Tulips, Tulips, Tulips

Dallas Arboretum does a bang up job of seasonal flower displays.  It may not be Holland, but the tulips were spectacular.

Just inside the entrance gate is the first tulip bed we saw.

Stopped me in my tracks.

This is my favorite tulip – bright red with yellow edges on the petals.

Dark center gives it even more interest.

In a large open field-like area, there were many beds with different color combinations.  Other types of bulbs mixed in added more colors and textures.  Clusters of Delft Blue Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) filled some spaces.

One really huge oval shaped bed was about 75 feet in length.

Violas were used as borders and fillers.  This one is Penny Blue Viola (Viola Cornuta)

These small flowers made me realize that I don’t know the difference between violas and pansies.  So I did a little research. They have a similar look and are both in the viola family.  Both are cold hardy, but neither do well in warmer weather.

Pansies have larger blooms but fewer ones and take a longer time to spread.  Pansies are the favorite of buyers because the blotch faces on the flowers are familiar.

Violas have more blooms, perform better, fill in faster, and look better earlier than pansies.

Some of the tulips, like these yellow ones are hybrids with double petals.  This is Monte Carlo Double Early.  They look more like peonies than tulips.

The small orangish flowers are Nature Orange Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana).

More double and single tulips, yellow pansies, and yellow daffodils.

Got to admire how the colors of the different flowers coordinate.

To plant tulips in Texas is a monumental task.  First, they have to be chilled for a certain length of time.  Then, planted at just the right time.  And to plant multiple large swaths of colors together and with other plants that compliment each other blows my mind.  Sure, the Arboretum has a large staff to do that and many volunteers.  But still, kudos to the master mind behind it and to the workers who did the labor.

A totally different look with white daffodils and maroonish tulips.

A border of pink and blue Hyacinths.

Pale colors here look peaceful.

Here maroon tulips are paired with a pale yellow viola that makes the tulips really pop.

There’s mixture of singe and double tulips.

Another area with my favorites.  In the background, notice the low trimmed hedge in a circle shape close to the tree.  Interesting.

It was a special treat to slowly amble around and soak in the beauty of these early spring flowers.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone.”  John Quincy Adams

Popping Up

It’s a time of hope and joy.  I could get discouraged about all the work that needs to be done outside.  But, instead, I’m excited to see the coming beauty.

Even if all the work doesn’t get done, the flowers will bloom.

This is an exciting time when new leaves pop up.  That means flowers won’t be far behind.  There are both Crimson Pirate Daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Crimson Pirate’) and Kindly Light Daylilies (Hemerocallis ‘Kindly Light’) in this bed.

Since Daffodils are the first bulb flowers to open here, they’re probably need the end of their show now.

The thing about Daffodils is that they grow so low to the ground and droop slightly, so it’s hard to really see their faces.  So bend down or get on your knees to fully appreciate them.  Yes, it is hard for me, too, to get on my knees.

There are two flowerbeds filled with Ditch Lilies greenery.  What a long lasting show they will put one.

All ornamental bulb plants have leaves that store their food during dormant periods, like winter.  So the foliage should not be cut off until they dry completely at the end of their blooming season.

Three Byzantine Gladiolus(Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus) bulbs were planted last October.  These are new for me, and I can’t wait to see them.  They are native to the Mediterranean area, so they love heat.

These were ordered from Old House Gardens, a family business in Michigan.  I’m pretty careful where I order plants from.  So although this company is far north, they have proven reliable.  They inform me if I order something that won’t grow here, and they contract out growing certain bulbs in some places in the south.  Their emails are fun as well as informational about what to plant at a certain time and what they have for sale.

Crinum Lily bulbs are very large (these were about 6 – 7 inches across) and difficult to dig up.  They can get large enough to weight 20 pounds.  Years ago three were planted close to the house for winter protection.  They have done very well and multiplied many times.  They needed to be dug up and separated but seemed like daunting task.

A new telephone fiber line going in that area forced me to perform that task.  So many were dug up quickly one evening and put in pots.  Some were damaged but I think they all will survive.  Now I just have to figure out where to plant them.  Crinums are worth it to me.

Stella de Oro Daylilies are low growing beauties with yellow blooms.

One of the great things about bulbs is that they’re such a nice surprise each spring.  I forgot that these Hyacinths were in this bed.

And I certainly don’t remember moving this one to this spot.

Each year I put off dividing these Ornamental Onions.  This year it’s a must job.  I need plants for two garden club plant sales, so that is my incentive.  As they say, just get ‘er done.

I have reblooming Irises all over the yard and love how their colors enrich each spot.

I’m a huge fan of bulbs.  I love how consistent and reliable they are, their gorgeous flowers and the anticipation they provide.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you change the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”  Alexander Den Heijer

Early Bird Blooms

Seesawing temperatures has confused us all.  Each day is a surprise.  There is always a possibility of a freeze as late as the middle of April hanging over our heads.  Several years ago on Easter, snow covered the blooming Bluebonnets.

I’ve been working to get plants cut back or pruned and debris picked up.  This is the first time this Canyon Creek Abelia (Abelia x ‘Canyon Creek’) has been visible since this time last year.  The Guara grew up in front of it and had grown up under it.  So we dug that up and moved it.

The coppery color of the leaves is very pretty.  Later, small white flowers will cover its branches.

Some of the roses are blooming like crazy.  I didn’t get this Knock-Out bush pruned back.  I concentrated on tea roses because it is more critical to get them cut in February.

The bushes are way too tall and wide, but they can be trimmed anytime.

This Earth-Kind bush is about eight feet tall.  Too tall for me to trim easily.

The yellow flowers of this Knock Out Rose fade to a pale, almost white, before they die.

The Cherry Laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is all dressed up for spring.  Interestingly, it is in the rose family and is not related to other Laurels.

It is totally covered with clusters of off white flowers.

The whole tree is abuzz with bees.  The black berries attract birds, but some fall to the ground.  In some places people complain that too many sprouts grow from them.  Not a problem here with the hard packed ground.

Warnings are given about how poisonous the leaves and fruit are.  They contain cyanide.

It’s a relatively fast grower.  This one is 12 years old and has been worry free and is evergreen.  Hooray.

Bridal Wreath Spiraea (Spiraea prunifolia) is starting to bloom.

Aptly named, it will be completely covered with flowers in a couple of weeks.

Lots of dark skies with promises of rain that don’t pan out.  Much patience is required while waiting for spring rains.

The Chinkapin Oak (Quercus meuhlenbergii)  is a Texas SuperStar tree with leaves that are more elongated than most oaks.  It is in the white oak family, which means it is less susceptible to oak wilt disease.

Pretty small Hyacinths blooms carry a strong scent.

The Gray Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea incana) is sporting its first flowers.  Trimming it back can be done after some other things are done.  Also, needs weeding.  This Texas native’s bright orange cupped flowers stand out against its silvery gray foliage.  Very hardy.

Busy time in the yard.  Pruning is just about finished.  Weeding is an ongoing task.  But lovely flowers are reward enough.

“Being defeated is often only a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent.”  Marilyn Vos Savant

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Early Spring Color

The wet weather has ended, the sun is out, the grass is greening, some trees are budding, and color is returning to the yard.  All is right with the world.  That, of course, is ignoring current politics, war and famine in the world.

nearspring6This guy kept his gray-green foliage during the warm winter.  Desert Mallow or Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) is considered a desert plant with winter hardy zones 9 – 10.  However, I’ve had this bush for three years, and it has easily survived our winters.  If and when we have a severe one with many days below freezing, it may not last.

nearspring3Pollinators already enjoying it.

nearspring7The smallish orange flowers are not an in your face glaring color.

nearspringaOne day recently I was in Brady waiting for a meeting.  With some time to kill, I went to Walmart looking for flowerpots.  Normally, I don’t buy plants there, but their tulips, daffodils, and Hyacinths looked so bright and healthy that I succumbed to impulse buying.  The soil was not dry, as is often the case in box stores plants.

Plus, they were a dollar each.  What a buy.

nearspringbSorry the pictures are lousy and the flowers look washed out.

First, I planted these in a large pot to enjoy inside near a french door.  What a strong scent they have.  After a couple of days with the aroma too strong, I went ahead and planted them outside where the rains laid them on their sides.

Maybe, next year I’ll get to enjoy them.

nearspring9 I bought this evergreen ground cover Vinca minor at a garden club plant sale.   Another member warmed me that it would take over my flowerbed.  Since I planned to use it in a spot that has a 12 ft. long by 5 foot wide rock just under the topsoil, I didn’t listen.

How do I know that massive rock is there?  Years ago, after we finished the soil preparation for a 150 ft. long and 8 ft. wide flowerbed, we tried to plant rose bushes in the rock area.  Since nothing with deep roots can be planted there, I’ve seeded it each year with Zinnas.  But it still needed something to look full.

nearspring8Vinca minor grows about 6 inches tall and produces beautiful purplish-blue flowers in early spring.  Information online says that Vinca minor prefers full to partial shade.  Mine grows in full sun with a little bit of morning shade.  It is a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.  It only blooms in early spring and is mainly prized for its foliage.

So far, I’m not sorry it’s there.  It has just started to spread out after three years.  I’m hoping it can be controlled.  Maybe wishful thinking.

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”             Swedish Proverb