African Garden + work

Spring Full Throttle: April Bloom Day

Thalictrum/Anemonella thalictroides 'Cameo'

Warning: this post contains excessive amounts of garden porn, including the freakish and the hard to find. More sensitive readers are advised to turn back now.

The woodland garden with Labrador violets and 'Spellbinder' Daffodils in bloom.
This spring has been so unusual. The extremely warm weather (for April in Chicagoland) has brought plants into bloom several weeks earlier than normal (quite a contrast from last year, when spring bloomers were delayed). This has made the gardener scramble, trying to get everything done in the space of days what normally is done over the course of weeks. (I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth, I've just been very busy outside lately.) Many plants have bloomed and faded between last Bloom Day and today, including several Daffodils, the Erythronium dens canis, and the Pulsatilla vulgaris. The Violas that were just budding last Bloom Day are in full bloom.

All three of the Tulip varieties are in bloom. I can't recall the name of the one above; it has been a strong perennializer for years. Newer, but also a perennial Tulip is 'Easter Moon,' below left.

It's in full bloom. On the way out is the newest Tulip to the garden, the little species T. pulchella 'Violacea.'
It's odd to have early and late Daffodils blooming at the same time.

On the left, the last of the 'Ice Follies,' on the right, the first of 'Stainless'
I'll spare you all of the Daffodils, but here are two of the new ones I planted last fall:

On the left, 'St. Keverne,' on the right 'Pineapple Prince' I've gone a little goofy for reverse bicolor yellow and white Daffodils. 'Pineapple Prince' is my third one of those. White Daffodils don't have enough presence in the garden, and the solid yellow just don't have quite enough zing for me. (A little garishness in spring never hurts.)
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa has only one bloom left, and Hepatica nobilis var. acuta is nearly spent, with the remaining blossoms obscured by the new foliage.

on left: Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (H. americana); on right: Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (H. acutiloba)
All the Hellebores are in bloom, although only two flowers of Helleborus niger are still white.

The rest have turned green and are forming seeds. I'm posting only one more photo of a Hellebore, but it's one that wasn't mature enough to bloom last year, 'Kingston Cardinal.'

It was worth the wait.

How about just one more? This Hellebore was a new addition last year.

I don't know if this is a rogue 'Ballerina Strain' or a mismarked 'Carousel.' Regardless, it's a most striking bloom.
The earliest of the bloodroots (Sanguinaria canadensis) have passed, but those in the most shade are still blooming.

It's looking like the double bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis 'Multiplex') will not be blooming this year. Somehow, its rhizome worked itself partly out of the ground, stunting it.
The Bergenia have never looked better.

Bergenia 'Bressingham White' flowers turning pink
Most years it barely manages to bloom and the foliage looks ratty. This year, the foliage is unblemished and the blooms are outstanding. The complete and constant snow covering of the long winter gets the credit for this.
Blooming several weeks early, the Magnolia also looks outstanding this year. (Help! I'm running out of superlatives.)

I don't know what it is exactly, some kind of Star Magnolia. It tends to bloom a little later than most of the Magnolia stellatas around here. Despite one morning of frost, the flowers have suffered no damage. Yesterday afternoon, the scent of its blooms filled the air. I might have to devote an entire post just to the Magnolia.
Radical pruning of the flowering quince (Chaenomeles) to train it to the wall has yielded excellent results.

It's in full bloom. As with the Magnolia, I don't know its identity, as it was here when I bought the house.
In the woodland garden, Pulmonaria 'Roy Davidson' is blooming.

Its flowers are similar to those of the native bluebells, Mertensia virginica, which is in full bloom. The Mertensia goes dormant after blooming, to be concealed by the expanding foliage of the wild ginger and the native Celadine poppy, Stylophorum diphyllum.

At the risk of sounding reptitive, it's also in full bloom.
And now, the most sublime of all, Thalictrum/Anemonella thalictroides 'Oscar Shoaf,' blooming with Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine.'

The flowers of 'Oscar Shoaf' are bigger and darker than those of 'Cameo' (at top). I love this plant. I love it so much, I've got a wire basket over it most of the time to protect it from the squirrels. The basket will remain until the plant is fully established.

And now, from the sublime to the freakish: Prairie Smoke (Geum triforum) in bloom;

the native wild ginger, Asarum canadensis looking particularly fine this year;

and the freakiest of all, blue cohosh, Caulophyllum thalictroides,

which is better known for its showy blue berries in summer.
Also in bloom: Anemone nemorosa Brunnera macrophylla 'Hadspen Cream' Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' Brunnera macrophylla 'Looking Glass' Dicentra 'Bountiful' Dicentra 'King of Hearts' Erythronium albidum (just barely) Forsythia Fuschia Helleborus x hybridus 'Pink Lady Strain' Helleborus x hybridus 'Red Mountain' Helleborus x nigersmithii 'Walhelivor' (Ivory Prince) Muscari Narcissus 'Bell Song' Narcissus 'Honeybird' Narcissus 'La Vie En Rose' Narcissus 'Mount Hood' Narcissus 'Small Talk' Oxalis Scilla sibirica Thalictrum/Anemonella thalictroides and thalictroides rosea Tiarella 'Oakleaf' Viola sororia
In bud: Bearded Iris Dodecatheon media Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee' and 'Niveum' Heucherella 'Burnished Bronze' Malus 'Prairiefire' Phlox divaricata 'Clouds of Perfume' Polemium reptans 'Stairway to Heaven' Tiarella 'Pink Brushes' Trillium grandiflorum

What's blooming in your garden today? To see what's blooming around the country and around the world, visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens for all the Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts.

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Spring Full Throttle: April Bloom Day + work