Sunday, March 20, 2011
Welcome To Spring!
Spring has burst forth with a vengeance in Nashville this week! Forsythia, daffodils, quince, hellebores and many other spring favorites are at their peak, so I thought I'd share a few shots from the garden this week.
Forsythia 'Lynwood Gold'. One of the oldest and best known varieties of Forsythia on the market, this is the one that gets the long, whiplike stems that are so great for cutting and forcing indoors in late winter and early spring. Many other varieties have been introduced over the years--later flowering, more cold hardy, shorter and more compact, even forms with variegated leaves--but none, in my opinion compare to the golden beauty of 'Lynwood Gold'.
A tremendous amount of hybridizing has been going on in the world of hellebores, or Lenten roses, over the past twenty years. Some of the finest results are just now making their way to market and much work is still being done. The range of flower colors and forms has exploded just in the past 5 years. Some of the best work being done in the world of hellebore hybridizing is that of Ernie and Marietta O'Byrne at Northwest Garden Nursery. Their Winter Jewels (TM) series is, in my opinion, second to none. The one pictured above is Winter Jewels (TM) 'Golden Sunrise' and has been stunning for the past month.
I have a soft spot in my heart for quince. It's one of the things that I remember from my grandmother's garden when I was a child. This unusual variety, 'Atsuya Hamada', is a deep, velvety blood red and the flowers are much smaller than normal--only about 3/4" in diameter. It's perfect for cutting!
Another quince that I have fallen in love with in the past couple of years is this new cultivar, 'Chojuraku'. Its deep, apricot orange flowers light up the garden in early spring. It is deeper in color and a larger, more robust plant than 'Cameo', which is also beautiful and has been on the market for many years. The tall stems of 'Chojuraku' make it great for cutting, where the dwarf habit of 'Cameo' makes it difficult to cut and use indoors.
One of the most unsual of all daffodils and a variety that has been around for over 100 years, 'Van Sion', also known as 'Telamonius Plenus', is one of the most beautiful and one of the most frustrating varieties that I have grown. Some years, it opens perfectly double flowers like the one shown above, while other years it opens as a shredded looking blossom that resembles a dandelion! Some years, if the weather conditions are wet and rainy while it is trying to open, the buds may blast and rot on the plant without opening at all. In the years when it at its very best, 'Van Sion' is showstopping and it's worth the wait for those perfect years!
I hope that spring is just as beautiful in your corner of the world and I'll be back again soon!