Monday, April 27, 2009

Daffodils - Division 13, Species, and Wild Hybrids

I guess this is where everything else came from. You don't see many species daffodils offered for sale, the bigger fancier ones being more popular, but these are just lovely. The first is Daffodil x odorus 'Flore Pleno', or Queen Anne's Double Jonquil. These are a smaller flower and bloom later in the daffodil season. Sometimew this one only has the cup doubled as in the picture, and sometimes it looks more like a rose. Very fragrant.

This one is Daffodil nanus lobularis. This one is a bit shorter. This one naturalizes well. It is about 5" tall.

This one is Daffodil albus 'Plenus Odoratus'. It is usually double, but there always seem to be some blooms that come out single. This one is better in cooler climates. It is also very fragrant as most of the species ones seem to be. One wonders if they bred out the lovely scent with all of the hybridizing for 'better' flowers.

This last one is Daffodil willkommii. It is a really tiny thing, the stem being only about 4 or 5 inches tall, but so perfectly proportioned that if I didn't tell you that, you could think it was full sized and not one with flowers that are smaller than a dime. The foliage is a bit different, more like a juncus than like most daffodils. This one sometimes has 2 flowers per stem. We grow ours in a rock garden which is the perfect place for so tiny a plant.

Sunny and hot - again. This is the end of the daffodils. There is another category where they put everything that didn't fit into one of the previous ones, but since that isn't really descriptive, I think I'll just move on. Tomorrow I'll have a sort of a guessing game that I'm working on right now. Maybe even a prize to go along with it.

A Quiz

I thought I'd do something different this morning. I had taken a few pictures of plants just emerging because I thought they were so interesting and, sometimes, not at all like what they will be once fully up and opened. I thought it might make for an interesting guessing game, and so here are 10 pictures. I'll award a prize for the person who gets the most right. In case of a tie, the one who is closest to the actual name and not just, like 'rose', will be the winner. With some of these, that's not possible since all version of the plant come up looking about the same. So see what you can do. In the case of a U.S. winner, I'll give a gift certificate to the nursery. In the case of someone overseas where we don't ship, I'll find another way to do work it out. Entries accepted until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, May 3rd to give you plenty of time to contemplate these photos and get your brains working. If people seem to be having a lot of trouble, I might post a few hints on Saturday.











Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daffodils - Division 11, Split Cupped Daffodils

This is a diverse group of daffodils, even though they are all lumped together as split cupped daffodils. They do all have split cups, but are very different in appearance. We also have a number of these we have bought as seedling mixtures. Probably half of the thousands of daffodils in the gardens are ones that either are not registered or named or ones that we've long since lost/forgotten the names of.
This first on this morning is 'Shrike'. The color on the cup can vary from very pale to quite dark and often changes over the time that each blossom in out so that there can be several different colored blooms on the same plant at the same time. Occasionally you even get that different color at the base of the cup. This may be Hank's favorite of all of the daffodils in the garden.
The next one is 'Pink Holly' and has a much smaller cup. It is pretty reliably pink even in years when a lot of the other pinks are closer to and apricot sort of color.

This one is 'Moonlight Serenade', one which was new here last year. The flowers are much better this season. This is a rather unusual color for daffodils, sort of a French Vanilla shade.
'Love Call' is a more traditional color.

This last is 'Colblanc', a pure white. It is so much all the same color that it is almost hard to see that it has a split cup.

Well, this is the big day, opening day for the nursery for the season. All of the perennials are ready (except for those late sprouters that haven't made their appearances yet). The miniature hostas are in place and a few of the trees. The large hostas will stay on the ground for today and as soon as I think we aren't going to have any frost, they will be put into place. As strange as it sounds, I alphabetize them - the only way I can find things when people ask for a particular one since we always have several hundred different ones potted up - so continual rearrangement is frustrating. Some years I have put then on the benches, then under the benches, then back up several times and I just decided that I won't go through that this year. I need to bring more trees down from their winter home too, but it just got way too hot yesterday to finish the job. Maybe between Church and watering everything that dried out in the heat and wind over the last 2 days, I might even get some of the trees and shrubs put in place. A lot of them haven't leafed out yet either with this cold spring (up until now) that we've been having. The oaks are especially late this year.
Off to a busy day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Daffodils - Division 10, Bulbocodium hybrids

A horrible picture, but the only one I have of this kind of daffodil. These are the hoop petticoat type and seem to be either all yellow or all white. They are small flowers on short stems. This one is called 'Golden Bells'. We have only this one, I think.
Yesterday was spent potting up some more plants. I almost ran out of potting soil, so I won't be able to pot up too much today, just some epimediums I think and then spend the time straightening up a bit in preparation for our season opening tomorrow. I did get finished painting the fish on the outside of the 'pond' where I keep the water plants for sale. I'll get a picture of it today and post it sometime soon. If I do say so myself, it ended up quite nice.
Busy day - off to the garden!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Daffodils - Division 9, Poeticus

This is one of my favorite groups of daffodils, has been for many years. They are officially described as having extremely white petals and a cup which is a small crinkled disc. The cup most often has a green center surrounded by a yellow cup with a red rim. They are fragrant.
This first one may be white, but it definitely doesn't follow the formula after that since although there may be a hint of green in the center, there is definitely not red. Its name is 'Unknown Poet'.
The next one is called 'Lisburn' and it more closely fits the description of a poeticus.
Last is 'Dimple'. Cute name for a cute flower. It also seems to lack the green in the center of the cup and red on teh edge. Actually, this one has a lighter edge.

This group is just starting to bloom as they tend to be near the last ones to bloom here each year. I expect our daffodil show is about over for this year. 4 or 5 days of temperatures in the upper 80s should just about do in what is left. It's been a good season and since so many of them are interplanted with peonies, that part of the garden won't be 'just green' for too long. Peony buds are swelling and the earliest of the fernleaf peonies should be in bloom within a week.
I spent yesterday getting ready for our opening day of the gardens and nursery this coming Sunday. It is supposed to be sunny (thought hot) which is a great contrast to some years when the weather has been just horrible. All of the perennials are in place and the miniature hostas. I'll work on trees and shrubs today along with potting up some things. The main hosta area won't get done for this weekend. It is by far the largest display and with 3 more weeks with a chance of frost, I'm just going to leave them on the ground for now.
The hummingbirds have arrived for the season so we put up the feeder yesterday. At least the possums and raccoons don't bother that one.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catching Up

I thought I'd catch up on some pictures I took 2 days ago that I promised in the last weeks. This first one is the bloom on Petasites hybridus. If you remember the first one when they just appeared, they looked like Morel Mushrooms. (Aside - we found Morels that had just come up yesterday. Will probably pick them today and enjoy them for supper). As the blooms mature, they elongate until they are 18 inches or so tall. Eventually they will form seeds, like milkweed seeds, that will fly away. I haven't found any babies that were obviously from seed at any distance from the parent clump, only the usual new plants which appear from underground runners.
This is a better picture of the Double Bloodroot. The first one just had no contrast. Our clump is a bit smaller this year. I hope that is just a temporary thing and not because critters have suddenly found it tasty.
This is our new outdoor kitty, Ammimal. He appeared, as do most of our cats, during a university break when students just can't be bothered with the 'no longer a kitten' that they just had to have at the begining of the school year. They all assume, that people in the country want to take care of an unending stream of abandoned animals. We do take them in and take care of them, but there are limits. We were feeding a couple dozen at one time, now only about 12. He is an outside cat for now because he is still a bit afraid of us. Not surprising since he probably wan't treated all that well at his previous home. He is just so cute, though when he sits outside of the glass door and 'plays' with the cats inside. They chase each other's tails and bat at each other just as if there wasn't a pane of glass between them. It's one of the rare times that I wish I had a video camera.

These last two pictues are of Tulip 'Lady Jane'. The first is probably very similar to the other one I posted. The second is on a hot, sunny afternoon. Quite a difference.

We had spotty frost last night, though I haven't seen any damage so far. It usually doesn't show up until the sun hits things, though. We will have sun and nice weather today, but hot for the weekend, with some predictions of temperatures in the upper 80s. From winter to summer in just 2 days. Yesterday was a hard day to get anything done. It would be sunny and nice for awhile then suddenly the winds would pick up, the temperature would drop and it would be raining. I did get some straightening and weeding done, but only a little at a time.
If you're in the area, stop by this Sunday for our opening day - noon to 5. Regular days and hours start next weekend. I wasn't sure with all of this cold weather that I'd be able to set plants out for Sunday, but it looks like it will be fine. That's not to say that I won't have to put everything under wraps once or twice more before we're frost free.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Daffodils - Division 8, Tazetta Daffodils

Tazetta Daffodils mostly seem to bloom mid to late season here, at least the ones we have. They have clusters of blooms on a stem, usually more than 3, and broad foliage and stems. The stems also seem to tend to be shorter. The thing you notice most about these is that they are very fragrant. One stem will fill a room with a scent that for me seems to be a cross between hyacinth and maybe gardenia. Heavily scented, kind of a 'thick' scent. That's the best I can describe it.
This first one is 'Geranium'. The stem I photographed only has 3 blooms, but it usually has more.
The second one is 'Cheerfulness'. At least in our yard, a lot of those in this division are tiny flowered doubles and less 'daffodil-like' in appearance. Almost more like little roses or something.
These are not as showy as some of the bigger flowers, but are charming along with some of the smaller bulbs.
We still have magnolias blooming and they seem to have escaped the predicted frost last night. Tonight is supposed to be frosty again, so we'll see if we still have blooming magnolias tomorrow. Hostas, some of which are all the way up now, seem to have also escaped with very little or no damage from these cold nights. We still have to make it to mid May before we are reliably frost free, so we're not out of the woods yet, but getting close. This is always a very nervous time of the year for me as I fuss over the newly emerging plants and know I can't protect them if there is a freeze because of the size of the garden. We do cover and wrap very tender or newly planted things, but otherwise we just worry. Soon we'll probably be complaining about the heat :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Daffodils - Division 7, Jonquilla Daffodils

These daffodils have small flowers with flat petals, and usually one to 3 blooms on a stem. The foliage is narrow and reed-like. They tend to be very fragrant.
This one, 'Pipit' may be the only one of these that we grow. They are more of a southern flower and can also be adapted to grow in pots.
Sunny now - not sure why since they called for rain all day. I'm going to take advantage of it and get some weeding along paths done. It's way too wet to step in beds this morning, though there is certainly plenty of weeding to do there also.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Daffodils - Division 6, Cyclamineus

This group has a wind-swept appearance and only one bloom per stem. They tend to be smallish blooms.
The first one is 'Surfside'.

Next is 'Snipe'

Lasst for this morning is 'Beryl'.

Off to town this morning (again - got to stop this or I'll get nothing done around here) but hopefully will get some gardening done this afternoon if the rain stops for awhile. I worked in the rain yesterday after we got back from Church and managed to get all of the broccoli, cauliflower and early seeds planted. After lunch and in some dry clothes, I finished digging the bed for the strawberries and got them planted and mulched with pine needle. It was the perfect day to get all of the transplants in because we had over an inch of rain last night and no really sunny days until Thursday. I hope all of my new plantings will be happy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daffodils - Division 5

Only one picture this morning since I can only find one good one for this division. I know there are more in the yard, but a large number of our daffodils are unnamed seedlings and so putting the pictures up might only frustrate you since you can't buy one 'just like it'. Don't get me started on the people who walk through our seedling daylilies and say that they already have that one. No use explaining that it is a one of a kind and the only clump in existence. This is a common frustration of breeders. Anyway, this one is 'Ice Wings' and is a division 5, Triandrus. These are daffodils that have blooms that hang like bells and usually have 2 or more blooms per stem. They also tend to be tiny flowers.
Last night was probably our last frost for most of the next week. Maybe we won't have any more frosts. Our last frost day is officially sometime around May 15th, but I can remember in the last few years having frost as late as May 23rd. Of course I can also remember, just as recently, having our last frost in mid-April. Despite the threat of still more frost, I'm going to start planting things out today, mostly cold hardy stuff. My onions are already up 4 inches and haven't been bothered, so today the broccoli and cauliflower and strawberry plants will get planted out along with seeds for lettuce, swiss chard, radishes, beets and spinach. It's been too wet up till now to get them in.
Yesterday, in addition to the usual weeding, mulching and pruning, I started dividing and potting up perennials. Got about 6 flats finished and will do more today. I think I will also uncover the overwintered pots so they can get some sunshine. It's only 8 days until we open for the season and with this cold and rainy weather I'm more than a bit behind. I'm sure I'll be ready - always am - but having only a few days, 3 of which promise to be rainy does make me wonder (again) if I might just rather retire from the nursery business and just play in my garden. Of course if I don't sell a few plants, playing in the garden wouldn't be nearly as much fun since I would have to cut back on my new plant purchases. Speaking of purchases, I stopped in at Lowe's a few days ago (in the rain) and rescued 2 flats of their bargain/maybe almost dead plants. All have recovered and are doing well. I got stocks, impatiens, dianthus, petunias, allysum and maybe a few others I can't remember. Will check again tomorrow on the way home from church for a few more bargains. Perfectly good plants for half price or less. From what I've gotten already, it seems that my pots of annuals and the ones I fill in with will be mostly purple and white. Hopefully I can get some snapdragons next time. I'd already gotten a flat of primroses and one of pansies, both of which will hopefully also get planted out today since they can take the lower temperatures.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Daffodils - Division 3

Division 3 daffodils are 'small cupped' ones. The cup is less than 1/3 the length of the petals. I didn't exactly measure these, but you can start to see the proportions if you look at enough of them. My major problem with deciding from pictures is that so often they are taken straight on and you can't really tell. There I'm depending on my memory of what the flowers look like. Unless you're entering flowers in a show, it really doesn't matter all that much anyway. Pretty flowers are pretty flowers and names or classifications are pretty irrelevant when you're just out enjoying a walk in the garden.
This first one is 'Ring Leader' and has a pretty intense red rim on the cup. It would probably be considered a 3 WWY-GYO.
This next one is almost a beige sort of color - a bit unusual. It's name is 'Oryx'. It is really a pale yellow, but in some lights it looks definitely more beige. I'd call it a 3 YYW-Y
I've really started liking the pink daffodils, even though in some years thay are more apricot. When the pink is good, they are exceptional, especially since the pink color is usually paired with a chalk white which just emphasized it even more. This one is 'Elizabeth Ann'. A perfectly feminine name for a dainty, feminine daffodil. 3W-WWP. If there is more than one color on either the petals of the cup, they divide in thirds so you would know now much of the section is one color and how much another which is why the 'W' repeats in the code.

Last for this morning is 'Centerville'. The petals are a creamy white rather than the chalk white of the last one. 3W-YYO. They are still considered white for classification since there is nothing between white and yellow colorwise and these definitely aren't yellow.
Yesterday turned out to be quite a nice day after the fog burned off. I did way too much weeding and mulching and just general garden cleanup. Today I hope to get to spend some time in the veggie garden if the soil has dried enough to walk on safely and at least get the broccoli and cauliflower plants put in the ground. Strawberries too if I have time. Too much to do and not nearly enough time or energy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Daffocils - division 2

Missed you all yesterday, but I had to leave here way too early and when I finally sat down to write in the late afternoon, Blogger was having some sort of outage for maintenance.
Back to daffodils today.
I guess it would make sense to just go down the division of daffodils in numerical order, so today we're on to division 2. Rather than rewrite all of the details of the classification system, if you're interested just follow this link to the American Daffodil Association's page which does a wonderful job of describing things.
This first one today is a lovely, chalk white with a pink rimmed cup. 'Bilbo' would be classified as 2W-WP. It is probably a mid to late season bloomer.

This next one is 'Gracious Lady', 2W-YP. I'm not looking these up, in a registration book, just doing this by sight. Sometimes pinks are more apricot or orange and reds can be red or pink of orange, depending on the weather conditions. Some pinks some out more orange and then go to pink or it can be the other way around. From year to year you can't quite tell what to expect. This year our pinks are expecially good, so maybe heat gives you the weird colors since we aren't exactly having a heat wave here lately.
This pretty is 'Loch Naver' and is one of those that I got from a nursery in Northern Ireland. It would be a 2Y-YO. This whole group of daffodils, there are about about 150 of them in total, were really late bloomers the first few years they were here. I don't know if it was the change in climate or what. They are now more in line with the others in the yard, though still slightly later. They are also in more shade since they are interplanted with my tree peonies, so I'm not sure exactly why they are slightly later blooming.
It's really hard to choose what pictures to put up with so many pretty daffodils out right now. I'll keep up with them and then go on the all of the other pretties that are starting. Redbuds are now out and magnolias continue to be gorgeous and some of the viburnums are also beginning to bloom. I didn't have to see that the viburnums were starting, you can smell their sweet scent all over the yard. Bleeding hearts have the beginnings of bloom, expecially the red ones and trilliums are everywhere.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daffodils - Division 1

These are the daffodils you think of (at least I think of) as traditional daffodils - the ones that were around 50 years ago when I thought daffodils were all yellow and looked like 'King Alfred' which is one of the old standards.
This first is one of Hank's favorites. You can't really tell from the picture, but it is a really large flower and pure white. Sometimes when it first comes out the cup is slightly shaded as it is here, but it is very quickly absolutely chalk white.

This next one is 'Pineapple Prince' and is a relatively new one in the garden. It is almost a greenish yellow when it first comes out and has a band of white at the base of the petals and the bas of the cup.

This one is about as different from that as you can get with its pink cup and white petals. It's a large flower but still looks so delicate.

A note on color coding for daffodils. If you come across any of the specialty catalogs, you'll get a good description of what the flowers will look like without ever seeing a picture. They will be listed with a code that starts with a number, in the case of the above it would be 1 and then there are up to 6 letters divided into two groups. The blossom above would be 1W-P. The color coding moves from the outside of the petals (the first group of letters) to the inside and the coding for the cup from the base to the end. I'll try and put the official coding for all of the pictures from now on.
More rain today, the old 'April showers bring May flowers' stuff, I guess, but I'm not getting anything done outside and we open for the season in less than 2 weeks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Daffodils - Doubles

I've written about a lot of the spring bulbs, but up until now haven't tackled the daffodils since they are such a large group, especially in my gardens. They are just everywhere from one end to the other, between all of the peonies and scattered throughout the daylilies. I think the best way is to tackle one division at a time and this morning it will be the doubles.
Daffodils have been divided into thirteen divisions for classification purposes. Miniatures have their own division which doesn't have a number since they can be a number of different shapes. A daffodil is in the miniature division if the bloom is under 1.5 inches in diameter. Doubles are in division 4.
This first one is called 'Christmas Valley'. It is a deep rose, but I expect that with a Christmas name, it might be more red some years. Colors on daffodils are extremely weather dependent. Pinks and reds are expecially variable.

This next one is 'Pink Parade'. This one is a pretty reliable pink, rarely coming out in that orange/peach color that so many pinks do.
I like this one. It's quite bright and called 'Smokey Bear'. No idea where the name comes from, but that is probably the case with most named plants.

This double is has orange/deep gold for its extra petals and is called 'Grosvenor'.

This last one is 'Cheerfulness' and is a double, but is also a tiny flower with 3 or more blooms on a scape. This one is different from the others in a major way besides size. It is extremely fragrant, smelling much more like a hyacinth than a daffodil. One small scape can fill a room with fragrance. It is more properly classified as a miniature, but since it is, by appearances, a double, I've added it here. I'll probably do that with the other miniatures as I work my way through the division.
Off this morning to neaten up the garden at our local post office. When they finally built our new post office (the old one burned and they had been using a room at the firehouse for over 3 years) the postal service in one of their dumber moves, built it with a garden space in front. That's nice, but the postmaster isn't allowed to 'garden' it during business hours (though they're expected to clean the building) and there is no money allocated to planting or upkeep. We volunteered to do it and planted grasses and daffodils around the two light poles, added a variegated sweet gum and put hostas at the base, put daffodils around their sign by the road and then put perennials in the bed at the front of the building. Everything is growing well, but just needs a bit of weeding and some fresh mulch. It does perk up what would otherwise be a pretty ugly prefab building.
Happy Birthday to me.