Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: Clatter Valley

– Posted in: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day


The ideas of March means many different things. Even in my yard, which is the last place the snow melts for miles around. Just lucky I guess. One thing that means is that we have an abundance of microclimates, since some places warm up about the same time as the rest of town, and some places much later. Still it’s the overall momentum of winter that really drives what happens in mid March and this year winter has had BIG mo. So today is more a day of waiting, when the garden is pregnant with the promise of spring. So, we’re expectant, you might say. And the buds look ready to deliver. Above is an almost-in-bloom bud of a ‘Dawn’  viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’), one of  the first shrubs to bloom at Clatter Valley and wonderfully fragrant, but not yet.


These hellebore hybrid buds have an almost fearsome appearance; they’re reminding me of Seymour, the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Any day now these swollen burgundy buds will burst with glorious, richly wine colored blossoms, but not yet.


There are more hellebores where that one came from, including stinking hellebore, (Helleborus foetidus). technically speaking it’s in bloom but for obvious reasons-like these frost- and winter-battered blossoms, I grow this mostly as a foliage plant. So yes it’s in flower, but is it at its best? Not yet. 


Magnolias are one of the specialties of the house here. I’ve got near 20 different species and cultivars, including this Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’. In late winter the impending blossoms swell like oversized pussy willow buds, and then erupt with glorious flowers descended from the days of the dinosaurs. But not yet.


mar-bloomday-039-1At last, a flower that looks like something. Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) are such dependable harbingers of the changing season. They even look neat when they are about to bloom, but once their little white lanterns open, spring cannot be far behind. I saw some of these back during a January thaw, but they’re really coming into their own…now!

To read more about what’s happening this very day in gardens all over the country and beyond, go to May Dreams Gardens.

Steve Silk

Steve Silk

Steve Silk

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LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD March 15, 2009, 10:15 pm

I cut back the Hellebore foliage this afternoon and found some buds. They are so amazing, as you say. I also grow H. foetidus as a foliage plant. It looked so bad today I just left it, as I couldn’t decide if I wanted to cut it all down or just what to do!

I share your H. foetidus dilemma, and usually procrastinate making a decsion long enough that new growth freshens the plant’s appearance. Works for me!–Steve

Town Mouse March 15, 2009, 11:36 pm

Great post! “Any day now these swollen burgundy buds will burst with glorious, richly wine colored blossoms, but not yet.” — don’t even need the picture, though it’s very welcome!

Thanks Town Mouse, but I just can’t resist showing off those malevolent-looking, swollen buds, looking as if they’re ready to take a bite of something. Love their color too!–Steve

Tessa at Blunders with shoots, blossoms 'n roots March 16, 2009, 12:26 am

Beautiful shots! You must have a nice camera! Happy almost spring, it looks like your garden is off to a great start!

Thanks, Tessa, but it’s not about the camera! Getting good pix is all in how you look at your subject. That’s the thing to practice. Oh, and try to shoot out of the sun.–Steve

franniesorin March 16, 2009, 1:12 am

Sigh….How beautiful! Magnolias are one of my all time favorites. Hope you’ll be showing us all of yours as they bloom this season! Great photos…as always. Fran

Guess you’re right, Fran–I better plan on doing a Magnolia post, an ode to my favorite trees.–Steve

Darla March 16, 2009, 3:35 am

Great post.

Thank you, Darla. I had fun with it.–Steve

Lisa at Greenbow March 16, 2009, 7:08 am

Happy GBBD. It is good that your area is finally thawing. The viburnum is interesting. I have one that I don’t remember what it is and it has some buds on it. THe buds don’t look like yours though.

Thanks Lisa, and happy GBBD to you too! Thawing is so slow…we still have several inches of ice–the trail from the house to the chicken coop–looking like a glacier flowing through our back yard. But it is melting. There’s a wide variety in the appearance of viburnum buds, what with some specializing in fragrance, some in apprearance, and still others in the production of berries. But they are all beautiful. –Steve

Helen @ Gardening With Confidence March 16, 2009, 8:46 am

Very nice photos. I love any Magnolia. Helen

Thanks Helen–I love any Magnolia too–any plant that’s been on earth as long as the magnolia tribe has got to have something going for it.–Steve

Gail March 16, 2009, 8:55 am

Beautiful photos …Some of the hellebores do have a fierce look to them when in bud. A few even have a toothy look…Have you noticed? I named one of mine ‘Feed Me Seymour’. I am having a very nice time imagining 25 magnolias in bloom! Our strange roller coaster spring is hazardous to magnolia bloom…I will content myself with photos of your garden. Gail

Hey Gail, I may have to steal your nickname and use it for some of my Hellebores. They’re looking especially hungry right about now. We have roller coaster springs too, but i tried to get Magnolais that bloom just a bit later so the buds are safe from late frosts.–Steve

Shirl March 16, 2009, 9:08 am

Hi there and a Happy GBBD to you all 😀 Love your photos – I agree about Seymour he’s in my garden too 😉

Now as for the Snowdrops, if you’d like to see a few thousand more from a Scottish wood just pop by 😀

Thanks Shirl–I did drop by, and wow! what a show. The only thing better than a little clump of spritely bulbs is several thousand clumps of same.–Steve

Mr. McGregor's Daughter March 16, 2009, 3:15 pm

You are so right, Hellebore buds do look like the Little Shop of Horrors plant (“Feed ME!”). I always get so excited when I see my Magnolia buds looking like that, that first peek at the petals.

And you know MMD, I even like the magnilolias’ finale-the shattered petals carpeting the ground. They surely go out with glory.–Steve

Les March 16, 2009, 5:35 pm

Your photos are beautiful and I love the fact that your garden is “expectant”.

I think that’s the word for it, and you know what? I am too. Today the first crocus showed up. So the procession has begun in earnest.–Steve

healingmagichands March 16, 2009, 5:59 pm

Now, that is a lovely set of photos. Seems like you must be in a lower zone, we are all done with snowdrops here and are On To Daffodils.

Thank you Magic Hands–I’m in a cold zone 6, an especially cold one this year.–Steve

Kathy in Napa March 16, 2009, 9:33 pm

I must add that the very cool photos here have assuaged my dissapointent in the absence of a Fab Foliage Friday post last week ! I will however mention , Seymour is the guy , Audrey II is the plant…and the resemblence to pic 2 is very apt !

Apologies Kathy! Fab Foliage Friday will be back this week. I was out of town for a while, and had to miss one. And thanks for clearing up the Little Shop of Horrors nomenclature. Seeing Audrey was all it took to give my memory a proper jog. And here I thought I was doing well remembering the name Seymour.–Steve

kerri March 19, 2009, 12:11 am

The little snowdrops are my only bloomers so far. I envy you all those wonerful magnolias! That first hellebore resembles the head of a T-Rex dino. It’ll be beautiful soon, along with the rest of your ‘almost blooms’.
I followed Carol’s suggestion of visiting the 4 links on either side of our name and I’m glad I did. It’s nice to meet you 🙂

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