March 18, 2016

Spring Started Without Me

Colorblends Collage

I've been away for a family wedding (more on that later). Look what greeted me when I returned: The 200+ Colorblends bulbs I planted last fall are emerging and beginning to bloom!

squill

The mix includes Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica);

aconite

Winter Aconites (Eranthus hyemalis);

crocus 2

... and Tommies (Crocus tommasinianus). The mix also includes Daffodils (Narcissus spp.) and Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa spp.), which haven't bloomed yet.

I planted most of them in the sheltered, warmer microclimate area by my rock wall. It will be fun to see more of them blooming during the next few weeks.

Other old friends that started blooming while I was gone, include:

hellebore 3

hellebore 2

hellebore 1

Several varieties of Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis);

fly

Dutch Crocuses (C. vernus);

snowdrop vase

and Snowdrops. (I think these are Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno.') These beauties were whipped around by our recent windstorm, so I clipped them for display in a bud vase and brought them inside.

More flowering bulbs are preparing to bloom, including other Snowdrops, Crocuses, and Daffodils.

snowdrop buds

white crocus

daffodils

Looks like these guys will bloom next week, or after our current cold snap.

Many other signs of spring have surprised me this week, including:

sedum 2

sedum 1

Tiny starts of Sedums;

columbine

And Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

Oh, and the happy results of an experiment:

seedlings 1

A few weeks ago, I'd planted Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) seeds--some from 2014 and some from 2015. Both germinated while I was gone, and it's clear to see that the newer seeds were more viable.

seedlings 2

I'm looking forward to transplanting these to the garden in May--more food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars!

I'm happy to be home to enjoy these first colorful, magical signs of spring!

I'm linking this post to Donna's Seasonal Celebrations meme. Head on over to her blog to read about how other gardeners are welcoming the new season ahead! Wrap-ups for the Garden Lessons Learned meme will appear soon on the PlantPostings Facebook page.

74 comments:

  1. What a fabulous welcome home! I think we notice change all the more when we've been away for a few days.

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    1. Yes, I agree. I knew some of the plants were starting to poke through, but I was surprised to see the blooms! I don't like to be away too long this time of year. So much magic is happening!

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  2. FUN. It is amazing how the garden can change so much in a short time during spring.

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    1. Yes, it's a happening time of year! Wish we wouldn't get the 20sF anymore, but spring is fighting its way out!

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  3. Your pictures are attractive Beth, especially the first hellebore seen from the back.

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    1. Thank you, Alain. The Hellebores inspire me. I find them to be challenging, but photogenic plants. And their life cycle is ... incredible!

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  4. What a wonderful surprise...similar to mine when we returned from California. I bet that flowering wall is stunning, and will be more so as more bulbs bloom. We are in the cold snap now until mid week next week. Then I hope the big bloom starts as there have been some blooming but not much yet.

    And the female robins have returned....I love your blooming spring celebration, and thank you for sharing it with me on Seasonal Celebrations. You have been a great supporter all these years. Thanks Beth!!

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    1. Cheers, Donna! Weird weather here in the foreseeable future. Oh well, it is March. Actually, the wall is simply a stone wall, with some creeping Sedums growing in it. All of these plants (and many more) grow at the base of it. It's very difficult to photograph, but I'll keep trying! Happy spring!

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  5. What gorgeous snowdrops! It is so exciting to see the first signs of spring! And it is quite fun to see it all at once after having been away, I'm sure.

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    1. Hi Indie: Yes, the Snowdrops were starting to bloom when we left, but all the other plants surprised me! The little Tommies are so cute!

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  6. What a wonderful welcome home! I felt the same way when we returned from a trip to Texas last April and found all the tulips in bloom. It's always such a delight to see all these first promises of spring.

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    1. It is exciting, isn't it? Now I'm worried about all the little blooms shriveling up in the cold weather of the next couple of weeks. The bulbs should be OK, but the 20s can be hard on flowers. :(

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  7. It is hard to leave the garden this time of year, afraid to miss one of the blooms. Especially so this year with its warm weather, everything seems to be blooming at once.

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    1. Yes, I'd prefer to travel away from Wisconsin in February. Maybe the beginning of March. Now that the springtime is starting, I don't want to miss anything!

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  8. How nice to come back to your lovely flowers, have planted many seed and bought more plants for the bees and butterflies this year, just needs to warm up a little.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Yes, I won't be putting out the Milkweed for quite a while. Our last frost date is mid-May. The early blooming bulbs are so hardy, aren't they? I was surprised to see so many of them blooming already!

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  9. Happy spring to you! Nice that your flowers planned such a great welcome home for you.

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    1. Happy spring! Yes, I was surprised that so many of them were blooming. Now I hope they can make it through our cold snap of the next few days.

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  10. Welcome home! I'm happy that your garden welcomed you :-)

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    1. Thanks, Cassi! Yes, it was great to see so many plants in bloom. Now I hope they won't all freeze off!

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  11. Proving the fact that your garden was pleased to see you return Beth. It amazes me at just how quickly your garden comes on at this time of the year.

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    1. Hi Angie: After blogging for several years, I've come to realize that the UK and the Midwestern U.S. have similar climates in the fall and late spring, but our winters are much colder, our springs happen much more delayed and much faster, and our summers are much warmer (overall) than yours. It's amazing that we can grow many of the same plants. No matter where one lives, it is indeed wonderful to see plants emerge for the first time each year. :)

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  12. Oh, how exciting with all those little seedlings coming up! Some seeds store for much longer than others, so I think it's always worth giving them a try...but still having a backup plan, just in case!

    I had never seen snowdrops that look quite like those before - they are gorgeous! In the photo they look quite large - are they the same size as regular snowdrops?

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    1. Yes, it is very exciting. But now I'm worried that they're all going to freeze during the next few days. Maybe they'll be OK under the snow we're supposed to get. Oh well, it's fun to see them while they last! The Snowdrops are a little larger than some of my other Snowdrops, but the vase is a small three-inch bud vase (to give perspective). Regarding the Milkweed seedlings, now I know that I should plant them the next season (or winter-sow) to make sure they're viable.

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  13. Hi Beth, what a wonderful surprise to come home to! Gosh, you planted 200+ bulbs last autumn? That's a lot of work, but, of course, the pleasure is also tremendous.
    The photo of the Dutch crocus with the shadow of the fly is stunning.
    My favorites are your filled snowdrops 'Flore Pleno'. They are so pretty!
    Oh, and congratulations on the germinated Milkweed seeds. I am sure the Monarch Butterflies will appreciate them this summer.
    Enjoy spring at home, it is such a wonderful time!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina: Yes, I didn't know if I'd get to all of them, but somehow I did. Now the reward of seeing all the little bright plants poking through the soil and blooming! The 'Flore Pleno' Snowdrops have been my most successful ones, but it might be because of the location. They face south, near the house, and get warm sun all winter. The Crocuses and Daffodils there perform really well, too. I was pleased with the Milkweed germination rate. I hadn't had much luck winter sowing or planting them directly in the soil, so this will give me more options. Happy spring to you, too!

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  14. Oh my . . . your " springtime pops" are much further along than ours.
    I see bits of green shoots here and there but that is it!
    Lenten Rose, Helebores is beginning to come to life again though.
    They are such little miracles, aren't they . . . love them.
    Happy Springtime Days . . ,

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    1. I was surprised to see so many blooms. Before we left for our trip, only a few tiny shoots were showing. I had them all covered during the weekend because of the cold weather, and then today uncovered them again. More are popping up all over the place. I almost hope we get some snow to keep them warm when the next bitter cold weather hits at the end of the week. And oh yes, Hellebores are amazing! I am obsessed with them!

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  15. Such a wonderful variety of plants, Beth. I really like how you captured the fly on your Dutch Crocus!

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    1. Thanks, Tim. That fly was a happy bit of good luck and being in the right place at the right time. That particular patch of Crocuses always captures the light so perfectly this time of year.

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  16. Looks like a beautiful time in your garden!

    My favorite photo -- the fly silhouette on the crocus flower. Great shot!!

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    1. Thanks, Aaron. It was luck and knowing that that patch of Crocuses glows in the clear, March southern sunlight. :)

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  17. Hurrah! Great close up photos, as always. Such a pleasure to go out in the garden at this time of year. Always many new things to see.

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    1. Thank you, Jason. Yes, it is a pleasure! I'm a little worried about the cold and snow predicted for later this week. Secretly hoping the forecast will be wrong. ;-)

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  18. I've always wanted to order from colorblends so it is good to know that your bulbs are coming up. My garden is about at the same stage. These cold nights make me glad it is not further along. But today sure looks spring-like again!

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    1. Yes, I can now highly recommend Colorblends. I hadn't ordered from them before, and judging from the prolific sprouting of these bulbs, I would say the quality is great. Regarding the weather--I'm nervous about the forecast for Thursday and Friday!

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  19. Your double snowdrops are beautiful displayed like that. You are so lucky to get eranthis from dried bulbs. They are usually DOA.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I really like the look of one type of small flower bunched together in a vase. The simplicity of it is calming. I do feel lucky to have some Winter Aconites blooming. So far, there's only one small patch, but I hope more will bloom later. They're so delicate and pretty.

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  20. That was such a nice gift we got from Colorblends. I was not able to plant mine due to my health scare at planting time last fall, so my bulbs went to members of my garden club. I am sure they will make a wonderful showing in their gardens.You garden is ahead of mine here, the daffs still without the flower showing.

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    1. Yes, it was very generous! I thought of the perfect place for them, too. Now I hope the blooming ones will be OK when we get piles of snow later this week! My Daffodils are holding off on blooming--smart with the cold heading our way. Yo-yo weather is so frustrating!

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  21. Oh how lovely it will be in a little while. I am so sorry for my favorite snowdrops, and they are the multi-petals. When i talk about snowdrops you will think i know them, the truth is i've seen them only once yet in person, but they got me smitten.

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    1. Snowdrops are special. I didn't have them in my garden until a few years ago, but now they're special bloomers to look forward to at the very beginning of the growing season! :)

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  22. Yes, spring is here! I love this time of year, when new things are coming up each day. I like your experiment with the milkweed seeds.

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    1. Hi Sue: I'm so glad I didn't miss the first blooms, but now I'm worried they'll turn to mush in the bitter cold of the next few days. Yes, I was thrilled with the germination rate of the Milkweed seeds! Happy spring!

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  23. How lovely to come home to spring..

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    1. Yes, it was nice! After being in San Diego for a week, it was nice to come home to some colorful blooms. :)

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  24. It's so exciting to see nature work and come alive after winter!

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    1. Absolutely! The spring bulbs, even though they're planted, are such a special part of the early spring garden. :)

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  25. I am so impressed with the Colorblend bulbs. I got a mix of daffs for Southern gardens and they have been fabulous! It is odd to think of Hellebore as a spring bloom when they bloom all winter in my garden. I bet they are gorgeous with your other spring flowers.

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    1. I agree. It's really nice that they offer mixes for specific climates and settings. It must be wonderful to have Hellebores blooming all winter! I noticed that some Midwesterners grow Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose), which tends to bloom in November or early December. Actually, these H. orientalis (Lenten Rose) plants start to bloom in late fall here, but then the stay in suspended animation under the mulch and snow until early spring. I find it amazing how they do this and that they survive our winters! Yes, they're really pretty. Actually, I didn't have many early-spring plants blooming around them, but now I will! :)

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  26. Sure looks like spring to me--congratulations! Sounds like you're going to have quite a show of color.

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    1. Thanks, Hollis. I hope the ones that are blooming will be OK when we get a March snowstorm later this week. The ones that aren't blooming yet should be OK. Amazing plants!

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  27. Great to see your garden is waking up Beth! Nothing like cheery spring bulbs and I love those first shoots of sedums :-)

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    1. Hi Helene: Yes, it's so encouraging to see new growth after the winter. Even after a mild winter, they're very much appreciated. The sedums are fun, aren't they? :)

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    1. Thanks, Endah. It's fun to see the new flowers each spring after several months of grey and brown and white. ;-)

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  29. Lovely pictures of your awakening garden and the double snowdrops you show us in the vase look gorgeous here.

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    1. Thanks! The Snowdrops are gone now, but the other bloomers are just trying to make it through a snowstorm and a couple of days of cold weather.

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  30. Spring certainly did sneak up on you while you were away. There is nothing like seeing the garden wake up after the winter, with all its wonderful spring blooms emerging from the soil. It actually seems like spring blooms are much earlier this year, but it is always a wonderful sight seeing them, and your garden is definitely full speed ahead! Happy spring!

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    1. Yes, it did. I think the garden is a little mixed up now as we're getting ice and snow. Hopefully it won't ruin the flowers that have developed.

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  31. A lovely surprise.
    We have awhile up here in Northern Wisconsin before we get to see all the lovely spring flowers. Things are still warming up. I enjoy seeing your surprises while I patiently wait for mine. :-))

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    1. This time of year makes such a big difference in a short geographical distance. My parents used to live in Green Bay, and I never wanted to go up there for Easter because it was too cold and snowy. Actually, it's more promising to go to Chicago, just a couple hours south of us. After we all get through this week's snow and cold, I'm sure it won't be long before your spring flowers emerge and bloom!

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  32. THOSE SEDUMS! And last weekend, we took a walk in the COOL sunshine; we were wearing our parkas, but nonetheless, we enjoyed our walk and noticed the green pushing through in a neighbor's garden. HOPE never disappoints! It is so lovely to see you and thank you for visiting! YEP, our snow whipped through here last night and I can still hear the wind howling. Let's see how much we got here in the Twin Cities! In any case, enjoy YOUR Easter and let's keep our fingers crossed that spring will continue to reveal itself to us in the Midwest!

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    1. Aren't the Sedums fun? I agree: The hope of spring never disappoints! What a weird system this storm is! Thin swaths of rain/snow/ice, with not much on the north or south sides of it. Stay warm and safe! Happy Easter!

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  33. Hi Beth, What a beautiful surprise to come home to! I love the purple crocus. Especially, the picture of the fly on the petal. Still not much happening here.....there was 4" of snow on Monday. It's melted fast and hopefully, this is the end of it.

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    1. Thanks, Sally. It's our turn to have a freak snow/ice storm. Argh. With all these flowers blooming, I couldn't cover them all, so I hope the snow will insulate them a bit. I did, however, cover the Hellebores--at least overnight. That seems to help them maintain their blooms and thrive despite the cold. I hope this will be the end of it for both of us!

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  34. So many delicate and colorful blooms! We had almost no winter so everything stayed above ground.

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    1. Hi Shirley: I had heard that from other Texas gardeners, too. I guess that's good, right? Unless you like winter. Personally, I like a little, but I often wonder what it would be like to skip winter for a year. ;-)

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  35. What a lovely sight to come home to! :)

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    1. Yes, if you have to come home to Wisconsin from San Diego in March, this is a good scene. ;-) They had a little struggle with our recent ice storm and cold, but they're doing OK now.

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  36. There is nothing quite like the joy of the early spring flowers emerging. Gorgeous photos Beth.

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    1. Thank you, Chloris. Yes, it's a wonderful time of the year! :)

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  37. Hurrah for spring bulbs and new leaves emerging. Interesting to see such clear results from your experiment too. You've given me itchy sowing fingers :-)

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    1. Hurrah! We're having a little polar vortex setback this weekend, but spring has definitely made an appearance! I hope your spring is setting in nicely, too! :)

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