Monday, January 31, 2011

first blooms of 2011!

As big snowflakes flurried around Nashville this morning, I saw the first signs that spring is in fact right around the corner…daffodils peeking through the soil! It will still be several weeks before they bloom, but it is exciting nonetheless. Today I was also greeted by the first bloom of 2011, Witchhazel (Hamamelis vernalis).

Witchhazel is a beautiful large shrub of which there are several native varieties. Landscape features include gorgeous yellow fall color and pungently fragrant yellow/orange flowers in late winter. This is a great shrub for massing in the back of a naturalized border planting. “A tough plant with an alley-cat tenacity” says woody plant expert, Dr. Dirr.

Another plant on my bloom watch list is the Lenten Rose (Helleborus). Speaking of Lenten Rose, the person who introduced me to that amazing perennial, Dr. Allan Armitage has revised Armitage’s Garden Perennials. The new version will be out this summer and is a must-have book for any perennial gardener.

Last weekend I took advantage of extraordinarily mild temperatures to finish cutting back all remaining perennials and mulching a few of the planting beds. Working in the garden, I noticed how graceless my large butterfly bush has become. I’m going to have to cut it back and remove a lot of water sprouts before it leafs out.

[Water sprouts are vigorous growths along a branch that grow almost vertically and are aesthetically displeasing.]

This time of year can be down-right depressing with grey days and freezing temperatures. Knowing that spring will soon be here provides some relief from winter doldrums. Until then, I will keep thumbing through garden catalogues and dreaming of warmer days and the beautiful blooms to come!

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