Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gradually Greening Up ...

The real warm up finally started happening today! We hit 72 this afternoon and I was able to open some windows to let in the fresh spring-ish air and the furnace hasn't kicked on all day ... I'm ready for lots more weather like this after this past winter! And ... *drumroll* ... I spotted the first golden crocus in bloom today!! By the time I finished work and was able to get out with my camera, unfortunately they had closed up for the day. But, in the meanwhile, those naturalized clumps of Snowdrops (Galanthus elwesii) I posted recently are doing quite well, despite the return to frigid weather right after they first started opening up ... fortunately, no harm was done by those several near zero nights we had last week. I was a little worried there for a couple of days because they didn't look happy at all in the cold, but they looked quite perky today....

Here's the same clump as above, but now you can see where the clump of golden Crocus is in relation to the Snowdrops ... unfortunately I was only able to get out about 5:30 (after work) so they had closed up for the day, but click through to the larger photo and check out the neat stripes on the petals of this particular variety ... they're quite striking. I'll try to get out sometime during the afternoon tomorrow when they're open to get some better shots ... You can also glimpse a bit of some of the other three clumps of Snowdrops behind the largest one ... they have spread out quite a bit over the years and it's a good thing they bloom so early, because in a mere month or so, they would be completely obscured by the purple and red bee balm among which they grow. In fact if you look really hard (and know what you're looking for) you can see that the Bee Balm is already starting to come up in spots. Now it's time to get out and clean out the beds so we're hoping the weather holds up through the weekend (supposed to be in the low 50s then) so we can get started on clearing out the brown out front and rake a bit so we can throw down some seed that needs to get out early....

Here's a closer shot of those crocus (click to enlarge and see the stripes!) ... if I recall correctly, these are the only crocus in this area of the garden, but I may yet be surprised ... the majority are out front in the parking, along the walk and in the main beds, where so far, there are no signs of them appearing. But this is one of the sunnier areas of the gardens and is where the bulbs always first make their appearance....

Nice patch of muddy looking dirt, eh? Look closer (enlarge to see) ... there should be Crocus coming up here (just planted last fall) but none have appeared yet, but something is stirring in the ground! If I'm not mistaken --and Fernymoss planted some larger bulbs here-- this would be one of the 5 new peonies we planted in this area last year! It seems unusually early to be seeing peonies breaking ground, but odder things have happened in the garden before. I looked for signs of other peonies in the usual places and didn't see any yet, but there's a lot of leaves and detritus to get cleaned up ... but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Bleeding Hearts are starting to come up, because they are protected by the house and usually start growing pretty early on. Now I'm starting to get excited about Spring growth ... because when it finally does get going every year, it seems like every day there's something new to discover ... I'm going to take a closer look tomorrow after work, so I may have some more news to report.

At least I've seen my first Crocus of the season and know there will be hundreds more to appear soon ... I hope that little Iris I posted yesterday reappears, but I have my doubts, so Iris, go ahead really make my day!

29 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

I hope your iris comes back too, it was lovely. Another day in the 70's today, can you believe it? I could cry that I'm working all day and can't enjoy it;)
Marnie

FARfetched said...

Oh hey - looks like you got your banner photo fixed!

70 here today, I rode the bike to work. Mrs. Fetched did a *serious* number on the butterfly bushes… what she didn't yank out of the ground got a haircut all the way down to the ankles!

Too bad the iris doesn't hang around; the lily foliage stays active pretty much all summer & fall.

Looking forward to seeing your crocus going full-bore…

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
It was 73 here today as well and it was hard to stay inside, but at least I had several windows open to enjoy the fresh air. And Hanna had plenty of sun so she could lounge on the stairs this afternoon!

Looks like a cool down is in store for the next few days, but 50s are just fine ... just no more of the dread white stuff!!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Yep I got that fixed and actually stumbled on the solution ... just reduced the size of the photo and unclicked the "stretch to fit" option and that did it!

It was really nice here too but I didn't get to spend much time outdoors other than to take Hanna out. Getting über busy again at work...

You do know that a hard pruning of butterfly bushes encourages spring growth, right? Keep her digging and you may get them under control. :-)

We're looking forward to the big crocus show too ... maybe later this week to usher in Spring?

olivia said...

All I have to say is Yay! Oh, and Finally! :D

Shady Gardener said...

So is Golden Crocus the name of those little fellows I have, too? They are so very early and so very cute! :-) You're way ahead of my on your snowdrops. I really only planted my first few bulbs last Fall... and My Monarda is beginning to grow, too!!! Yea! And thank you. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Olivia,
Yeah, it's about time, eh? I take it it's still snowy up your way? I liked the Oxalis you had posted the other day ... that must have taken some set up to pull off!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
And I thought you were ahead of us ... no tulips or daffs here yet. That's a snow crocus called "Dorothy" -- not sure if that's exactly what you have because there are many yellow/gold varieties, but they're all really pretty.

I wouldn't expect your snowdrops to start spreading for at least a couple of years, they're not as quick to multiply as crocus, but they will expand their range given time!

Great to hear your Monarda is up, and you always know where to get more if you need it! That patch in the back could probably use a good thinning this year (seriously!) so don't be shy. We have to get aggressive with that pink phlox back there too... It really took over last year!

CONEFLOWER said...

Good Morning IVG and Fernymoss! This is so exciting...seeing little growy thing appear. I'm jealous of your crocus. Of course, I have to plant some before I can hope to see any coming up here. LOL I'm going to take your advice and go ahead and plant my early bulbs that I didn't get around to last fall and see what happens.

Gail said...

IVG,

I am sorry to be so far behind in visiting you! It's me...I can't bear to leave the garden and my computer died...I am using my sweeties and when he comes home I feel all selfish keeping him from the 20 inch screen and fantastic graphics to make him use his Dell laptop!

I am jumping up and down that spring is springing in your garden...I bet Hannah is, too...no snow to deal with outside...just good old Iowa mud! I can imagine her doing flips...she is one talented puppy! gail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Galanthus elwesii are very tough, they can bloom under the snow & take quite cold temperatures. No surprise they shrugged off that cold weather. I seem to have fewer of the golden Crocuses this year, or maybe the purple have become more prolific.

boran2 said...

I am just amazed at the number of flowers you have, IVG. We have nothing here except the all the debris left from winter storms. I'm looking forward to warmner weather. I'm still trying to find our crocus. It's out there somewhere. ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Coneflower!
It is fun discovering what's coming back to life and coming up for the first time, isn't it? By all means get those crocus out a.s.a.p. ... if nothing else, it will give you a good reason to get your hands dirty, and who knows, they just might bloom!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail,
No need to apologize! I've been so busy with work lately I've not been getting around everywhere I want to either! Sorry about your computer and hope you get your new one soon, but a big flat panel display sure is nice, isn't it?

We're starting to get really excited too, now that stuff is slowly starting to appear ... just please, no more s*$w! Hanna is enjoying being out more and I left her in the backyard for a bit today while I surveyed the rest of the garden with the camera and she was very good, and quiet! Though I'm amazed she didn't bark because an evil tree rat was tormenting her!

Oh yeah, she does plenty of leaps and flips, that's for sure!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi MMD!
I love our galanthus and they are multiplying quite nicely ... we need to plant more, but they're so pricey, relatively speaking. These are still our only crocus up so far and I'm getting impatient for more more more!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
We don't have that many up just yet, but you know there will be a huge procession when it gets warmer... I bet your ground is still kind of cold, given that big snow you had not too long ago. You'll see the crocus when they appear, don't worry!

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