Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – April 2009

– Posted in: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day


Yikes, it’s time for Bloom Day already, and I’ve hardly begun tidying up for spring. There are plenty of areas that probably would look stunning, if only I’d had the time to spruce them up a bit. Unlike the shoemaker’s children with their dearth of footwear, the gardener’s own garden has plenty of plants, but they’re nowhere near as neatly cared for as those she gets paid to look after. So here’s the big picture of the current reality at Hayefield House:





Eeew. Enough of that. All right,  Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-ups now! Let’s start with the same ‘Methley’ plum above.


Closer to ground level, Mellow Yellow spirea (Spiraea thunbergii ‘Ogon’) is in its pre-chartreuse stage.


And one more shrubby sort of thing (though a mini one): Erica carnea ‘Golden Starlet’. She’s not a wow-er in the visual-impact department, but she certainly wins the long-bloom category. She has appeared in every one of my Bloom Day posts since last December. Go Erica!


Ok, let’s finish up with the boring white flowers so we can move on to some color. Here’s plant-worth-growing-just-for-its-name, a.k.a. mukdenia (Mukdenia rossii).


And finally, emphatically white grape hyacinths (Muscari botryioides ‘Album’).


That’s a lot of white all at one time. Thank goodness there are lots of Lenten roses (Helleborus x hybridus) for some color. Here’s a quick spin through some of my favorites.







One more kind of cool bloom, on seersucker sedge (Carex plantaginea)…


…and an almost-bloom, on fernleaf peony (Paeonia tenuifolia).


To finish, two leafy shots, just because spring brings some absolutely awesome foliage along with the flowers: Camassia ‘Blue Melody’…


…and Fallopia ‘Devon Cream’.


For more spring color, head over to the April Bloom Day post at Carol’s May Dreams Gardens!

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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Anna April 15, 2009, 4:45 am

I am enjoying a wet start to the day by visiting other folk’s gardens and admiring your April blooms. You have some beautiful hellebores Nancy. I grow mukdenia rossii too but believe it or not can never remember it’s name 🙂

Hi there, Anna. Aw, how could you forget old Mucky?

Sylvia (England) April 15, 2009, 5:18 am

Nan, thank you for showing us the reality of your garden, brave but makes me feel better about some of the areas of my garden that haven’t had any attention. And my garden is a fraction of the size yours is! Your plants may not have the best background but they really shine.

Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Thanks, Sylvia. It looks like we’re going to have some decent weather soon, so hopefully I’ll have some time after work to get some of my own garden looked after.

Frances April 15, 2009, 6:12 am

Hi Nan, your hellebores look wonderful, what a long bloomer those are also. White grape hyacinths are going on my bulb order for sure, they are refreshing with that light color. Do they show up well in the garden? Do you have them with the purples, or standing alone? 🙂

Hi Frances! Some of my white muscari are standing alone; some are near the blues. The whites are *much* tidier-looking foliage-wise and really are an almost blinding white. They’re tiny, but even a small clump really stands out from a distance.

Pam/Digging April 15, 2009, 7:54 am

The macro shot can be a gal’s best friend, can’t it? Thanks for showing the long shot too. That stand of daffs in their nest of grasses made me smile; they looked as if they’d been tucked in to stay warm.

Your hellebores sure are stunning, and they invite the close-up more than any other flower, with their nodding faces.

You’re very gracious, Pam. I know that you already have lots more exciting action going on down in Austin. But yes, finding that little patch of daffs gave me a chuckle too.

gail April 15, 2009, 8:36 am

Nan, I totally appreciate the long shots and feel quite at home, thank you! The variegated foliage of the camassia is perfect…especially if the bloom is a lovely as C quamash! Great capture of the sedge bloom! I tried all morning to get a shot of the seersucker bloom, too windy! It’s a great sedge for my garden and is starting to seersucker up nicely. Have a delicious day visiting gardens. gail

I love it, Gail – “seersucker” as a verb! I’ll always think of that when I look at those sedges from now on. To be honest, the camassia is kind of messy-looking and sprawly by bloom time, but the foliage is lovely right at the moment.

Diana April 15, 2009, 9:14 am

Nan — Love those amazing Hellebores. I had my first one last year and my first bloom this year and have bought 3 more! You have so many different varieties. The Camassia is very cool. Your panorama of the bed is lovely, in spite of what you may think of it. We’re our own worst critics, aren’t we? Happy GBBD!

Happy Bloom Day to you too, Diana! How great to know that the hellebores are doing well for you too. And once they start blooming, they just get better every year.

Marie April 15, 2009, 9:46 am

Thanks for this post, Nan. It made me chuckle when I thought about some of the physical contortions I perform to eliminate the messes waiting for cleanup in my garden from the photos.

I think I will be less self-consious about my messes now. It was great to see a real garden!

Great blooms! Love the Helleborus.

Well, you know that the importance of full disclosure comes up on garden blogs from time to time. I’d be embarrassed if people thought my garden looked perfect when it is anything *but.* I will point out, though, that leaving the debris uncut protected my early risers from that wicked hailstorm we had a week or so ago. So, being a bit of a slacker sometimes works out ok.

Commonweeder April 15, 2009, 11:18 am

I love Bloom Day. I’m going to have to add white grape hyacinths. My blue ones have not yet begun. They would be a pretty combo.

Hey there, Pat. Yes, the white ones do seem to open ahead of the blurple ones by almost a week, but they overlap for a good bit of their seasons.

Sweet Bay April 15, 2009, 11:28 am

Gorgeous Hellebore shots. Love the plum tree and the white Grape Hyacinths too. I like the shot of the clump of little daffs under last year’s grass. I just now finished cleaning up my garden. The untidied garden has a certain beauty too, unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well. lol

Good for you, Sweet Bay! Yes, stems and seedheads may be interesting in January but are just plain messy now.

Catherine April 15, 2009, 11:30 am

I love all the varieties of hellebores you have! I too have become a real fan of macro 🙂 Even then I still do some last minute weeding around the plant.

Oh yes, even the closeup views need some editing. So now I have a few clean spots amid the chaos. Maybe if Bloom Day happened every week I’d soon have everything cleaned up.

Karen April 15, 2009, 12:39 pm

Wow, great selections, and I always appreciate when people put the ‘messy bits’ in too instead of just the close-ups of the beauty. Makes me feel a ton better about the state of my own messes! They are part of gardening too, can’t have all that loveliness without some (a lot of) work. Fabulous hellebores, what a collection!

Hi Karen! Yes, I’m really pleased with the hellebores this year. And there’s even a bright spot in this damp, chilly weather: the blooms are lasting beautifully.

jo April 15, 2009, 1:13 pm

Show off 🙂

I hope you are saving those hellebore seeds.
Wouldn’t mind a couple.
Although getting them to germinate proves to be very difficult.

Isn’t it nice to actually have some flowers to talk about again.
Enjoyed my visit.

Hey now, be nice, Joco. I didn’t resort to fake flowers this month, at least.

I find the trick with the hellebores is to just let them self sow, which they seem to do happily. Or, to sow them in pots as soon as they’re ripe and sink the pots in a holding bed, for the seedlings to come up the following spring.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter April 15, 2009, 2:21 pm

I had to laugh at the poor little Daffodils almost lost under the old grass stems. I love your Hellebores, each of them, all of them, one more beautiful than the next. Just wonderful.

Thanks, MMD. I really love the ones with the dark nectaries, which show off so well against green or white sepals. I scored some anemone-flowered strains in my main plant-buying expedition last week. No idea what color they are yet, but I’m looking forward to trying some crosses with them and my dark-nectaried seedlings. I think it would be cool to get a ruffly dark center against pale sepals. Or, maybe it would be appalling. Time will tell.

LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD April 15, 2009, 3:41 pm

Nan — thanks for letting us see (and know) the reality. Your Hellebores are lovely, esp. the ones with the points. A great group of plants and shots.

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I’m glad you too enjoyed the hellebores. I had to go back and look for the pointy ones you referred to; I hadn’t noticed that feature before. I usually prefer the sepals more rounded, but they do look good on that pink-to-buff one.

chuck b. April 15, 2009, 5:11 pm

I love everything coming up under the old foliage. You must have great discipline! 🙂

Oh yes, I’ve been dying to get busy out there, but I wanted it to have that casual, lived-in (or rather, abandoned-property) look in honor of Bloom Day. (As if!) I’m grabbing my pruners and heading out there right now.

Lisa at Greenbow April 15, 2009, 6:06 pm

Wow you have some interesting blooms here Nan. I like that Sears Sucker sedge. I will be watching out for that.

Thanks, Lisa. Do look for the sedge – Carex plantaginea. I featured it as one of my “Three Neat Plants” over at Hayefield recently, and based on the comments left there, it seems to do well in a range of climates. It’s not oh-wow exciting, but it’s still one of my favorites.

Town Mouse April 15, 2009, 11:20 pm

How fun! I like the idea of arranging the blossoms by color. And the context is great to have as well. Sometimes one is tempted to try too hard for perfection.

I hadn’t really planned to organize the blooms that way. But there sure were a lot of white ones!

mss @ Zanthan Gardens (Texas) April 16, 2009, 7:27 pm

I’ve been enjoying the hellebore photos on several northern blogs this bloom day. They are beautiful. I’d like to see some blooming in real life some day.

Thanks for stopping by, mss. I don’t think you’re missing much, considering all of the gems you can enjoy down in Texas right now.

Brian April 19, 2009, 1:52 pm

Hi Nan, I’m Brian, loved seeing your garden, especially in it’s natural state! I’m still getting rid of winter debris…nice blog! I agree with you, self sown Hellebores work the best..

Hi there, Brian! I’m glad you visited for Bloom Day. Fortunately, my garden does look tidier now. I hope you’ve had some time to spend in yours as well.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens April 19, 2009, 7:45 pm

I loved seeing your garden still needing a bit of tidying up! That’s the way mine is right now, though my issue is more weeds than anything else.

Love those hellebores!

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, Carol. I don’t know how you do it!

blackswampgirl kim April 23, 2009, 11:11 pm

Glad to see that my garden wasn’t the only one with some brown leaves mixed in alongside the green–and blooms–this April bloom day! And by the way, my favorite of the hellebores was the second last one. I loved how its petal edges looked like they were dipped very carefully in dark pink to “match” the little ruffle of dark pink around the stamens.

(Yeah, I know. I need to learn the proper names of plant parts. Whatever. 🙂

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