Saturday, January 12, 2013

Post Script to The Great Thaw

Two images I didn't include in my last post include Helleborus 'Pink Frost' and Hamamelis x 'Jelena', both taking advantage of the warm weather today.


Helleborus 'Pink Frost'.

Hamamelis x 'Jelena'.

The Big Thaw.


Between Christmas and NewYears Eve the storm that dumped a record breaking 45cm of  snow onto Montreal, left a very manageable 10cm here in Toronto. It snowed all night, coming straight down with no drifting and left a beautiful blanket of white that was easy to shovel ( almost a pleasure really).  This was not unusual for this time of year, however, a reversal of the weather at the end of the week has given us an extraordinary warm patch culminating in a sunny Saturday afternoon with the Spring-like temperature of 12C!
It has been a wonderful sight this weekend to see many plants reappearing from under the snow; Galanthus elwesii, I knew would be well advanced, and Helleborus niger 'Praecox' was completely unaffected by the weight of the snow, many of its blooms unfaded and still loaded with pollen.

Galanthus elwesii.

Helleborus niger 'Praecox'.
Other Hellebores also show signs of life, especially those with H. niger genes such as H. 'Pink Frost' and my old reliable H. nigercors.  Of course, the weather will change again and even without snow cover, I'm sure these plants will survive a sudden chill, however I am concerned about a newer hybrid H. 'Jade Tiger', which has a history ( for me anyway) of coming into bloom too early and ending with damage from the frost and sub-zero temperatures.  Every year  I plan to pot it up and bring it into the greenhouse, where it would make a spectacular show, but every year this never gets done. I think its only hope of its bloom reaching their full potential is to cover it with a cloche.

Hellborus 'Jade Tiger'.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Flower for Every Month

In the comparatively mild climate of Somerset in the UK, Margery Fish was able to find a flower every day in her garden at East Lambrook Manor, and as a result, her book A Flower for Every Day was first published in 1958.
Although I live in what is laughingly called the banana-belt of Southern Ontario, I fear I can't do the same, but by taking broader strokes and taking advantage of the plants I grow in my cool greenhouse, I can manage a flower a month:
January. Viburnum farreri.

February. Cyclamen coum.

March. Crocus tommasinianus.

April. Pulsatilla vulgaris.

May. Ranunculus ficaria.

June. Clematis 'Cassis'

July. Pelargonium  'Mrs. Kingsley'.

August. Scadoxus multiflorus.

September. Tricyrtis hybrid.

October. Saxifragia fortunii hybrid.

November. Helleborus niger 'Praecox'.

December. Narcissus romieuxii.