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Author Topic: February in the Northern Hemisphere  (Read 2254 times)

ruweiss

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February in the Northern Hemisphere
« on: February 11, 2024, 08:58:24 PM »
Eranthis hyemalis in a meadow near our meadow garden.
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

ruweiss

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2024, 09:15:27 PM »
Some photos from the meadow garden:
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

Robert

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2024, 05:04:20 PM »
Hi Rudi

Is your Viburnum carlesii blooming earlier than normal this year? Here in our part of California Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is among the first Viburnums to bloom each year. The Viburnum carlesii and V. x burkwoodii types follow shortly afterwards. Viburnum carlesii is such a beautiful species and I enjoy the fragrance immensely. Do you get berries on your Viburnum carlesii? Our Viburnum bitchiuense produces beautiful and very striking red berries each autumn as long as there are two different clones growing next to each other. Anyway, thank you for sharing the photographs. It appears that late winter – early spring plants are beginning to bloom for you.



Here in our part of Northern California the weather has turned cold and frequently stormy with rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Our first Primula (Dodecatheon) hendersonii are starting to bloom. These accessions are from the northern inner Coastal Range Mountains in Colusa County from an elevation of ~ 1,500 feet (457 meters).



A nice pot full of Narcissus bulbocodium types is coming into bloom.



The early blooming miniature small-cupped Narcissus are also beginning to bloom. I am still waiting for the next generation of hybrids to start blooming. Some of the later blooming types may still bloom this year. Next year for sure! I have been making many crosses each year, so when new hybrids start to bloom, there will be a new crop each season. This gives me something to look forward to.



The first of the Iris reticulata are starting to come into bloom. I purchased this variety years ago as Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’. It has proven to be the most persistent variety in our garden.
[Jasmin]:  I prefer the stronger indigo color of this Iris reticulata to another we have that appears more “cinnamon”, for lack of a better color description.  I am always enamored of the small-cup Narcissus.  The Narcissus cantabricus came and went during the erratic weather, which was unfortunate.  It is interesting to watch Robert’s hybridizing experiments.  It is one of those passions that requires patience, a long-term vision, and an enjoyment of process, because a focus on results alone would not sustain the enthusiasm of anyone who longs for any instant gratification.
     Right now it is 3˚C, and foggy, a pause between storms.  At least it has been clear enough to proceed with the winter pruning.  Although we pray more rain comes, I personally am craving more sun—something to bask in and feel warm.  This spring’s explosive flower display is swelling in readiness throughout the garden, so their day is around the corner, to delight our eyes and spirits.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Mariette

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2024, 04:49:48 PM »
It´s the same here, though temperatures are mild - we´re longing for calm, sunny weather! Rudi, Your eranthis look so happy, here the early ones are badly weather-beaten.  Snowdrops fare better, and the leaves of Arum maculatum ´Bakovci´ are perfect in that sheltered corner.



We had a lot of rain, recently.



I didn´t know that crocusses are aquatic plants, too.



Perhaps 30 years ago I bought white Crocus tommasinianus, which turned out not to be pure white, but showed tiny lilac spots - perhaps seedlings of ´Eric Smith´, which looks like that. Over the years, pure white seedlings popped up in borders and lawn.  :) A pic from last year, of course.



This is Crocus tommasinianus ´Pixel´in the green-house.

« Last Edit: February 13, 2024, 05:15:55 PM by Mariette »

Mariette

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2024, 05:24:53 PM »
When a more knowledgeable collector of that species visited me some years ago, he selected some seedlings to test them in his garden and asked me to name that one last year. I had been looking for a similar one to choose for years, but couldn´t make up my mind. These are just three dug from the garden on Sunday.







The seed-pods of Hedychium gardenerianum in the green-house look very exotic at this time of the year.



Snowdrops and cyclamen stand the bad weather better than crocusses and eranthis, fortunately.

« Last Edit: February 14, 2024, 07:36:55 AM by Mariette »

ruweiss

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2024, 09:07:43 PM »
Hello Mariette and Robert,
Thank you for your kind comments and the beautful pictures of your 'goodies' Due to climatic change all the spring plants
flower always earlier than 40 years ago. My  Viburnum carlesii flowers every year in about the same time, and I had no
berries at it all the long time with it in our garden. Today I was smashed when I went to our meadow garden, the vegetation
seemed to explode in the sunshine.
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

Robert

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 06:33:47 PM »
Hi Rudi

Thank you for answering my questions. I first became acquainted with Viburnum carlesii during the mid 1970’s. I enjoy the fragrance of the flowers, especially early in the season when few other plants are blooming with strongly fragrant flowers. Currently, I grow Viburnum bitchuiense in our Sacramento garden. Our single plant is well budded and will be blooming shortly. At one time I had numerous siblings grown from seed gathered in Korea. The group consistently produced bright red berries each autumn. Now that the ornamental garden is gone, for the most part, at our Placerville property, I am left with our single clone, which never produces berries by itself. If by some miracle some of the old plants at the Placerville garden are still growing, I will take cuttings and get other clones propagated. Having autumn berries again will be a delight in our garden.



Hi Mariette,

I appreciate the diversity of your Crocus tommasinianus immensely. What a delight to have such surprises turn up in your garden! Thank you so much for sharing all the photographs and text.

Sadly, all of my spring blooming crocuses are sterile. Pictured above is a group of Crocus vernus that I grew from seed. They have never produced seed, but I keep trying. The group pictured was dug from the garden last year and are now blooming in a 01-gallon plastic nursery container. When blooming, I keep the pot in our cold frame and hand-pollinate them repeatedly. Maybe I will get some seed this year. I keep hand pollinating the Crocus tommasinianus too. Maybe someday I will acquire some that produce viable seed.
[Jasmin]:  I am always impressed how beautiful your garden is, with such adverse conditions.  That many of your bulbs and plants survive these clay and flooded conditions is nothing short of amazing.  Your crocus are certainly lovely.



Pictured is our last Galanthus in bloom. Acquiring Galanthus species and varieties in our part of Northern California is nearly impossible or it requires an effort that I dislike performing. We currently have three selections. One is most certainly Galanthus nivalis. It was purchased from a nursery. Another clone is likely a hybrid, and the last appears to be Galanthus elwesii. What we currently have is satisfactory. Working with other plants, especially California native species is a priority.  [Jasmin]:  Thank goodness!  I think we have enough Galanthus as is.  There are so many other treasures for our small garden.



Eranthis hyemalis does poorly in our garden. A few plants hang in there and seed about weakly, however they do not thrive. My Ranunculus occidentalis hybrids are a great substitute. The first plants are starting into bloom now. The advanced generation hybrids thrive in our garden and now seed about freely. Here in California, we have other closely related species, which can be included into the gene pool. There are many creative possibilities I can take the plants in our Sacramento garden. For me, being creative with plants is a passion.



Carex multicaulis, Forest Sedge, is an overlooked California native species. This relatively small, clump-forming species has performed extremely well in our garden. I enjoy the textural effect of its foliage as well as the many white inflorescences this species produces early in the spring season.  [Jasmin]:  The Carexes provide both protective habitat and food for our tiny Lepidoptera, the grass skippers.



More Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ are coming into bloom. Here it is seen with the fading flowers of Cyclamen coum.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Robert

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2024, 06:36:01 PM »


Currently, Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘Howard McMinn’ is in full bloom.



Due to the unseasonably cool, wet weather, higher concentrations of anthocyanins have accumulated in the flowers turning them a deeper pink tone.



This is a photograph of the same plant taken on 29 February 2016. During this time period the weather was much warmer and the flowers have very little pink pigmentation.



I will end this post with a photograph of Primula (Dodecatheon) hendersonii. This species possesses great genetic variability, and many creative possibilities. I enjoy working with them immensely.

[Jasmin]:  Today it is much warmer, 11˚ C, with a milky sky.  The prediction was for rain, a 90% chance; however, when I feel raindrops, I guess that will confirm this forecast.  In the meantime, a little sun (weak or not) and heat—wasn’t that what I hoped for?  I am blessed to wake up, and right now have two of our precious birds sitting on my lap.  Robert and I held hands on our morning walk.  I close, wishing all a lovely Valentine’s Day.  May love fill your hearts:  a cloud, a beautiful flower, a smile, or just give yourself a hug if you are physically alone today. 
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Mariette

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2024, 07:25:19 PM »
Jasmin, Robert and ruweiss: thank You for Your kind comments!

ruweiss, You started tempting me with Viburnum carlesii, as I have a soft spot for scented flowers! Is Daphne mezereum ´White Elf´ a variety with special features? In my garden, there´s just a white-flowered seedling I´ve got from a good friend.

Robert

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2024, 06:04:35 PM »


I was up at our Placerville, California farm yesterday (15 February) finishing up with the orchard and kiwi vine pruning. At the end of the day I went around the property to see if any of the Viburnum plants were still alive. Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ was still alive and blooming. Two fairly large Zelkova seedlings were grown near the base of the Viburnum. The Zelkova seedlings were out-competing the Viburnum and were severely impacting it. I still had my large pruning lopper with me, so I cut all the Zelkova shoots down to ground level. On my next opportunity I will take a splitting wedge and carve out the Zelkova roots. If I do not deal with the Zelkova roots they will return strong as ever. This Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is about 40 years old and needs rejuvenation. I hope this project is successful.



I was extremely surprised to find three Viburnum bitchiuense seedlings were not only alive but also budded and ready to bloom this coming spring.



Apparently, the plants had bloomed last spring and one of the plants still had seeds. Next week I will gather the seeds and also take hardwood cuttings of the three distinct seedlings. It appears that I will be able to save the three seedlings.



Viburnum bitchiuense is such a fine species. This is a photograph of a plant blooming in our Sacramento garden during March 2022. The same plant is currently budded and will be blooming later this spring.



I found this photograph of Viburnum bitchiuense on my laptop computer. The photograph was dated November 2015. I had forgotten the brilliant scarlet autumn foliage of this species. This is yet another reason for me to save all the seedlings and enjoy them in our Sacramento garden – fragrant flowers in the early spring, brilliant red berries in the autumn, then outstanding autumn leaf colors. These are all characteristics that I value greatly in an ornamental species.

[Jasmin]:  Today is 11˚C.  Initially the sky was broken purple clouds with the sunrise streaming through.  At one point, the whole horizon south of us was deep raspberry pink-red.  I love when the air is so full of moisture, it seems that we can inhale the colors.  Despite a forecast for partly sunny skies, it is a uniform light to medium steel grey.  Although the cloud cover is not especially forbidding, it gives the sense that it is much darker than it is, like a weight everywhere, perhaps the domed lid of some chaffing dish.
      The plants and birds are actively pursuing the call of spring:  the buds and various songbirds continue to swell with their song, through sound or color.  Just today I noticed the first open flowers on the Okami cherry.  Once the flowers are in full display, a steel-grey sky will make a perfect background.  We cannot order such things; we remain dreamers.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Anders

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2024, 09:23:11 AM »
Hi Mariette. Your crocus flowers are beautiful, but I would keep the four flame types away from the others, as this type of pattern is often seen for virused plants.

ruweiss

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2024, 07:32:37 PM »
Mariette, Daphne mezereum 'Weisser Elf' is a real compact and free flowering variety of D. mezereum.
All the seedlings I raised came true from seed and the growth is very slow in thei first years. In my
experience Daphnes bring the most intensive fragrance to the spring gardens, their scent in the early
evening is simply great.
Rudi Weiss,Waiblingen,southern Germany,
climate zone 8a,elevation 250 m

Robert

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2024, 06:32:50 PM »
A strong storm swept through our area last night. Strong winds (32 mph 14.3 meters/second) and heavy rain lasted for several hours during the evening. This morning (18 February) I made my morning rounds of the garden and found no major damage, however the garden was a mess. A much stronger storm is forecasted for the next few days. Heavy rainfall and even stronger wind speeds (50 mph 22.4 meters/second) are forecasted to last for a much longer duration. The early February storm had 60 mph 26.8 meters/second wind gusts. Hopefully the garden will hold up well with no major damage.



On my morning rounds of the garden I discovered that some of my next generation miniature Narcissus hybrids have started to open. I especially liked the petal arrangement of this new hybrid. The tip of the cup also has a light orange coloration, which I appreciate. A number of seedlings from this same group will be opening in the coming days. Hopefully the whole group will not be damaged by the next approaching storm.



Up at our Placerville farm, a number of Prunus mume seedlings are still blooming. This semi-double light pink form is quite nice. I will be taking cuttings from this tree to grow as a potted plant at our Sacramento garden.

[Jasmin]:  Today is 14˚ C, and we are taking advantage of this momentary pause in the weather.  It is actually quite beautiful:  clear blue sky and plenty of cumulus clouds floating serenely about.  It is quite enchanting.  Yet, we cannot be lulled; this is our reprieve if the forecast holds:  We have both flood and strong wind and thunderstorm warnings for our area.  They are even warning us that a tornado might occur! 
     Part of making sure all is ready was trimming the birds’ talons this morning.  Most of our birds’ sleep cages are suitable as emergency evacuation/travel cages.  Our birds have become adept travellers, and deal well with a variety of circumstances.  Although we did not need to evacuate last year despite all the storms and power outages, it is always wise to prepare.
     As for the garden, thankfully our most recent preparations endured the strong winds.  At least the pruning is done.  If it is not all cleaned up, will the wind take it?  We still have our work to do today!
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stepto the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau

Mariette

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2024, 09:28:39 PM »
Hi Mariette. Your crocus flowers are beautiful, but I would keep the four flame types away from the others, as this type of pattern is often seen for virused plants.

Anders, thank You for Your advice! Indeed, I never dared to select and propagate any of these crocusses in fear of them being virused. Yet Wim Boens, who selected ´Pixel´,  now thinks they are clean, as the pattern differs from typical virus-induced confluence of spots and the flowers are not desformed. This is what Wim answered when I asked him a few days ago. To be sure, of course, these crocusses should be virus-tested.

Mariette

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Re: February in the Northern Hemisphere
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2024, 09:34:17 PM »
Mariette, Daphne mezereum 'Weisser Elf' is a real compact and free flowering variety of D. mezereum.
All the seedlings I raised came true from seed and the growth is very slow in thei first years. In my
experience Daphnes bring the most intensive fragrance to the spring gardens, their scent in the early
evening is simply great.

Thank You for Your information, ruweiss! This sounds really interesting, I´m a great fan of scented plants!

@ Robert, out of the same reason, Your Viburnum bitchiuense seems a great temptation, the more so because of its fiery autumn-colour!

 


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