Last year, my January Bloom Day post consisted of little, so I vowed to give you more in 2010. Like last year, let’s begin with the amaryllis, which are actually Hippeastrum, but we all call them the former. (Thank goodness I’m not in charge of the how and why of plant taxonomy.) Five varieties were planted to cheer us during what has already been a long and cold winter: ‘Charisma’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Elvas’ (which is now blooming and obviously not that cultivar), ‘Red Lion’ and ‘Royal Velvet’ (both of which are not yet blooming, but are on their way).
I planted more hellebores, knowing they wouldn’t have blooms this early, but in a mild year, a red dirt girl can hope. Even the foolish dream, don’t they? The ‘Silver Lace’ variety does have buds and will probably bloom earlier than all the others which simply sport shivering, evergreen foliage for this Bloom Day.
Normally, I’d have several pansies, but, except for one or two, they were beaten into submission by our record snowfall. That’s okay, they will come back. I’ve seen them look worse. The Imperial Antique Shades seem especially hardy.
When walking through the Legacy Garden for an Oklahoma Horticulture Society meeting a couple of years ago, I caught the scent of one of the most, truly fragrant shrubs planted next to the sidewalk. The meeting was in February, and the shrub was winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima. I helped in the Legacy Garden last summer, and the friend in charge gave me a piece to root. It’s since grown into a nice sized shrub of three feet by four feet. Not an attention grabber unless it is blooming, I planted it where it had room to spread since it should get six to eight feet wide and tall. There is no worry of Lonicera fragrantissima becoming invasive like the blasted Japanese honeysuckle, Loncera japonica, I inherited when I married HH. (It belonged to his maternal grandmother, Ma, who was quite the gardener and, of course, didn’t know its invasive ways).
By the by, if you ever wonder if a plant is invasive, look at it this way. If it is easy peasy, lemon squeezy to grow in Oklahoma, and someone has tons of it in their garden and wants to share it with you, it is either: (1) aggressive; or (2) invasive. Take the present (because it might be something splendid like my heirloom garden phlox), but before planting, check the Oklahoma Invasive Species List (where Japanese honeysuckle oddly isn’t listed), the Oklahoma Problem Species List (where it is), or the national Invasive Species Resources for Gardeners which has invasive plants listed by region.
In other words, do your research before placing anything in the ground. There are at least three plants in my garden where I wish I’d followed my own advice.
Back to my winter honeysuckle. It is normally evergreen in my climate, but this year, with our below-average temps, it is brown and ugly. However, beneath its burnished leaves are the tiniest buds. I’m waiting for next month to see what it will do. Lane Greer wrote a really, sweet article on winter honeysuckle if you’d like to know even more (pun intended). Also, Elizabeth Lawrence was a fan of its perfume if not its shrubby tendencies, and she wrote about it in several of her books.
Buds also abound on my two, witch hazels, ‘Diane’ and ‘Arnold Promise.’ ‘Diane’ is sitting in her pot in the garage for the moment because the weather was so bitter. I need to get my son’s strong back to aid me in moving her into her permanent home. If only I could figure out where that should be. She needs partial shade, and actually I have an idea for her. I’ll share more later about these fragrant shrubs.
One last photo, only because it is interesting. From the shriveled, freeze-dried blooms, I can show you that the original, red Knockout rose was still blooming when temperatures plummeted. The pink variety was too.
The lovely Carol from May Dreams Garden sponsors our monthly bloom day. Many thanks to her vision which arose out of Elizabeth Lawrence’s quote, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.”
Also, if you have time, you might want to snap a few photos for Pam from Digging’s Foliage Follow-Up to be posted the day after Bloom Day.
As always, thanks for stopping by. Your words encourage me more than you can know.