniana and Vestal all grow here. 

Muscari latifolium and the musk hyacinths are still blooming. Garden
hyacinths are mostly past their best. I'll post a photo of "my" Roman
hyacinth later. 

Regeliocyclus iris Dardanus is putting up budded scapes. 

Toads began to sing at the pool on March 26 and spawned for the first time
soon after that.  There are now plenty of tadpoles. If the wood frogs
spawned, I did not notice. 

Deciduous trees are rapidly leafing out - the good birding days are quickly
ending. Hummingbirds and wood thrushes are back - so are lots of others.
The flowering of Aquilegia canadensis coincides with the annual return of
the hummers. 

About a week ago while still ill I  dozed off on the deck; I was awakened
by a strange bird noise. I looked up just in time to see a great blue heron
perched about eight feet away on the edge of the house roof.  I guess that
explains the disappearing goldfish!

The screech owl continues to call nightly. 

Eremurus robustus has a stout inflorescence on the way up. 

A nice clump of Dracunculus vulgaris suggests this may be a good year for

I don't see any of the Rhodohypoxis in the bog trays yet. 

Hemerocallis minor has well budded scapes up and ready to go. 

This is only the roughest sketch, but it will give an idea of where we are. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, zone 7, where we're at the height of spring
and awaiting the arrival of brood X of the 17 year cicada: this will be the
fourth time I've witnessed this, and with a bit of luck I should see it at
least one more time.  

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