Maryland update

Jim McKenney
Mon, 11 Feb 2008 08:10:52 PST
Last week was unseasonably mild, and I took advantage of that to get a lot
done in the garden. I’m covered with scratches, cuts and a bruise or two. My
hands are still a bit swollen, and there are plenty of aches and pains to go
with it all. But I got a lot done. 

I won’t be working in the garden today! The temperature early this morning
was said to be 16ºF. At 10:30 A. M. it still has to rise above the freezing
point. Still, inside the protected cold frame everything looks fine. Several
daffodils are blooming there: one of the modern all-white Israeli  tazetta
forms named Ziva is very handsome and potently fragrant; the north African
Narcissus pachybolbus is blooming, too. The first of the white
hoop-petticoats is open, a plant received under the name Narcissus albidus
var. foliosus. I’ve been growing various daffodils of this group for three
years now, and they seem to be very erratic in terms of time of bloom.
Other than a few crocus (Crocus biflorus tauri and Uschak Orange), the cold
frame is otherwise quiet; it is lush with foliage and the promise of things
to come. 

Foliage: that the foliage of Amaryllis belladonna (in the protected cold
frame) is untouched by cold is reassuring; the Nerine sarniensis forms also
look fine. What really surprises me is that a modern hybrid Hippeastrum is
also taking the winter in the cold frame in stride.  

Two years ago Tecophilaea cyanocrocus bloomed in March; last year it was in
bloom in early January; this year, so far I can see only a tiny tip of blue
down between the leaves. 

Asphodelus acaulis continues to bloom. Evidently the flowers of this species
are ephemeral.

Iris unguicularis had two flowers open on Saturday; they were still there
yesterday as we endured a day of relentless wind. They were covered with a
tarp last night; today they are shriveled. This plant has been blooming off
and on since November. I mentioned this to the person from whom I obtained
this plant. His joking response: “I hate you”. (It never bloomed for him,
not even once.) 

Out in the open garden Crocus imperati started to bloom Saturday. It’s
probably frozen this morning.

Snowdrops on the lawn are arched over and seemingly huddled against the
lawn. Most of the early snowdrops were in full bloom last week.

If any winter aconites are in bloom, I have not seen them. My witch hazels
are now big enough to be a real presence in the garden, and last week they
were very beautiful. Winter sweet too is blooming. 

Wintergreen herbaceous things such as Italian arum, Ruscus, Danaë and Rohdea
are all lovely, untouched so-far by rough weather. Helleborus foetidus is in
full bloom, and the earliest of the garden hellebores are also up and open.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where strange noises in the
attic at dawn and dusk have me wondering if some squirrels have moved in
with us. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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