April 15, 2014

Butterflies, blooms, and big puffy buds

It's a cold April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day here in a large portion of the U.S.

Some gardeners have snow, while others have had brutal overnight temperatures that required covering even hardy perennials.

mourning cloak

Last week, the first butterflies of the season in my garden were sunning themselves, like this mourning cloak.

Here in Southern Wisconsin, we went from spring weather last week to summer weather on the weekend, and then we crashed ... to snow flurries and overnight temperatures around 20F (-6C) last night. We awoke to another white dusting on the lawns and gardens.

snowdrops

Before the "crash," some of the Snowdrops (Galanthus nivaliswere blooming. I think these are 'Flore Pleno.' I clipped the remains before nightfall and put them in a vase in the house. They would have survived, anyway, but I wanted them in a place where I could enjoy their beauty.

Other spring-blooming flowers either got covered or should survive because of their natural antifreeze capabilities.

hellebores

hyacinth

daffodils

Hellebores, Hyacinths, and Daffodils need very little pampering, even during a cold snap. But I covered the Hellebores, just to be safe.

crocus1

And of course the Crocuses (C. tommasinianus) are fine. Actually, the cold will preserve them for a little longer.

crocus2

It's magical how they close tightly with the cold and dark, and then open their faces and translucent petals to the sun.

feather

Meanwhile, a turkey feather holds its place in the flower pots until warmer weather.

cyclamen

Inside, the Cyclamen is still blooming--two months and going strong.

sunroom

But the plant I'm most excited about right now is the potted Meyer Lemon tree. I'm including this photo to show how it gets light from three directions in the south-facing sunroom. Not only did it survive the entire winter inside, it's thriving. And it's covered with big, puffy buds that are just about ready to burst.

lemon1

lemon2

lemon3

lemon4

While only a small portion of these will become Lemons, the blooms soon will perfume the room. And it will be fun to see how many Lemons we get this first year.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. Head on over to her blog to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.

62 comments:

  1. What great photos. And spring flowers. I am still waiting, but glad for the snowdrops. I once visited a woman who had a gorgeous greenhouse with four large Meyer lemons, and who also had a house in Provence. She said one day her 5 year old came into the greenhouse, breathed deep and sighed. It smells just like Provence. Oh, to be in her son's shoes and know what Provence smells like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. That greenhouse must have been wonderful! I'm imagining the scent and sight, and hoping that our little tree will be able to capture a small fraction of that pleasantness. :) Lucky little boy!

      Delete
  2. Beautiful butterfly that morning cloak and so pretty the pot with the feather,but I envy your lemon tree with so many buds. I have a lemon tree in pot too. First year we had 11 lemons, then 2 years nothing, last year 1 and until now I do not see any buds. I wonder what I am doing wrong.
    Wish you happy gardening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy gardening to you, too! Since I'm new to Lemon trees, I'm probably not qualified to give advice. Check back with me after at least one year. All I know is that I'm thrilled a Lemon tree can survive in a partially heated sunny room through a cold Midwestern winter. ;-)

      Delete
  3. I understand your excitement on the lemon tree--your sunroom is going to smell divine with all these blooms! I didn't cover anything last night, not even the hellebores. I hope I didn't make a mistake in leaving everything to survive on its own.
    It's funny, but I had never even seen a Mourning Cloak until a couple of years ago, when they were swarming all over one of our trees in the fall. I had to submit a photo to Bug.net to get an i.d.!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rose. Yes, I am excited about the scent soon-to-be! I don't know if it helps to cover the Hellebores, but I'm overly protective of them. I'm a little crazy for Hellebores. ;-) Yours should be fine. Were they fully blooming or just starting? In any case, the plants will be fine, it's probably just a matter of whether the blooms will fade back. I thought maybe my Daffodils would keel over before blooming. They look a little stressed, so maybe I'll cover them tonight; maybe not. I recently realized that the mourning cloaks probably hang out in our neighbor's Cottonwood tree--also a favorite for the cedar waxwings. So, now I have a greater appreciation for Cottonwoods.

      Delete
  4. Haven't seen a single butterfly yet. And now you're making me wish I had covered my hellebores. Of course they are covered now - in snow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you have more snow than us. We had a dusting, and now it's melted again. I suppose more overnight. Don't worry--your Hellebores should be OK. I'm a bit overprotective with them, they're really very hardy.

      Delete
  5. Your butterfly and blooms are breathtaking and your photography is just wonderful ...especially the close up of the purple crocus. I enjoyed the visit. Happy GBBD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lee. Those two Crocuses never fail--every year they pop up about now, and now they're protected by chicken wire (long story), so they're in an even safer place. They're very photogenic! :)

      Delete
  6. Many blooms Beth, for this time of year after the harsh winter season. I saw my first butterfly yesterday, a Mourning Cloak, and my friend and I followed it until it landed for the evening. Poor thing today with the snow, three inches in places. My own garden is under a bit more than an inch. Very nice images, especially your snowdrop. You got low on that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. Poor thing, is right--although apparently mourning cloaks are pretty hardy if they can survive the kind of winter we just had. I was reading that they find warm places next to crevices in sheds and houses. And they must have natural antifreeze. I should have simply lifted up the Snowdrop, but I prefer not to have my hand it the photo. ;-)

      Delete
  7. I feel for you with the vagaries of the weather gods. Things are looking mighty fine all the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ricki. It's the extremes within a short period of time that make it rough on everyone--people, plants, and animals. I hope we've turned the corner now. We shall see. :)

      Delete
  8. Hi Beth, everything is coming to life. That snowdrop seems so special with multipetals, haven't seen it even in photos, or maybe many of them don't take it at that angle. And i love your porch with big glass walls to see the outside view. I wish to have a house with that too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Believe it or not, I forgot that I planted those Snowdrops in that spot. I don't think they bloomed the first couple of years, so it was fun to see them this spring. It is great to have a sunroom. I don't spend much time out there in the winter because it's cold, but it's a good spot for Lemon trees and Cyclamen, apparently.

      Delete
  9. All buds look so promising! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Endah! We need some good news after the tough winter we just went through. Every little sign of spring is treasured!

      Delete
  10. Well, those freezing temperatures moved east and arrived in the form of an icy mix last night. This morning it looks and feels like February with the wind howling. I do love your lemon tree and really must get one. I can almost smell that fragrance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry about that, Layanee. The yo-yo effect is not fun. I hope your Katherine Hodgkin Irises are OK. I highly recommend Lemon trees--I didn't realize it would be so much fun to watch the buds form and grow. Can't wait until it blooms!

      Delete
  11. That Meyer Lemon captured my attention... beautiful plant and maybe lemons not to far off?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope so, Carolyn. Time will tell. We'll have to decide whether we self pollinate the blooms or let it happen naturally. It's still too cold to take the tree outside--probably sometime in May.

      Delete
  12. Oh my, that is quite a temperature crash! It snowed here, but only just got to freezing and is thankfully warming back up. Your snowdrop is gorgeous! And what pretty buds on your lemon tree! My mother-in-law just bought a Meyer lemon tree - I hope hers does as well as yours seems to be and she will have some lemons to share later! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I hope your mother-in-law's tree does well, too. Do keep me posted as it's fun to compare notes. With all these blooms, I hope we at least get a few Lemons. But just having the blooms is wonderful in late winter and early spring!

      Delete
  13. We hit 29 and it snowed but didn't lay. Madness! But I have the flu so I didn't venture out to cover anything. I took the Darwin approach. I love how happy that lemon tree is. :o) Your photography in this post is just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! Sorry about your flu--that's rotten this time of year! I hope your plants are OK. I took the Darwin approach with most of mine, too. But some get pampered. Thanks for your very kind comments, Tammy. :)

      Delete
  14. I got very excited--along with some of the others--about your Meyer Lemon. To me they are like a way to keep some summer all year long in my greenhouse. I keep a "cold" greenhouse (for affordability), but this year we attached 25 watt plastic electrician's lamps to the huge pots to keep the plants alive through the winter. For Christmas, I harvested 25 Meyer lemons! For the gardeners who have asked about low yield, I would say that my experience is that lemons can be heavy feeders and want a regular citrus food. I like E.B. Stone's Organic Citrus fertilizer. The other thing is that ants around the sweet blossoms will indicate that you are getting something like a scabby mite that can be brushed off with a toothbrush and Neem oil. (I don't think I have the name right!) But for heaven on earth, there is nothing like a lemon in the family room--you lucky girl! I cannot believe the weather you folks are getting. I think Tammy is right; it's a "deciding winter"....Mother Nature will decide who lives and who doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How nice that you had Lemons at Christmas time! Thanks for sharing the information about the citrus food. I did purchase some organic citrus fertilizer, but I was only planning to use it quarterly. I'll have to give that some more thought. Good to know about the ants! So far, it has been an indoor plant, but I'll watch for that when I take it outside next month. Yeah, I think I lost some plants this winter. Or maybe they're just very slow to appear, which would be very smart!

      Delete
  15. I hope all your flower buds are safe from the snow. I'm wondering where the Mourning Cloak could go for shelter. They are just a childhood memory for me. Your Galanthus 'Flore Pleno' is fantastic! I'll have to put it on my wish list. I have a couple of small Meyer lemon trees I started from seed last year in my aquaponics system, I hope they will go on to bloom. Yours looks great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Hannah! How wonderful that you started Lemon trees from seed. I hope to read more about them on your blog! Apparently, the mourning cloaks find warm spots in building crevices and sheds. It is amazing that they can hibernate in this crazy, bitter cold winter climate.

      Delete
  16. Home-grown Meyer lemons in Wisconsin?! Now that sounds like proof of a green thumb!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know, Aaron. I think it's the perfect conditions in the room, seriously. It gets cool at night and sunny and warm during the day. But thanks for the vote of confidence. I need it. ;-)

      Delete
  17. Amazing your growing a lemon tree in the house, I love your shots, especially of the crocus they are gorgeous blooms, note to self must have crocuses.. - 6 degrees that sounds really cold, here in winter the lowest would be 1 degree celcius and we haven't had any frosts for a few years now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. The Lemon started blooming today! It does smell wonderful! Yes, I do recommend Crocuses--such a lovely sign of spring. Our temperatures vary from -29C in midwinter to 40C in the summer. Springtime is when the temps are quite variable. It can seem like winter one day and summer the next. I think it would be nice to have a winter without frost or freezes. :)

      Delete
  18. hard to credit that snow has returned to you. mad weather - our Spring is too advanced. At least it means I get to enjoy the sight of Spring flowers in their early stages again - especially nice shot of Hellebores. p.s. Your Mourning Cloak is our Camberwell Beauty by the way and I've yet to see this rare migrant
    [p..s we meet virtually following trees - Laura!]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura: I looked up the Mourning Cloak/Camberwell Beauty connection. How fascinating! I didn't realize the distribution of this butterfly was so widespread in the world. How fascinating! Our snow is history now, and I hope it doesn't come back again until December! It was 77F/25C here yesterday! I'm enjoying reading your blogs!

      Delete
  19. This weather is craziness and it sure does keep us on our toes! I am so excited about your lemon tree too! I hope the weather warms up for you so you can put it outside for pollination. One year I had to self pollinate my citrus because they all started blooming indoors. My experience is that the bees are much better at it than I am. Happy Bloom Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Lemon started blooming today! I read somewhere that if you occasionally gently shake it, that's a good way to pollinate it, too. I'll probably put it outside in May, when temps are consistently above 50F. There are so many buds/blooms still forming, so I'm sure there will be plenty left for the bees to pollinate. :)

      Delete
  20. Beth, I saw the news about your snowfall, it’s been never ending this winter, hasn’t it? Hope your hellebore flowers survived well, last year some of mine died at a cold snap during our cold spring - although only the flowers that were fully out died, the buds were fine.
    Exciting to see your lemon tree, hope you get lots of lemons! And have you got any news about your new camellia?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Helene: I'm praying that we're done with snow until December. It was 77F/25C here yesterday, which was a wonderful Easter gift. (I hope you had a pleasant Easter, too!) The Hellebores are happy now, and they're getting a soft, gentle rain today. My Camellia arrived! Stay tuned for a post (posts) about it!

      Delete
  21. We used to have a tangerine tree and I remember how sweetly fragrant the flowers were. Enjoy your lemon tree!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness, the Lemon just started blooming yesterday and even with only a couple of blooms it smells amazing! Thanks!

      Delete
  22. I covered my Hellebores, too. Even so, they did not look good after that cold but are fine now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine looked like they were struggling a bit, too, even with covering. But they've recovered. They're very happy with the normal spring weather we're having now. I'm glad yours are fine, too!

      Delete
  23. You have so many lovely spring flowers, thank you for the pictures. I hope you are enjoying the lemon blossom fragrance now, it must be heavenly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Masha: Thanks for your kind comments. :) Yes, the Lemon started blooming today! And even though only a couple of buds have broken, it smells amazing! Happy Easter!

      Delete
  24. Our gardens look similar and I love the change in the tree in the header....oh and the lemon buds are just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. I keep thinking I want to settle on a header that stays the same over time, but I keep wanting to change it--at least with the changing seasons. :)

      Delete
  25. I would love to smell your living room when the tree blooms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tree is blooming now, and it smells wonderful! I'm amazed that a Lemon tree can do so well in a slightly heated sunroom in a northern climate. It will be fun to watch the pollinators go for it when I put the tree outside.

      Delete
  26. Wow! I can't believe a lemon tree is flourishing inside your home! This see-saw weather has been a trial for us too, but I hope winter has finished with us here in the Deep South! Today, with temps hovering near 80, I planted tomatoes, only a few days after our last threat of freezing weather - It didn't quite make it, thankfully!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tomatoes! Wow, I'm jealous. I won't be able to put mine in for another month. We're sort of cool this week again, but more normal 50s and 60s, so that's OK. Hopefully, no more snow until December!

      Delete
  27. The Morning Cloak butterfly is breathtaking! Dawn dark with light like gold round the edges and tiny bits of blue sky beginning to show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a pretty creature, isn't it? I haven't seen any for a few days, so I'm looking forward to more butterflies--mourning cloaks and others. They always seem like moments of grace. :)

      Delete
  28. Oh my, how beautiful. Spring gives us so many lovely sights. I have yet to see a butterfly. I know it should be anytime now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many new spring sights, yes. Sometimes it can be a bit of sensory overload, but I like it!

      Delete
  29. That is a beautiful photo of the common double snowdrop. In fact it is a lovely specimen as they normally look messy. We were covering plants and taking nursery stock into the garage as it went down to 28 degrees last Tuesday night. It continues to be quite cool at night going to 35 on a regular basis, very unusual for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I don't have a lot of Snowdrops, but I always welcome the ones that make a sudden appearance. We've been staying around the freezing mark for lows, too, lately but that's "normal" for us for this time of year. It makes it tough to know if things should be covered or to just let them be. I don't pamper very many plants, but I can only imagine how complicated it is for you with the nursery stock!

      Delete
  30. We are still patiently waiting for color here, it will come, one day...lol.

    Love that turkey feather, it's stunning.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes, just noticed this comment. Hope the color and spring are in full force for you now!

      Delete
  31. I love your lemon tree! How wonderful to have kept it healthy indoors like that. How easy will it be to move outside once your weather finally warms up? You must be dreaming of warm days by now. A long winter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janet. It's just about time to move it outside. It will be a project to not only move it out, but also to find a good spot for it. I'm a little anxious about it.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by!

(Your comment might not appear right away. PlantPostings uses comment moderation, and we read every comment before we publish.)