What's blooming

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Wed, 22 Feb 2012 14:28:58 PST

The temperature tomorrow might be over 70 degrees F. Today it's over 60 degrees F. Some snowdrops, after the longest mild weather snowdrop season I have ever experienced, are finally shriveling. I'm hoping this long mild season will translate into abundant seed set. Winter aconites, early crocuses (including Crocus reticulatus)  and reticulate irises are all blooming freely now. And yes, that iris purchased very inexpensively  as Vinogradov's iris is true to name: the first flower is opening today. The yellow is very pale, the sort of yellow seen in some butter. It seems to move at a much slower pace than the other reticulate irises here.  In one of the cold frames the clump of Iris lazica has twelve flowers open. They form a mass of blue about a foot across, a really beautiful sight at this time of year. I'm inclined to think that if it repeats this performance yearly, I'll come to value it as much as I do I. unguicularis.  Cyclamen coum, also in a
 cold frame, is only now coming into bloom. I'm sure it had flower buds back in December, but the first flowers have opened only this week.

Plants of Fritillaria thunbergii and F. persica are well out of the ground. I can count flower buds on some of the scapes of F. thunbergii. Whatever it is which has been browsing crocus foliage near this frit has so-far not touch the frit. Some early tulips show flower buds deep down in the emerging leaves.

The buds of Asphodelus acaulis form a bright pink coronet at ground level. 

Early daffodils such as cyclamineus hybrids are blooming. There were reports of' Rijnveld's Early Sensation' blooming in the greater Washington, D.C. area back in December.

Lawn weeds such as veronica, cardamine and dandelions are blooming. 

And here's a snowdrop story. Last week I spotted a snowdrop in the front lawn whose green markings, when viewed from a certain angle, reminded me of a man's face, a man with a big 1890s mustache. I decided to call it Mr. Mustache. I went out a few hours ago to photograph Mr Mustache: he's gone.  Somebody snatched him. I hope there are enough leaves left to keep the bulb strong so Mr. Mustache can make another appearance next year. A bit before I discovered that Mr. Mustache was gone I nearly fell over or twisted my ankle after stepping into a hidden, leaf filled hole in a place where I have never dug one. Someone has evidently lifted a plant. 

The three Cyclamen persicum plants mentioned in earlier posts are doing very well. As I approached the front door earlier today the area was sweet with their fragrance. And I noticed something about that fragrance today which I had never noticed: it's sweet to be sure, but it also has a noticeable caraway seed quality. It must be wonderful to wander the countryside in areas here these grow wild. 

So far no peepers or wood frogs, but if the mild temperatures hold out through a rainy period, they are sure to start up. 

Should I start to sow seeds of hardy annuals? It's hard to know what to do in a year like this. 

Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.021954º North, 77.052102º West, USDA zone 7
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